What I Learned as a Moderator for an Antidepressant Taper Support Group


I was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for 28 years. For 18 of those years, I was an LCSW in a psychiatric hospital that had both inpatient and outpatient units. All patients were on psychiatric medications, and most were on multiple drugs, i.e., antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and/or antipsychotic meds. I never heard about withdrawal syndromes or the need to taper off the medications. Side effects were treated not by taking a person off the drug, but by prescribing more medications to treat the side effects.

My education about psychiatric medications and withdrawal began when I tried to go off the antidepressant Cymbalta. I had developed chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) while working in the psychiatric hospital, and a psychiatrist I worked with said Cymbalta was a good drug for CFS. I did not have pain or depression, but I started taking Cymbalta based on his recommendation. I had taken antidepressants in the past but had not been on an antidepressant for a few years when I began to take Cymbalta.

cymbalta taper

I had taken Prozac, Effexor, Zoloft, and Wellbutrin for mild depression. They all made me hypomanic initially and a psychiatrist diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until years later that another psychiatrist casually said, “You had medication-induced mania.” By then, I had figured out it was induced by the medication, but when I first received the diagnosis I felt stunned and wounded and for a few years identified as a “bipolar” patient. In retrospect, there were times I was quite hypomanic and it was very lucky I did not lose my job, or have my child taken from me. I made decisions I never would have made had I not been influenced by the antidepressants and in an altered state of mind.

I have since learned that antidepressants often cause mania, and many people are diagnosed as having “bipolar disorder” who are not as lucky as I was. They are prescribed more toxic medications to treat what is actually a side effect of antidepressants.

Discontinuing Prozac, Effexor, Zoloft, and Wellbutrin was not a problem. The only one that gave me constant dizziness and a headache when I went off it was Effexor, and a psychiatric ARNP gave me one Prozac pill and it made the dizziness go away and I never thought much about it again. I have since found out that I was very lucky because taking Prozac to avoid withdrawals doesn’t work for a lot of people. Many doctors bridge to Prozac to take people off antidepressants because it has the longest half-life.

Then comes Cymbalta. After being on it for about eight years and gaining a lot of weight I decided to go off it. By that point I was disabled from CFS and unable to work. My doctor didn’t want me to go off the drug because she thought it helped the CFS, but it did not help my illness, so I proceeded to try to go off it. I think I skipped a few days’ doses and then just stopped it. I became suicidal. I felt a compulsion to commit suicide, almost like a voice in my head telling me to commit suicide (command hallucinations). It terrified me and I immediately went back on the Cymbalta.

I didn’t know what to do after that and just kept taking it. Somehow, I don’t remember how, in 2019 I found the Facebook group Cymbalta Hurts Worse. The group’s main purpose is to teach people how to safely taper off Cymbalta. The taper instructions were developed 10 years ago by two psychiatrists and a specialist in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications.

The group taught me how to reduce Cymbalta very slowly and gradually by opening the capsules and gradually taking less of the microbeads inside the capsules. I followed the taper instructions and reduced my dose by 10% about every seven days. At the time, a 10% taper was still recommended. And since I was not having any withdrawals, I sped through my taper. I didn’t hold my drops for the recommended minimum of 10-14 days and finished my taper in eight months.

I felt great. I was happy I was finally off Cymbalta after taking it for about 11 years. I had absolutely no withdrawals, until six weeks after being completely off the drug. I got SLAMMED with akathisia. Akathisia can be a side effect of psychiatric drugs or a cluster of withdrawal symptoms.

I could not sit still, I had to pace. I didn’t lose my appetite, but I could not put food in my mouth. I could not sleep. I had a massive swirling dizzy headache. I was shaking so fiercely my teeth chattered. My back and arms felt burned in a fire; a symptom I learned is called paresthesia.

My vision was blurry, my eyes could not focus. On the sixth day I was hit with a fatigue so profound I could barely stand or walk. That was my breaking point. I knew the Facebook group stressed that you could not reinstate Cymbalta after being off it for longer that three weeks. But I felt completely desperate and took the plunge and reinstated 40 mgs.

It made some of the symptoms much worse, but it also made some of the symptoms better, so overall I felt I had made the right decision to reinstate. I had to adjust the dose twice by 10-15 microbeads to find the right dose that stabilized me. I went to a walk-in clinic during this time. I knew a doctor probably couldn’t help me, but I didn’t know what to do and was desperate. He told me to go back on my full dose and see my regular doctor. That was useless advice because my full dose had been 60 mgs and taking 40 mgs had made the akathisia ten times worse.

I was on my own. I knew if I sought help at the psychiatric hospital where I had worked for 18 years, they would have put me on more medications that would not have helped, and I had learned from the group that they would not have acknowledged that I was experiencing withdrawals from going off Cymbalta too quickly. Doctors don’t know that antidepressant withdrawals can be delayed by six weeks or even months. Withdrawal symptoms are diagnosed as new psychiatric symptoms.

I figured out a dose that eventually stabilized me. After I hit on taking 100 microbeads (a little less than 30 mgs) I started to stabilize. Very slowly the symptoms improved. The last symptom to resolve was the profound fatigue. It took three months for the feeling that there were 20 lb weights strapped to my legs to go away. Then I started to taper off the 30 mgs at 5%, holding each drop for the full two weeks. It is taking me over five years to taper off 60 mgs that originally had an average of 220 microbeads. The taper instructions have us start to drop by one bead every two weeks when we get to 30 microbeads, but to be extra safe I started to drop by one bead when I got to 50 microbeads. Going off the last 50 beads is taking three years.

The horrific withdrawal “incident” shocked me. I hadn’t been very involved with the Facebook group after I got the taper instructions. But now the group had all my attention. I wrote a post about what had happened to me. I wrote that I hadn’t had one withdrawal symptom during my too-fast eight-month taper to warn me that I was going way too fast for my brain. I wrote that late reinstatement had worked for me. And then I became a moderator for the group. I was so angry that I had almost gotten PAWS: protracted acute withdrawal syndrome. If reinstatement had not worked, I had a plan to kill myself because the withdrawal symptoms of akathisia were unbearable and I could have had the symptoms for years.

Since I’ve become a moderator of the Facebook group, I’ve learned that the average amount of time it takes for PAWS to resolve is two to three years. And no one I’ve ever heard talk about having PAWS says they are 100% healed. They all say they have residual effects for years afterwards.

I became a moderator to help prevent people from making the mistake I made. I didn’t want anyone to ever go through what I went through. After I became a moderator I learned that people finishing 10% tapers were having trouble with withdrawal symptoms at the end of their taper. I got the group to change the rule to recommend tapers of only 5% or less and to hold each drop a minimum of two weeks, not 10 days.

As a moderator I tried to coach some people in attempting to do late reinstatement when they found the group after going off Cymbalta too quickly and were suffering from PAWS. But it didn’t work for any of them. It made their symptoms worse and they had to discontinue trying to reinstate the drug. I have since learned that this is typical. Late reinstatement doesn’t work in general. I was extremely lucky that it worked for me.

My terrifying withdrawal incident showed me firsthand what an incredibly dangerous drug Cymbalta is. I’ve learned that Cymbalta has a long list of serious side effects. People in the group have had their heart, liver, and vision damaged. Cymbalta can cause diabetes and high blood pressure. It can cause permanent sexual dysfunction for both men and women. It has caused tardive dyskinesia for some. Many people have developed serious medical problems caused by Cymbalta and have to go off it cold turkey. A safe taper takes two to four years or longer and they don’t have that luxury. They have no choice but to face the risk of developing PAWS. Up to 78% of people will develop withdrawal symptoms. How many people would have ever had the prescription filled if their doctors had told them they could develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart damage, vision damage, tardive dyskinesia, permanent sexual dysfunction and PAWS? The simple fact is that antidepressants are considered extremely safe by doctors and therefore are prescribed much too casually and often.

The Cymbalta Hurts Worse Facebook group is anti-Pharma, and in the year I have been a moderator I have wholeheartedly embraced that philosophy and teach people how to make major lifestyle changes to treat depression, anxiety and pain with natural remedies. I mention pain because Cymbalta is now the go-to drug for fibromyalgia. We probably have more people in the group with fibromyalgia than depression.

I have also joined a Facebook group whose members are only other moderators of other medication support groups and have learned that these problematic issues with Cymbalta are also problems with most all the other antidepressants. And tapering off them also can take years to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

I learned that social media and internet medication support groups are saving lives and brains because doctors do not know how to safely taper off psych meds. Nor do they know about the nature of antidepressant withdrawal. Doctors are taught that withdrawal symptoms may occur after stopping an antidepressant and that they pass in a few days to a few weeks.

Even emergency rooms don’t know what antidepressant withdrawals are. I know this because we have many group members who end up going to the ER all over the United States due to their withdrawal symptoms and doctors tell them they can’t be suffering from withdrawal because withdrawal doesn’t last that long. People get diagnosed with new ailments and get more drugs thrown at them that don’t help the withdrawals and now they have another drug they need to taper off of.

In addition to doctors not knowing about the nature of antidepressant withdrawal, they are of course ignorant about how to safely taper off antidepressants. They are taught by drug companies how to prescribe these drugs but not how to get people safely off them. Doctors make up their own taper rules and take people off Cymbalta in two weeks by skipping doses or alternating between doses of say, 60 and 30 mgs. Cymbalta has a half-life of only 12 hours which means the brain will start to experience withdrawal at 24 hours if a dose is late or missed. The lucky people who find our group during their doctors’ disastrous taper plans are panicked by the withdrawal symptoms and don’t understand what is happening to them. We have to tell them to tell their doctors they have changed their minds and want to stay on Cymbalta so they can continue to get their prescription until they are safely off in two to four years or longer. If people try to tell their doctor about the safe taper and counting beads, their doctors scoff at them and refuse to listen and don’t allow the person to do the slow safe taper. There are hundreds of people in the group with PAWS caused by their doctors’ ignorant taper advice.

Compare the taper instructions taught in the Cymbalta Hurts Worse group with the discontinuation advice provided by Eli Lilly in the 33-page Cymbalta prescribing information provided by the FDA: Sections 2.4 and 5.6 pertaining to Discontinuation of Treatment with Cymbalta recommend “a gradual reduction in dose.” That is all that is recommended. How is it possible to gradually reduce the dose when Cymbalta only comes in doses of 60, 30, and 20 mgs? It isn’t. The only way to gradually and safely come off Cymbalta is to spend two to four years or longer counting or weighing the microbeads inside the capsules. I don’t know if the Eli Lilly drug company knows this. I do know they are aware of the problems because there have been multiple attempts to file class action lawsuits against them due to the withdrawals. Please see https://www.drugwatch.com/cymbalta/lawsuits for a complete timeline of Cymbalta Lawsuits.

Add to this horror show the fact that many doctors and pharmacists think it is unsafe to open the capsules and reduce the beads. They think that somehow the microbeads are compromised by opening the capsules. The beads are not compromised in any way. The Cymbalta Hurts Worse group has helped thousands of people successfully taper off Cymbalta using the ingenious taper instructions for the last eight years.

We had a woman in the group who reported that she “begged” her doctor to let her do the slow safe taper. He cut off her prescription. After hearing stories like this repeatedly it made me change my soft recommendation from “many people find it best not to tell their doctor they want to taper” to the much more direct, “do not tell your doctor you are tapering so you can continue to get your prescription.”

Doctors are the enemy in the battle to save brains from antidepressant withdrawals and the horror of protracted acute withdrawal syndrome. Most doctors do not respect the taper instructions when a patient tries to tell them they have learned of a safe way to taper.

There are 30,000 people from all over the world in the Cymbalta Hurts Worse Facebook group. It is the only source of the detailed information needed to taper off Cymbalta safely. And we provide 24-hour, 7-day-a-week support for every question imaginable pertaining to tapering and withdrawal symptoms and more. My experience, of having done a too-fast taper without withdrawal symptoms for eight months, then developing akathisia six weeks after being completely off Cymbalta, followed by a successful reinstatement and a slow safe taper has given me valuable knowledge about how to help others.

Since becoming a moderator for the Cymbalta Facebook support group, I have learned that there is a hidden silent public health crisis in the shadows all over the world. I now believe that the patients I worked with in the psychiatric hospital for 18 years were very likely suffering from side effects and withdrawals from being taken on and off psych meds indiscriminately because of course when someone was admitted to the hospital it had to mean that the drugs they were on weren’t working.

Research about antidepressant withdrawals is still in its early stages of gaining enough clout to begin to educate doctors. I’m afraid it is too slow to help what must be millions of people all over the world suffering from all the different types of agony withdrawal symptoms cause. I am a member of an akathisia support group on Facebook. I haven’t been a member that long, just four months. In that time three people have taken their lives. Having had akathisia myself, for just a short time, I know why they found solace in death.

If my Cymbalta taper had gone smoothly and I had not had the terrifying withdrawal incident, I never would have believed how dangerous these drugs are. It’s only because I had that incident that I sat up and paid serious attention to the complaints about these drugs. I would have continued to just write off the complaints about side effects and withdrawals as rare and blamed “underlying conditions’’ or other factors having caused the problems, and simply not believed the accounts. As is the case with most doctors today. Unfortunately, it may take more and more doctors or their family members experiencing these problems for them to sit up and pay attention to the trauma and suffering the drugs they so generously prescribe can cause. I am outraged by how the FDA, pharmaceutical companies and doctors continue to ignore and remain ignorant of the extent of drug injuries.

I will end by saying I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in my use of antidepressants. I escaped committing suicide, I did not have my child taken from me, I did not lose my job, I did not lose my family, I did not become homeless which happens to people with PAWS because they cannot work. I escaped developing protracted acute withdrawal syndrome and suffering permanent brain damage. I have been so much luckier than the people who have suffered irreparable damage and lost everything including their lives. We will never know the statistics for how many people have lost everything because antidepressant use and withdrawals are not part of the conversation. It remains the veiled, dark sinister secret about current health care.

Addendum: I wrote the above almost two years ago. It is now May 2023 and I am still tapering off Cymbalta. I started my taper of 60 mgs in March 2019 and I might be finished in another 18 months.

I recently found out that the research of Anders Sorensen, PhD revealed that most of the brain’s receptors are opening at the very end of the taper. I am down to three microbeads now from the original total of 220. When I got to nine beads (2.43 mgs) I started to get tearful when complimenting people, not about their shoes or dress, but when I tried to tell my neighbor what a good grandmother she was as I listened to her play with her grandchildren in the backyard, I got so choked up my voice cracked and I had to stop speaking or I would burst into tears. It happened in a few different incidents and I wasn’t sure if it was a withdrawal symptom. I questioned whether it was normal for me. It was difficult to judge because I’m a person who once got tearful on the NJ turnpike because I was so moved by the fact that everyone was staying in their lanes. That was in my 20’s when I was years away from being prescribed any drugs.

I forgot to mention that when I had my horrific akathisia event after going off Cymbalta in eight months, in the six weeks prior to the akathisia I had been having weird tearful outbursts. Breaking into tears about things that normally would not have had such an emotional effect on me. I wasn’t sad or depressed, but in multiple interactions with others I had burst into tears. I didn’t know what to make of it. I had no warning I was going to become so overly emotional; it was so sudden I had no control over it. The tears didn’t last long, they were momentary, but it made for some awkward interactions with others. When I googled sudden tearfulness all I found was that it was a symptom of stroke victims which I already knew. Then the akathisia hit and I realized the sudden tears were a withdrawal symptom leading up to the big event.

In August 2022, at nine beads when I was getting choked up and tearful it was less intense than the tearful outbursts two years ago. Again, I felt perfectly normal otherwise, not depressed or anxious, but I decided to play it safe, and decided it probably was a withdrawal symptom and I slowed down my taper to holding each bead drop for a month instead of two weeks. It helped but I was still getting choked up, so at four beads I began to hold each bead drop for three months. This has helped lessen the tearfulness, but it is still happening so now I am at three beads and am going to hold each bead drop for four months. I am very nervous about when I get to the last bead. I may stay on it for a year.

Having the knowledge from Anders Sorensen’s research that most of the brain’s receptors are opening at the very end of the taper is invaluable to me. It is helping me understand that I really need to respect the withdrawal symptom of emotional lability even though it is happening infrequently.

Many people mistakenly think that tapering off an antidepressant is about detoxing and getting it out of their system. That is not the issue with tapering. With drugs like Cymbalta, selected receptors are blocked to keep more of the serotonin and norepinephrine available to the brain. When the drug is withdrawn too quickly, too many of the receptors that were being blocked are left open and a deficit of serotonin and norepinephrine is felt and that is withdrawals.

In the Cymbalta Hurts Worse group members frequently report their doctors saying, “You are on such a low dose at 20 mgs you can just stop taking it.” Doctors have no idea that 20 mgs is actually a high dose to stop cold turkey. It was the mistake I made when I did my first too-fast eight-month taper. I just stopped taking the beads when I got to about 10 beads. I thought, “What effect could 10 beads have? My brain must be acclimated to being off Cymbalta now at such a low dose.” I was so wrong, and am one of the very lucky few who got a chance to do it over again when my brain accepted reinstatement of 30 mgs.

Despite tapering since 2019 off 60 mgs and being down to less than 1 mg now I am still at risk of developing protracted acute withdrawal syndrome. I am in uncharted territory because everyone’s brain is unique. I just hope my cautious holding of each bead drop for months at a time is going to be slow enough to get out of this pharmaceutical hell with my brain and life intact.

My new mission in life is to educate the world about the potential dangers of antidepressants. My dream is that in the future, before a doctor prescribes an antidepressant he or she informs their patient that antidepressants carry the risk of permanent sexual dysfunction, suicidal impulses, inability to feel emotions, high blood sugar levels, insomnia, weight gain, blood clots, damage to vital organs and protracted acute withdrawals that can disable a person for years and cause a kind of suffering that is impossible to understand unless you have lived it.

The complete Cymbalta taper instructions can be found at www.healingamericanow.com.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. Wow, Laura, thank you for writing this! I have so many thoughts — I was also on Cymbalta and am still experiencing some withdrawal symptoms after being off it for two years. For now I just wanted to say thank you.
    I hope anyone who is considering going on Cymbalta sees your article before they make a decision. I think this will help many people.

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      • Good move to take your sweet time at the end. I have a friend(kind of like you)who made it back from an awful place drs put him in. He was taken off effexor way too quickly, given this drug, that drug and whatever other drugs. I know anti p’s and benzos were given at some points after he started suffering. He ended up going back on effexor and stabilised. A few years later he tried again, 10% drops when he felt good to but when he got below 10mg things got hairy so he reinstated and reinstated again. He ended his life not long after reinstating again. He was an admin in a group, I used to mod, we messaged often. He even wrote paper and had it published. I think I remember you when I was in that hub group. I had paws from effexor. You’re right about lingering effects. I still have some, to much less a degree with most though, near the start of my 7th year off. In a pretty good place compared to the worst of it though. It changes us, we see the ignorance out there and I’m appalled by it. You’re right about the hub group too, it’s not just this or that drug that can do it, it’s all of them. Good luck getting off.

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        • I think I know the good man you are referring to who lost his battle with PAWS. I had some contact with him at one point and he was so lovely. Another terrible tragedy that never should have happened. So much needs to change that it feels hopeless. We can only keep trying to educate the world.

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  2. Dear Laura,
    You write enthrallingly and captivated me to read your whole piece. I recognized everything you mentioned because I had similar experiences. I had to quit heavy duty antipsychotics immediately cold turkey after my brain had been used to them for several years. I experienced the initial flush of nonchalance for the first phase; the calm before the train wreck at several weeks in. You speak true about how frightful those withdrawal symptoms are. They are on a par with quitting heroin, I suppose.
    We are separate bodies and so our experiences may not be identical but for me withdrawals cured me of terrible antipsychotic akasthesia. Getting out of that dreadful frenzy was the saving of me. It was a huge relief therefore to have quit. However, what happened after several weeks into withdrawal was a quite, quite different phenomenon that was maximum restless leg syndrome. When I say it was maximum I mean I could not sit still many many times a day. I knew it was generated by my nervous system flickering on and off like a xmas tree’s lights. That sounds pretty but each light was like a millon electric shocks of restlessness. A jitteryness. But for me it felt totally different to the actual akasthesia I had felt on antipsychotics. The withdrawl restlessness felt worse. But, at least I knew it was only from my slowly healing brain. We can put up with surgery pain because it is conducive to an attitude of gradual healing, whereas pain before surgery is not borne so easily since we regard it as abnormal. I knew the horrible restlessness would one day soften and go. This did occur. I would say that month three and four I had my doubting panicky moments about how I could stand withdrawals anymore, but I clung on and eventually all of the issues resolved. I have known people try to quit and when they arrive at that train wreck stage they really need help to keep going. They need round the clock understanding support, but they also need perhaps to learn that in order to sail through that maelstom of withdrawal symptoms they sort of have to “become another person”. That person is hellbent on survival. What is survival? Often it is the complete opposite of being nice to yourself or being sweet to your feelings. Think of a mountaineer fallen into a precipice. Being nice to himself is not going to help him in that dire context. He has to become a bastard to his wrecked inner self, rather like heroin addicts have to while they quit. It is gruelling hard work, but that’s what survival demands. Some can do it. Some cannot. Every body is totally unique and different. Measures need to be in place to facilitate that survivalist gritty healing. A good grounding in what sets off panicky trains of thinking is very useful, because every fibre of your being wants to quit the quitting. And all day long your own panicky voice says…
    “Must I do this?”
    “This cannot be safe”
    “What if this episode never ends?”
    “What if I have a breakdown?”

    That voice is a worrymonger going at your doubting moments all day and night. It is essential not to listen overly much to it because the nature of cortisol surges that explode in withdrawals “cause” that voice to manifest. I say “voice” but I just mean your inner parenting aspect. I do not mean a psychotic hallucination voice. I get hallucinations as part of my schizophrenia but I got no increase in hallucinations or other hallucinations because of withdrawals. I just want to say that the ability to be deaf ears towards that worried “what if, what if, what if” voice is really useful at helping to galvanize a steely attitude of maintaining stoic determination. But not everyone can do this and not everyone should. Everyone has a different body with different symptoms and so others might be better off going back on medication. There should be no shame in going on pills. There should be no shame in quitting pills. There should be no shame at all in ANY free choice. Shame is the enemy of support. In a hospital people are different in how they even react to the same illness. Some deal with their difficulties by snuggling into bed. Others want to go for a marathon. Others don’t want to think about it at all. Others plead to be put out of their misery. None of these ways is the right way or wrong way. But what I feel worked for me was understanding my illness style, or recuperation style, to see if it would be an obstacle or asset to the way withdrawal is like a bomb going off.

    I later in life I went back on antipsychotics and my doctor then much later helped me to taper off slowly. Over about five months. It was a gentle withdrawal. I can honestly say I had no withdrawal symptoms that time.

    The first quitting did have me experience the boughts of tearfullness you describe but for me that return to feeling again felt like an awakening of natural “me”. I chose not to fear that or be disturbed about it.

    I think two things.
    1. There needs to be greater awareness of how dismal and excruciating withdrawals can be.

    2. There should be less fear about wanting to withdraw. I just think alot of scary accounts of withdrawals maybe do no service to those who are coming up behind and who nervously fear every symptom. A successful withdrawal is down to luck and a mental game of ignoring how awful those symptoms are.

    In some ways being schizophrenic helped, because a schizophrenic learns hard and fast to ignore hallucinations that profoundly unsettle them all day. This almost unhealthy ignoring of anguish, this disregard of distess, got me through the mountain pass of withdrawal, one foot in front of the other, unquestioningly. I was just already damn good at ignoring my inner “what if, what if, what if” anxious worried voice that always said “what if your hallucinations happen at the music festival, what if your hallucinations will give you insomnia forever?”.

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    • Your advice that one needs to have “deaf ears” to the nagging overwhelming worried thoughts while experiencing withdrawals is extremely valuable. I will remember your wisdom the next time I talk to someone with PAWS. I always feel so helpless and have little to say that feels of value in the face of their suffering. Thank you for your interest in my story and your thorough thoughtful comment, Diaphanous Weeping.

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    • The Cymbalta Hurts Worse group has been invaluable to me as I taper from 60 beads. I’m having manageable symptoms, but I can’t imagine tapering while having to hold down a job and raise a family (I’m retired and have a very supportive husband), and kudos to the folks who do. Thanks for all your hard work, Laura!

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  3. “I got so choked up my voice cracked and I had to stop speaking or I would burst into tears. It happened in a few different incidents and I wasn’t sure if it was a withdrawal symptom.”

    From my experience of antidepressant withdrawal, tearing up for no apparent reason, was a symptom of my withdrawal. And I agree, the doctors really need to garner insight into how dangerous the antidepressants are, and the common symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal.


    And you are absolutely correct, the withdrawal symptoms can come on much, much more slowly than the doctors think. For example, after being unwisely abruptly taken off Wellbutrin. First, I got the flu like symptoms, which of course were misdiagnosed, repeatedly. But it was not until 21 months later that I got the brain zaps. Unfortunately for me, this was in 2001, and the “experts” didn’t realize brain zaps were a common symptom of antidepressants or antidepressant withdrawal, until 2005. (Read it to the end, the hubris is quite staggering.)


    Good luck in your healing journey, Laura, and thank you for sharing your experience and hard earned wisdom.

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    • I’ve never had a brain zap so I forgot to include them in my story. They are a really frequent withdrawal symptom though, so thank you for talking about them. And thank you for the links you provided. I’m so sorry you had to experience brain zaps and withdrawals when there was so little knowledge. I hope you have recovered.

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      • Well, I still have the brain zaps. But I’ve learned to control them in my waking hours, and can actually brain zap a headache away in a NY second. And I still have a little tardive dyskinesia at night, a wiggly ankle.

        But other than that, and having to heal from the psychological and psychiatric abuse / overcoming of a “bipolar” misdiagnosis / defamation of character. Which did destroy my marriage, and relationship with my in-laws.

        But a respectable and honest doctor did take that psychiatric / psychological defamation of my character off my medical records eight or so years ago … after I’d medically explained to him the prior malpractice I’d dealt with.

        So, yes, I’m doing reasonably well. Thus you should maintain the hope, I’m sure you too will survive and thrive. And we do need the “medical professionals” speaking truth about the systemic harms of psychiatry and psychology. So my best wishes to you in our fight for right.

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  4. While I do believe that doctors and those on the front lines often are not listening and definitely are making mistakes. Laura Vigiano takes her single experience and goes around trying to find confirmation of that experience in the group she is apart of, and then has decided to tell others that antidepressants are bad for you, in life you have to find what works best for you (this comes through trial and error… and it sucks.) One will need to test their ideas out making yourself aware of your medical condition maybe reading scholarly academic journals, working to understand what’s going on best you can. I am very sorry that Laura had to go through what she did, none of those things should of happened, but this is one experience, with these kinds of things where peoples lives are on the line, people who reduce all that complexity into this is “bad” and this is “good” they make it hard for those that may need to take that step and try medication. Everyone is doing their best out there even Laura, but if you don’t do something, then things will just stay the same. For me medication worked, but it was a 10 year journey to get the right combination, for which I would never wish on anyone. I could take all the supplements, could meditate day and night, I could run or get outside more, I could eat a perfect clean diet but that did not work for “me,” find what works for you!

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    • “Laura Vigiano takes her single experience and goes around trying to find confirmation of that experience in the group she is apart of…”

      The group that Laura is a part of is comprised entirely of people who had a similarly adverse experience with cymbalta. That’s why they’re in the group.

      What is the basis of your opposition to patients receiving informed consent of the potential harms of a psychiatric drug before they make a decision on whether to take the drug? Informed consent is an integral part of every other medical specialty. Why should psychiatry be any different?

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    • Plase be aware that all these drugs are now known to stop working eventually, if they ever start. You might want to prepare for that by looking into non-pharma approaches. Also, side effects including organ damage can occur even if they haven’t shown up for years. There’s always a risk of some sort.

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  5. Hi Laura! Thank you for sharing your experiences! I was fortunate and found Laura Delano who went on to form The Withdrawal Project. Laura has quite a psychiatric history and learned much like you that there was no real help on coming off these meds that had originally been developed for short term use (why have protocols to end meds when staying on them is financially better for many? Sigh). I’m in agreement with you re: warnings to others. Along with the myth of “faulty brain chemistry” being the cause of so many “problems”. While medications may be the road for some – with full disclosures – most folks would benefit from increasing aerobic exercise, better nutrition and getting out into nature along with spending time with others. These all of course require time and effort v taking a pill. And I’m not shaking my finger at the patient! Our culture doesn’t allow for us to take the time we need to heal, whatever the ailment or challenge. And we need to; not doing to is costing us dearly.

    Btw I have figured out my seeming bipolar disorder was due to meds and a lack of awareness of my autism and PTSD. I also cry at commercials, at TV shows, greeting cards and more. And you know what? I’m ok with that. It’s who I am at near 70. I do believe my 30yrs of being on various psych meds led to more problems due to covering up what my body was trying to express, trying to tell me, I favor of tamping those sx down and giving me others. Sigh. We must do better for this Next Gen!!! Cheers!

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    • Yes, dee-dee stout, you and I are of the same mind; that for many people they would be much better off not taking a pill, but instead pursue what makes them feel most alive and in love with life. If only doctors would prescribe that. I remember a story I was told many years ago about a psychiatrist who advised a widow to use her hobby of growing violets to “treat” her depression. He “prescribed” that she grow and distribute the flowering plants at community events. And voila! Her passion for gardening brought her into contact with groups of people, she created connections and relationships and received accolades. This is the kind of “prescription” that truly heals.

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  6. I can’t speak to Cymbalta but I have been on and off Paxil since it came out. Learn to manage symptoms and don’t give yourself the false hope the ‘withdrawels’ will ever completely stop. Tapering is a great resource but the drugs simply haven’t been on the market long enough to know if the withdrawals ever really stop.

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  7. And yet, the prescribing of Cymbalta goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on. The disconnect between what doctors know (or have been told) and reality is astonishing. How many more people will be put on the path to harm today, by doctors ignorant of or maybe even indifferent to the risks, who will just deny the harm when it occurs and not feel the slightest responsibility? But it seems the collective “we” who know better just can’t lay a glove on pharma or mainstream medicine or the overwhelming majority of individual prescribers. A very well done, and chilling, piece. Thank you.

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  8. I am so vexed. I did a very long follow up comment that offered my perspective on how to move through the turmoil of withdrawal. I see that the comment must have vanished. Unless it shows up later. I am not sure I can start from scratch and sit typing it all up…again. Maybe MIA could create a space where people could send in voice recordings of their top tips. A bit like the interviews. Could call that space “Consolations”.

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  9. https://youtu.be/KpaddZfBy-M

    Part One…of several bite sized parts or comments on my perspective on withdrawals. See my other comments.

    To begin with this video offers a metaphor for how it is useful in withdrawal to grow a kind of survivalist stoic persona or spirit guide or sherpa, who will show you how to proceed through each step without getting entagled in the “waters of worry”. The gushing waterfall represents anxiety. Notice how the woman blithely “ignores” that anxiety. The waters beckon her to let go and slip in and fall back to the pharmacy. The woman does not waste time in trying to dam up the waters or flee from them screaming. She allows them to be a raging current of never ending panic. She resists getting enmeshed in why the panic is there or happening. It just is what it is. She does not pathologize the panic or see it as a doomy sign of imminent disintegration. That thinking tends to add an overlayer of panic. She just lets the panic flow past moment to moment.
    She knows that the surging water is a panic that is coming from the way the powerful hormones of cortisol and adrenalin intermittently flood the body…skoosh…skoosh…skoosh

    It is the job of cortisol and adrenalin to explode throughout the body as a “warning” signal of lurking danger, like an approaching truck or tiger. But in withdrawal such inner grenade-like explosions are going on out of sync with actual sense perceptions telling the woman that there is something to be scared of. The adrenal gland and so on are “misfiring” warning shots at all kinds of calm moments, due to brain dysregulation in withdrawals.
    But because it is the job of adrenalin and cortisol to remind the human to be anxious and alert it becomes magnetically irresistable to laugh off that surge in anxiety. Essentially though, because it is dysregulated bodily caused anxiety, it is nonsense anxiety. Taking it super seriously only exacerbates its magnetic draw. Taking it spellbindingly seriously says to the psyche that yes, yes, there is danger going on.
    So in withdrawal it is helpful to keep avoiding dwelling on any anxious thoughts. A confidence trick of wilfully believing there is no threat is the best attitude, even if your whole body feels exploding with anguished anxiety attacks.
    To do withdrawal elegantly almost requires being a militaristic sergeant major towards the part of you that wants to cave in to the allure of that “worried anxious voice” that comes from the surging waters of cortisol and adrenalin. That water’s voice says…
    “Look, what you are doing is too hard or damaging, so give up and let me sweep you back down to the pharmacy”.
    “It is an emergency, emergency, emergency!”
    “You are tired now and all this quitting is too much for you so maybe go back to the doctor and take one little pill”
    “You are a lost cause, you have been on the drugs too long, they have irrevocably damaged you, can you not see how anxious you are without medication, just dive in and go back on the pills”.

    The woman knows this “worried voice” and anxious feeling are just coming from surges of hormones that are designed to grab all our attention, in a bookstore, or a cafe, or a garden, or in bed at 2am. Anywhere a tiger might stumble out. The woman knows her “warning system” is defunked for now. It is sending out skooshes of warnings when there is no problem. So her ability to tell whether her withdrawal process is going well is almost proved by how horribly jittery she feels about withdrawal.

    Part Two in a moment.

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  10. Part Two…maybe it wont be in several parts, as I might just do it in two or three.

    Whilst it is essential to ignore the nonsense bursts of anxiety that intermittently surge out of hormone dyregulation in withdrawals, surges that can occur ever two hours or more frequently, and for a timespan of many months, it is likewise useful to understand that fear of having a breakdown causes a breakdown. So to lessen a big breakdown, it is best to have a relaxed attitude to having lots of frivilous mini breakdowns each day. Crying spells do not mean we all going to die. Feeling blends of feelings induced resultant calm, as in after a toddler has a rolling tantrum, this rectifies its inner turmoil and imbalance. Feeling all of your feelings restores calm balance and calm balance stops a breakdown. It is “worried what if” thinking that stirs up catastrophizing huge anxiety and this anxiety can lead to imbalance, and escalating fear that builds and builds until overwhelming distress spills out as a bigger breakdown, from a backlog of accumulated squashed feelings. So aim to realease pressure by allowing mini breakdowns throughout the day, so that an pent up pressure via fear of a big breakdown does not occur.

    What this means then is kind of a relaxed ignoring of the “meaning” of why you may be feeling feelings. Feel the feeling without letting letting the worried mind say…
    “There you are again, sobbing into into your wheeto breakfast bowl, what a total mess you are, you must take seriously that you are having a big breakdown and it could kill you”.

    The adrenalin skooshes and cortisol skooshes will be adding to that “startled thinking”, that catastrophic “what if” anxiety.

    And so you need to relax about having waves of angry feelings or sad feelings or tired feelings or manically joyful feelings or nervous feelings or tearful feelings. Relax about those in the same way you would relax about toddler feeling angry or sad or tearful. Feelings may feel uncomfortable but they are harmless.

    Withdrawals will push you into having lots of freaked out adrenalin surges and although the anxiety from this is like false warning anxiety, best ignored, nevertheless going through withdrawals is honestly going to give you honest normal feelings of upset. If advisable maybe try to not let the hypercritical “what if” worried mind tell you that such normal feelings mean you need to go back to the pharmacy because you are in danger.

    Fear of having a breakdown is probably what put you on sedating pills in the first place, sometimes pills are needed. Sometimes it really is not wise to be trying to quit pills. But aside from that a breakdown is the “feeling side” of you waking up to the fact that the “thinking side” with all its scare stories about emotions, has been lording it over the “feeling side” and pathologizing normal feelings like anger and sadness and joy. A breakdown breaks feelings away from the iron grip of overthinking. So a breakdown can be like the toddler finding the reset button on emotions, to give priority to feelings for a while.
    In this video the woman is not fussed about what the adrenalin river is roaring at her. On and up goes the woman, one step at a time. This too is important. This never looking back. For the “worried mind” likes to pursue you to say…
    “You had a catastrophic day yesterday and the day before so this means you will feel awful today so why not pack this in and head straight for the pharmacy”.

    It is far better to regard each fresh day as unique and so probably unlikely to be identical to yesterday. Only live in the day, the absolute here and now. In the here and now there are few insurmountable problems, in this hour, or the next hour, this step, or the next step. Not being in the here and now causes the woman to reflect back in worry on the difficult route up the mountain so far, or daunt herself upon pondering the trickiness of the mountain route ahead. So be “head down” within each hour and look not forward or backward. The days will soon peel off one after the other like dates on a calander, but just don’t count them. Catastrophizing wants you to. Catastrophizing wants the woman to count her every step as if it is leading to danger.

    Lastly, do not avail yourself of online scare stories about the impossibility of withdrawals. There is a reason why moms in labour are given separate rooms to moan and yell in when each contraction, like an adrenalin or cortisol surge explodes in their body. It is just not helpful to other moms, in other stages of labour to listen to how long it may go on for.

    Added to this try to disengage from “tragic mentality”. It is a close cousin to “disaster mentality” in catastrophic thinking. It says….
    “Poor poor little you, see how this is wearing you down, my how weak and feeble you are, you may never make to the next boulder up the mountain, you need supportive medication, you have had a tragic hard life and you just cannot cope, so own that you will never ever feel well”.
    It might be a true intuitive “tragic mentality” but equally it might be coming from the way adrenalin surges want you to “do something” to get out of “hormone induced sense of danger”.

    Say yes to feeling all of your feelings, like sadness and despair, but notice if an “air of the tragic” if it starts to beckonningly undermine your clamber up the mountain. In some regards “self pity” will be honestly helpful, since scaling the mountain is gruelling. But sometimes stoical survival requires the opposite of “self pity”. If a mountain hiker breaks a leg they need to around “self pity” in order to get to a better location.
    A problem with online support forums is they can become understandable “pity parties”. One person’s adrenalin surge then announces to everyone else that they won’t make it to the top of the mountain, because, cue “worried thinking”, they did not taper enough or tapered way too much and so really they should all head back to the pharmacy.

    No way am I saying that going back to the pharmacy is a wrong move. Some need pills to function at all. I am not anti medication. I think people on medication are becoming shamed for it and that is bad behaviour, telling others what “should” work for their unique body and brain. Shame is the enemy of support. All I am saying is it is best to quarantine away from others online. Old moms know not to put worried thoughts into the minds of the petrified pregnant.

    I lament a bit the way activist campaigns against pills can unintentionally fuel “disaster mentality” about trying to quit. Their intention is to stop people from ever going on pills. That may be great. But the “catastrophizing” about coming off medication can deter those on it from ever trying to climb up the mountain to healing.

    Lastly, lastly, I must shout that for many people healing means staying on medication. Nobody should be enticing anyone to do what might be genuinely risky for them as individual persons to do. Some people need their prescriptions and need their psychiatrist. It is their free choice. And even if they do want to try quitting, it just may not be doable “for them personally”. We must all respect this saying…
    “My body is not your body”.

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    • I do not mean to shame anyone for being on meds. And I appreciate your comments about withdrawals and that no one should ever be shamed about taking a med.
      I agree, sometimes meds are necessary and extremely beneficial. My complaint is that all the psych meds are prescribed too casually and frequently. Doctors are using the antipsychotic Zyprexa as an anti-anxiety pill. A vibrant fabulous father, husband and nurse committed suicide 5 months after being prescribed Zyprexa. Could there be a more senseless tragic death? His wife put the pieces together after his death and has channeled her grief and rage into a blitz of educating the world about this kind of danger.

      I wholly support the need for some people to be on meds. But if I had known the risks I never would have started on this pharmaceutical nightmare. I never would have swallowed one pill. In my case, as is the case for millions of people, an education into the risks and how to treat depression and anxiety with natural remedies is incalculably safer and with the advice of the physician that this is the better route to take, people will have more motivation to throw themselves into the natural remedies.
      I just think doctors don’t understand the risks, well I know they don’t because they are clueless about the nature of withdrawals or that up to 50% of people taking antidepressants will suffer from withdrawals. This is a recent statistic I read in a paper by Ed White.
      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

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      • Dear Laura,
        I feel that you may have taken personally what I wrote to be taken generally. In no way was I pointing a finger at your experience or message. I often use an article as a springboard to speak hypothetically but I accept this may have seemed like I was speaking specifically about your experience. Laura if you could read my older comments going back a year or two, you would find me saying things like…
        “All psychiatric drugs should be thrown in the sea”.
        “Places like Soteria should be more widely available”
        These are “my” perspectives. However, I am “different” from every one of the eight billion other souls on the planet. I do not have their fears or traumas or life stresses or suicidal desperations, going on pills, going off pills. And it is in honour of other peoples “differentness” that has me extending the hand of welcome to those who simply cannot live without their pills or who are too scared to try to come off them. Demomising people who in their “differentness” want to use psychiatry as their healing is not something that upholds “individual freedom of choice”. And demonising people who do not want psychiatry as their mode of healing is not upholding their “individual freedom of choice”.

        As you can see therefore…I very much agree with you. I did after all give you a load of ideas with respect to “withdrawing”. I was not giving out a knitting pattern. I say all this with gentle humour.

        I understand completely that you want to warn everyone to steer clear of pills. I was at a soiree yesterday and one of the folks at it told me she was on a cauldron of pharma pills. I tried to persuade her to think about alternatives but she was having none of it. I felt like I was talking to a person on Fentanyl patches. Every fibre of her being did not want to consider alternatives, even if the pills were too much for her. When you come across an alcoholic you cannot just whip the bottle from their hand. And in any case who am I to be so all-knowing about what that person can and cannot cope with. I find humility in knowing I might be wrong about what I assume anyone may or may not cope with.
        I am saying all this in a whisper not a shout. Think Jeff Goldblum whispering wittily and curiously and philosophically to himself in Jurassic park. I am speculative. Not judgey. I agree wholeheartedly with you that doctors are not warning people of the labyrinthe of side effects and withdrawal effects they could be strolling into to. I have done quite enough comments to that sentiment. I cannot daub it like paint on a banner in every comment I try to make. It is not at all your fault you don’t know the full perspective I have. Before, say a month ago, you could have looked up my comments in tidy sequential order. A stop has been put to that by an upgrade in the computer system.
        Laura, I did not intend to shame you by my airing the general problem we have about how to help people without shaming them. Your voice is valuable. Keep beating your glorious drum. Your suffering is immense.

        I see psychiatric drugs as like alcohol. Some people love it. Some people feel propped up by it. Some people need it to make it to the end of the afternoon. Some people are destroyed by it. Some people can never get off it. Some people die of it.
        Helping all of the above might be best achieved by banning all the wine and whiskey and beer.

        Laura, I need to go now. I have to go to pastures new. I hope you feel how you want to feel soon. There is a channel called Metabolic Mind on youtube. It is possible from the perspective on there that our diets are leading to the exponential rise in disability too. They believe that since serotonin and GABA and other neuro gubbins are made in the healthy gut, an unhealthy gut, destroyed in its capacity to manufacture serotonin etc, by sugary carb laden Western diets, that you can give people all the pills in the world, it wont make a difference if the whole gut system is still filling up with chocolate muffins. And you wont make much difference coming off pills if the whole gut system is still filling up with chocolate muffins. Each chocolate muffin is knocking out the serotonin manufacturing company that lives in your gut, a bit like a chocolate muffin per day is a kind of toxic antipsychotic. Over 90% of serotonin is made where chocolate muffins stickily adhere. Obviously downing lots of pharma pills affects serotonin in maladaptive ways in the brain. But it would seem by new research that so does nutrition. When you take a sick dog or cat to a vet the vet’s first question is…
        “What have you been feeding it?”

        No doctor asks this question when a father takes their nine years of age, oddly behaving anxious kid to a doctor’s appointment.
        Cats and dogs are animals with specific wild natural nutritional needs.
        Humans are animals with specific wild natural nutritional needs.

        To Laura, and anyone, on any drug withdrawal forum out there, I give my permission to copy and publish the comments I made initially on this thread, about my own experience and tips I gave to myself for how to navigate the psychological mayhem in withdrawal. My own tips I gave myself may not suit any one of the eight billion individuals on the planet. They may only make sense to me. They only highlight how I spoke to me during my withdrawal journey and so are not intended as medical advice. I am only a layperson with no medical professional qualification.

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  11. FYI On SurvivingAntidepressants.org, if someone is going to taper by 10%, we advise making reductions at intervals of about a month. This is to observe the resulting symptom pattern through washout (I use 6 half-lives), which is when the new steady-state drug plasma blood level is reached, and to see how the nervous system gets along with the new drug plasma blood level. For most antidepressants, this is about a week.

    Some people not notice mild withdrawal symptoms in the washout phase, attributing them to a cold, a passing headache, work stress, worry, etc., but these could get worse in the new, lower drug steady state, or the new drug plasma blood may be too low, which the nervous system will “notice” over more time. A longer observation period after each reduction allows for this. Most people do well with this method.

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    • Thank you for commenting Altostrata. You are the reigning queen and pioneer of saving brains and lives from withdrawals. You have my utmost respect. Especially since you survived 11 years of PAWS. You really turned your nightmare of suffering into a positive for the world.

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  12. Laura Vigiano thank you for sharing your story. As an alternative wellness coach I teach clients how to recover their wellness and some clients are dealing with prescription medications.

    Since I am not licensed to prescribe or recommend changes in prescription, I teach clients tools to work through their own body needs. Our body is our stewardship and we are each most familiar with our own needs as we learn to listen.

    I will outline some of the tools in this comment and invite further conversation.

    Turning on body functions
    Each of us have some of our body functions turned off. On average I find that most adults have 30 to 40% of their circuit breakers turned off. The first thing that I do with clients is turn all of the functions back on again so that full light and power is on to all sections of the body and brain. Once the light is on then those functions can repair and work properly to begin inventory what is needed to fully rebuild.

    Rebuilding capacity for proper whole body system function
    Since each person is responsible for themselves and once all of the body functions and systems are turned back on the next step is to rebuild full designed capacity in each body function or system. I teach how to do that function or system rebuild capacity. And each individual is responsible for their own learning of the processes and taking care of the actions and nutritional needs that they discover that they have.

    Using plant based Rebuilding
    I have a masters in herbal studies. It is called as a title a master herbalist. It simply means that I understand body systems and how they work and I also understand what plants rebuild each body system including the brain systems. Our body is a complete system and working on one part while ignoring other parts doesn’t work. So I help clients work on restoring wellness to the entire body. This includes Wellness to emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical components or systems of the body. Since each person is responsible for their own stewardship I teach tools so that each person can take control of their own stewardship in each of these areas.

    The listening tool – self muscle testing
    Perhaps the most amazing tool that we have available to each of us is what is known as muscle testing. Some people have been introduced to it with perhaps a chiropractor or a naturopathic doctor asking them to hold their arm out and then testing them for whether their body is strong or weak with certain things. I teach each client how to do their own self muscle testing with their own method. This allows them to listen to their body to know what materials are needed, what their percentage of function is in each body system, and precisely what their body needs in food and water and rebuilding materials for that precise time or that exact day. With this tool each individual is able to manage completely their own body rebuild. This includes the ability to rebuild their brain their emotions and their physical wellness.

    This comment is insufficient to introduce the tools that I teach. I usually contract with clients for 90 days so that they have time enough to learn the tools with weekly meetings that explore their individual needs mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I would love to help you with your own physical mental and emotional recovery. Respectfully submitted

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    • Dear Fred,
      I really hope you learn about the safe tapering of antidepressants in your ongoing education as an alternative wellness coach. There were many people in the Cymbalta taper support group who trusted alternative health coaches with their antidepressant tapers and got into trouble with terrible withdrawals.
      The practitioners understood nothing about tapering off antidepressants, yet gave their clients harmful instructions.
      The alternative health practitioners did things such as, advising clients to take supplements that prevented the Cymbalta from being absorbed putting their clients into withdrawals, or thought certain supplements could enable people to taper faster, or thought tapering off Cymbalta had something to do with detoxification, which it doesn’t as I explained in my paper.
      I hope you study safe tapering off antidepressants, which in general is reducing at no more than 10% per month and going slower at the very end of the taper so that you do not cause your clients protracted withdrawals which is difficult to halt and reverse.
      The websites Healing America Now and Surviving Antidepressants can give you more detailed taper information.
      I urge you to learn about safe tapering.

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  13. Thank you very much for the report, it is very important so that more and more people know what can happen to them when they start using psychiatric drugs. I’m Brazilian, but I live in Japan and here many people take Cymbalta and do the withdrawal guided by the doctor, as you mentioned. I am also a psychologist and psychoanalyst and I see people who arrive at the clinic in the most diverse conditions due to the use of these drugs. I took the liberty of translating your text into Portuguese and posted it on my blog with the appropriate citations. Here the link: https://amaeinstitute.jp/o-que-nunca-te-contaram-sobre-o-antidepressivo-cymbalta-duloxetina/

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  14. Thank you for this. Just to add that there is another Facebook group that follows the same tapering protocol. I’m not sure, but I think it’s called Cymbalta Duloxetine Survivors. It is run by a single person and has about 5,000 members. Cymbalta Hurts Worse has more moderators, deals with a broader range of questions and answers, has been going for a decade, and as I write this has more than 36,000 members.

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  15. A note: Researcher-practitioner Anders Sørensen is finding that reinstatement can work up to several months after the fact for Cymbalta/duloxetine but has to be to only a very small dose, not a full dose, and adjusted according to the person’s reaction. It’s probably early days yet, though.

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  16. Laura, you are a beautiful person inside and out. As I read the above I almost cried. I wish I could cry but I’m currently tapering Effexor. Years ago, I tapered Ativan too fast and had horrible withdrawals. When I got stable I started tapering with liquid Ativan. I was very lucky to find a mentor on YouTube. It took me 19 months to taper. About another year to become 100%. During that benzo taper and withdrawals I developed akathasia. I was terrified! Online there were people taking their lives because of it. It lasted about 2 weeks and disappeared, then I developed tinnitus. It took me almost until the end of my 19 month taper to become habituated to the tinnitus where I didn’t have an anxiety response to it. That whole taper was hell. I’d rather die than go throw that with my Effexor taper. I have joined a FB Effexor tapering/withdrawal group and they have help a bunch I have tapered down 1/3 of my dose going very slow but I still have symptoms like headaches, eye pain and muscle pain. I didn’t know that after my very slow taper of 5-10% every 4-6 weeks recommended by my group might even be too fast if after my taper is finished I would have more withdrawals weeks after. I won’t survive if that happens. What do you think of that taper schedule? The group says it might take 3+ years to be free. I would like to know what you think.

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    • I finally finished my taper of 60 mgs of Cymbalta. It took 5 years and 2 months.
      When I got down to 2.43 mgs I started to get the weird inappropriate crying so I started to hold each drop for months. It took a year and a half to go off the last 2.43 mgs.

      Anders Sorensen’s research validates the reaction I had. He explains that it is at the end of the taper that we need to go very slowly.

      Cymbalta is microbeads so at the end of my taper I couldn’t go lower than dropping one microbead at a time. At 2.43 mgs I held each bead drop for 2-3 months. I held the last bead for 6 months. I’ve been completely off Cymbalta for 8 weeks with no delayed withdrawals.

      I just guessed at how long to hold each drop at the end. To be safe go to a very low percentage, I can’t remember if Effexor is a tablet or a capsule. But just go to a low percentage and hold for months if possible when you get to 3 mgs.

      For me I was able to do most of my taper at 5% every 2 weeks without any problems. When I got to 50 beads or 13.5 mgs I started to drop by one bead. Each of my beads is 0.27 mgs so I couldn’t go lower than that.

      I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. I don’t get notifications when there is a comment.

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  17. What do you do if the reinstatement as you say, helped some symptoms but not all and then you’ve slowly slowly been tapering by 5 percent every 3 months and still feel terrible? Do you just have to keep tapering and you will heal when you’re off? I don’t think I will survive this.

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