Still have withdrawal symptoms after 4 weeks

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Hi there, I was bumped up to 30mg from 15mg as I got myself in a total mess with the doses and coming off my citalopram. Bad care and support from docs. Had all sorts of symptoms mainly dizzy and wiped out, which I thought was normal. I wasn't sleeping and my anxiety was worse than before I started taking anything. I wanted to come back down to 15 mg so had a chat with the doctor and said what I was doing. I took 22.5mg one day and 30mg the next, for 2 weeks and was tapering like that. After 2 weeks I thought I'll split them further and take 26.25mg every day instead of different doses every other day, as I thought that was better. But after 2 and half weeks the withdrawal symptoms hit me like a truck. Properly wiped out, painful shoulders and back, dizzy, anxious, clenching my hands and teeth, shaking, feeling hyper, and when I'm not super tired I can feel very angry. On the odd day I feel like I'm losing my mind. Utterly horrible. Plus my appetite is all over the place and I felt sick a few times. I've been off work for over a week now and going in when I can.

It's been 4 weeks since I dropped the dose to alternate days and 2 weeks since I went on 26.25mg. My shoulder and back pain isn't as bad, and I feel I'm better than I have been but I can feel fine one day and then have to phone in sick the next. It's actually making me more depressed with the symptoms I have.

My question is, can someone reassure me that this will eventually stabilise? I'm worried I'm not back to normal yet and when I've changed dose before it usually takes about 4 weeks. It can be rocky but usually fine for work and can cope.

I woke this morning with palpitations, so still in bed hoping to get into work later today. I contemplated going back up to 30mg but that would probably be a step backwards considering I was only on 30 for a month. I'm glad my friend and my family have helped me to stay on the same dose as any change is really sensitive to me.

I'm really struggling atm and worried about my work. Will I stabilise over the next week or so? Please help!

Many thanks

Dan

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Dan

    Yes unfortunately withdrawal can last for what seems like ever

    I did a drop from 45 to 30 and 6 weeks later i just seemed to be getting worse so the doc gave me something to help with withdrawals. Do you have temporary access to benzo's although I'm not sure they will help with work!

    I found it easier doing another drop but in my case the mirt wasn't suiting me anyway so figured I'm going to be ill until i completely come off it.

    Why if you don't mind me asking are you coming off of it?

    And what we're you put on it for in the first place?

    Just helps to build a picture of what's going on

    Hang in there

    S x

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    • Posted

      Hi there, thanks for your reply. Well I was initially put on citalopram 4 months after being diagnosed with post viral fatigue syndrome. It took 18 months for anyone, including myself, that these weren't working. All I needed was some time off, but I kept going back to work as a way scared of losing my job, and some family support for a few weeks and that would have helped. I'm 99% sure the fatigue has gone but I'm addicted to antidepressants now. I tried to do off them twice last year and what I thought was a fatigue relapse turned out to be withdrawal. After a chat with occ health and about 8 doctors I went on mirtazapine.

      The symptoms I have are way worse than when I was initially depressed. Anxiety is higher and all the other symptoms. Not really helping with sleep or mood. Energy is up and down, that was the main reason for going on them. To help with sleep and energy.

      So want to come off them, but just need to do it super slow. I want to stabilise first and have my life back for a bit before I drop another dose, but this is going on for ages and is killing me. I'm not horrendous but bad enough for it to affect work and my quality of life. I wish I'd never bothered with them, but I am where I am and I'll have to deal with it! I'll be off them eventually.

      Just want to feel normal again! In my opinion they've done more harm than good and given me more problems than they've solved!

      Cheers :-)

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  • Posted

    Hey Dan,

    I can assure you that at some point you will stabilise but when that will be is hard to guess. Each individual responds differently when withdrawing from medication. I will say that what I have noticed the most and also read about more consistently is that it does come in waves. There can be hours or even a whole day with practically no withdrawal symptoms then out of nowhere, just as you are starting to feel relief, bam! it hits you out of nowhere. I think learning and accepting that things can change on a day to day basis has made this process a little easier as I don't feel that dissapointment when I have those not so great days. If it helps at all, all the things you are experiencing are quite common withdrawal symptoms and they won't stay around forever. It is just your body is taking a little bit longer to adapt. I also found that the lower the dose goes, the more difficult the drops tend to be which could be why you're finding this one is sticking around a little longer. 

    The palpitations can be a little concerning when you have them, however anxiety spikes are pretty common when going through this so it could be that which has caused them. I experience quite a lot of them especially a couple of days into the dose reduction. For me distraction is useful here.

    Is your work allowing you to be a little flexible at the moment? I'm glad that you have the support of your family and friends, it's really important at times like this. Keep talking to them and also your doctor if you can.

    I hear that you are struggling and it is such a tough thing to do but keep persevering if you can and it's what you want. There is a point in which it ends. 

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Ness

      I have been off of Mirtz for 12 days now and I still feel very sick and unable to sleep so extremly tired all the time to the point I feel like falling asleep at my desk at work.   Have you come off of them completly too?   I can cope with the sick feeling although its really horrible but not being able to stay asleep is a nightmare as I need to work!  Is there any advice you can give me and even more so hope that I wont stay like this forever?  Thankyou

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    • Posted

      Hey, 

      Congratulations for making it 12 days. I'm not off yet, I come off next tuesday. I've been tapering since March 45mg-30mg-15mg-7.5mg. So I can't say how my body will react once I've stopped completely. However my body seems to have developed a standard pattern during the tapering process so the hope is is that it will follow along those lines.

      I've been on this medication for 6 years and I think anyone who has been on something for more than a few months needs to accept that this process will be challenging. I will say to you what my GP has said to me, this will be hard, this will make you feel all sorts of weird and random things because you're body is trying to establish a new sort of balance. The symptoms will not last forever and if you are able to ride them out then the end process will be worth it.

      The point is though that as horrible as it feels right now, these symptoms will not go on indefinitley. I suppose the way I have been getting through this process is by having regular check in's with my doctor, allowing my body to rest when it needs to and also accepting that for now feeling uncomfortable is just part of it. 

      What kind of taper did you do? I tend to find that my pattern is that Day 3/4 to Day 8/9 is the hardest. After two weeks the symptoms have mostly disappeared. 

      The sleeplessness is one of the things that is unsettleing especially when you have to be able to function for work. Good sleep hygiene is a start, developing a routine might be useful too. Right now your body is confused and the only way it unfortunatley figures things out is through time. 

      Bear with it. You can do this! 

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    • Posted

      Hi Ness, thanks for your lovely reply. It's extremely frustrating when you're going through it but from the outside, I would tell me it'll pass and these symptoms are common. It just gets you worried when nothing has changed, you were doing okay and then the day after you're wrecked. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks it'll settle down. My body is probably in a bit of shock and stabilising. I was surprised how hard it hit me as the dose was so small.

      Spoke to my occ health lady today and she is suggesting putting me on part time for a bit as to help me. I'll take a pay cut for a while but it might be the thing I need to give myself some space to reflect and recover. Weekends are just recovery at the moment, and not doing nice things!

      I'll let you know how I get on.

      Thanks again

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  • Posted

    Hi Dan

    You sure have had some horrible withdrawal symptoms, so sorry. The best way to taper is slowly, and consistently to avoid all the nasty symptoms that you have explained above.  By consistent I mean taking the same dose daily, so if you are on 26.25 just stay on that dose, every night until you feel well again, minimum 4 weeks as you have upped and downed the doses.  When you alter the doses on alternative nights the nervous system goes into shock, and cannot stabilise.

    Read the advice here: For advice on tapering Mirtazapine slowly at the recommended rate of no more than 10% every 3 or 4 weeks, please see the following which is within this forum, 

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/depression-resources-298570

    and then click on the link "REDUCING AD'S USING 10% WITHDRAWAL METHOD".    

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    • Posted

      Thanks ever so much for your reassurance. I got myself in a mess thinking I was doing the right thing. Then I read, and thought aswell, that alternate days is a bad idea. So I'm hoping that in the next couple of weeks I'll come round. I'm not changing a damn thing this time! May have to go part time at work for a bit but maybe it's for the best! I'll let you know how I get on.

      Cheers

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