Friday, March 24, 2023

Comments by SaraTonen

Showing 11 of 11 comments.

  • No, most schools are acting this manner for two reasons:

    1.) Medicated children are compliant children.
    2.) Chances are, most of the faculty & staff are taking psych meds.

    My sister in law is a teacher at a nationally recognized school for outstanding achievement & she’s the ONLY employee who isn’t on antidepressants. Educators totally believe in the medicated ’cause’. It was my son’s elementary school principal who convinced me to medicate my son in second grade. It was my husband’s physician who convinced him to take antidepressants for anxiety. Oddly enough, neither of them were available when our world fell apart.

    My kids are in high school now, a private one, and much like public school 80% of students are medicated. I assume the same is true for the staff.

  • Ps.. I think it’s noteworthy to mention it’s advisable not to make ANY CHANGES in your career or personal life during the first year off coming off meds. I don’t suggest even buying a car or making a purchase over $500 during that time-frame. During my husband’s withdrawal process, the first six months he made a few decisions that he thought were wise & just, and I had to sit back and allow him to do so, mainly because I had to pick my battles with him. He purchased a car for our 14 year old to have when she became of driving age. It was an unnecessary impulse purchase but he was convinced it was the right time (despite our lack of finances and the fact our child was years away from driving). Needless to say we sold the car six months later. Although he remembered his reasoning for wanting to purchase it, he was amazed at how his logic was so screwed up but seemed so clear to him at the time. So please try to minimize making any changes and/or large financial purchases for the first year, if not two.

  • My husband quit 400 mg of effexor CT 2.5 years ago after having been on antidepressants for five years. You can click on my profile and read about our plight (going back to my first two comments posted in history) if you’re interested. Although he continued to work, I quit my job to take care of him here at home and it required my attention 24/7. I had to be accessible via text, phone call or email at all hours, whenever a manic moment presented itself. There were days when he didn’t think he could work and many days he had to come home early. There were many weekends he laid in bed, too exhausted to move. There were days he wanted to die. Suicide was a frequent thought in his mind. The inconsolable crying, the fits of anger, the despair, fatigue, I’ve seen it all. There were times he was overcome with anxiety/panic and had to pull over on the side of the road where he’d call me to come get him. This is a tough road regardless of how one chooses to come off meds and it is my hope you have a good, solid support system in place.

    The first year post CT he ate salmon every day, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, flax, Omega3, magnesium, took supplements, etc. He also drank a ton of water and nothing but water. I am confident his diet really aided in minimizing his physical withdrawals and think it’s essential folks have a good diet in place when coming off meds. He was also on a benzo, which is controversial, but it worked for him and he’s now off that, too.

    He was a very health conscious individual who had worked out daily for 20+ years but we quickly found that working out when quitting ssris wasn’t a good combo. Exercise REALLY enhanced withdrawal symptoms and after speaking with others who navigated this journey, it isn’t recommended. It has something to do with the release/increase of dopamine, adrenalin, serotonin etc. It was hard for him to give this up because it had been such a daily part of his life for so long, but he also had periods of serious fatigue and I’m not sure he could have maintained even if it wasn’t intensifying w/d symptoms. The idea is to keep your body/mind as calm as possible for as long as possible.

    I don’t know what it’s like to taper but I do know that regardless of how someone gets off psych meds, it’s a nightmare (especially for those who have been on them 5+ years) and a good rule of thumb is to allow yourself two years post that last pill to recover. No matter what, once you quit taking ssris, your body is going to protest. Someone can taper one granule at a time for 15 years but after you take that last granule, you brain starts screaming. Getting off these meds is uncomfortable, it is painful, it is full tilt torture and honestly – it can’t be avoided. I really don’t care what regimen someone embarks on. There are things you can do to mitigate the emotional and physical pain, but there is no way to avoid the bulk of it.

    I just wanted to share our experience and to suggest being mindful of certain triggers. There aren’t many articles or info regarding this topic, but there’s quite a bit about it within certain circles and I wanted to pass it along. I noted in your article that you worked out and it caught my eye. Working out, cardio, etc. was a HUGE trigger for my husband, as were antibiotics, sugary foods and alcohol. The antibiotic issue really caught us off guard but again, after talking to other warriors, this is pretty common.

    And while sleeping/fatigue is part of the withdrawal process, it is also part of the healing process. A body that’s been medicated for a long time is absolutely sleep deprived. Sleep is fundamentally necessary to healing the brain & quite frankly I’m not sure there can be too much of it, especially that first year after stopping meds. Good luck to you and hope to see you on the other side.

  • Hi, Kmitchell. You were on ssris for a very long time and you seem to have quit cold turkey. Your body is in shock and will take months, if not years, to recover. My husband was on a litany of ssris over the course of five years and he quit CT 2.5 years ago. He was also on a benzo which he stayed on the first year post CT and we tapered him off the second year. Quitting and staying off these meds is possible but people MUST be patient with themselves as their body heals. It takes time and there is no quick fix. It’s not easy and requires a good support system. Based on my personal experience and in talking with others who have quit ssris cold turkey (or tapering off) , it takes the body on average about two years to ‘recover’. The first year is the worst. If you don’t have to work – don’t. Just be good to yourself and know recovery is a slow process and it can not be rushed. We found that exercise, sugary foods, antibiotics and alcohol really exacerbated withdrawal symptoms so be mindful of these potential triggers, especially antibiotics. Exercise isn’t recommended (within the community of people who have dealt with coming off ssris) for the first several months of quitting, as it increases dopamine and serotonin which increases the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. The goal is to keep your body and mind as calm as possible. I am a huge fan of meditation and acupuncture, however.

  • I was one of those parents who dutifully drugged my son at the urging of his school and his pediatrician. In unrelated matters, it was around the same time my husband was put on ssris for GAD. How far I have come since that time..

    My son was medicated at the age of 6 yrs old. At first he was put on vyvanse, then guanfacine then clonadine. All taken in combination.

    Yes, he was surely able to sit still but he also became withdrawn, underweight, obsessive compulsive & depressed. Like many things psych related, the changes are slow & insidious. Because he was able to function ‘normally’, the drugs were considered successful. As the years went by, he failed to gain weight or grow in stature, which, in turn limited his ability to play sports or make friends outside of the online gaming community. He was often bullied at school & had no real way of expressing his feelings or emotions about what was going on.

    I was watching the news the day of the Sandy Hook massacre when a picture of Adam Lanza came across the television screen. It absolutely took my breath away, I was staring at a pic of my son. It was then a light bulb went off in my head and with record speed, I was able to connect the dots regarding my son’s meds, his behavior, how duped I had been and how essential it was I get my son off all meds as quickly as possible. I can’t explain the feeling of suddenly knowing, but I just knew.

    That was the last day my son was medicated. I stopped him CT. I was aware of the side effects & dangers & kept a close eye on his BP & potential serious side effects He suffered withdrawals for about a year but they were manageable. Mainly obsessive thoughts like the tune of a song he would repeat over in his head for hours, he was very emotional, weepy and he was exhausted. Physically, he had chest pain for nearly two years (which I had checked out) that gradually decreased with time. He slept quite a bit that first year.

    Within a year of stopping, he grew 7.5 inches and went from 60 lbs to 120 lbs. He is now 14 yrs old and is a happy, normal kid. He was able to share with me how he felt while taking the meds after sometime without them. He said “Mom, I thought about killing myself everyday but the meds kept me from being able to tell you.”. My son never needed any medication. There was nothing EVER wrong with him other than the fact he was a bit hyperactive. At six years old, I’d say something is wrong if your kid isn’t hyperactive!

    In 2.5 yrs we’ve from a medicated family to a med free family. It’s been the most difficult experience of my life and one where the medical community offered no support or help. During this time I was also dealing with a husband who’d been on ssris for five years. I was forced to quit my job & dedicate myself to healing my son & my husband. It was a 24/7 commitment. It’s truly up to the individual to educate themselves & wing it as they go along. Most families are locked in once they start stimulants and/or psych meds, they lack any guidance on how to get off the drugs and are most ALWAYS discouraged from doing so.

  • Ps.. you are correct, there isn’t anything other than a benzo to help soften the blow of ssri withdrawal. Even if my husband hadn’t been taking them, I would have requested an rx to help mitigate the damage. Either that or we would have gone to cannabis but he is randomly drug tested at work so that would have been risky. Antidepressant withdrawal really requires an inpatient setting where people belong for at least 12 months, but that won’t ever happen. In addition to the benzo, a healthy died full of omega 3, magnesium & leafy greens does help, but as to how much remains debatable. It helped us, that’s for sure. I actually had to quit my job in order to get him off ssris. It truly was an all or nothing adventure and it required my attention 24/7. Our lives, our future, our kids lives were at stake. And I wanted to clarity he was on antidepressants for over 5 yrs solid. It wasn’t 15 yrs but it was enough to cause great harm.

  • (q) How old is your husband?
    (a) My husband is 55
    (q) What dose of Effexor was he on when he stopped?
    (a) My original post wasn’t very detailed as I wasn’t even sure anyone would read it, but technically he was on several different brands over the course of five years. He sought them out as if they were crystal meth or crack cocaine. As I later found out, our beloved physician was also on SSRIS and was very accommodating & liberal with his rx pad. (In unrelated matters, I was also successful in convincing our MD to give them up but sadly it was too late to save his own 20 year marriage.) Getting back to your original question, I recall him taking Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Effexor and Lexapro. Zoloft was the least offensive of the bunch, Wellbutrin created excessive rage and anger, Lexapro created sexual mania and the Effexor created a combination of all. When he stopped CT, he was taking Effexor (not xr) 200 mg x2 daily, so 400 mg daily and had been doing so for about a year and a half.
    (q) What is the Xanax dosage he was on when he stopped Effexor.
    (a) He was taking .5 at bedtime. That was his original prescribed dosage when he started the SSRI/BDZ combo. He didn’t need much, just a little help relaxing before bed.
    (q) What did you do with the Xanax dosage when he stopped Effexor?
    (a) I increased his dosage to 1mg x2 daily. Once in the morning before work and once in the evening before bed. This was purely a decision I made based on intuition alone. I didn’t research it or seek professional advice. At that stage of the game, my faith in the medical community plummeted and I knew for all intents and purposes we were on our own. Aside from the internet there really wasn’t anywhere to turn.
    (q) How long did he take Xanax alone before tapering, and what sort of tapering schedule did he follow?
    (a) Our tapering schedule was again based on intuition. He stayed on the 2mg for the first year following CT off Effexor. I knew from day one I wasn’t going to even attempt to wean him for at least a year. After the that first year, he gave up the daily dose cold turkey but maintained his nightly dosage. The daily mg was easy to give up, he didn’t notice much in the way of mental or physical withdrawals as he was busy back at work. The nightly dosage was a bit trickier, his body was completely dependent on the xanax to put him to sleep. So, every three months he reduced his dosage by 25% over a 12 month period. There were no side effects until he totally quit and the ones he had were minimal. There were a few days of insomnia and he’s had some trouble with racing, negative thoughts and angry outbursts, but after what he endured quitting effexor CT, the withdrawals have been a walk in the park. Seriously. Benzo w/d should be the least of anyone’s worries if they’ve experienced the hell of ssri withdrawal cold turkey or gradual taper. There is NO comparison.

    (q) I would be interested in why you feel that the Xanax was key to tolerating the withdrawal.
    (a) Let me digress for a while if I may. My husband has always been a very health conscious individual who leads a VERY active, healthy lifestyle. When he was on SSRIS, he had side effects that we didn’t recognize as being related. They didn’t happen overnight and could easily be attributed to general aging and/or stress. For example, I quit sleeping in our bed a few years before because he would jerk and thrash around SO VIOLENTLY in his sleep that it scared and kept me awake. He had horrible muscular & joint pain, kidney stones, tendonitis, body wide muscle twitching, brisk reflexes and developed an acute case of severe foot drop that eventually lead us to a neurologist for an EMG. His symptoms mirrored those typically found in ALS. As I was learning more about ALS, and not having fully connected the dots re: SSRIS & his behavior, I truly thought he was suffering from frontotemporal dementia which sometimes accompanies ALS. That’s how manic he was. I can tell you with certainty if one of our children had died during his drug induced utopia, my husband wouldn’t have shed a tear. Not only that, he was capable of killing someone without a guilty conscience, no question. We are truly lucky no one got hurt. It was a period of great anxiety but it eventually lead me to discovering his alter ego and the tiny little pills that made it all possible. Quitting CT added new symptoms (physical) such as; hives from head to toe, vertigo, severe gastrointestinal distress, continual racing thoughts and the inability to sit still or relax. The xanax allowed him to relax his mind and body and I’m just not sure he could have accomplished this fundamental necessity otherwise. He was absolutely suicidal and talked about it often. Bouts of rage, laughing hysterically and curling up in a fetal position while bawling his eyes out for HOURS at a time. There were long periods of despair & remorse which were nothing short of crippling. He was about 6 months post CT before he slowly began to come out of the fog and join what the rest of us know as reality. This was extremely devastating to witness. The more aware he became, the harder it was for him to process and accept. It was like watching a man slowly wake up from anesthesia only to realize he had destroyed his life, crushed his wife, financially ruined his future and missed out watching his kids grow up — all while being totally incapacitated. It’s truly the kind of stuff sci-fi movies are made of. I could go on and on but we have managed to weather the storm and I think the worst is behind us. I can tell you his memory of the last six or seven years is virtually nil. He knows what he did as far as spending money and prostitution, but aside from feeding those impulses, he doesn’t remember vacations, birthdays, holidays, etc. He suffers from memory loss on an ongoing basis but nothing terribly troubling. Overall, the xanax helped mitigate the severity of his withdrawal symptoms by relaxing and calming his body when he would have been incapable of doing so otherwise. It was truly a lifesaver.

    Before he quit CT, it helped that I wrote down the most common side effects of withdrawals and made my husband initial beside each one. We went over it at least three times a week. If people know what to expect, no matter how horrific, they are better prepared to deal with it. He told me many times that while knowing didn’t change a thing as for how it felt mentally, he was reassured what he was feeling was indeed ‘normal’ and not indicative of some mental disorder or disease. He needed reassurance he wasn’t losing his mind.

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t change a thing as far as how he quit and neither would he. There’s just no getting around reality. Cold turkey vs. tapering simply defines the rate at which someone becomes aware of it IMHO, but it’s not for everyone. I educated myself enough to know what to expect and what to watch out for and think I did a pretty good job navigating uncharted waters, but it required a level of commitment and patience that’s nearly indescribable.

    What we found that exacerbated his withdrawals were: working out, overt physical exertion, sugary foods, antibiotics and alcohol. Even now we have to be mindful of antibiotics as it’s like starting all over again. Antibiotics were definitely the biggest challenge. It happened on four separate occasions spanning two years and was no coincidence. I can’t stress this enough and think it’s important for you to keep in your hat.

    His stature, the way his body presents also changed post CT. When he was on SSRIS, he had amazing tone and definition, it was somewhat of a steroid effect. Same thing for his penis & testicles. During SSRIS, they were drawn up 24/7 like the Seinfeld ‘shrinkage factor’. Post CT, it was just the opposite. It was like he had been sitting in a hot sauna 24/7. These drugs do amazing things to the body and it seems no part is spared.

    Every single symptom he had while on SSRIS is now gone. He sleeps soundly and peacefully at night, the foot drop, chronic kidney stones and joint/muscle pain are all completely resolved. He’s still dealing with some slight sexual dysfunction (weak erections, premature ejaculation, etc) that’s improved over time and really seemed to improve quite a bit after quitting xanax. I feel confident these issues will resolve in another six months to a year. He recently started seeing a general therapist and it helps somewhat, but it’s hard to find anyone familiar with ssri induced mania and the subsequent withdrawal process. When I called around interviewing various therapists, and after explaining briefly our situation, they were quick to label him as bipolar because ”only bipolar people suffer antidepressant induced mania.” Bullshit. I think every single individual taking these drugs suffers a form of mania, it’s just the specific obsession isn’t always apparent. I have become so sensitive and versed on this issue I can actually identify people around me who are taking them. Their mannerisms, characteristics, it’s all very similar. You just have to know what to look for.

    I know my post lacks fluidity but it’s hard to paraphrase the last seven years. It has been a life changing event. My husband is back to normal all things considered but he will never be the person he was before taking that first pill.

    If you have any more questions please feel free to ask

  • My husband of 20 was put on his first antidepressant about seven or eight years ago for GAD. He was also given xanax at the same time. The changes were slow & insidious, completely off my radar. To make a very long story short, he developed full blown mania on them but retained enough common sense to hide his manic behavior. He developed an on line gaming/gambling addiction, joined numerous dating websites and frequently paid for prostitution. Despite the fact the ssri’s left him physically unable to obtain an erection without more help from big pharma, he thought about sex 24/7. He blew through our life savings, lost his job & missed out on being a father to his young kids. Once I discovered what he’d been doing, it was easy to trace the begin of his decline to six weeks after his first dose of effexor. I wasn’t 100% sure but I was 80% the meds were to blame. Because I had just spent five years married to a total stranger and despite knowing how harmful quitting cold turkey was, I encouraged him to quit CT. I couldn’t wait a few more years of proper withdrawal to find out if I was simply married to a socio or if the meds were to blame. He is now two years post CT and while the worst is behind us, withdrawals are NO JOKE. I knew what to expect going in but he did not. He experienced every withdrawal in the book and I’m convinced he wouldn’t have made it through without xanax. And speaking of xanax, he is now two weeks post one year taper off of xanax and is doing well. These meds are devastating and life changing. I definitely suggest quitting ssris before benzos if a person is taking both, but don’t be a hero and go CT. It’s cruel to the mind and body and it’s dangerous business. Had we known the potential side effects he would have never taken the first pill. I truly believe illegal drugs are less dangerous & easier to withdrawal from, though not advocating ANY drug, legal or otherwise.