SSRI Withdrawal

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Danaus plexippus

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SSRI Withdrawal
« on: August 11, 2016, 03:39:55 PM »
I am currently titrating down the amount of Sertraline I’ve been prescribed. So far the only consequences seem to be that my vision is less blurry, my ears are not ringing as loudly, I’m noticeably less gassy, less nauseous and I don’t have to run to the toilet ten times a day. I’m experiencing a decrease in emotional liability. I’m less susceptible to obsessive compulsive devouring of unhealthy sudo-foods. I’ve started eating fruit and vegetables again. I’m still not sleeping regularly and I’m still forgetting things left and right.
Sertraline appeared to be the least harmful SSRI that I had been subjected to yet. Lexapro made me want to kill myself. Cymbalta made me want to kill my doctor. Other SSRIs made me hallucinate. At a low dose Sertraline actually seemed promising. My former doctor kept insisting I could not possibly be experiencing any benefit from the extremely low dose I was taking. Gradually over the course of a year my prescription was increased from 25MG QD to 150MG QD. During the first four days on 150MG, my vision got so blurry I could not see to read or do my job. The ringing in my ears became unbearable. I had projectile diarrhea, nausea and very loud gas from *.
After a perfectly innocent accident I panicked and made an unfortunate series of bad judgment calls resulting in my almost being arrested. I experienced emotional liability, self-loathing and suicidal ideations. My doctor was away. Rather than fall further down the rabbit hole, I chose to decrease the amount of Sertraline I was taking. By the time my doctor returned, I was sufficiently rational to convince him that I was “safe.” For the uninitiated, if any healthcare provider decides you are “not safe” you can be hauled off and confined to a psych ward indefinitely. Before you tell your T that you $e1f #@^m or intend to kill yourself, practice counting backwards from one hundred by sevens. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 03:43:54 PM by Danaus plexippus »

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2016, 01:34:44 PM »
Tried to titrate down to 50MG QD too soon. I feel impatient, annoyed unprepared, sleepy, confused disorganized, undecided, detached, distracted, groundless. Doc called yesterday. Wants me to call him if I feel "not safe" again.

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sanmagic7

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2016, 02:37:11 PM »
getting off those things takes patience and time.  when i weaned off my anti-depressant, it took me about 8 mos,  very slow going, letting my body have time to get used to the lower dose,(at least 2 weeks, sometimes 3), being very mindful of both my mind and body.  reducing the dose by very small increments.  it was worth it.  i suffered very few, if any, neg. reactions, the depression hasn't returned (it's been over 2 yrs.) and i feel like my senses have returned to normal.

since you're in touch with your doc, hasn't s/he given you a sort of schedule for getting off your meds?  before i got off mine, i did a lot of anger work, as well as other psychological work to rid my mind of the kinds of emotional 'gunk' that was causing my depression in the first place.  i do believe that work was paramount in helping me feel all right without the meds.  my doc/shrink was extremely unhelpful to me, unavailable, which is why i basically did it on my own.  but, it can be very dangerous to get yourself off your meds unless you have an idea of what the entire condition for the meds consists of.  luckily, i'm a therapist, and have dealt with this stuff before, so i had some knowledge of the 'backstory' of depression.

please be careful.  these meds are powerful in their own right, and can do horrible things to your brain/mind/body, which is why it is never recommended to simply stop them all at once.  best of luck with the weaning process.  just, take your time with it. 

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mourningdove

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 03:33:22 PM »
please be careful.

I would echo this. I've come off longterm "antidepressants" too quickly, and I can't even begin to describe the * I went through.

If I could do it all over again, I would use this as a starting point: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/803-dr-peter-breggins-10-taper-method/.

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2016, 12:16:51 PM »
Still stuck at 75MG QD. I feel tired most of the time. My body never could tell the difference between fatigue and hunger. The more fatigued I get the less I am able to be mindful. While my doc had me on 150MG QD I was so nauseous I had difficulty eating and lost a few pounds. My blood pressure dropped to 80 over 67. I may have been on the verge of serotonin syndrome. If I'd gone to emergency they would have taken all my meds away from me allowing me to experience withdrawal from Klonopin as well as Sertraline. Without my Klonopin I'd go into convulsions. At that point I would have been strapped down and inappropriately medicated like Libby Zion. Search Libby Zion to understand why I chose not to go to emergency. I'm feeling down. I had hopes for Sertraline. My docs and Ts tell me meds area not going to cure me. I need to do the work of grieving my losses. My grieving is why they put me on meds to begin with. Am I missing something here? If I'm supposed to grieve in order to heal, why put me on antidepressants? I don't understand. I didn't go to medical school. The more I think about it, the more cynical I become. How can I not view the mental hygiene industry as just one big racket and it's practitioners as a mob of con artists?

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sanmagic7

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 02:29:51 AM »
hey, danaus,

while i haven't gone to med school, either, i've had some experience with anti-depressants, both personally and through friends.  for one thing, it's difficult to tell which ones will work, which combination will help your brain get into a balance so that you can function from day to day.  as far as i know, that's the main purpose of anti-depressants.

what you're experiencing may be the results of lowering your dose.  this is pretty common, especially if you reduce by too much.  the anti-depressant i was taking came in a capsule, and my hub and i broke them apart in order to reduce what i was taking in very small increments.  then, like i said, each reduction took 2-3 weeks for my body to become accustomed to it, and i waited till i felt a little more normal before making another reduction. 

are you consulting with your doc or therapist on this reduction process?  i would hope they'd not only help but be a good support unit for you.  one thing i had to learn was to be patient, not only with the process but with myself.  take your time.  it will help in the long run, i believe.  my own opinion, of course.  best of luck with this.  it can truly be frustrating. 

it's when the right type/combo/dosage is found, when you feel more or less stable on a day to day basis, that the actual emotional work of depression is easier to accomplish.

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2016, 01:14:20 PM »
I'm conflicted about contacting my doc again. the last message I left on his phone could have gotten me locked up for my own good. My group therapy starts up again in a couple of weeks. My group T was never enthusiastic about meds. Sertraline is not helping. No antidepressant ever did. I’ve lost years of my life being switched from one to the next. I’m frustrated, confused and afraid. What will be left of me when the last of these drugs has drained out of me? Who will I be? I'm not functioning at all well now. I stumble through each day. I’m so tired it hurts. I walk out the door without things I need and haven’t the motivation to climb back up to my third floor apartment to get whatever it is I’ve forgotten. One day I actually stood dumbfounded beside my car trying to think how I could possibly get in and drive without my keys. Is this brain damage permanent?  I feel like changing my motto to “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.”
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 01:26:30 PM by Danaus plexippus »

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sanmagic7

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2016, 08:41:22 PM »
i don't know what that means.

i don't believe your brain drain is permanent, but that your brain is in the process of readjusting itself to the change in dosage.  manage as best you can, be patient with yourself, take as much time as you need, and know that it is a process that you are going through.  be as kind to yourself as possible, but don't get down on yourself if you screw up here and there.  that's just all part of the process.  i call it being 'messy'.  i'm often messy when i'm going through various changes during my recovery process.  it's not pretty, it's not neat, it can feel chaotic, out of control.  i don't like it but it helps to know that 'this, too, shall pass'.  stay with yourself.  ask your t about this, get some support there if possible.  s/he should know about the weaning process, what it does to the brain and your system.  that may help settle you a bit, calm your fears.  one step at a time, danaus.  you're on your way.

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sanmagic7

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2016, 03:38:51 PM »
i do want to add that i'm not medical personnel, so i really don't know what might be dangerous symptoms for you as you get off these anti-depressants and what is part of the normal weaning process.  if it feels dangerous, then i do believe it's best to contact someone about it.  your physical health and well-being are extremely important, not to be taken lightly when dealing with these meds.  best to you,  it's a tough process.

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 06:22:26 PM »
Over this weekend I'm taking the Sertraline down to 50MG QD. I'm hoping the chronic fatigue, emotional liability and deregulated appetite abate. I am so far behind in so many things, even my plants are suffering. I'm sleeping less well. I'm dangerously distractible. I have some very important financial decisions and responsibilities I've been neglecting. More and more I'm convinced I do not have a serotonin deficiency. I do so poorly on SSRIs. Once I'm off this last one, I intend for it to be "the last one."

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sanmagic7

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2016, 08:09:35 PM »
one suggestion:  go slow.  your brain needs time to adjust and stabilize before you put it through another change.  i don't know how much time you've been giving yourself between the lowering of dosages.  i do know that it is harder if you don't give yourself enough time.  i understand that you're ready to get off this.  just, please be careful, be gentle with and forgiving of yourself.  my heart is with you.  weaning of these is no fun.

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2016, 11:52:19 PM »
Thanks for the love

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2016, 01:08:45 PM »
I think Iím going to stick with 50MG QD of Sertraline for a bit. My eating habits are returning to the ďHealthy LifestyleĒ model. Iím making a point of going outside every day and getting some air. Iím easing back into physical therapy. Iím doing the early to bed, early to rise thing. Iím socializing. Thatís most of the good news. Iím still experiencing emotional liability, confusion, chronic fatigue, frustration and a pervading sense of futility. Itís a * of a struggle but I am going through the motions of plausible competency.

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sanmagic7

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2016, 02:15:41 PM »
it sounds like you're beginning to stabilize a bit.  that's a good sign.  and, i think staying right there with the dosage for a while is a good idea.  patience - it will happen.  it just takes more time than we want! : )

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: SSRI Withdrawal
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2016, 12:12:04 PM »
Iím sitting at my desk at work today crying, feeling overwhelmed. My asthma is really bad. My various and assorted gastro-intestinal difficulties have me in pain. Last night My intercostals went into a spasm from *. It has still not abated this following morning. I chose to go back on Neurontin to deal with the physical pain. So today Iím in a Neurontin fog. I just got a notification that an unauthorized charge appeared on the company credit card Iím responsible for. In one hour I have to start taking dictation for our monthly meeting and I am totally unprepared. Thereís a great big fu*king train wreck going on between my ears.