Antidepressant "withdrawal": vastly exaggerated

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Cyborg Ninja
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Date Joined Jan 2006
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   Posted 9/2/2007 8:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I've read many reports online about the dangers of antidepressants, especially the symptoms they cause when you discontinue them. I've been taking Cymbalta (duloxetine), which is an SNRI, for months, and I was forced to stop using it suddenly thanks to my pharmacy closing early everyday. It's been about 5 days now. I'm amazed at how insignificant the symptoms were -- not that they didn't exist, but they are vastly exaggerated by other users online. So much so that many people are afraid to even try medication that they might need. I can't help but get the feeling that many of the people who complain about the discontinuation symptoms have never been through real discomfort and pain, like say from a chronic disease that isn't psychiatric. Maybe I have just been hardened to it, after all, I go through opioid withdrawal often. Antidepressant "withdrawal" doesn't come close.
Current DX: Graves' disease, Crohn's disease, syringomyelia (C6-L1)


faithfully4you
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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 870
   Posted 9/2/2007 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Cyborg~
I know that anti-ds(antidepressants) are difficult to understand.  I will tell you that the most serious side effects are directed more at adolescents taking them, not so much adults.  I am not sure of your age but anti-ds are not "dangerous" in regards to adults.  Of course they all have side effects but generally as an adult you are safe to take anti-ds.
 
As far as taking an anti-d and stopping it cold turkey, there are some drugs that will actually cause a "withdrawl" effect.  Many docs will actually put you in the hospital to oversee and care for the result. 
 
As far you stopping your meds because of a store closing early, why not find another store?  I am sure the doc that ordered that med would not agree with you just stopping.  You need to consult with him about not having this med.  Although you have been taking your med for several months, you will not notice anything but the symptoms coming back that were there before.
 
You do need to address this with your doc.
Teresa
 
 The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.


olivia of course
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 9/2/2007 12:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Cyborg Ninja,

Everybody' s body reacts differently. I was on lexapro for the a little over a month, and Wellbutrin for a short while too. I was having side effects being on these meds so I quit cold turkey. I have a horrible migraine for a week or so after I stopped taking meds. I would all of the sudden feel light-headed and I had to sit down or lay down. I wasn't eben on the meds that long, but still had withdrawal symptoms. After talking to my pdoc, he told me it happens, and that I was probably too senxitive to those types of medication.


Olivia
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els
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   Posted 9/2/2007 3:18 PM (GMT -7)   

Cyborg Ninja, Have you ever heard the saying "don't believe everything your read/hear"?  I would have to question the integrity of the these websites you have gotten this information from in the first place.

I don't know what dosage of Cymbalta you were on or how long you were taking it nor your reasoning for being on it.  Which are all factors in how the medication is working, absorbed, and prescribed for you.  It does seem apparent that if you had no problems stopping it then you were on a pretty low dosage.

Let me add here that ANY and EVERY medication is dangerous to take, even over the counter vitamins.  Most especially an antidepressant which you should never stop without the supervision of your doctor.  Antidepressant withdrawals are very real and true...just because you didn't experience them from stopping your medication doesn't make them not so.  I think that stating that users on-line have "vastly exaggerated" the symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal is totally irresponsible...and most especially to do so on this forum.


Elisha
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Cyborg Ninja
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 660
   Posted 9/2/2007 4:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I never claimed I had "no problems" when I stopped taking Cymbalta. Like Olivia, I feel light-headed and such. I don't even consider a migraine to be that bad. After all, you can just look at my signature and see why. I did say the discontinuation effects have been blown out of proportion by other people online. As for the integrity of those sites, these are claims made by many people online and are not respective of the sites they were posted on. Most of them are forums like this. As for a couple people citing me saying antidepressants are dangerous, perhaps I should have put that in quotations as well? I hardly called them dangerous myself. Some have more risks than others, but the word "dangerous" is relative. As for telling my doctor about going cold turkey off of an SNRI, I really don't need to. My treatment is my decision, and while I don't think most people are knowledgeable enough to make a decision like that (nor do I recommend they do), I have enough info at my disposal to do so. Also, the psychiatric field itself calls it discontinuation effects, not withdrawal, for good reason.

If anything is dangerous, it's blowing minor discontinuation effects out of proportion to the point where thousands of people are afraid of taking a medication that might be vital to changing their lives for the better. I'm only combatting the misconceptions that some people put out that has dire effect on psychiatric patients.
Current DX: Graves' disease, Crohn's disease, syringomyelia (C6-L1)


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/2/2007 5:06 PM (GMT -7)   

Ninja,

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, however you did post " they are vastly exaggerated by other users online" I strongly agree with the practice of discussing your decision with your physician before discontinuing a medication that comes with a warning to consult physician first. Your right, it is your choice and you can go cold turkey. 

I am on 120mg of Cymbalta and I would not advocate  going cold turkey as brain zaps and many other unpleasant physical phenomenon may occur. These are documented facts and not just personal experiences posted on line. Also you should factor in  the 1/2 life of the drug  and keep in mind each person is different. Meds interact and that needs to be considered.

I respect your right to your opinion and will agree to disagree on this topic. Thank you for sharing with all of us.  :)

From our posting guidelines to members:  Remember that what's right or has worked for one person may not be what's right for you. 

 



Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
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~Rosalyn Carter

 

Post Edited (stkitt) : 9/2/2007 6:12:59 PM (GMT-6)


Another Day
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Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1055
   Posted 9/2/2007 6:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Kitt, Teresa, Elisha and Olivia,
 
I certainly appreciate the comments you all made.  I would hate for a newcomer to come on board and get the wrong idea about discontinuing their medication without consulting their doctor.
 
Take care!
 
Carla

 Epilepsy, asthma, GERD, depression, hypothyroidism


djdaz_1985
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2408
   Posted 9/2/2007 10:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Cyborg,
 
I would say that if withdrawl problems were a slidnig scale, you would probably be nearer the "no problem" end than the "Extreme Problem" end. Everybodys body works differently and this could be why you seem to find it easier to 'give up' than others. As for the "vastly exaggerated by other users online" I wouldnt like to comment on other peoples feelings without asking them if I was only using my own experiences as a benchmark, although I appreciate everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is true that such reports can put people off seeking medical help but it is also important that people make an informed opinion which means looking at all the information.
 
Darren
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Honey Bee
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 9/3/2007 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Cyborg,

Like others have said I would say everyone reacts differently BUT my husband stopped taking Effexor XR over the past few weeks which he had been taking for the past 2 years and had terrible withdrawal symptoms for at least a couple of weeks and he was stopping them gradually. I don't think in our experience therefore that things are 'vastly exaggerated by other users online' he was actually surprised at how bad he felt and that he couldn't really do anything or leave the house due to his symptoms during this period, not pleasant at all.

Actually in his case his Pyschiatrist hadn't warned him at all about the withdrawal symptoms which was actually the opposite of what she should have done in my view.

Honey Bee

hyde123
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/5/2007 5:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Cyborg,

I apologise if this sounds harsh, but your comments have made me angry. While others here seem happy to appreciate your opinions, I for one am not. I don't appreciate any of what you have written and I don't believe that with only your experience of ‘insignificant discontinuation symptoms' to go on, you have any right whatsoever to comment on those who are going through worse than you are.

I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your intent was more to advise people not to be scared of starting medication if they need it, and if this was the case, I would definitely agree. I am not against antidepressant medication at all. I believe that it saves lives every day, and people should not be afraid of taking them just because of the withdrawal they may get at the end. But I’m not sure that was totally your intent.

So, I’m confused. I don’t really understand how you can compare your five days of ‘insignificant discontinuation symptoms’ with my two years of withdrawal hell. (And yes I do call them withdrawals since I haven't been sucked into the marketing w*nk). Have you been unable to sleep for days on end because of the disturbing and vivid nightmares? Being exhausted every second of every day? Feeling like your body is having electric shocks every time you move? Not being able to eat and then vomiting when you finally manage to get something down? Taking days off work and study because you don’t trust yourself to drive? Lying in bed trying to think up another excuse why you don’t want to sleep with your partner tonight because your libido has crashed through the floor? Going through all this whilst attempting to maintain a full time job, a university course and a relationship? Staring at your medication for hours knowing that it is the only thing that will make you feel better but the one thing you are trying to get away from is irony at its best.

This is not make believe, nor is it something I made up for the dramatic value and to gain sympathy. This was real and what I dealt with every day for two years and what people are dealing with every day now. There are still times when I wonder how the hell I am still standing here today; I guess I am stronger than I thought I was. But I am not a better person because of it, and the only good that I believe can come out of it is that I can try to help others that are going through what I did.

I’m actually not sorry for sounding harsh at all. Since you have given your opinion, I will give you mine with the same amount of tact that you have shown. Instead of coming here throwing what I dealt with back in my face, you should be grateful that your 'discontinuation' experience wasn't worse. You have no idea how lucky you are. The only thing that is ‘vastly exaggerated’ here is your belief that you have the experience to make such a comment.

I am not adding to a debate here, nor do I attempt to change your mind or start an argument, but if ever you would like some education about the subject from experiences beyond your own, I would be happy to help.

ShynSassy
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Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3036
   Posted 9/5/2007 5:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Hyde
I too experienced major withdrawals that made me very sick for about 2 months,after stopping all meds cold turkey.
I have never recommended to anyone to stop meds like that. It can really put your body out of whack for awhile.
After 2 months of not sleeping all night,the first night I did finally sleep my b/f woke me up in the middle of the night freaking out. He thought I might have had a heart attack during my sleep. It was that bad!

To everyone else,this is an opinion and I hope everyone remembers that and does not let this thread get out of hand.

Shy
Mod- Depression

Chronic Depression, Panic Attacks,Anxiety Attacks,Anorexia
Meds I have taken throughout the years:Wellbutrin,Tranxene,Paxil,Prozac,Valium,
Lexapro,Zyban,Buspar,Clonazepam
Off of all meds at this time...woohoo!!
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MMMNAVY
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 9/5/2007 6:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I want to caveat this discussion with these kind of drugs carry a black box warning for a reason. Everyone will not have the same reaction (because we are all different individuals), but it can happen, so they want to warn you of all the possible side effects.
 
There is the possiblity of stroking out or an MI with these meds, because they can have a cardio/plomanary (sorry can't spell today) effects.
 
Cyborg, I think your intent was to let people know who are scared of taking anti-depressants that things are not so bad for you.  And that is a valuable experience to share.  I also honor that other people have had very bad experiances with these drugs.  Which is also a valuable experience to share.
 
 
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I will find a way, or make one.-Philip Sidney
Make sure your suffering has meaning...

Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 9/6/2007 7:34:08 AM (GMT-6)


mamo
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 9/5/2007 7:48 AM (GMT -7)   
I must say, I had bad withdrawels when I stopped taking Effexor xr. It was bad, throwing up, heart palpations, weak, bad dreams. They were very real. I was in and out of bed for the most of 2 weeks and I did not go cold turkey I was weaned off of them.
The efferor was great for my depression, best I was ever on and I was on 2 years, but they are also expensive so when we did not have insurance for awhile I asked the Dr to take me off of them. I just resently went back on them. I do not want to go through that again
Debbie T
 
 
 
 
sleep apenia, restless legs, IBS, PLM, high blood sugar, chronic depression, anxiety,
Trazadone 1oomg, requip 3mg, Effexor xr 75mg,Dyazide, aprazolam when needed, cpap machine, lipitor, METFORMIN 1000mg daily
Fibromyalgia
 
 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/5/2007 10:39 AM (GMT -7)   
ShynSassy said...
Hyde
I too experienced major withdrawals that made me very sick for about 2 months,after stopping all meds cold turkey.
I have never recommended to anyone to stop meds like that. It can really put your body out of whack for awhile.
After 2 months of not sleeping all night,the first night I did finally sleep my b/f woke me up in the middle of the night freaking out. He thought I might have had a heart attack during my sleep. It was that bad!

To everyone else,this is an opinion and I hope everyone remembers that and does not let this thread get out of hand.

Shy

 

Healing Well is a "peer" run support group, and thusly a Member is not to "tell" someone what to do in regards to their treatment. However, we can in a supportive manner make suggestions or share experiences.

This forum is a safe place for all and I agree, it is always best to treat each other kindly. Shy, you have my support.


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
******www.healingwell.com/donate******
_____________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

 


djdaz_1985
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2408
   Posted 9/6/2007 12:26 AM (GMT -7)   
I think this is starting to get a little out of hand. Kitt is right. Healingwell is a place where people support each other rather than critise their methods for dealing with their problems. Healingwell is a place where people can feel confident that they will not be belittled or made to feel stupid or wrong.
 
This is not aimed at anyone in particular but is a general message. Please can everybody respect other people.
 
Thank You
 
Darren
Everyone has a guardian angel. They help pick you up when you fall, comfort you through your times of need and help you appreciate the times when things are going well.
 
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Co-Moderator - Depression Forum
 
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