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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Stopping SSRI - withdrawal?

Topic: Stopping SSRI - withdrawal?

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. qfskies18
    qfskies18 avatar
    14 posts
    30 June 2020

    Hey all,

    So after two different attempts, I’m stopping my SSRI for anxiety in favour of therapy. I did not like how sick I felt all the time.

    I started on one SSRI but after four weeks was still sick, so switched to another. The changeover was very easy. After three weeks on this new one, I’m now stopping altogether (on doctor’s advice). Considering I’m on the lowest dose possible, am I likely to experience much of a withdrawal? I’m supposed to be flying in two days and the thought of flying while feeling sick terrifies me.

    has anyone stopped a low dose SSRI cold turkey? Or experienced withdrawal?

    thanks in advance!

  2. uncut_gems
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    30 June 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hi qfskies18,

    I'm glad to hear that you're in touch with your doctor and that your stopping cold turkey is on their advice– ideally this would mean that your doctor is confident that the dose is low enough and you have been taking it for a short enough time that withdrawal symptoms will be mild to nonexistent.

    I have to stress that I am not a medical professional, and have referred your question to our resident expert, Nurse Jenn who should hopefully be able to advise you a bit more specifically.

    Speaking from my own experience and limited knowledge I can share that SSRI withdrawal is a real thing and can be very unpleasant and occasionally serious, but as I understand it is more likely to happen when the dose is high and the prescription is longstanding. I would urge you do address any concerns you have directly to your doctor and share your travel plans.

    However, as it is only two days away, I can share that I have skipped a day or two (e.g. forgetting my medication on a weekend away) and not noticed any difference.

    Warmly,

    Gems

  3. smallwolf
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    30 June 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Honestly, it depends on the individual and medication and what works for one person may not work for another or work differently - hope that make sense.

    Please keep in mind that I am not a professional and not giving advice either. Like Gems, I have forgotten to take my medication and OK. Two days in a row is BAD for me - did that once and never again. You are doing the right thing by with with your GP. Keep in touch with your GP would be be best advice.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. Oldperson
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    1 posts
    30 June 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    I have had much experience with stopping SSRI and I can assure you that at the worst in your case you may experience a few what I call head zaps, but it is not at all unpleasant, nor will it affect your traveling, but depending on your dose you may also feel a bit down for a little while, that will pass and then you will feel great.

    I hope it all works out for you

    2 people found this helpful
  5. blondguy
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    30 June 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hi qfskies18

    Good question and great support from everyone above

    Smallwolf correctly mentioned that its up to the individual and the medication concerned. Ive also been on a low SSRI dose for my anxiety for 24 years

    We have spoken before on your other thread topic qfskies18....Three weeks on a SSRI may cause some feelings of feeling 'lightedheaded' or dizzyness....or as 'Oldperson' mentioned 'headzaps'

    You havent mentioned if you suffer from anxiety or depression so its difficult to provide you with effective support about side effects or flying. It is rare for a doctor to recommend going off an SSRI after 3 weeks

    After 2 days without my SSRI's (lowest dosage available) I wouldnt be doing well at all...(just for myself!)

    my best for you....Paul

    3 people found this helpful
  6. Nurse Jenn
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    1 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hi there qfskies18,

    Its great that you are doing medication change under the supervision of a doctor. As other posters have indicated, peoples response to ceasing a SSRI can vary widely. Some people hardly notice when they taper down to the lowest dose and then stop and other people have quite severe side effects. I hope that you are one of the lucky ones. Having a lot of stress or worry about having side effects can amplify any that may occur. Using some relaxation strategies and practicing self care during this change is important. You might even make an appointment with your GP in a few weeks for a scheduled check up (you can always cancel it if you are going well). It is perfectly normal to see health care professionals with more frequency when your having a change to any treatment.

    I can also suggest that you keep a side effect record so you can track your symptoms (if they occur) over time. This can also help to see if they have improved over time.. A simple calendar can be a great tool for this.

    Please continue to reach out here and tell us about your journey. You might find some useful relaxation strategies in the ‘staying well’ section of the forum for when you are on your flight.

    Sending you strength,

    Nurse Jenn

  7. qfskies18
    qfskies18 avatar
    14 posts
    9 July 2020 in reply to Nurse Jenn

    Hi all!

    Wanted to update and say it has been over a week since I stopped and I’ve had almost no symptoms at all, so thank you for the support.

    I was on the SSRI to manage anxiety, and all the drugs achieved was messing with my gag reflex. I’m still struggling with a hypersensitive gag reflex now, so I’m hoping that will die off as the drugs wash out of my system fully, but otherwise I’ll be back at the doctor for that. Aside from that, I feel great and I’m managing quite well! I start seeing a psychologist in August and I’m actually excited about it.

    thanks for the support!

  8. geoff
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    9 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hello Qfskies, you've had great support from all those above which is terrific.

    If I could just say that I also take an SSRRI as well as an acid reflux medication, so it's a question you might want to ask your doctor.

    Can we ask how the flight went?

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. qfskies18
    qfskies18 avatar
    14 posts
    9 July 2020 in reply to geoff

    Hi!

    The flight over was fine. I had actually woken up feeling really sick so started panicking, but once I took some nausea medication and had something to eat, I was fine by the time I boarded. The flight back was also ok, except once I had boarded I started getting the awful gag feeling in my throat and got a little panicky. But again, some meds and some water, I was fine by the time we were in the air and I just took in the views while watching my movie. So pretty successful considering how sick I had been while I was still on the SSRIs!

  10. uncut_gems
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    13 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18
    Glad to hear it qfskies18!
  11. Buzz71
    Buzz71 avatar
    5 posts
    13 July 2020 in reply to uncut_gems

    Great to hear your withdrawal went well. Obviously everyone hs different experiences and I don't wish to be the voice of negativity but my experience was much different. Dizziness, a woolly-headed almost out of body type feeling, and most of all strong rage issues were withdrawal symptoms for me that lasted months. I'm just about clear now I think having ceased my SSRI in late March-early April via a doctor-supervised weaning process.

    Again, don't want to rain on any parades but I think it important for people struggling to withdraw to know that if it takes time and has side effects that (a) it is not uncommon, but (b) you can get off them in time.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. geoff
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    14 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hello Qfskies, I'm sorry I missed your reply but pleased it went OK.

    How are you feeling now?

    Geoff.

  13. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6205 posts
    14 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hello qfskies

    It's good you had few side effects after ceasing your SSRI. Sorry to hear about the nausea and the gagging reaction. Hopefully that will die down soon. Have you discussed these with your GP? It may be useful to return to your GP and check about these problems fairly soon.

    It's also great that you going to see a psychologist soon. I hope all goes well.

    Mary

    2 people found this helpful
  14. qfskies18
    qfskies18 avatar
    14 posts
    14 July 2020 in reply to White Rose
    Thanks everyone for the support. The nausea and gagging is quite persistent. I’m not sure what’s causing it but it is extremely disheartening and frustrating and it is feeding my anxiety even further. I’m giving it another few days to see if it improves and if not, I’ll be going back to see my GP again. I’m sure he’s sick of seeing me lately :/
  15. blondguy
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    14 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hi qfskies18

    You are very strong and good on you for being so proactive with your health too!

    Just my humble opinion....Your GP would be very proud of you for how much you have accomplished even if you see him again...and again! Its harder for the people that dont go back for an another appointment

    you are amazing :-)

    Paul

  16. qfskies18
    qfskies18 avatar
    14 posts
    14 July 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul,

    I ended up dropping into the practice when I was at the shop today and booking an appointment for tomorrow morning. This one nagging side effect is driving me nuts, so figure it can’t hurt to get on top of it now. It could be anxiety based, but probably best to rule out physical causes before I see the psych in August.

  17. blondguy
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    14 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    No worries and thankyou for replying...(not that we expect a response of course!)

    Just a note re any anxiety symptoms from my own experience if thats okay.....Anxiety (if any) usually effects the digestive system first (including the throat...esophagus...nausea etc) as its the most sympathetic to anxiety

    I have attached a link from a member like yourself....Annabay who wrote an excellent thread asking about physical symptoms of anxiety....Its a huge thread yet you will see people with similar symptoms as yourself discussing same

    www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/anxiety/what-physical-feelings-of-anxiety-do-you-get

    Good on you for making the appointment for tomorrow!

    Paul

  18. geoff
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    15 July 2020 in reply to qfskies18

    Hello Qfskies, I just wanted to say well done and we are always here for you.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

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