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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Hello, my name is Mike. I am a 52 yo man who was first put on psych meds over 12 years ago. I'm sure my story is similar to many of yours: go to the family doc depressed, get a scrip for an antidepressant, get worse, get sent to a psychiatrist, get put on more meds, get worse, go inpatient.... It goes on and on. I have been hospitalized 5 times in the past 12 years and at my worst I was taking 6 meds daily (14 pills). I have been on 24 different meds and nothing has worked. For the past year my pdoc has been pushing ECT. I am diagnosed Bipolar II, GAD, and OCD.

About a year ago I started reading on the internet about iatrogenisis on mental patients and decided with the help of my pdoc to start whittling down some of these meds. It has taken all that time but I am now down to two meds, both low dose (geodon and Luvox) and I am tapering both of those now. Geodon will be last to go because it has been the only one that has had a positive effect, it will be hard to quit I think.

It has been tough but I am feeling better, more stable than in years and I've even lost a bunch of weight that the meds put on. I happily stumbled across this site today and hope to get and give help to others who are in a similar situation.

Edited by JanCarol
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Fresh   
Fresh

Welcome Iamfine , so happy you found your way here.

 

This site is full of people like yourself and you'll find loads of information and support here.

You might start by going to the section on Tapering and reading the topics at the top e.g. "Why Taper By 10%."

 

Well done on your journey so far.

Could you tell us what your symptom pattern is now , and the doses of your current meds.

 

Best wishes , Fresh

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Thanks Fresh. I currently take 40 mg geodon and 20 mg Luvox. Down from 160/60. The last one I finally conquered was Seroquel 500 mg, that one was tough. Before that was klonopin 3 mg, that one was easy, I just quit and never looked back.

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Fresh   
Fresh

Thanks for that. I would ask that you have a go at doing your signature , but do it when you're ready,

just as much as you can.

It makes it easy for people to get an idea of your background when it comes up with each post.

 

You've cut down so much in quite a short space of time , I would be inclined to stop tapering and hold for

a good few months. Just let your brain stabilize for a while. You may have a delayed withdrawal to seroquel ,

and better to be safe than sorry.

What was you tapering schedule (dosage and dates) for seroquel? How long since you stopped?

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

I wasn't on Seroquel very long, just about two months. I had a love/hate relationship with that one, it made me feel better in some ways but worse in others. I have been on 24 meds in the last 12 years and the only one that gave me any real trouble was lexapro which pooped out on me after about 5 years. I replaced lex with Luvox a few months ago, which has done nothing positive. In fact almost all of the drugs either have done nothing or made me feel worse. I am now on the least medication that I have been on for the last 12+ years and so far I feel better than I have in a long time. My first depression was situational, I just got caught in the trap I think. Don't get me wrong, I am far from "recovered" but for the first time in a long time I feel hope.

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dalsaan   
dalsaan

Hi Iamfine,

 

I don't want to jinx you but we do see people who have a delayed withdrawal reaction kick in after a period of time.   I'm hoping that's not the case with you and it might not be.   How long did you take to come off lexapro and how did you do it?  Did you Dr have a tapering regime that you followed?

 

Dalsaan

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Dalsaan- I mistakenly put 20 mg for Luvox, I'm actually taking 50 mg down from 150. Thank you for the concern. My doctor had me go from 40 mg lexapro to 20 mg lex and 50 mg Luvox for a week, then 10 lex and 100 Luvox, then zero lex and 150 Luvox. It was tough but after a few weeks I adapted. The only two that gave little to no withdrawals were 1200 mg lithium and 3 mg klonopin, and I cold turkeyed both those. The lithium I had no choice, my kidneys shut down and I had a level of 14.1 before they did dialysis and saved my life. Definitely toxic stuff.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

I can't remember the names of all the psych meds I have taken, but my pdoc told I had tried 24 total. Of the antidepressants I can remember I have taken Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Celexa, Lamictal, Viibryd, Brintellix, Pristiq, and Lexapro. Lexapro was my go to med for years until it finally pooped out on me.

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Fresh   
Fresh

When was the last time you took lexapro Iamfine?

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Fresh   
Fresh

Thanks. What can happen when you stop these meds too fast is you may get a protracted withdrawal.

I had that - things were fine for around 5 months after tapering cymbalta too quickly , and then

I became very very ill , for many months.

 

This site recommends tapering by decreasing the dose no more than 10% at a time , and holding for at least a few

weeks between each cut. This is so the brain can stabilize as you go down.

Your taper of a 50% cut for a week , then another 50% cut , then a 100% cut , means you may not be out of the

woods yet.

 

Please read the topics pinned at the top of the Tapering section , including "Why Taper by 10%".

 

You've done so well until now , please take some time to learn from other people's mistakes.

It would be such a shame if you crashed now.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Fresh- I have read the 10% rule, but I have cross tapered from Lexapro to another antidepressant on 3 or 4 occasions. My pdoc has always set me up the same way, cut lex in half and add another med for a week, cut in half again and increase the new med for another week, then stop lex. It has worked fine until this last transition to Luvox which has not been a good drug for me.

 

Her rational was that I shouldn't have much trouble since I was going to another seretogenic drug.

 

I'm glad I didn't read all the Benzo horror stories before I quit Klonopin. It worked well for several years but started making me feel more depressed and one day about 2 years ago I just stopped taking it. No problem at all. I still have a nearly full bottle in my cupboard and I have taken it during a crisis, maybe once or twice a month since then and it still works if I only take it rarely.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

I am tapering, and from reading this site I have discovered that I have been doing it all wrong, I've been going way too fast. I went from 500 mg of Seroquel to zero in about 6 weeks for instance. I really have felt better from that move, but am I setting myself up for grief already? I've been on and off so much of this crap my central nervous system is probably toast, but I have only experienced minor withdrawals from what I can tell. Maybe I am just not seeing the signs but I have felt no worse from my tapers so far, in fact I feel a little better most of the time except for this:

 

Every day from about 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm I get very anxious and depressed. I can just plan on it happening. This started about a year ago when I first started tapering and changing things up. In fact I started running again during these hours, the pain of running seems to override the pain in my mind, at least for awhile. Could this be a symptom of withdrawal or is it my underlying illness creeping back in?

 

Thanks for any advice you may have.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, Iamfine.

 

What symptoms do you have now? How is the Geodon helping?

 

Can you list the last year's history of drugs and how you came off them?

 

Was this psychiatrist the same one who prescribed all those drugs for you? What is this psychiatrist's method for tapering off drugs?

 

See

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Luvox (fluvoxamine)

 

(Fresh, supplying the link is better than the title of the topic; people don't know how to find the topic.)

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Alto, thanks for the Luvox link, I read the 10% thread and that and lots more reading I have done here have made me come to the conclusion that I have been coming off way too fast. In fact today was a very bad day, anxious and depressed and the only thing that helped was a brisk 3 mile walk. I broke down and took 150 mg Seroquel after a few days with none, and I'm feeling much better now. Nights are usually good for me. I tapered the Seroquel way too fast, from 500 to zero in about 6 weeks or so.

 

My memory is pretty shot from all these drugs, but I first started taking Lexapro about 10 years ago. There have been many try to take its place in that time (Paxil, Prozac, Lamictal, Zoloft, Celexa, Viibryd, Brintellix, and a couple others I forgot the names of). The Lexapro was my go to drug for lots of years but it pooped out completely about a year ago. Since that time I went from lex to Viibryd, back to lex for a few months then to Brintellix, back to lex then on to Luvox 2 or 3 months ago. Luvox has not been good either, so since I've tried most of the ssri's with little or no success (except for lex), I have decided to let that class go completely.

 

With the ssri's my pdoc has always cross tapered me from lex to the next one, and always cutting it in half for a week and adding a low dose of the new one for a week, then half again and full dose of the new one for another week, then stop. I've never had trouble with this arrangement in the past, or have I? I was mostly on 40 mg of lex when I took it regularly.

 

Geodon just works. It's been my all time favorite psych drug, so it will be last to go. I was taking 160 mg before the Seroquel, then she took me down to 80 and it still works as well. The only way I can describe it is that it takes away the demons, that sense of impending doom that I feel most of my waking hours. I take it around 6:30 every evening with my dinner and within an hour I am chilled on the couch. It's suttle but it works. I think it will be the hardest to let go.

 

Thanks again for the links.

 

Mike

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Fresh   
Fresh

Thanks for doing your signature Mike.

If you have more bad days , you might try a much smaller dose of seroquel , say 37.5mg.and see if that does

the trick.

You may even want to think about reinstating a small dose if you seem to be spiralling down , as a way of

holding off a crash.

 

The thread about reinstating to stop withdrawal symptoms is here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/page-1

 

;)

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ang   
ang

Geodon just works. It's been my all time favorite psych drug, so it will be last to go. I was taking 160 mg before the Seroquel, then she took me down to 80 and it still works as well. The only way I can describe it is that it takes away the demons, that sense of impending doom that I feel most of my waking hours. I take it around 6:30 every evening with my dinner and within an hour I am chilled on the couch. It's suttle but it works. I think it will be the hardest to let go.

Hello and welcome!      yes!!!   My last drug, my  ""keep in the cupboard"  is seroquel.......      I had to go back on it , during all my attempts at reinstating other medications.     All I can think is     I think Seroquol  works??? I sleep, I eat   xxxxxxxxxxx   , But now I think this is the most evil drug......... THE ONES WE FEEL CONFIDENT WITH....., like an addiction to cigarettes, or such, the cigarettes are great!.. I dont know how to express this, but trying my best...  Like sometimes the most addictive ones, are the things we think are OK????? 

 

""All time favourite psych drug?"""" your quote, you listed one...    No one here judges one psych drug over another, they all evil. Sometimes a necessary evil, so we can recover.

 

Seroquel is not a drug to be taken as needed..(yep as my gp now prescribes it to me)... it is not a benzo, or sedative in the normal sense........... if I stopped taking it, no way would I be able to be rational, and work tomorrow.. even a difference of 100mg evening to 125 mg evening, means the difference in working the next day. now I have settled on a stable amount of the drug, same time of day.....yes I finally feel there is hope for me.    Seroquol is not a take as needed drug.....needs stability... and a slow reduction,as all these drugs need.

 

You said you took a dose of seroquol, 150mg?  one night.  I hope  I can tell you, seroquol is not a use as needed drug..........   I wish you well, hope you are recovered, the motto, slow and steady, no jumps and leaps,  god luck!.........KEEP IT SLOW STEADY>>>

 

Please, please if you feel you need seroquol, slow and stable, until you find a regualr dose that alows you to sleep (if you use it as a sedative).

 

best wishes

 

Ang

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Ang- how long do you expect to take getting off Seroquel and how much do you take? I think I will reinstate at 150 and taper from there. It's still hard for me to believe some of these ultra slow tapers and can the body really fell the difference between 1 and 2 mg of something like Luvox? I went from 150 down to 50 pretty quickly because it was making me feel worse. My pdoc has done the two week taper with me on many drugs with no real problems, I even ct'ed 3 mg of Klonopin and noticed nothing other than feeling better.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Alto- I read on another thread that you are still suffering after 7 years off Paxil. 7 years??? After that long how do you know that Paxil is the cause of your symptoms? What are your symptoms? I cross tapered off Paxil in two weeks with no ill effects but I was only on it for about 6 months.

 

In my reading on this forum it seems everyone is tapering off something but I find few who have happily quit all their meds. I'm am also a member of a couple pro med websites and it is amazing the difference in attitudes between the two groups. You get in trouble there for being anti med and you get in trouble here for being pro med. both groups are passionate about their causes and they are both convincing.

 

In my case I was depressed when I first started Prozac over 12 years ago but I should have stopped after a time. Instead I fell into the psych world and ended up on 6 psych drugs a day. Today, even after reinstating a lower dose of Seroquel I am still taking less than half the psych meds that I was just two months ago, and I feel much better for it. I will slow my tapers now that I am a little more educated but I have resigned myself to the fact that I may have to take something long term. I also still find it hard to believe that a body can sense a drop of 1 or 2 mg's of an ssri.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

No, I recovered after 9 years off Paxil. It was extremely obvious I had Paxil withdrawal syndrome.

 

Judging from your own experience of being overmedicated for no good reason, where do you think the truth is?

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

I think that many of these drugs are evil. They changed who I was as a person, gave me anhedonia which I still have somewhat. Everyone is different though, what is heaven to one person is hell to another. I do think these drugs have their place though, I am not anti drug by any means. I like this group best though, the people here seem much better off than the pro drug crowd but there is still a lot of suffering. Out of the 24 drugs I've tried maybe three have been positive- Lexapro worked well for years, Paxil worked a little for a time but quickly pooped out, and Geodon has been good for about a year. Klonopin was good for a long time too but started making me even more depressed so I quit it for the most part. After awhile being off it it still works if I only take it once or twice a month.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Something that I failed to mention. My first scrip of Prozac was by my gp, who later sent me to a mental health facility, where I saw a nurse practitioner for years. She is the one who had me pegged out on 6 psych meds including the lithium that very nearly killed me. I was in the regular hospital for 28 days because of that lithium. After I got out I started seeing a real pdoc at the same facility. She is much more conservative but I have been using mostly her method of tapering, as mentioned above. The Seroquel I did on my own that's why I backed up and started taking a low dose again. This method has worked fine, today has been my best day in ages. And I have tapered everything faster than 10% per month. The little demons are still there lurking though, that's why I am so happy I found this place.

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dalsaan   
dalsaan

Hi Iamfine,

 

I merged the above post/topic into your intro thread.  This is the place you discuss your personal situation.  The symptoms forum is for more general questions that have relevance to others.

 

cheers

 

Dalsaan

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

There is a wide range of tolerance for dosage reduction. We recommend a 10% per month decrease because it is less likely to cause harm to the most people.

 

Going on and off drugs is wearing on the nervous system. Even if you have quickly gone off drugs before, at any times you might find you have serious problems going off the next drug. The nervous system is not made of rubber.

 

We've given you our best advice, the rest is up to you.

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Fresh   
Fresh

The recommended tapering protocol here is based on that suggested by Dr. Peter Breggin in "Your Drug May Be

Your Problem" , pg 165. He suggests that 10% is a good place to start. If w/d symptoms are too intense this may then be changed to 5% decrements , if it's relatively painless then a larger cut could be tried the next time. If

even a small reduction is difficult it's a warning sign not to push any harder.

He suggests a month of withdrawal for every year a drug has been taken: "By this method an individual who has

been exposed to antidepressants or tranquilizers for 5 years could require at least 5 months to withdraw. If the

individual has been taking both kinds of drugs for 5 years , it may require two separate 5 month withdrawals to

stop both drugs."

 

At the other end of the spectrum to gp's who advise stopping over a couple of weeks , Dr Anne Blake Tracy (author

of "Prozac or Panacea") , suggest a taper should take approximately half the time of the total time spent on the drug. For someone like myself this would have meant tapering lexapro over a 3 year period , erring on the side of extreme caution.

Everybody reacts differently and the 10% reduction recommendation , as Altostata said , is less likely to cause

harm to the most people.

 

It sounds like getting some seroquel back on board was a good move , you should continue to improve over the next few weeks as that helps you stabilize. Hopefully it will run those demons out of town.

 

I'm pleased you like this site. I like that you live in a place called OK (Oklahoma?) , it's kind of reassuring ;)

 

.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Fresh, yes, OK= Oklahoma. Been here all my life. And I'm pretty sure bringing the Seroquel back was a good move, I've had two of the best days that I've experienced in ages. I read your page, sorry you had to deal with that. Pristiq gave me akathisia but it relented after I dropped the drug so I didn't have to endure it very long. I can't imagine dealing with that as long as you did, you must be a strong person.

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Fresh   
Fresh

Appreciated Mike. I'd never had it before in 25 years of ad's , just when I stopped. You can see why I'd hate to see anyone mess up accidentally and experience that.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Yes I think I was going way too fast. I think I got lucky that I didn't get burned long ago, I've tapered on and off so many meds it's a wonder I still have a brain. I think I found this place just in time though, I have a feeling that if I would have continued on the fast taper path that I would have really had a hard time of it. I can live with a slower pace though, heck I was on this crap over 12 years, what's a few more weeks or months gonna hurt. And I don't even know at this point that I will get completely off and that's okay too. Some of these drugs do work, like Geodon in my case. If it's a positive thing in my life why live in pain without it.

 

I also know that there are vast differences in individual people's sensitivities to these drugs. From reading for hours on this site the last few days I see that some people suffer greatly from withdrawal while others not quite so bad. I guess I am lucky, I have been on several drugs that made me feel way worse than any withdrawals I've experienced.

 

Thanks to all you compassionate people here who are quick to help each other in the midst of all this suffering.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

I dropped my Luvox down to 25 today. I know that is faster than 10% but I just can't take the pain that med causes anymore.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

What kind of pain, and at what times of day? At what time do you take Luvox?

 

Please put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and copy and paste the results in this topic.
 

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

What kind of pain, and at what times of day? At what time do you take Luvox?

 

Please put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and copy and paste the results in this topic.

 

Neuro pain mostly. It's like clockwork,I take my Luvox every morning at 9:00, and between the hours of 2:00 and 6:00 PM I can just plan on having an anxious feeling mixed with a strong sense of impending doom. The last three days have been great though after I reinstated 150 mg's of Seroquel. That tells me that I'm gonna have to go very slow with that one. It was no trouble going from 500 down to 150 in about 6 weeks but that last drop to zero floored me, the difference is night and day.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

I have done the drug interaction checker and there is a major between Seroquel and Geodon, heart qt interval. Those are my two favorite drugs so my pdoc let me keep them and said she would order an ekg if I stayed on both very much longer. Looks like I will be doing an ekg...

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

The antipsychotics are probably the most destructive to general health. Minimizing the dosages of those two drugs will minimize the danger of long-term adverse effects, which can include a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia.

 

It's unusual that two would be prescribed simultaneously. I'd Google further into that combination.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

Yes the main reason I wanted to get off the Seroquel was because it causes type II diabetes, which runs in my family. I was on it for a long time years ago but I quit because it made me fat. My pdoc said that it was unusual for her to prescribe more than one antipsychotic at a time but I was in the depths of despair at the time and she said we would just keep a close eye on things. I was on Geodon 240 mg for a short time, then 160 for months but she made me bump it down to 80 after we started the Seroquel about 3 months or more ago. My memory is still shot so it's hard for me to remember when I started and stopped things.

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Iamfine   
Iamfine

In the past two years alone I went from Lexapro to Zoloft, back to Lexapro then on to Viibryd, back to Lexapro then Brintellix, back to Lexapro then Luvox, which I am tapering now. That's not including the Geodon, Seroquel, Valium and Klonopin. Those were all two week cross tapers. It's no wonder I'm miserable.

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Fresh   
Fresh

Oh deary me . . . no wonder at all you've had such a rough time.

 

I might think about holding off the Luvox taper for a month or so , until you've stabilized back on seroquel.

It gives you a better shot at tapering if you start from a stable space , and it's only been a few days since you've reinstated and started to feel a bit better.

 

There are no brownie points for doing "the fastest taper in the west" , slow and steady seems to win in the end.

 

;)

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