Give me hope and fish oil.
June 11, 2012 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Help me get off of SSRIs!

I've been taking 20mg of Lexapro for about 3 years for my depression and anxiety. While the medication has helped, I feel that I'm ready to come off of it. Not because my depression is completely under control, but because the brain zaps, fatigue, and long-term use are starting to worry me.

(I know people will pop in here and say that these side effects could be mitigated by switching to another medication. I'm feeling really distrustful of any kind of antidepressant since my research on the troubling 'brain zaps' basically showed me that the medical community/research is pretty much in the dark about what brain zaps are and what damage they could be doing to my brain. I get the zaps even while on a steady dose, and I just want off altogether).

I've tried weaning off twice before, both times to disastrous results. I've ended up agitated, depressed, crying, and basically non-functional. My attempts to go off my medication have never lasted more than a couple of weeks.

This is where you guys come in. I want to believe that I can do this. I have this deep fear that I won't be able to make it without medication, especially since I'm starting a demanding, four-year graduate program in the fall. I'd really appreciate hearing about others who have managed to successfully come off of medications and keep their depression at bay, even through times of stress.

I know metafilter can be pretty pro-antidepressants, and I too value them for helping pull me out of a suicidal hole. But I'd like to hear the other side of the story now. I'd like to hear good reasons for going off of my meds (anecdotal and scientific), encouraging stories about getting through withdrawal and staying off meds, and any advice about natural ways I can deal with my stubborn depression. I just bought some Omega 3 supplements, some melatonin, and a B complex vitamin. I'm going to try to get into yoga and mindfulness meditation. I'm spending a lot less time on the computer/my phone. I have the Feeling Good Handbook and am going to try to work through the exercises. I smoke small amounts of pot, which helps. I just want to be able to use all these resources and not end up a snivelling mess, lying in bed with my brain zapping and my thoughts despairing. Please give me hope that I can do this.
posted by whalebreath to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Wait, you do know there's different classes of anti-depressants outside of SSRIs, right? IANAD, but from what I've read, brain zaps are exclusively SSRI/SNRI territory. Are you seeing a psychiatrist, or are these prescribed by your GP? If it's the latter, I suggest you find a psychiatrist, especially if you're trying to withdraw from medication due to side effects and not because you're ready to get off of the medication. Remember: depression is an illness, and from what you've said about your prior experiences of withdrawing from the medication you take for your illness, getting completely off all medication may not be the best idea.

To get off SSRIs you have to taper. Otherwise, they're going to kick your ass twice as hard as they are now. Coordinate withdrawal with your doctor, because, seriously, cold turkey-ing off SSRIs is a terrible thing to do to yourself.
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]

Is there a reason that therapy done with a professional therapist isn't part of your treatment plan?
posted by MadamM at 8:26 AM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

Also, vitamin D-3 can do wonders for one's mood. I take 1500 UI (more in the winter) but you should probably start lower and work your way up until there's a noticeable effect.
posted by griphus at 8:26 AM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I admire you for your desire to get off SSRI's. (Sadly, doesn't surprise me that a bunch of people here are pro-drugs.)

I have one major and a few minor things to suggest. Major thing is zone diet. Basically, the goal is to take the "runner's high" feeling one gets and extend it for most of your waking hours. If you exercise enough and are disciplined enough, the results on depression can be dramatic (my experience and other anectodal evidence). (I think there have been studies on this, but the "science" might just come from one of those holistically-oriented MD's like Mercola.)

Other things you can try is early rising with early exposure to bright light (raises testosterone levels, which I believe helps even if you're female.) Resistance training (same idea). Other things that work short-term are sauna's (using a hot/cold routine), hot yoga, keeping regular routines, and hard-core breathing exercises (pranayama).

In general, I've found that you if you get a toehold on depression by using one of the above, then it's easier to implement things like positive thinking / thankfullness etc.

Good luck (and if interested in diet, feel free to email)
posted by Jon44 at 8:27 AM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

I've tried weaning off twice before, both times to disastrous results. I've ended up agitated, depressed, crying, and basically non-functional. My attempts to go off my medication have never lasted more than a couple of weeks.

I too value them for helping pull me out of a suicidal hole

These two statements make me feel like you need to really think over your decision to go off them. I'm on antidepressants, I know first hand that some of the side effects can be a significant issue, but I'd choose the side effects over how awful I feel off of them.

If you are adamant that you want to come off them, then you need to do it with the guidance of a doctor and maybe engage in some therapy concurrently. If you are serious about getting off of them in a long term and healthy way then you need help. Doing it on your own and doing a bunch of self medication of suppliments etc. isn't the smart way. You need to go at it much more strategically. Make up a plan with your doctor and therapist, and do it in a way that gives you the best chance of success.
posted by gwenlister at 8:27 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]

Weaning off is tough, no doubt about it. Having bounced around with half a dozen different meds and then voluntarily going off completely, I can say for myself that the zaps were worse than the tapering. That's what made me persevere; the conviction that I didn't want another single week of disorientation and would put up with a lot to achieve that goal.

You've already got several things going that helped for me - B-vitamins, exercise, meditation. The other things that helped were busy work at home, keeping a daily schedule, contacting friends frequently, getting lots of sun, and having a 'no screens after 8pm' rule (helps with getting to sleep on time).

On the medication side, there were different dosages of the pills I took, and my GP prescribed some smaller ones to make the tapering steps less drastic. This helped too.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:35 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Remember: depression is an illness, and from what you've said about your prior experiences of withdrawing from the medication you take for your illness, getting completely off all medication may not be the best idea.

These two statements make me feel like you need to really think over your decision to go off them.

I'd really appreciate just advice on how to go off them, and not advice that maybe I should stay on them. I think what I need most is the conviction and hope that this is possible, that if I work hard I can do it, and that it is possible to handle and treat depression without using pharmaceutical antidepressants. I mean, a lot of research suggests that most of the effect of SSRIs may be placebo, so I'd like to equally convince myself that I can use other techniques to effectively treat my depression.

Thanks for all the answers so far. I have an appointment with a psychiatrist for Wednesday, and have just moved to a new city and will look into getting a therapist.
posted by whalebreath at 8:41 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

When you weaned yourself off of anti-depression pills, how did you do it? Did you reduce your intake over a long time? Or were you on 60mg and went down to 50mg, 40mg, etc.?

I know Ask Metafilter is pretty anti vitamins/minerals/supplements, but I really do think they help. Along with your Vitamin B and Omega, try Vitamin C and magnesium. (Epsom salt baths help too!)

A popular home remedies website has a lot of positive feedback for 5-HTP and cold showers. (Not necessarily together!)
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:42 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whalebreath: The fact that you're able to assert yourself in the face of someone saying you should stay on drugs, tells me you'll be able to get off them.

Besides the things already mentioned, there are all sorts of resources out there I'm sure you'll be motivated to seek out. And once you get some confidence that you have some power over your depression, a "virtuous cycle" starts where you'll add more and more elements to your life that support and sustain you.
posted by Jon44 at 8:46 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I finally got off SSRIs at the beginning of this year (for anxiety). Definitely wean *slowly*. Talk to your psychiatrist about the best way to wean yourself off. I don't know how hard Lexapro is to get off (I took it years ago but had switched a couple times in the past few years), but when I decided to go drug-free I was on Effexor which is very hard to quit. My doctor actually switched me first to Prozac then had me wean off that. I didn't get any "SSRI Discontinuation" symptoms while weaning off, but I did feel pretty depressed for a few weeks after while my body adjusted. However, by knowing that my symptoms were just temporary and that once my brain/body adjusted I would feel better, it was a lot easier to manage the symptoms and get through it.
posted by radioamy at 8:53 AM on June 11, 2012

I've weaned myself off meds before and you must wean yourself REALLY slowly. So you are taking 20mg now... for a couple of weeks take 15 mg. Once you are seeing no negative side effects at 15 mg move down to 10 (but make sure you take at least 2 weeks). Then 5. Then 2.5.

Make sure you work with a doctor while you do this.
Make sure you are getting outdoors, in the sunshine, every day.
Make sure you are getting exercise.
Make sure you are eating really, really, really well. Lots of fish, whole grains, leafy veggies, berries, fresh fruit.
Make sure you are during a low-stress stretch in your life.
Make sure you are not drinking.
Make sure you get lots of sleep.
Consider fish oil supplements and Vitamin D.

And if you ever need them in the future, consider using one of the older tricyclics like nortriptyline.
posted by LittleMy at 9:09 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I take, daily:
*omega-3 supplements (flax oil and DHA from algae because I'm vegetarian, but most people take fish oil) because I read this article
*vitamin D b/c I probably have seasonal affective & I live in Canada (less sunlight in winter) (here is a link about low levels of vitamin D linked to depression)
*a B-complex vitamin (here is a relevant link)
*a low dose of vitamin E (here is a link with more info about dosage issues & studies seeing low levels of vitamin E in those with depression)
*an iron supplement, because I've been either pregnant and/or breastfeeding for probably 90% of the past ten years and I have had issues with low iron; iron deficiency is linked to PPD and perhaps depression in general
*a women's pregnancy/postpregnancy multivitamin (for the zinc, folic acid, and anything else I might want to be on top of)

I use melatonin when I'm behind on sleep - I'm a mess if I don't get enough deep sleep (when I'm trying to lose weight, and in keeping my moods on an even keel).

I do not find taking these supplements are a "magic bullet", they don't solve the depression or make it go away - taking them makes it easier to cope day-to-day, and I usually experience a significant drop in my mood if I miss days. When I begin taking them again I notice an improvement within a few days.

If I am getting exercise regularly (has to be something that takes a certain level of effort - cardio and/or weights - so that I break & sustain a sweat) - that helps regulate my depression as well. I have to have a routine, and it has to be made quite easy for me to keep to my routine, for this to work.

The things I do when I'm depressed tend to feed my depression and make it a bigger, stronger, more firmly controlling monster in my life: eat junk food, stop doing my chores, stop exercising, having nothing at hand to distract me from anxiety or a shame spiral, hide in my house & don't go out and be social. I don't exactly have answers for this because I know all too well that I can know what I should do and that it will help but that isn't usually enough to motivate me to do it no matter how logical it is.

So I find a lot of support is key, whether that be people to listen to you, people to lean on when you're having a bad spell who take you out, people who can make or bring you healthy food, people who can help enforce good habits like take you to a class at the gym every other night, having someone to help clean, people sleeping over (if you live alone) so you're not alone - I don't know your flavor of depression or what will help you, personally, the most, but you see the common thread here is other people to help you somehow. So, yeah, all of that is the advice I can share. Good luck & I'll root for you.

*swiped some of my links from this previous AskMe answer I made
posted by flex at 9:37 AM on June 11, 2012 [14 favorites]

Daily exercise and regular therapy appointments.
posted by sugarbomb at 9:43 AM on June 11, 2012

Your psychiatrist (or a psychiatrist, if you haven't been seeing one) will help you develop a plan for how much to reduce your dose each week safely. It's worth seeing a psychiatrist for a one-time consult on this if you don't have a psychiatrist.

I have never taken Lexapro, but when I've come off Effexor, I've reduced the dose gradually by 37.5 mg, and then when I got to 37.5 mg reduced it by half and stayed at that for a couple of weeks, and never had any of the dizziness/synaptic discharge/headaches issues that are considered a side effect of coming off the drug. has lots of useful info.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:06 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Benadryl helps some people, some of the time, with the zaps.
posted by quivering_fantods at 10:07 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was on these types of meds (ssri, snri, and anti depressants) for about two years, switching as problems occured, until I eventually fell on to abilify which made me decide these medications were not worth it anymore.
I quit cold turkey. Don't do that! I learned that the hard way and boy did it suck. The fatigue, the brain zaps all that shit. Start off by a tamper, and little by little it will work.
Surprisingly this is about the time I started smoking marijuana as it did ease the symptoms... what doesnt cannabis help?

I know metafilter can be pretty pro-antidepressants,

that is an understatement, it seems people believe they are a solve all.

They are not, this is neither here nor there, but I just want to say you can get off of them, and life will get better. it can take a while, it was about 2 months before I felt normal. The most sucessful thing I can say with regards to depression is to keep an eye on it. notice the symptoms. I am always surpised how many people are drugged and dont have a therapist or a psychiatrist they see when necessary to actually work on behavior and thought pattern recognition. best of luck!
posted by handbanana at 10:14 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

whalebreath, if you feel it's appropriate, can you elaborate a bit on where you're at right now, in terms of daily function? What's your daily routine like? Are you able to exercise, go to work/school, socialize, all that stuff?

This might help us give more focused answers re: practical steps you can take to get off the medication with the least duress possible.
posted by quivering_fantods at 10:35 AM on June 11, 2012

Have you ever been on Benzodiazapenes? I know your goal is getting off drugs, but the side effects of a benzo like Klonopin are far less troubling. They might help you smooth out the transition off Lexapro. They will at least help the anxiety and agitation, and also probably help with withdrawal symptoms.

I have been on many antidepressants, Lexapro for the longest. I've never been able to tolerate them for long, I've always found the side effects to outweigh any possible benefits, but benzos help me (I only take them now on a very occasional basis, because I don't went to be addicted to any kind of medication, although there addictive potential is pretty low.)
posted by catatethebird at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2012

I've been on Anti-depressants and Ritalin or Concerta for several years (7 or so?) and over the winter I decided I'd had enough. The bi-monthly doctor visits for prescriptions, the pharmacy and the dependence on the drugs was killing me, so I decided to stop.

I took a different approach - probably not the best, but it worked out fine for me and I was fully functional. I knew that I could stop the Ritalin without much issue, so when that script ran out, I just didn't refill it. That part was fine.

The Effexor was tougher. I knew from previous experience that I could go about 36 hours between doses before I started to feel dizziness/disorientated, etc.. I also knew that I could deal with the dizziness in most situations (it wasn't debilitating, just uncomfortable) and so my first step was to push my 'delta' between doses to 2 days, then to 3 days, etc.

I found that the dizziness was often resolved by strong, hard exercise (I mountain bike and when I couldn't bike, I'd get on the rowing machine or elliptical machine). Often, if I started to feel the dizziness toward bedtime, I'd just go to sleep and wake up fine the next morning. But really, it was exercise that was the most helpful in 'pushing the delta' between doses.

All told, it took me about 2 months to fully stop taking the pills. I never cut the pills for smaller doses, just took them every few days when the dizziness was too uncomfortable. And I did this on my own - no guidance from my doctor.

Since I have been fully off the meds, I have taken care to pay very close attention to my anxiety, destructive thoughts/behaviors (my depression stems from anxiety and low self esteem/self depreciation issues), and make sure to 'check myself' every so often to make sure I'm not slipping back to where I was (which is to say, laying on the couch, watching TV, every night after work for hours). I've found that I have a hair-trigger for tears in any given situation - ridiculous stuff makes the tears come (radio commercials, for example) - but mostly I just laugh it off these days.

Honestly, I was afraid that this 'experiment' would be a big failure - I still have a small stash of about a week's worth of Effexor that I keep hidden away. I was sure I'd have to use it at some point. Its been about 5 months since I've fully detoxed and I think things are just fine - and so does my husband who's been there since the start of the depression and meds.

The ONLY thing I know for sure is that I really have to exercise regularly. If I go more than a few days without exercise, I feel myself slipping. A good, sweaty workout usually kicks me right back into place and life goes on as planned.

Drop me a note if you want to talk more about this.
posted by CorporateHippy at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2012

The thing about my experience with anti-depressants is that I have gone on and off them for varying periods of time my whole life. I think it's great to try managing your depression without them, but if that doesn't work for you, or if it works for you for some time (often for years at a stretch in my own experience), going back on them might be a life-saver.

It's not all or nothing; when you go on them, you don't have to be on them forever, and when you go off them, you don't have to be off them forever. Being on medicine isn't a failure.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:29 PM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

A few things that have helped me, some of which have been mentioned: Getting some type of activity/exercise, Getting out even if it is just sitting in the SUNSHINE. Being around positive people that can help me stay in a positive mind frame, positive self-talk, twice a day doses of fish oil ( I forget the milligrams but it is the max), Max dose of vitamin D3, tapering SLOWLY, my doctors recommendations have always been faster than what I can handle and I have always had to go slower.

Best of Luck
posted by heatherly at 1:02 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

oh my god, I hate SSRIs. the first time I went off my daily dose.. honestly it was terrifying. night sweats, head zaps, headaches, bewilderment, etc. then when i went back on i had f'ing terrifying suicidal thoughts, which i thought were an exaggeration but apparently it's very real.

second time i went off, i did it differently. i started chopping pills in half, skipping days, then skipping two days.. basically i spent a month very slowly stopping it. the key things were:

-slow cessation
-watch out for symptoms, and when you know to expect them they can be easier to deal with
-MARIJUANA (yes, in all caps). not only do I love pot, but it eased my initial symptoms ON the meds (this should have been a sign).. it made coming off them drastically easier. it relaxed me, lifted my mood, calmed some shakiness (like that feeling you get when really need to eat), etc
-don't drink alcohol. i'm not a drinker, so this is advice to others. i just know it makes things worse
-if you're really deep into it on a certain day, take a half pill. don't feel like taking one if you were intending to skip a day means you failed.

oh.. and i've been off it for over 6 months. and i enjoy these .. emotion things. i feel happiness and sadness. like a person is meant to.
posted by ninjew at 1:11 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry. What are brain zaps?
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2012

"Brain zaps" are posited to be random synaptic discharges that feel like a static shock in your head (or elsewhere in your neural system). It's a commonly reported withdrawal effect from SSRI meds.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2012

I think it's critical you find a psychiatrist who is pro-weaning off medication. Pair her/him with a therapist with the same bent and experience. Oliver Sacks has an article in "Anthropologist on Mars" about a client with Torrettes Syndrome dealing with medications (Torettes is one of those neurological disorders which have serious upsides) and working through in therapy (with Sacks, but I doubt you'll find a psychiatrist who does therapy anymore) his mixed emotions/responses to using medication. In that single subject case, the therapy removed all side effects of the medication when he went on it again; a similar effect may be gained by going off in a comprehensive manner.

Exercise has been clinically proven to have the same effects as anti-depressants; the issue is the avolition that is part of depression which impedes someone from exercising.

You could also look into Electro-convulsant Therapy (ECT). It's still largely experimental, due to the large negative history of "shocking" people, but the current therapies are really showing to have some positive effects on depression (though there are side effects possible as well, so it's not a sinecure).
posted by Deoridhe at 2:54 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've done a three year stint followed by a year long stint on anti-depressants, and have been clean for 5 yrs. I was not on SSRI, I was on NDRI and I still tapered like my life depended on it. I'd drag out the tapering by twice as long as usual.

To echo my earlier comment in another thread, I too supplement like a mofo. I currently take a potent high quality multi, LOTS of omega's (highest range of dose), D and probiotics. These do amazing things to my body, and yes, bloodwork showed deficiencies in D and a couple of others, so I'm not making it up.

I also exercise pretty steady, with heavy lifting twice a week, and cardio 2-3 times - anything from bootcamp to bike rides, mood and weather permitting. I meditate, about ten minutes on the commute each morning. My meditation is both traditional 'empty mind' and meditating on reframing my thoughts. There is a lot of self talk involved, and deep breathing. Books like 'Loving What Is' can be very helpful. Unlike many others I don't do well with marijuana, it makes me sleepy and heart racy.

I prioritize my sleep like it's going out of style. 7-8 is mandatory, going up to 9-10 on weekends. I take melatonin if I need to fall asleep quickly, and I find after taking melatonin for a couple of weeks the effects linger for a few weeks.

All that has resulted in many years drug-free, with many traumatic events to test my mettle so to speak. I lost my father last week, and while fully grieving, I'm coping well. You can do it.
posted by tatiana131 at 3:40 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

And also... if you ever have a return to depression, you'll be much quicker to recognize the symptoms and you'll never go through the same hell as the first time, until you take the plunge with meds again. You will know what to watch for, and be much more proactive about it. That can give you peace of mind, knowing that even if you have to face depression again, it's never as bad cause you're quicker to catch it. (Also it's been more like seven years now that I think about it).
posted by tatiana131 at 3:42 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Having gone on and off Zoloft a few times, I can tell you this: when I was "ready" to come off of it, I didn't have very many emotional symptoms after coming off. When I wasn't ready, I felt terrible while coming off. FWIW.

I did have the brain zaps, but they really weren't all that bad. Don't fear them, don't freak out; it's sort of like being persistently startled for a while. They also (for me anyway) tapered off very slowly.

Keys to success: eat plenty of protein with tryptophan, and CBT/positive mental attitude.
posted by gjc at 3:13 AM on June 12, 2012

Best answer: I highly recommend against using a benzo to wean off an SSRI. Kicking a benzo dependence (like klonopin) makes getting off an SSRI seem like a walk in the park. Getting off an SSRI is really uncomfortable, but getting off a benzo will make you want to curl up in a dark corner and pray to a god you don't even believe in to make you stop being constantly aware of your heart beating in your chest.

I'm on an SSRI now, but I've gotten off two prior to being on this one. A couple things that echo what has already been said but that I think ought to be stressed:

-The most important thing you can do is to taper. Do it under the guidance of your Pdoc.

-When you're getting off, pick up new healthy habits to focus on. Do them and think about how good they feel. Eat a really balanced diet. Exercise. Sleep. Give up the coffee for a bit (which will help keep you calm and reduce your anxiety about getting off the meds). Focus on how good these things make you feel. When you get the zaps or cringe at noises or get headaches or puke or can't sleep, breathe deep and think about all the great things you are doing for your body.

-Yoga and meditation have done wonders for me (still have depression and still on meds, but a lot less than I would have to be on). I highly recommend these practices. They will make you feel good, they will make you want to take care of yourself, and they will help you accept the icky feelings withdrawal. They will help you sort of look at your withdrawal - the nausea and the freaking out feeling - and allow you to step away from them and recognize, 'hey, that is how my body is feeling right now because the chemicals are shifting' and learn to just sit in it, accept it - it will pass.

-Tea is awesome. Stay away for now from things like St. John's wort and Kava. But Chamomile is great when you're feeling anxious. Switch out your morning coffee for some green tea.

-Support. Find someone who you can call up and talk to when it gets bad, because it will probably get a little bad. Try to occupy yourself with friends and things you like doing rather than wallowing.

-Make an environment you love. Make your home and your bed a place you want to be. Clean it well before you start to go off. Have some plants for comfort and to give you a small task everyday. Have candles and your favorite classical pianist at the ready. Stock your fridge with healthy comfort foods. Reading can get hard when your brain is all a buzz coming off the meds - times like these call for your guilty pleasure netflix shows. Watch them to pass the time without judging yourself harshly.

-Make getting off your meds your priority but don't obsess about it mentally. That is, make this your main project. Put anything else you can on the back burner for a while. Forgive yourself for not working on your novel right now. But don't feel consumed by getting off your meds. Don't constantly think 'oh god, this is terrible!' Find relaxing and comforting ways to be occupied.

-Don't drink. I learned this the hard way. It's a great immediate solution to anxiety but it's not sustainable and makes things far worse in the long run.

-If you have to go back on them, forgive yourself and accept that you need to be on them. But do give kicking them the college try. I've come off them twice. The last time, it was great at first, and then things became Really Bad. It boiled down to me being on meds, which I wasn't thrilled about, or me being a mess that couldn't get out of bed and was on the verge of suicide. I opted for the meds. It was the better of two evils. There's no shame in it.

Best of luck.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:03 AM on June 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: 3 month update: I am now med free! It's been 10 days since I last took any kind of dose, but I have tapered slowly over these last few months.

I did well at each taper, but once I stopped taking it completely I was getting lots of zaps, nausea, and parts of my face (tip of nose) would go numb. My doctor supported using Benadryl to deal with these side effects, and one Benadryl seemed to do the trick when the zaps and nausea were getting too bothersome. I took the Benadryl for almost a week, and am now finding that I don't need it anymore.

I've had a few crying spells and find myself really emotional and sometimes overwhelmed, but I clued my friends and family in to what I was going through, and they've been great and patient and I just remind myself that this is part of the withdrawal process.

Mindfulness meditation has been the thing that has helped the most - I do that in the morning and feel so much better all day (and noticeably not-as-able-to-cope if I miss a couple days).

My energy and motivation have returned significantly!! I've been waking up and doing things, which in itself seemed like an exhausting ordeal on the lex. I've also stopped depending on pot as much to help me get motivated - I find I just don't need it as much any more.

I'll try to update again in a few months, once the stress of grad school is in full force. Thank you all so much for your advice and support - this community rocks!
posted by whalebreath at 4:29 AM on September 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I recently heard -- from a psychiatrist, this isn't wingnutty -- that there are some interesting studies coming out about niacin and L-methylfolate supplements being used to help out serotonin and dopamine. I don't know the dosages, so it's something you should talk about with a doctor. The psychiatrist told me that she's deliberately eating more tuna and peanuts in order to get plenty of niacin; the L-methylfolate supplements would be necessary only for some people, while niacin alone would do the trick for others.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:22 PM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

« Older When to send the baby gift?   |   There's like nine colours here, and they're all... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.