Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?

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Kat

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Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« on: January 04, 2019, 11:34:51 PM »
Hey all!  I'm wondering if any of you have quit antidepressants abruptly without tapering off and what the consequences were.

Bit of background info: Jumped around from psychiatrist to psychiatrist for med management for years.  Finally got my general practitioner to prescribe them for me (which is unusual, in the U.S. at least).  Last two years he prescribed full year's worth at my annual check-up.  Pharmacy had prescription(s?) on file and filled my order each month. 

I had been taking 400mg of Wellbutrin and 20mg of Lexapro daily for last 10 years.  (I was also taking 25-50mg of amitriptyline, but not regularly.  They were initially prescribed by neurologist for headaches.)

Due to a combo of bad timing & a mix-up at the pharmacy, the pharmacy "sent back" the meds that I was due to pick up at the end of December.  They won't fill my prescription until they get dr.'s ok.  With the holidays, they've not been able to contact him and won't give me anything to take while I wait.  Truthfully, I haven't tried to fix any of this myself.

Sooo...holidays (always rough) + off work (lack of structure/schedule throws me big time) + therapist of 15 yrs on vacation (always tough, but was getting easier) + no meds = big time crash--excessive sleep, binge drinking, self-harm, suicidal ideations, etc.

I can't tell which of this mess of horrible feelings are situational regarding holidays, etc. and which are due to being unmedicated.  It's been 12 days since my last dose.  The dizziness and feelings of wanting to crawl out of my skin have pretty much subsided.  I'm still super weepy and hate life. 

I'm not sure I want to go back on them, but if I'm going to feel the way I do currently because of not taking them, then I need to really rethink things.




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Libby183

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 06:22:09 AM »
Hi, Kat. It really sounds as if you are having a rotten time, what with the holidays and the problems over your medication.

My situation may be very different to yours in that I have tended to only be taking one medication at a time. The last one was duloxetine, for depression and nerve pain.

I had tried tapering off twice, as I didn't feel it helped much and not worth the side effects. Each time, I gave up because it was so unpleasant. Then, when I was having EMDR, I went cold turkey and had no issues. In fact, it wasn't until I stopped medication, that the EMDR became effective, because I could truly feel my emotions. I have been pain-free and drug free for many months months.

I don't know if this helps, but wanted to respond. I think that the drugs kept me just about functioning, but not dealing with anything. Without them, I have faced up to things. This has probably contributed to the end of my marriage but needed to deal with my dependency on my husband.

It's such a complicated path to navigate and I hope that you can find a way that works for you.

Good luck with everything.

Libby.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 08:38:25 AM »
cokd turkey is usually rough, kat.  have you called your doc's office, told them what's going on?  they may be able to get in touch with your doc where the pharmacy can't.  they may be able to sort thru what's going on, and  may give you some extra reassurance, and info on what's normal after nearly 2 weeks.   i also think that telling them your symptoms would be helpful, show the seriousness of what you're going thru.

when i went off my antidepressants, i weaned off them very slowly (it took about 4 mos.) and didn't notice side effects.

what you're describing sounds pretty common - it's a very bumpy ride.  your brain is reacting to sudden withdrawal, which is likely to exacerbate those feelings of hating life, and contribute to the weepiness.   if you're overly emotional because of the holidays, the withdrawal could emphasize your emotions.   i give you a lot of credit for hanging in there thru all that you're experiencing.

thanks for reaching out.  if you have a regular doc, s/he might also be able to help if you call them.    hang tough, ok?  it's hard saying if this is how you would normally feel while off the meds cuz it's not been a long time without them.  if you're suicidal, calling a helpline would be important to do.   standing with you on this.  love and hugs.

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Deep Blue

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 02:02:34 PM »
I ran out of my meds one time, so it was like quitting cold turkey. It was a disaster!  My emotions were all over the place.  I wouldn’t recommend it.

My brother is a pharmacist and he tapered off gradually.  Good luck Kat

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Kizzie

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2019, 07:45:16 PM »
It might be an idea to go into your GP ASAP. Even if s/he is not back there should be another GP covering.  It's best to be monitored/advised by a physician for something like this as usually you need to taper off meds like these.

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Kat

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2019, 08:13:50 PM »
Thank you all for the responses. 

Libby, it is such a complicated path to navigate!  I don't necessarily feel like the meds were keeping me from dealing with the big stuff, but I do have to say I'm experiencing a greater clarity in all the things I've sort of allowed in my life but am determined not to any longer--relationship and child-rearing stuff mostly.  In other words, I want more and no longer feel I can accept less.  However, it's a bit premature to say it's because of not being medicated

San, thanks, as always, for the kind encouragement.  I made use of a suicide text line at the start of all of this.  Called a hotline once years ago.  Both times I came away feeling like a hapless character in a dark comedy.  Won't stop me from reaching out in the future if I find myself feeling so desperate again.

Deep Blue, it's been a disaster for sure.  Thanks for the good luck wish. 

Kizzie, you're absolutely right, but...  (wait for the unreasonable reason)

My T is back so we were able to speak.  She asked the reason I feel like staying off the meds.  (She isn't a fan of me going off.)  I didn't have a good reason except anger at the situation, my dread of seeing and even calling doctors, and my frustration with the U.S. medical & insurance systems.  She pointed out that I have a tendency to turn anger inward and hurt myself.  I did hear myself say if I could walk into the local drugstore and pick up the medicine off the shelf today, I'd be taking it.  So...basically I'm throwing a temper tantrum, it seems.

Even so, I'm still not sure what to do.  I have to go back to work Monday, and I'm finding myself crying over really inconsequential stuff, so that's concerning.  I don't need to be a crying mess at work.  I guess I'll have to give up the tantrum and make a couple of calls.


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Libby183

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 08:12:13 AM »
Hi, Kat. Wanted to reply again as I know exactly what you mean when you say about dislike and fear of dealing with doctors and the health system. I found that I avoided going to get my prescription even though it would be there, waiting, at the pharmacy which I pass every day when I walk my dog. Ridiculous, but also very understandable in our circumstances. When I went cold turkey off duloxetine, I was throwing a tantrum. That said, I actually didn't suffer the awful brain zaps that I had had when I tapered off before, and I was able to access the full power of the EMDR which "cured" eight years of severe body pain. Not everything was positive by any means which, I think, shows how tricky this whole thing is to navigate. I have such an understanding (not liking) of myself now, that I don't think any medication would be able to undo, that I can't think I will return to taking it, but who knows.

I just wanted to say that I hope you didn't find my response to be "silly." I know exactly how you feel and it is such a difficult road to travel.

All the best to you in dealing with this set of issues, and always supporting you.

Libby

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Kat

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 09:49:44 PM »
My husband was able to get the pharmacy to give me three days' worth of meds.  I took my first dose last night.  I've got to call my GP on Monday and 1) make and appointment and 2) see if they'll give me a prescription to cover at least the time up until my appointment.

I'm still thinking I may try to get off of the meds the right way and under doctor's supervision.  We'll see, I guess.

Yes!  Libby, I'm glad you shared about not picking up your meds.  My pharmacy is a very short walk from my house and I still have trouble getting myself to go in and get them.  I have friends who can't understand why it's so difficult, so it's so good to hear from someone who gets it.

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Kizzie

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 03:39:33 PM »
So glad to hear this Kat, that's some good self-care that is  :thumbup:


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Kat

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 10:08:31 PM »
Thanks Kizzie for reminding me (us) of the importance of good self-care.  I'm not sure where I read it, but someone, somewhere out there said something like you'll know you're healing when you are taking better care of yourself.  Since my tantrum was relatively short-lived, I'd say I'm healing.  Thanks to everyone for being here and giving much needed support.

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Kizzie

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 10:58:02 PM »
Big  :hug:

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BeHea1thy

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Re: Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 09:32:50 PM »
Quote
I'm still thinking I may try to get off of the meds the right way and under doctor's supervision. 
  :yes: The best way to go.  :cheer: