I'm posting on here as I feel uncomfortable discussing this issue in meetings as I know some people have very black and white views about medication in recovery.
I have been on Effexor, an SSNRI antidepressant, for three years. I started off at 75mg and the dose gradually got increased to 300mg after I got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2009. At the time I was using and drinking heavily.
One year ago, I went into an addiction treatment centre. I had been going to meetings and seeing a therapist but could not stay clean/sober for long. After 6 weeks at this treatment centre I moved onto a secondary treatment centre for four months.
After three months at the secondary place, one of the counsellors suggested I come off my meds. His thinking was that now I was clean and in a safe place where I could process feelings of withdrawal, it was the perfect time for me to try living med-free. I saw a psychiatrist, who presented me with a tapering schedule where I would halve the dose of effexor every two weeks.
To cut a long story short, this taper was much, much too fast, and I ended up getting discharged from the treatment centre before the worst of the side effects kicked in. After taking my final dose I suffered horrific physical withdrawal symptoms (chronic stomach problems, headaches, palpitations, electric shock sensations), extreme, disproportionate rage, and for the first time in my life I was seriously suicidal. I became psychotic for two days and I also relapsed on alcohol and cocaine after 7 months clean. I saw another GP who put me back on 75mg of Effexor. That was five months ago.
Basically I hate the fact that I have to rely on antidepressants in recovery. All I can see that they do is just numb me a bit. I often feel unable to cry, though I really want and need to. They also numb me physically (I have weak, unfulfilling orgasms that take forever to arrive), and I've had all kinds of gastrointestinal problems. If I miss a dose, I get horrific withdrawals, so it really does feel like I'm still using. I also find that I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine- just two cups of tea in a day and I will be flying like a kite.
I could go on and on. The problem is that I'm not even sure if I need them, sure it may seem like I do given the reaction when I tried to come off them, but this reaction was very extreme because as I said before I was tapered off much too fast. I'm not really sure what I'm asking for here, just wondering if anyone had any pearls of wisdom on anything I've mentioned that they could share with me?
Thanks for reading