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If anyone could share some of their experiences and perhaps advise on when this nightmare is going to end I'd really appreciate it.
I’m 34, otherwise healthy, started Mirtazapine (in some sense against my instincts) about two years ago due to severe anxiety (no depression at all) and panic attacks. My Doctor prescribed Mirtazapine 30mg, to be tapered upwards from 7.5mg.
I remember the first few days I felt a weird sensation when swallowing (simply felt like uncoordinated swallowing, where the food/drink seemed to be going at the wrong velocity towards its target). However, after a while and increasing dosage this symptom vanished more or less.
Fast forward about a year and a half forward, and (apart from helping my IBS by making me numb) - the drug was totally useless anxiety-wise. I was still feeling very bad. True, I had not gotten many panic attacks, but I found that they were just transposed with a very generalized anxiety which I believe (self-diagnosed) had almost become a phobia: I became afraid of trying new things altogether from fear of having e.g., an allergic reaction (never had any of those ever in my life and never feared them before either). I had quit sports because I could not stand the sensations involving an increase in heart rate or blood flow. Done all of the tests and all is fine with my heart and everything else for that matter. It’s all in the head but the head controls your body and your mind.
The Mirtazapine just made me numb; I could feel less love to my fiancée (now wife!) and cared less about the world in general. Realizing that I had just become more anxious (if less panicky) the Doc upped the dosage to 45mg. What a disaster. More than a month afterwards I was just getting more and more anxious on a daily basis.
Eventually, AMA, I decided that going on Mirtazapine was the biggest mistake of my life. I started tapering, very VERY slowly. I think I went from 45 to 15mg with relative ease, taking more than two weeks at a time to decrease the dosage by 3-4mg at a time. Each time, I would feel great for 2 days, then start developing quite severe cramps and feel lousy for another week or so, then I’d get slightly better. Knowing that I am really ultrasensitive to any change in physiological parameters I tapered from 15mg to 3.75mg in a turtle’s pace: 3.75mg at a time, with more than a month (and even two sometimes) between each taper. I have a PhD in Chemistry so I know what I’m doing. Again, every time, after 2-3 victorious days where I’d feel like I’ve conquered mount Everest, I’d then feel lousy for 4-8 days; but then things would seem to be a bit better. Weirdly, at the lower doses of 7.5mg and 3.75mg I started again experiencing swallowing difficulties; I started choking on water and became very mindful of my swallowing dyscoordination. Still I felt altogether quite alright – and I believed that the remainder would be similar.
How wrong was I. I have come off it completely exactly two weeks ago. Again 2-3 days where I felt fine, then a few more days with cramps. Then, good old panic hit, with terrible anxiety that just keeps getting worse and worse. I feel terrible weakness, zero energy, I have withered due to loss of appetite (since when I eat my stomach just cramps a few hours later; actually not so bad since I had put on some weight during my time on Mirtazapine). I feel completely overwhelmed by the symptoms: every time there is something new. I feel weird tingling sensations and I have strange feelings of pressure in my stomach. I get dizzy a lot and then just feel weak. My muscles are sore without any reason. I was certain that these issues would resolve in a few days; Mirtazapine’s half-life is quite long and I know that receptors can take 2-3 weeks to get re-modulated (actually that’s why they always say that the beneficial effects of Mirtazapine will take around 2-3 weeks to become effective when you go on it). But I did not expect this gradual and horrible worsening of symptoms over the last 14 days. I have had to start treatment with Benzo’s (as needed, I try to avoid them but sometimes there’s just no way around it) and they seem to help in some instances, whereas in others they only seem to do a moderate/poor job at managing the symptoms. For the first time in my life yesterday I suffered from ED. Never happened to me before and despite a very supporting and loving wife, I felt that was yet another crushing blow. The weird thing is that all these things are not getting me depressed – just really anxious.
I can only hope that things will start to get better. I have no idea when these things would begin to get back on track. Doctors seem to be quite oblivious to my suffering, not really believing that withdrawal could be so powerful yet not finding ANYTHING else wrong. The situation is really frustrating.
One thing is clear to me: I’m never, EVER going back on this horrendous drug. It was a huge mistake beginning with it, and for all of you who need these kind of drugs: ask your GP or Psychiatrist what are the withdrawal difficulties expected for the medication. I know I sure wish I had asked it.
If anyone could share whether they’d experienced similar withdrawal symptoms and how long they’d persisted, I’d really appreciate your comments. I hope that by posting this someone else will also benefit as the internet searches are really frustrating as well.
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