Mirtazapine; cold turkey withdrawal week 7

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Hello Everyone

I found this forum in desperation suffering chronic insomnia after abruptly stopping 15mg of mirtazapine.  I naively thought I could just stop without any tapering as I thought my dosage low (15mg) coupled with the fact that I had only been taking it for 5 months.  

I would like advice from anyone in a similar boat.  My main problem is dreadful insomnia.  I battle to fall asleep.  I have had nights when I am awake the entire night, going to bed at midnight and still awake at 5.00am.  It's a mixed bag at present.  Some nights I will get 3-4 hours sleep.  Other nights maybe 5 -6 hours if I'm lucky.  My mind races and I get stomach gurgling and anxiety.  

Please someone tell me that this state will pass.  I would like to hear from someone who has withdrawn from this drug successfully and had their natural sleep pattern/rhythm return eventually.  And when approximately this can happen.  I did read that 3 months is a fair expectation for complete withdrawal but would really appreciate any first hand experiences.

I have explained all this to my doctor but refuse to go on a different AD so she has given me a 2 week supply of zopiclone as a security blanket for bad nights.  I panic at the thought that two weeks is hardly a comfort if I thought that this chronic insomnia can last for many more months.  

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  • Posted

    I reduced from 15 mg down to 7.50 a few months ago, but I have hit a bit of a rough patch but I trying hard not to up the dose again. Ideally I would love to cease taking them altogether but am really afraid of the wd symptoms.
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    • Posted

      Hi Adele 

      thanks for replying. It makes you feel that you are not alone.  I have been tempted to start again by splitting my tablet in half but I keep thinking about how much agony I've been through already and it just tell myself to keep on going.  That's easy to do in the day when it's light and bright and there are people around but sitting at a kitchen table at 4.30am, having been awake all night is awful.  Bear in mind that each person's withdrawal is different.  If I had known the insomnia was this bad, I would have been sensible and tapered the drug but I didn't know that.  Be kind to yourself, you have tapered and you are going in the right direction

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    • Posted

      Christine,

      Was your insomnia bad prior to taking mirtazapine because I believe you should be past the withdrawal stage by now.

      I know exactly how you feel with the insomnia as it is the worst thing to deal with hands down. It's a vicious cycle with the lack of sleep making your anxiety worse which in turn makes your insomnia worse..

      I wouldn't reinstate the mirtazapine if you can because it is so hard to get off of but it sounds like you may need something to help if your insomnia is this bad. Try not to overthink about it which I know is easier said then done and I'm sure you know all the good sleep habits if you have insomnia but try not to obsess about them either and just live life the best you can.

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    • Posted

      Hi Rob

      No, I didn't have a problem with sleep before taking this drug.  I was prescribed it mainly for anxiety.  I think I was stupid to go cold turkey because I have read that withdrawal is worse than if I had tapered.  I was only taking it for 5 months, started just before Xmas last year and stopped on 31 May this year.  I have told myself it will get better but it is hard when you feel like the only person awake at 4.30 am.  I know I shouldn't overthink.  There is nothing worse than willing yourself to sleep

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    • Posted

      Hello Christine

      You're certainly not alone in here, I found this forum in desperation as well...

      Almost 4 months ago I came off mirtazapine 30mg cold turkey after taking it for almost 3 years, I didn't know about withdrawing or anything like that cause I was even trying to withdraw it just happened by accident...

      Just like Rob said try not go back on it, try your best not to worry about your sleep pattern, at the beginning when I started to withdraw I thought I was going crazy and freaked out when I went days without getting any sleep, that's how I ended up here on this website, as I realized that this medication is hard to come off I promised myself not to take it again, every night i would prepare myself nice shower, healthy snack, lights off, phone off, chamomile tea with honey, and every other night a Tylenol pm or just allergie medicine to make me drowsy and aide my sleep.

      At the beginning of my withdrawal my symptoms were so bad that sleep was the least of my worries, I thought I was dying and was getting horrible panic attacks, as the days went by those symptoms started to diminish but the insomnia was terrible I would get 2 hours off sleep and then be awake for the rest of the night through thre next day, and so on.... eventually it got better my last pill was March 26 this year so it will be almost 4 months....

      My advice do not go back on it specially if you're only concerned about insomnia, if your appetite is good, and you can manage to drink plenty of water, juts be strong and hang in there, I'm only telling you because I've been there and trust me when I tell you I thought I wasn't gonna make it but here I am typing this, I'm sleeping much better you have to give time to your body to get rid of the mirtazapine, do self talk, eat as healthy as possible and avoid sugar and coffee also soda, chamomile tea, and if you do have sleeping pills take one once in a while not every night... you will get through this I promise!??

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    • Posted

      Hi Candy

      I can't tell you just how much I find your comments very comforting.  This is what I need to read.  Someone like yourself who has been through this.  I thought I would have got past this insomnia problem by now but reading your  post has helped a lot.  I do have a low dosage zopiclone tab for desperate nights but as you said, I try not to take them. And I do all the other stuff, the camomile tea, a nice bath, and tell myself I can do this.

      I just long for the time when my natural sleep mechanism will kick in.

       Thank you

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    • Posted

      Hello again??

      My sleep has improved a lot, I sometimes depending on how busy my day might be will get tire and fall asleep on the couch watching tv so my children and husband know not to wake me up to tell me to go lay on my bed, that's how desperate I have been for sleep that I made rules around the house😅 But seriously it will get better, force yourself not to be self conscious about it... currently I'm getting at least 5 hours straight and I will take that for now cause it use to be none to 2 hours....like I said it depends on how busy the day might be with work and my children... so staying somewhat busy and moving around will guarantee a better sleep and I am been truly honest... Good luck Christine it might take me time to respond but I'm always here!

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    • Posted

      Sorry forgot to mention I do not take any specific sleep aide medication like I've mentioned I take allergie medication cause i have really bad allergies and of course they make me drowsy which somewhat helps me sleep a little... I take Loratadine10 or Diphenhydramine25 not together and only when become really desperate, is my very first time going through any kind of withdrawal and after reading so much about it I just want to be as clean as possible... yesterday a friend told me that making rosemary tea has help a lot with depression symptoms... I'm soon trying that as well, keep in touch and let me know how you're managing!

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    • Posted

      Hi again Candy

      i will defo keep in touch - thank you.  It's reading from users such as yourself that keeps me going.  I honestly thought that on 15mg for not longer than 5- 6 months, I would have had my natural sleep rhythm back by now.  It's crippling but reading your story makes me hang on.  

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    • Posted

      Hi Candy appreciate you posted this 9 months ago but I just discovered the forum!

      Sorry for the long post! 

      Your words are the most inspiring and hopeful I’ve read - suffered with depression for 8 years - various ad’s but ended up on Mirt last 12 months - 15mg then upped to 30mg completely zonked me out - yes great sleep amazing vivid dreams (that in truth ironically became exhausting in the end )- I was just lethargic most days til lunchtime - a few hours feeling not too bad then by 4pm lethargic again - sadness - days of crying returned .. the usual 

      I’ve hated being on them went back to gp but he told me to persevere - no change ...went two days ago to see a day different gp - reduced meds to 15mg said no probs going cold turkey - one of the other doctors had done it so I should be fine ! No need to taper - all it does is prolong the side effects of withdrawal - “feel bad for 2 weeks or so and get through it “ was the advice 

      Goes against all I’ve read ! Anyway determined to come off them now - I had one day last week when I forgot to take 30mg tablet - next day woke up feeling totally fresh! First time in years so I’m going to take the 15mgs for a month and then give it a go 

      Thx again great forum 

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  • Posted

    Christine,

    I can't believe someone prescribed you mirtazapine when you didn't have sleep issues and there were better options for anxiety. That being said what's done is done and it would be best for you not to go back if you can.

    Sometimes weaning is better and works for some but I only got worse as I went down so I went from 22.5 to not taking it in a week after 14 months of being on it and I've got fun ahead of me also but it's what I had to do to get free of mirtazapine. There are some milder options to help with sleep like hydroxyzine if you need want to mention that to your prescriber but try to keep fighting and good luck!!

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  • Posted

    I'm also struggling with rebound insomnia at the moment. Total of 6 hours sleep in the last 3 days frown

    Here are a few things I do that help:

    1. Accept it. This is the hardest part. Just like you I go from anger to frustration to fear when it's 5am and it feels like the whole of the world is sleeping but me. First of all, this is not true. According to statistics, there may be up to 1/3 of people awake right this moment with you smile This should give you some perspective. Fighting it will not help and only make things worse as you add on to anxiety, which will keep you awake etc. Viscious cycle. I come to bed these days thinking "I will just rest. And sleep will come if it comes". 

    2. Don't force yourself to sleep and trick your brain into "random thinking". I mentioned in my reply to you in a another thread, you might wanna try the MySleepButton app (Google "shuffle your mind to sleep"wink. If it won't put you to sleep it can at least distract you quite effectivly. I also found audio books very helpful, on a very low volume, so that you can just barely hear the words (eventially it becomes like a white noise). Somehting without dialogue works best for me (it's more monotone).

    3. Find ways to get through the day better after no sleep. I found these things help:

    - going out first thing after getting up (even if just walking around the block). Early morning sunlight helps reset your body clock and elevates mood. If you can be a green space – even better.

    - drink more water 

    - try to let down if you can, whenever you can to just rest (again, don't force yourself to sleep)

    - get your mind off the sleeping problem: don't google, don't think of the upcoming night, just concentrate on what you are doing. 

    4. And finally, look into supplements. There are a lot of options out there, some people found some relief from them during WD. Here's what I currently take:

    - 200-400 Magnesium 1h before bed (helps with relaxtion)

    - L-theanine 200mg 1h before bed (originally it helped me with frequent night awakenings while on higher doses of Mirt)

    - I just started Holy Basil 300mg in the morning 600mg 3-4h before bed and I think I see improvement already. It's supposed to lower your cortisol, which spikes in WD and is made even worse by sleep deprevation. In the last 2 days I felt much calmer during the day even with very little sleep. 

    - Niacinamide (haven't started it yet, but read some great reviews on AD forums as well as amazon). Also good for lowering your cortisol. 

    - Lactium (also just ordered, didn't start taking it yet, but it gets good reviews as well)

    Hang in there!

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    • Posted

      Hi Maria

      Firstly thank you for such comprehensive support.  After another bad night (approx 3 hours sleep) and easily awake until 5.00am I read your post with great interest.

      1.  I did tell myself last night not to fret and think of just resting in bed.  I was marginally calmer and felt more relaxed.

      2.  I've downloaded the sleep button app.  I used to listen to Classic FM on a very low volume through the night which was quite relaxing but I'm now finding that because they mark the hour with a news bulletin,  that just marks another hour that I'm lying awake, so I've binned that one.  And I face my alarm clock to the wall confused

      3.  I do get out for a walk every day.  I used to go running but since the withdrawal I've found that too much, so I appreciate the fact that I just get outside no matter how tired I feel.

      4.  I have read about magnesium (apparently citrate) is the magnesium to take and I take a dosage at night.  The capsules are like submarines but if it helps relaxation I don't care.  I cut them in half.  I will defo research the other supplements you recommend.  

      Thank you for sharing all this with me.  I never had a problem with sleep before taking these ADs and I have been lucky enough not to take any drugs other than HRT so maybe that's why my 15mg over a 5-6 month period has really hit me hard.

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    • Posted

      Hi Christine, 

      I used to have a mild case of insomnia for years (but luckily my job schedule allowed me to sleep in on most days, so it was never much of an issue). 

      Distracting my mind is the best help I found, to be honest. Like audiobooks I mentioned above. I was also learning a forieng language at the time and listening to audio classes was SUPER sedating: they are very monotone and they repeat the same word/sentence over and over. Repeating those in my mind while breathing slowly worked wonders. Also, if listening to an audiobook you can pick a word or a part of a sentence and just repeat it in your mind. There's something sedating about this repeatition especially with the white noise of the audio in the background. After repeating it a few times you can "tune in" to the audio again and find a new word/sentence to focus on and repeat. 

      Just listening to the music doesn't have the same effect. When you focus on words, you see pictures. Random words = random pictures. After a while your brain just zones out, which is exactly what you want. 

      Hope it helps you somewhat!

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