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    Old 08-15-2004, 12:44 PM   #1
    Bruin
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    Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    9 months ago I checked into a clinic for alcohol abuse. At the time they took my Ativan and made me cold turkey it. A total nightmare. I can't even do it justice in words. Coming out of the hospital they had me on depakote, zyprexa, and lexapro. Well, I HATED being on these meds. They just made me feel like a zombie. Seeing a shrink only resulted in trials of different doses or meds. I saw my GP who is a good friend and knows me better than anyone has taken me off all the meds and started up Ativan again. The thought was to stabilize me and eventually take me off Ativan very slowly this time. Well, I went off the zyprexa and that was difficult for about a week. I am on day 16 of Lexapro withdrawal. I have had the bouts of flu-like symptoms and nausea, but they seemed to have passed. Now it is mostly lightheadedness. Well, the problem is that about 2 days ago I started having all these awful thoughts that I was never gonna get better. My worst fear is being deemed depressed and put back on the meds. I know I just gotta get though my anxiety. THat is what is tied into everything. Anyways, these thoughts and fears are now consuming me. Will I ever get better? Is this normal? Will I ever feel normal again? Now part of this is withdrawal and I know I may be making it worse with all these thoughts, but it is so hard not knowing. How long can SSRI withdrawals last? Is what I am feeling normal for these circumstances? If it is I just gotta fight through it until I do feel normal. Anyways, any thoughts and experiences would be much appreciated.

     
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    Old 08-15-2004, 08:15 PM   #2
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    I don't know anything about the meds you are coming off of. I'm trying to get off of Effexor and my withdrawal is full of bad flu symptoms and very, very bad vertigo.

    Hang in there... I'm sure someone on this board with similar experiences to yours will post good advice.

    Until someone else responds, at least know that you are not alone.

     
    Old 08-15-2004, 08:34 PM   #3
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    I don't know what you're personally experiencing (with all the medications you've been on), but I can tell you that I had similar feelings when I was coming off of Zoloft... basically, your nervous system is experiencing withdrawal and it causes that "claustrophobic" and ongoing I'm-Never-Going-To-Get-Better fear.

    The Depression Bulletin Board, as well as the Drug Interaction board, (and others all over the Internet) are full of people experiencing similar symptoms as you. You're not alone. There are a number of people who offer suggestions, such as walking/exercising, eating Omega 3 fatty acids, etc.

    I will say that many people go back on anti-depressants because of all the withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, brain zaps, etc.), thinking they are not better, when in fact, it's the actual withdrawal that's the problem. Of course I don't know if this is the case for you, but it is for many other people.

    Good luck, and I hope you get some relief soon.

    --CarrieLynn

     
    Old 08-17-2004, 04:08 PM   #4
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!



    I'm no doctor, but I'd be willing to bet it's withdrawal. I am in the middle of trying to come off lexapro and wellbutrin myself. Some people just try and muddle through the withdrawal symptoms. I tested myself in several ways, until I was sure it was a medication problem. I am sure now, so it is a little different for me. Anyway, my GP wasn't any help, so I came up with my own plan. What YOU need is a doctor who understands SSRI's, withdrawal, and what to do about it. For me, the answer was to get lexapro in a liquid form and taper more slowly. I am working on it. When I read your post my heart went out to you, because it echoed my feelings. I don't know how, but maybe this helps...

     
    Old 08-18-2004, 08:32 AM   #5
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Hey Bruin, I'm new here too and I'll tell ya. I'm sick as hell because of my withdrawals from Effexor. It's been about a month and a half to two months and I'm still dizzy, nauseaus and my body hurts something aweful. Terrible headaches too. I don't think I can stay off though. I've always had terrible anxiety and although I don't like taking the meds, I don't like myself when I'm off of them. It's a catch 22 for me but I think it's probably way worse for someone who has suffered from substance abuse. You've got a double whammy there. I don't have much advice for you but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone!
    flower crazy

     
    Old 08-18-2004, 05:50 PM   #6
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!


    flower crazy,

    if you don't mind me asking....what was the last dose you took of the effexor (when and IMPORTANT...how many milligrams)?

     
    Old 08-19-2004, 10:04 AM   #7
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    It was 75 mg and that was about 2 months ago. I was okay at first, felt good even. This past week has been such hell for me I had to start taking it again. I truly felt like I would die! The problem for me is I don't have insurance, am currently unemployed and my doctor quit practicing. So I am in quite a bind. My mom is taking the exact same thing so she gave me some to last me a month. But I'm going to have to see a doctor somehow because I can't live like this. I'd like to switch to something else. This drug is aweful! I have quit taking anti depressants before (zoloft & paxil) and NEVER had withdrawals like this. Every bone in my body hurts, I feel dizzy, feel like throwing up and have the worst headache behind my eyes I've ever had. How are you doing?
    flower crazy

     
    Old 08-19-2004, 11:47 AM   #8
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    OUCH!!!! 75 mgs. to nothing? Some people can do that and be okay, but it is sounding like you may not be one of them. I was great at first too. Then I felt physically ill. Then I started having all these side effects. Then the emotional stuff kicked in. I really thought I was going to have to go back on because I just couldn't stand the way I felt. I experimented by taking 1 ten mg pill. After being totally off for 4 whole weeks, one little pill wouldn't help me, right? Especially if I was having a recurrence of the depression. Well guess what? I felt totally normal within the hour. That's how I know. Now this might not be you...
    You really need to look deep down inside and examine how you are feeling and what you think it is. If you think that you just aren't ready to quit, then DON'T!!! You wouldn't quit taking your medicine if you were diabetic or had a heart condition, would you? Don't let anyone tell you this is any different. It has nothing to do with being "normal" or not. It's about listening to your body and mind and doing and giving what they are telling you to. If you thinki there is a chance that it could be withdrawal, get your effexor in a liquid form and do a SLOWWWWW taper. At the worst, you will just find out that you need to still be on it, and at the best, you may find out you can come off of it.
    I hear what you say about the insurance. Mine doesn't cover ANYTHING related to this. It's been quite a drain. You need to find a new doctor, possibly one that would give you samples. Mine did when he found out my insurance wouldn't cover it. Also, there are counti health clinics where you can see a doctor, be treated for this, and be GIVEN medicine (if you qualify financially). Check it out and let me know how you do.
    I am down to 2mgs. a night, but I am having a litttle trouble this week. I am going to give it a little longer and see what happens before I kick it back up to 3. So that makes me a little down too...thanks for asking!

     
    Old 08-19-2004, 12:54 PM   #9
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Hi Flowercrazy -

    As someone who's been there, done that, and is still doing it ... I'd also like to jump in here and add to Kimba's excellent advice

    First things first. Breathe deeply. Let's try and tackle your problem one step at a time. Neither Kimba nor I are doctors, but I can assure you, we've both lived thru this nightmare ourselves, and both of us have had to become our own doctors - WITH GREAT SUCCESS, I might add. So you are in good hands.

    We can help you!

    Without a doubt, quitting from 75mg to zero is a surefire guarantee that you're going to experience some very nasty side-effects! I personally probably would've had to have been hospitalized if I'd done that. My drop from 75 to 35.5 nearly did me in! And I suffered terribly at 35.5mg for about 3mths before stabilizing. Since then, using the method Kimba and I (and all true experts who KNOW what they are talking about) are recommending, I'm now down to 11mg and compared with before, it's been very smooth sailing. So I truly understand what you're going thru.

    Here's the plan of action I'd recommend for you ...

    The most important thing you have to do now is try and have some quality of life whilst withdrawing. Both physically and emotionally. Obviously, your side-effects were too unbearable to have to suffer through. So, yes, I'd say you definitely need to go back on the Effexor and taper off far more slowly than before. BUT ...!!! ... I recommend you go back on at 37.5mg, NOT back up to 75mg - that's far too high. You've already been off for a couple of months and I'm sure you'll notice a huge improvement in your symptoms at 37.5mg. In fact, if it were me, I'd even try at LESS than 37.5 ... whatever is the lowest dose you can take that is bearable for you.

    Working with what you have now (ie your Mom's meds) ... take the 75mg capsule, open it (be careful, it's full of tiny little beads) ... and try taking either 1/2 of it, or preferably even 1/4 of it. Don't chew or crush them, swallow whole. Maybe stick it in some yoghurt or whatever. Do this for a couple of days and see if it's brought you relief. If so, stay at this dose for a couple of weeks until you feel very stable. Then, try and taper down again by another small increment ... and so on. You'll find a huge relief in your physical AND emotional symptoms, your brain fog will start clearing, and you'll slowly start discovering the real you again.

    Let's save your anxiety issues and the reasons for going on in the first place, for another post. One thing at a time.

    IDEALLY, I do definitely recommend going the liquid Effexor route, but it doesn't look like it's an option for you right now, dollar-wise. It's not made by Wyeth, which means you have to order it specially from a compounding pharmacist = extra $$$.

    I hear you regarding your insurance issues - I, too, am not covered and have to bear the burden of this on my own. I'm afraid I don't know the US system that well. But what about Medicare or is it Medicaid? Maybe someone more knowledgable about this can step in here with other ideas. Or try Kimba's suggestion about the County clinics. Also, is it not a fact that in the US if you go to the ER, they are OBLIGATED to see you whether you have insurance or not? Get some samples from them. Just make sure that that's your only plan for going there ... don't let them start giving you a battery of tests and feeding you other bull *bleep* that you don't need to listen to!!! You are going there for one thing and one thing only ... "to get your hands on some samples to prevent these terrible w/drawals".

    Let me know your thoughts on the above. Hang in, keep breathing!

     
    Old 08-19-2004, 01:08 PM   #10
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kimba28
    I am down to 2mgs. a night, but I am having a litttle trouble this week. I am going to give it a little longer and see what happens before I kick it back up to 3. So that makes me a little down too...thanks for asking!
    Kimba, just a thought ... if you do need to go up a little, why go up a full 1mg? Why not 0.5mg or less? Experiment.

    Also, as far as weaning off, have you considered experimenting by tapering by miniscule amounts every couple of days or so? I began my taper by going down about 3mg each week. Then I hit some problems and experimented by going down 1mg every 2-3 days, and this seems to work much better.

    Just an idea you may want to consider. Chin up, keep going!

     
    Old 08-19-2004, 05:54 PM   #11
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    Thumbs up Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Hi guys! thanks for writing and telling me how you did with the tapering off. I did have to take a 75 mg yesterday and one today. I didn't know you could open the capsule and put it in something. Too bad it's not in tablet form to cut it. The thing is that in the past when I've stopped taking zoloft or Paxil I was okay. Nothing like this at all! I've never experienced this before. I was better today with just two pills but I'd like to go down like you said. I have irritable bowel syndrome and these pills make it way worse. When I stopped taking them, I no longer had any problems. So I'd like to maybe go on something else. I will have to apply for medicaid and see a doctor, probably the same one my mom sees. I was hoping it wouldn't come to this but if my body is this messed up than I'm not going to try and go this alone. I'm so glad I came on this site because I wouldn't have known I was going through withdrawals. I really appreciate the help everyone. Everyone in my family is on meds and has to be for the rest of their lives. We all suffer from huge anxiety and I've had problems with that severely in the past so as much as I hate the idea of going on another med, I may have no choice. Better to keep trying than to be an out of control loon. Recently my brother-in-law of 35 years was killed during back surgery by the doctor who cut a major artery. He was in a coma for two weeks before his last organ gave out. That was hard enough to deal with but if I wasn't on meds at the time I probably would have been hospitalized myself. We loved him so much and it was a horrible, slow death. Now my cousin was just told he has to have back surgery and he's absolutely petrified after what happened to my brother-in-law. So we've got something new on our minds. We've suffered a lot of personal tragedy in my family and I think that's part of why I've got so much anxiety and depression. We are still lucky, more than some. But that doesn't change what's happened to us or make it any less hurtful. Anyway, I will try tomorrow to break open the capsule and go down to 37.5 for a couple of days and see how that goes.
    Thanks again
    flower crazy

     
    Old 08-19-2004, 11:25 PM   #12
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Flowercrazy, I'm very sorry to hear what you've gone thru. You're not made of stone and most human beings would be terribly depressed and anxiety ridden having to experience what you have.

    I lost my Mom after a 1 1/2 year battle with cancer. I was her caregiver. There are no words to explain what it is like to watch your own mother simply perish before your own eyes, and know there is nothing you can do to stop it!!! Then, 2 mths later, my Dad landed up requiring emergency surgery. Again, I was the one at his bedside. Thankfully, he pulled through very well. Then, 2 months later my longterm relationship came undone! And that was when I went in search of the "happy" pill!!!

    Remember, we're all human. We all have our ups and downs and our share of pain and of happiness. Some more than others, some less. Or so it may appear from the outside.

    Hang in and keep on trooping. One step at a time. Get thru this w/drawal period first, get your health back. Then I'm sure you'll be working soon, and can possibly find someone to talk to, if you'd like to do that. Finding the right person can be a very cathartic experience. In the meantime, use this board. We're here!

    Just a reminder if you read this in time ... if I were you, I'd definitely try and swallow 1/4 of the 75mg instead of 1/2 tomorrow. Two months off is a fair amount of time - experiment with 1/4 first. I could be wrong, but my bet is it'll still give you enormous relief. Believe me, if it doesn't work, you'll know about it, and you can always go up.

    Again, chin up and hang in.

     
    Old 08-20-2004, 09:06 AM   #13
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Thanks Sandalla, I took apart the capsule this morning (it was easier than I thought) and put in half. I'll try that for a couple of days just to make sure. My headache is enormous and my stomach is still bothering me but the aches are subsiding (thank God)! My best friend went through that same thing with her mom a couple of years back. I'm so sorry for your loss. I am the caregiver for both of my parents. And that makes it tough to work outside the home since there is always something happening. As my brother-in-law was passing, my dad was being treated for prostate cancer. He's alright now but it's not the first time we almost lost him and my mom too. Seems everyone in my family has had major health issues. I feel so bad for my parents, they have worked their asses off all of their lives and can't seem to enjoy their golden years. No money, not much health. And plenty of drama! There are some really great things about life you know? But it just seems like there is double the pain as there is the joy. I know I'm not alone and I'm glad I can talk to you guys now. I'll let you know at the end of the day how I did on 1/2 the dose.
    flower crazy

     
    Old 08-20-2004, 09:10 AM   #14
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!

    Hi Kimba, how are you doing? How's the doses working out? I took everyone's advice and opened up the capsule and split the dose. I'm hoping it'll do just fine for now until I get used to it and can cut it down more. I never thought in a million years I would withdraw like that. I'm glad I came on this site because I felt like I was flipping out, you know?
    flower crazy

     
    Old 08-20-2004, 12:31 PM   #15
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    Re: Is is still withdrawals or am I messed up. Help!


    Sandalla,

    Hey! OH MY GOD!!!! Duh! I AM using a measuring syringe (lol)!!!! I never thought of that! I am a little better today. I took a benadryl last night so I could fall asleep at an earlier time and really get some rest. I accomplished something that has been on my back working yesterday and today. And I went out in the sun today. Plus, I am really starting to push the water. I am noticing a difference today. I think I will wait till Sunday and see how I feel. If I am still a little "off" should I tough through it or go back up a little. Hard decision for me for some reason. However, you figuring out I can try adding just a little helps immensely....Thanks!
    Enough about me...HOW ARE YOU?????

     
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