about 3 years ago, i had dental surgery which has resulted in constant pain and many follow up sugery's with no relief, no sign of infections. i have fibromyalgia, which the doctors believe is contributing to this facial pain.
SO, due to the depression, i was put on prozac and buspar for about 2 years. then last november, i suffered my first panic attack, went on ativan (4 mgs) and upped my prozac which made me super agressive. dumped the prozac and went on zoloft.
ativan stopped the panic attacks, teeth pain, i felt GREAT (or at least totally anestithised). only problem? i am now an addict going through horrible withdrawl. in a month, i tapered down from 4 mgs a day to half a mg each night to help me sleep along with 50 mgs of elavil. also, my doc upped my zoloft to 125 mg per day which seemed to help the creulty of the ativan withdrawl at first. BUT now, i have began suffering all over again. hot flashes, torturous facial pain and headaches, panic attack return, sensory and auditory problems, terrible chest pain which i have attributed to muscle spasms and awful trapped gas that i must release as belches (i am belching morning to night). i am dizzy, disorientated (especially when i sleep, it's like bedspins), lightheaded, off balance, DYING for some ativan, but frightened to start the vicious circle. oh, and i am FAT. i gained 25 extra pounds, which i suppose at this point is pretty superflous.
my concern is WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?? am i going to drop dead at any moment? is this the half life ativan withdrawl i keep hearing about? i feel as if i am underwater and the pain in my face and head are really bad. but at this moment, its the nighttime vertigo which is causing me the most distress because it is a new symptom. every time a new symptom presents, my brain tells me it is the end for me. tumor, anuerysm, my mind goes to the blackest depths. paranoid? yes. scared? yes. powerless? not if i can help it, which is why i am reaching out for all the info i can get about what is happening to my body and mind.
from what i read, i am a classic textbook withdrawl sufferer. do you concur with this? can you please advise me on whether or not these symptoms (especially the dizziness, a feeling of extreme lightheadedness and lightness in my limbs, and the gas). i have been experiencing those for about 3 nights now and so far, all day today. i exercise normally, my strenth is great considering the fibromyalgia, but it is still a struggle to not feel victimized by the drugs and betrayed by my own body.
am i withdrawing too quickly? my body has always been hyper-sensitive to meds and herbs, so i am wondering if it is a case to "too much, too soon".
i welcome any help anyone can give me. what i need most is support and information. if anyone is going through something similar, PLEASE let me know. knowledge is power and there is strentgh in numbers.
thanking you, Doctor, in advance and anyone else who replies to this letter, kathleen
This is certainly a complex set of facts to sort out and I won't be able to do that with just this information even though it is a lot of information. You should be seeing a psychopharmacologist who specializes in these kind of medication issues. Here is some information.
Going from 4 mg to o.5 in a month is plenty of time so the symptoms you are experiencing are unlikely to be withdrawal, or at least not mostly withdrawal. Your zoloft level seems very high and you should talk to your doctor about lowering it in this situation.
Your body is hypersensitive but its your fears of gloom and death that seem to be driving your bodily pain and anxiety, and that is something that good counseling can help you master through perspective and the kind of nitty gritty analysis of each system that is required to put your mind at rest.
I am not an MD., so keep that in mind. However, I have done extensive research on psychotropic drugs, specifically anti-anxiety and antidepressants. I disagree with the Forum MD.'s reply. Clinical experience has shown that many people cannot tolerate a tapering as you have described (this is also supported by controlled studies). Tapering at a rate of .25mg to .5mg per month for most is tolerable and the symptoms you describe are common to withdrawal. You should only be tapering under the supervision of a qualified physician. In addition, 125mg. is not an excessive dose of Zoloft. The maximum recommended dose of Zoloft is 200mg. and many studies have utilized doses (or average doses) of 100-150mg both safely and effectively. I rarely comment on such sites, mostly just observe, but in this case I must disagree.
I knew about these drugs and addition before I started them. I started on Klonopin for initial alcohol withdrawal.
I also have Fibromyalgia and a severe anxiety disorder along with seizures and borderline chracteristics.
My doc finally put me on 8 mg's of Klonopin for the anxiety, seizures and insomnia. It lasts much long than Ativan, the Benzo you are on.
Then I take Ultram for the pain 50mg tabs four times a day for the pain disorder from the Fibro. It has really helped me greatly in functioning normally but I do realize any withdrawal later may be a major problem. I'll deal with that when it happens. For now at least I can function. Good luck.
I can't make a comment about possible withdrawl or not as I've never been on an SSRI, althought that is what your symptoms do sound like.
As for the facial/teeth pain, has anyone told you it might be TMJ? I had oral surgery a year ago, and experienced the same thing. I had HORRIBLE pain, literally the worst in my life after the surgery. I literally wanted to die.
A friend referred me to her chiropractor who diagnosed TMJ, and after 3 adjustments I was fine with no problems since.
thank you, chris. i must admit, the doctor's response was not what i hoped for or very encouraging. unfortunately, i find most of the medical communities responses' tend to drift toward "hmm... i'm not sure, but let's try some new meds."
my point is, my body is healthy. i can run, do an hour of challenging yoga and keep up with my six year old daughter.
and i have never detoxed from any drug before so i'm going on what i see in movies and read in articles. headaches, nausea, muscle pain, dizziness, confusion, spasms, pins and needles, sensory disruption... if it's not the drugs, why won't anyone help me find out what it is? i just keep getting more drugs. it's enough already.
i feel betrayed by the doctors who gave me these poisons which is what i consider them to be now. i was given no warning how damaging and destructive they would be to my body and my life. now my 6 year old daughter has a drug addict for a mother. she has to watch me suffer through trying to kick this thing while going through the mental pain of withdrawl as well (the intense fear, the desire to relapse, and so on).
i have now found an entire sub-culture of people just like me, ordinary men and women living their lives with an addiction they never asked for and were never warned about.
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. as you said, there are literally thousands of people with this problem, if not millions.
i will not bore you with my own situation, suffice it to say, that i am also an addict..of prescribed medication.
i have tried several times to wean myself off drugs and have only truely had success coming off benzo diazipines (sleeping pills) and that was sheer hell.
I am on paxil.. and i dare say, it is impossible to come off. the experience you talk about is very similar to the experiences i have had trying to withdraw and come off that drug. I am coming to believe, it is near impossible to come off these drugs. I would have suicided had i not returned to taking paxil.. as I became completely disinhibited in relation to my depression/panic/anxiety and what i wanted to do about it.
I tapered the drugs over two years, trying to withdraw so i feel i have made a good effort. I really believe it is no use.
I am sorry to tell u my exp were not successful, but i am simply writing to let you know u are not alone. My philosophy now is to remain on my "drugs" albeit as low as i can get them.
good luck with you situation, and let me know how it goes.
Benzodiazapine withdrawal is one of the hardest to beat especially on the high dose you were on before you started tapering. I suggest switching to Klonopin in small dose 0.5 or 1 mg to start, because it is so much longer lasting than Ativan and that will get you off the Ativan. You may really need the Klonopin for your condition and you will be able to drop the Elavil since Klonopin and Ultram should solve the pain, insomnia and depression problems.
I have no side effects from either drug, but again all benzos are tough to withdraw from completely. I tried and could not do it. Ultram is a non-narcotic pain killer and works great for me. I am on the minimal dose 50 mg's every six hours as needed. The adult dose is 100 mg's every six hours, but I chose the lower dose so long as it controls the pain.
Zoloft, prozac, Celexa are all like Paxil. They can cause withdrawal such as head zaps, whooshing sounds in the ears, imbalance and so on. I have read Paxil is the longest to withdraw from. It usually takes about one-three weeks to go away. I was on Celexa for six months and the symptoms went away in less than one week. Those are all SSRI'S, for depression and OCD.
The pain killer Ultram (TRAMADOL) generic name also has some anit-depressant action besides being an excellant pain med.
I hope you can find the answers.
Some people have different results from different drugs so ask your doc and see what he/she thinks.
you have all been absolutely wonderful and kind in your concerned replies. i feel SO not alone any longer and that is a blessing for me. i have taken all your advice to heart and definately find i have more avenues to pursue.
it's funny, i assumed the doctor would have the answers to the questions i was looking for, but it seems you all, my new friends and fellow 'addicts' (albeit recovering, i hope) have shown me a light in the darkness. thank you all.
I was reading on the discussion on zoloft withdrawl. I know first-hand what this is all about, and I sympathize with everyone who has tried to get off of it. Just this morning I was "forced" to take another zoloft, due to the severe withdrawl symptoms I was experiencing. I managed to make it three days without a "fix", and then I had to give in. I was experiencing rapid heartbeat, tremor (nervous shaking sensation, especially in my hands-like a bout with low blood sugar, lightheadedness, dizziness, tingling sensations on my tongue and fingers, and so on and so on...About 20 minutes after I took a pill, the symptoms almost all disappeared. I was prescribed this drug a few years ago for panic attacks, and I was continued on the medication throughout my pregnancy, and I'm still on it. I have tried several times to kick the zoloft habit, but I haven't found a solution, due to the symptoms I experienced. I managed, a couple of months ago, to go a whole two weeks without it. I was waking up at 2 a.m. with severe panic attacks and thought I was going to die, so I decided to stay on them a while longer. Is there any simple solution to getting off of this drug?
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