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 Post subject: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:48 pm 
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ive been taking cymbalta since it has been available. like 10+ years maybe (?)
ive decided to stop taking it for various personal reasons.

the psychiatrist who was writing the Rx disappeared off the face of the planet (i assume he retired but i dont know what happened). after that my regulat Dr was writing the Rx and i spoke to her before i decided to stop taking it. she said i was on the lowest dosage available so there was no actual "weaning" per se. i just needed to stop taking it.

so anyways my question is has anyone ever weaned themselves off an antidepressant? how long did it take before you stopped feeling the side effects?
my Dr told me about half-lives and crepe like that and i understand the science behind it but frankly i dont think that means much as far as withdrawal symptoms.

cymbalta has a side effect they call "brain zaps" and while i cant exactly explain what it is i feel like brain zaps is a good word for it.
overall i feel weird. i feel a bit dizzy every now and then and the brain zaps is definitely a thing that's happening.

all my symptoms seem to be within the normal realm of the side effects of stopping it im just wondering if anyone has experience with this and how long i should expect these side effects to last

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:14 pm 
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Did you just stop taking it altogether? Usually when you're on the lowest dose, you then go to taking one every other day, then one every three days, then four etc. That greatly helps with the side effects.

When I came off citalopram I did it very slowly and the side effects lasted maybe a month altogether.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:15 pm 
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i just stopped taking it. she said since i was on the lowest dose already to just stop taking it. :-/

eta: according to google i was not on the lowest dosage. i was taking 30 mg and the lowest dosage is 20 mg. ohwell ive been off it totally for a week now so i dont see a point in taking more to go back off it. i havent had some of the severe side effects i am reading about (there is some scary shiitake on the internet) i just feel weird and weepy and soemtimes dizzy

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Last edited by LisaPunk on Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:18 pm 
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oh gawd. a quick google search of "weaning off cymbalta" and some random person on the internet is saying to help with side effects to "detoxify" your body.


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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:01 pm 
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I weaned of Effexor before getting pregnant the first time. It has some serious potential side effects so I went super slowly with the guidance of my doctor. I weaned down to the lowest dose, then ended up cutting that by opening the capsule and taking out a larger and larger percentage of the granules inside. Then I went to every other day, every three days, etc., and eventually stopped altogether. I never really felt any side effects but I did go really, really slowly.


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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:44 pm 
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I've weaned off Effexor and Citalopram (at different times). I was a bit emotionally unstable for maybe two weeks. Not having a dry mouth anymore felt weird, too. After that I was pretty much back to normal.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:59 pm 
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i wish i had looked this up before doing it as i had previously taken one every other day for a reason i dont 100% remember but i thought at the time someone told me that wasnt a great idea because you're yoyo-ing your brain up and down (it wasnt a medical professional who told me that though, maybe my husband)

i never thought of opening the capsule and pouring some out as i knew opening it and taking it OUT of the capsule was a bad idea but the other way never occurred to me.

there is a lot of scary side effects of coming off cymbalta that ive seen online so im just ignoring all that.
i feel really overly weepy. like im not handling the fact that my 2 year old needs some teeth extracted well AT ALL.

i feel dizzy and weird and tired but otherwise none of the major side effects like suicidal thoughts or massive depressive episode so i guess being weepy for awhile isnt so bad.
i just hope it doesnt get worse. seems like a lot of people report about a month of side effects if they were on a low dose. people who were on a really high dose for many years seems like they need to wean super gradually.

brain zaps are weird.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:08 pm 
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BRAIN ZAPS. That's a perfect word for it.

I've detoxed off Paxil before for no good reason and had the same issue. It sucks, but you'll probably be fine in time. I'm actually about to do this myself. I was given Paxil again and not only did it do jack shiitake for my anxiety, but it's giving me the worst insomnia. When I finally sleep, I ALWAYS wake up from a dream. My REM is all kinds of forked. And I wake up really quickly. So I asked my GP if I could stop taking it while I figured out a psychiatrist. . . I was told to come in and he gave me two months of samples for a medicine that only works for MDD? And is only available name brand? And ALSO causes insomnia for like a MAJORITY of patients? So basically all kinds of forked?

Needless to say, I'm calling for a psych on Monday. And probably a new GP. This is the last straw for me.

At least we'll be in brain zaps together!

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:15 pm 
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this is getting a bit off topic but paxil is the first anti depressant i took and i think it was newish then because i remember the commercials and it was marketed a lot for social anxiety and i think that's why it was given to me because i had depression plus social anxiety issues (still do!) and i could only take it for a week or so because it totally forked up my sleep too!

i have ALWAYS been a late sleeper and not only a late sleeper but it's also hard for me to wake up and be like alert right away but when i was on the paxil i was up every day at like 5am and i was always like wired.

i had to call the dr and tell her i couldnt handle the paxil.

zap zap zap zap zap

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:17 pm 
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I stopped taking citalopram fairly gradually (but not very... conscientiously) and didn't really notice any side effects. But, you know, different drugs and different brains will yield different results.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:54 pm 
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I'm on 20mg/day of Citalopram, I'm very happy (and feel very fortunate) to say it's the first medication/dosage I tried and it's been more or less perfect for me for 8 years and counting. Medicating my depression and anxiety will likely be a lifelong need for me, and I'm okay with acknowledging that. I'm just curious what other folks' experiences have been insofar as side effects with this specific medication. I don't notice any in myself, but it could just be that the initial drastic shift in my mood overshadowed any side effects and I've since grown used to them.

That aside, my best wishes to anyone weaning themselves off or switching to a new medication or dosage. I know it must be tricky and fraught and I admire your bravery.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:33 am 
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I came off Effexor 3 years ago. The first month was hell with the brain zaps, dizziness, explosive diaorrhea and unrelenting nausea. After that it faded away nicely. Then I got a severe depressive episode that nearly ended with me having an involuntary admission to hospital. But I just had to learn the hard way i have the need medication forever type issues.

All I can say is, take it easy as possible on yourself for the next few weeks. Don't be hard on yourself for bursting in to tears over nothing or for feeling like crepe. If you have been so well for so long on a small dose then you will most likely be fine.

The emotional stuff and mood swings in the first 4 weeks do not indicate how you really are.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:25 am 
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Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
I'm on 20mg/day of Citalopram, I'm very happy (and feel very fortunate) to say it's the first medication/dosage I tried and it's been more or less perfect for me for 8 years and counting. Medicating my depression and anxiety will likely be a lifelong need for me, and I'm okay with acknowledging that. I'm just curious what other folks' experiences have been insofar as side effects with this specific medication. I don't notice any in myself, but it could just be that the initial drastic shift in my mood overshadowed any side effects and I've since grown used to them.

That aside, my best wishes to anyone weaning themselves off or switching to a new medication or dosage. I know it must be tricky and fraught and I admire your bravery.


I was on citalopram for a couple years, initially it worked ok (I felt like I had the flu for two weeks then the side effects went) but after a while I guess I developed tolerance to it and the doc kept having to increase my dose. But the more the dose increased, the "numb"er I got. Eventually I was on the highest dose and it was like I was in a fog. And since that didn't even seem to be working anymore I tapered off, and felt a lot better for a couple of months (until the depression kicked back in haha).

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:45 am 
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I went on anti depressants after my grandfather died, the brain zaps made me think I was dying of a brain tumor or something... I weaned myself off (I was low dose anyway).

Lots of luck to you.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:44 am 
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So these things you guys describe as 'brain zaps'- does it feel like a sudden cramp, or a 'twinge', in your head, that's startling and painful and is gone as soon as it arrives?

I thought I was having a precursor to a stroke, even went to my doctor about it several years ago, she never even raised the possibility of it being a side effect of my medication.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:43 pm 
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Brain zaps are from withdrawing from ADs-they aren't really side effects if you are taking them.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:00 pm 
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When I was weaning off Effexor I was told that if you're not careful for some people the brain zaps may never go away. It scared me to go suuuuper slowly and luckily I avoided any side effects by doing it over a number of months.

The weepy thing reminds me of how I feel when I miss a few days of my Zoloft (I'm on that now, and you'll pry it from my cold dead hands...). I get irrationally weepy and irritated and I inevitably realize I forgot to take my meds. It might be worth it to you, especially to get you through BP's surgery, to take a dose every few days to assuage the withdrawal symptoms, but obviously don't if you would rather just power through at this point!


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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:44 pm 
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I don't know if I had it when weaning, I thought it was when I was on it. It felt like an electrical current going through my head. It happened mostly when I was about to fall asleep.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:09 pm 
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Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
I'm on 20mg/day of Citalopram, I'm very happy (and feel very fortunate) to say it's the first medication/dosage I tried and it's been more or less perfect for me for 8 years and counting. Medicating my depression and anxiety will likely be a lifelong need for me, and I'm okay with acknowledging that. I'm just curious what other folks' experiences have been insofar as side effects with this specific medication.


I was on Citalopram for about seven years, with an unmedicated period of about six months in 2010. Out of the three antidepressants I've tried, it's my favourite! The effect was great, and apart from a dry mouth, I noticed no side effects. My gp switched me over to another ssri last year because I was planning to get pregnant, otherwise I would have stayed on it forever!

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:56 pm 
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It's exactly like what you would think an electric shock through your head going down your body would feel like. For me I was having them every few minutes for a week then down to about an hour apart. They slowly got less intense and frequent.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:54 pm 
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daisychain wrote:
It's exactly like what you would think an electric shock through your head going down your body would feel like. For me I was having them every few minutes for a week then down to about an hour apart. They slowly got less intense and frequent.

Yep. Also when they happen, I feel like I'm hearing the world literally shaking. Like if you imagine the universe itself is shaking like an earthquake? What that might sound like? I hear that every step I take.

The brain zaps started for me today. So. Yay. Also nausea. I'm so excite. I'm tempted to just go back. . . but I need sleep, and I also should probably have a clean slate before seeing a real psychiatrist and not my quack GP. UGH.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:59 pm 
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the brain zaps for me feel like someone is squeezing my brain for a second and i lose track of like the timeline. so for example ill be walking from room A to room C and have no memory of walking through room B.

they also seem to come in certain time periods rather than happening all day. i think the more stressed i am the more they happen. but rather than happening throughout the day i seem to get many at once for like an hour or two.

i also am still dizzy a lot. not like oh my god i need to sit down or im going to fall over dizzy but not exactly normal. just a bit woozy.

i have super bad memory loss right now. worse than normal (normally i have a really shitty memory but now my brain is literally a sieve)

the weepiness is the worst though. i cry at everything and nothing.
my in laws were visiting this weekend and i planned all the dinners. i forgot about breakfast completely (i usually get bagels or something like that) and my husband cant be relied on to think about any of this stuff or even pick up the slack when i forget so one of the days he was getting all cranky because it was like 2 pm and he didnt know what to do about lunch. rather than like asking his parents what they thought (did they want to go out? where did they want to go? takeout?) he kept pestering me and i ended up running out of the room sobbing and yelling "i dont know why this is my responsibility!!!!"

fun times. i sent him an email (because my in laws were there so i didnt want to talk out loud about my private bid-ness) of the side effects of cymbalta withdrawal and highlighted all the ones i was experiencing and he actually came and apologized to me and said he forgot that was going on.
he's still Capt Oblivious and cant make decisions on his own but it was nice he acknowledged what i was going through and seemed to be a bit more helpful for the rest of the weekend.

i actually have an Rx of zoloft in my cabinet. when i talked to my dr originally i said i didnt want to take cymbalta anymore. the overall reason being we may or may not want to have another kid next year and i dont want to take cymbalta when im pregnant again and also i just dont think it works anymore because ive been on it forever. so she said a big study just came otu that zoloft is probably one of the safest meds for pregnancy so the plan was to go off cymbalta and if i wanted to see how i felt on nothing but then if i still needed something i could go on the zoloft so i have a low dose of zoloft in my cabinet if i feel i need it.

i took zoloft years ago (after i said no way to the paxil) and it made me gain a ton of weight which ive never lost so im really hesitant to try it again.

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 Post subject: Re: weaning off anti depressants.
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:51 am 
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Several antidepressants are also used as nerve pain suppressants (and vice versa), so I have a little bit of experience with this. If you're already on a very low dose, then maybe try taking it every other day for a little while?

When I came off gabapentin (which had no effect on the pain but stripped me of any emotion and made me put on weight), I had one day of total dismay and lying on the floor thinking about how awful everything and always will be, and then I realized what it was and just settled for being grumpy for a week. I did basically want to cry all the time. It's an idea time to put on some brainless movies you can get into and just ride the wave. The Twilight series of films is a good place to start...

Compared to giving up caffeine, it was a breeze (people actually had a little intervention when I tried that because I was in such a state), but it was still pretty awful for a few days.

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