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How long after taking L-Tryptophan can I start an SSRI?

ve been taking 500-2000 mg of L-Tryptophan daily for the past 2 weeks to see if it would help me replenish my serotonin as I got off of Celexa (SSRI) over 2 months ago and have horrible anxiety and signs of overpowering dopamine. I've concluded that an SSRI may be something I need go go back on as I've been unsuccessful in feeling even remotely better. My question is how long do I need to wait before safely getting back on Celexa to avoid Serotonin Syndrome? Also If you know something else besides the SSRI that could help me please let me know. I feel like this may be my only option.
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Avatar universal
First, you haven't lost any serotonin to replenish -- Celexa didn't increase your serotonin, it altered the way your body processes it and blocks its breakdown.  I don't know if you stopped slowly or abruptly, but you could be suffering a withdrawal if you have a level of anxiety much greater now than that which you had that caused you go on the drug in the first place.  Getting a new emotional problem soon after stopping a benzo or antidepressant can be a sign of significant withdrawal.  Celexa also doesn't target dopamine receptors, so I don't understand the reference.  When you have a significant withdrawal, it means your brain is having a problem returning to operating normally, assuming this is a withdrawal and not the same old problem returning.  So the tryptophan -- first, for the vast majority of people taking a tryptophan supplement isn't very efficient, as it has a very hard time crossing the blood/brain barrier -- that's why these days the 5-HTP form is used and why tryptophan isn't used much anymore by doctors.  Second, if it is withdrawal, the last thing you want to do is target serotonin -- your brain is already having a problem with reawakening the receptors that shut down while the drug was washing serotonin in just the targeted receptors, so until withdrawal is over you don't want to play around with serotonin.  I also wouldn't worry about serotonin syndrome if you do decide to go back on meds as long as you stop taking the tryptophan.  Now, I don't know how close in time this increased anxiety occurred to when you stopped the drug or how you chose to stop the drug, so really, I don't know if it is a protracted withdrawal or not.  There are other meds out there and other natural ways of treating anxiety, most notably therapy, but if it's withdrawal, the only cure is time or going back on the Celexa at the last dose at which you felt fine and quitting more slowly if that's still what you want.  If it's just your original anxiety recurring, then you never solved the problem through therapy or time and you weren't ready to come off the Celexa.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thank you or your reply, I found many studies suggesting that mice treated with an ssri had to be treated with 5htp or tryptophan to repair damaged 5H tissue caused by the antidepressant, And I have noticed that after coming off of celexa i did have very low levels of serotonin as most do, and the brain is always trying to even its self out and my dopamine levels become so significantly high that I felt stoned and almost psychitzophrenic, and confirmed that it was overpowering dopamine when I took L-tyrosine and felt very manic and 100 times worse. I've been off of Celexa now for almost 3 months, and It doesn't make sense to me why I would still be feeling withdrawals unless I needed to correct a tryptophan deficiency which online forums suggest most do. I was only on 20 mg for 3 or 4 years off and on. I just want to feel better again and I'm not able to drink coffee or smoke weed like I use to as it causes me tons of anxiety as well as strange hotflashes/tremors in my head (which is very different than the head zaps from earlier withdrawal stages. I go through days where I can't sleep at all or experience sleep paralysis and an electric tightness in my whole body at least. Do you have any suggestions as to what this all could be? still thinking withdrawal? I went to the ER once and they said a vitamin deficiency was unlikely, what can I do to speed up this process if it is withdrawal??
Avatar universal
First of all, anxiety sufferers should stay away from too much caffeine and from pot, which is often how many people get their first anxiety attacks.  So there's that.  You're also assuming that taking an amino acid supplement has an immediate and far more significant result than it does -- it usually takes a combination of supplements to affect mood significantly and it also takes time to work, just as antidepressants do.  Taking a dose of tyrosine isn't going to give you a bunch more dopamine, so you are very unlikely to have a surge of dopamine -- the body uses these nutrients, in combination with essential co-factors such as B6, to normally manufacture neurotransmitters, and any extra will be broken down by enzymes and excreted by the body.  Tryptophan will only make a certain amount more serotonin because of this, assuming it ever got past the blood/brain barrier, which is unlikely unless you took the HTP form.  Tyrosine crosses better, but it won't product an excess unless you take a ton and overwhelm the body's natural functioning.  This is what Celexa did with serotonin -- it didn't make any more of it or affect tryptophan in any way, it blocked the enzyme that breaks down serotonin because the body prefers fresh.  When you take tryptophan it doesn't necessarily give you more serotonin but it makes it work more efficiently so the levels remain constant.  Everybody has variations in the day.  There are people who are deficient for some reason in a particular neurotransmitter but that's a much much smaller number than those who have mental problems.  The reason is that serotonin doesn't cause anxiety problems, it's just that targeting it with a drug can make you feel better symptomatically.  We don't know what the cause is, though most research is on the amygdyla in the primitive brain, just as depression research is now focused on glutamate because serotonin doesn't cause depression either.  So back to withdrawal -- the symptoms you describe, insomnia, tremors in the head, etc. are classic symptoms of long-term withdrawals.  It's called protracted withdrawal, and it can happen with all addictive drugs, especially benzos, and with antidepressants.  It means the brain is having great difficulty going back to operating without the drug -- there is a theory among many researchers that after being on these drugs for an extended period the brain can't go back to working normally without them, which is why so many end up back on drugs.  The counter theory is that the illness is episodic.  Probably both are true for different people.  Look up PAWS, protracted withdrawal syndrome, and that's what you're describing.  It has no known treatment.  For some it goes away, for others it doesn't.  Because you're only three months removed from quitting Celexa, and again I don't know if you quit abruptly or tapered off, I'd talk to your psychiatrist (who will never have heard of PAWS, so you'll have to hope he or she will listen to you) and see about going back on Celexa at the last dose at which you felt fine.  If you quickly go back to feeling right, you'll know it's withdrawal.  Then you can taper off more slowly if you still want to quit.  The alternative is to wait it out and hope it goes away, or as you say, go on another drug and hope you metabolize it and it works.  From this base you can also do your own research and see if you come up with something else.  This happened to me with Paxil, which is far more common that happening with Celexa, but it is what it is, and I've never gotten better -- I didn't have anyone to tell me about PAWS and when I finally learned about it my psychiatrist claimed to not believe me.  But again, it very well could be something else, I'm just giving you a possibility that matches your symptoms.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
By the way, you get tryptophan and tyrosine every time you eat a complete protein.  That's how the body gets it naturally.
Avatar universal
Thank you again for continuing to help me dress this problem, I did stop Celexa cold turkey.. so I think the likely hood of it being persisting withdrawal is likely, and thanks for the info on PAWS. It does seem that most people suffering through post withdrawal symptoms do come out of it at most within a year or 2, and I was only put on the ssri for a slight social and performance anxiety, which i regret even looking into in the first place as i really don't think it was needed. But I will give myself till the end of the month and see if I see any significant  improvement, if not, go back on Celexa for the longterm. Thanks again
Avatar universal
God, I'm sorry this happened to you -- I really needed medication, but I get so bummed when I see people like you who didn't really need it in the first place get into this pickle.  Stay optimistic and I hope you soon see the other side.  Peace.
Avatar universal
Thank you brother. To update you a bit, I've been holding off on the Tryptophan, and been exercising a lot. The other night though (and this has happened a few times, usually if i take a lot of tryptophan or when i smoke weed) I got this feeling of hypertension in my nervous system and a feeling of shock (much unlike a ssri "brain Zap", longer and less vertigo) where I get a shaky/vibrating in my head that moves quickly to my feet making me hot and then cold. I described this sensation a little bit in a previous comment, however I wanted to get your thoughts on it specifically. I feel as if my serotonin IS still a bit low as result of the sari withdrawal, however, I feel that i have symptoms of low dopamine as well..( boredom, low motivation, and more recently blurred vision and loss of motor skills) I tried supplementing a little bit of tyrosine but it unfortunately broke my good sleeping cycle I finally had back on track and i lay awake with a hyperactive nervous system. I was wondering If it's possibility that it could be a different neurotransmitter that's depleted instead? like Gaba? it seems odd that just taking a bit of tyrosine could throw me off so bad, like you said ammoniac's shouldn't be a direct result. Thank you again for your help in advance. my complete list of symptoms include: a feeling that something is always wrong, a conscious feeling i can only describe as blood filling my head and leaving it, giving me an awareness that something feels out of balance. sometimes blurred vision and boredom, cravings for coffee, weed, spicy foods, and when i exercise I typically feel better. I take a multivitamin and magnesium supplements as well.
Avatar universal
Hey man I contacted some professionals who confirmed that what I'm experiencing isn't repercussions of an sari but rather a gaba imbalance which I found is being caused by a vitamin deficiency, most likely B6 or zinc. I've been supplementing both of those and not only do i feel better but that sensation of rapid firing neurons has decreased immensely and I feel that both my dopamine and serotonin have gotten a chance to catch up and rebuild rather than me burring out by the end of the day. Thank you for your help! I'm glad this was something I found out sooner rather than latter!
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