Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 369749

Shown: posts 1 to 12 of 12. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by sageblue on July 23, 2004, at 19:53:01

why do i feel 'blank' whenever i taper off of psychotropic meds? right now i'm tapering off of depakote, and feel like i can't concentrate as well, literally am not having as many thoughts. i just feel 'empty' in my head.

i've felt the same way many times while getting off of an ssri, if i've been on it for a lenghty amount of time.

does anyone have a theory about where this comes from?

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by mike lynch on July 23, 2004, at 23:00:48

In reply to why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by sageblue on July 23, 2004, at 19:53:01

I've been feeling the exact same thing..except it seemed to persist even when I was completely off the med..It seemed like my brain depended on the medicine to function properly...as it was use to being pumped with extra quantities of serotonin everyday..Maybe I was just on a very prolonged withdrawal..because I was in the middle of changing meds then..

Do these effects subside after you're completely done with the taper??

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by sageblue on July 24, 2004, at 21:37:35

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by mike lynch on July 23, 2004, at 23:00:48

> Do these effects subside after you're completely done with the taper??

Well, these feelings stay for a while, maybe the first week that I'm on _nothing_. At about 2 weeks off of an SSRI, though, I'll have a sense of a normal thought process. But in addition, I've had terrible anxiety, with a sense of terror and pounding heart upon seeing images or suggestions of violence or danger(in newsmagazines,etc.). This despite never having been in a situation where severe violence occurred -- perhaps a mix of OCD and GAD. And not enough serotonin. These symptoms will be worse than they were before I was on medication, probably due to withdrawal/temporary organic changes. So I'm usually on something again quite quickly.

With the Depakote, I've had a very short attention span, a lot of trouble concentrating, as I taper. Plus the 'blank' feeling. Which is odd, as I thought I'd have better concentration.

Where do you think this comes from? Mild brain damage? The brain seeking a stimulus that is now gone?

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by mike lynch on July 25, 2004, at 0:01:37

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by sageblue on July 24, 2004, at 21:37:35

> Where do you think this comes from? Mild brain damage? The brain seeking a stimulus that is now gone?


That was actually my concern..and i'm still worried about it today...It seems my brain is way to dependent on the meds because everytime I go off them..even if it's enough time for my brain to fully recover from the withdrawal this "blank" feeling seemingly persists...

I don't remember ever being like this...The initial reason I came off the meds in the first place was because I was having trouble with concentration and slow thought procces..when I come off them though my mind seems to operate much slower then on the meds..My main problem seems to be slow thinking..everything seems the same except for the fact that it takes me substantially longer to do anything...answer people in conversations...complete homework....problem solving...My brain is just going much slower ever since i've been on these meds...Most people will say it's depression but I have NEVER felt this way when I was depressed prior to taken the meds....

I'm glad you say the blank feeling resolves it self after you're done with the taper and everything...because it didn't for me..Maybe i needed more time off the med i dunno..

I'd say you're symptoms were worse after you've come off a med because you were use to confronting the situation with ease due to the meds making things easier...contrary to how you feel off the med....it's just that sudden change ur not use to i guess..and it's just much worse in comparison Could be something else I dunno..Many people say they feel things more intensely in general when they come off.

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by sageblue on July 25, 2004, at 0:23:43

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by mike lynch on July 25, 2004, at 0:01:37

>..when I come off them though my mind seems to operate much slower then on the meds..My main problem seems to be slow thinking..everything seems the same except for the fact that it takes me substantially longer to do anything...answer people in conversations...complete homework....problem solving...My brain is just going much slower ever since i've been on these meds...Most people will say it's depression but I have NEVER felt this way when I was depressed prior to taken the meds....
>

holy samcakes! i feel the same way! _completely_. even while depressed when i was 'naive' to meds, my cognition was fine.

so then the question is -- will our lives be better if we continue on meds, or would it be best to ride out the symptoms we now have which are possibly due to using them?

i suspect that brains normalize with time, given that even hardcore drug users (illegal drugs) can normalize with enough time off of them.

on the other hand, i once saw a pdoc who said that about 1% of people who take antidepressants cannot get off of them -- maybe, he suggested, because their brains are different than everyone else's and now _need_ the drug. i hate to be paranoid, but sometimes i wonder if i'm in that 1%.

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by mike lynch on July 25, 2004, at 1:22:36

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by sageblue on July 25, 2004, at 0:23:43


> >
>
> holy samcakes! i feel the same way! _completely_. even while depressed when i was 'naive' to meds, my cognition was fine.
>
> so then the question is -- will our lives be better if we continue on meds, or would it be best to ride out the symptoms we now have which are possibly due to using them?
>
> i suspect that brains normalize with time, given that even hardcore drug users (illegal drugs) can normalize with enough time off of them.
>
> on the other hand, i once saw a pdoc who said that about 1% of people who take antidepressants cannot get off of them -- maybe, he suggested, because their brains are different than everyone else's and now _need_ the drug. i hate to be paranoid, but sometimes i wonder if i'm in that 1%.

I heard about that to.. I think that only pertains to the people who can't get off the meds without getting really depressed..im not sure if it's related to cognition ie memory , concentration and such...it's these i have the problem with now not so much
depression...although these are the problems that seem to be making me depressed once again in the first place...sucks to be me..

But I think the most plausible answer is that if were off the meds long enough with time are brain should renormalize..I just hate being off em...or on them...On them i feel like an idiot....and off them I feel llike a brain dead idiot...It's like the medicine is improving and worsening my brain functions at the same time....ahh it's hard to explain..and with my poor ability to articulate stuff ill be hear all day so that is all..

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by ST on July 25, 2004, at 23:40:20

In reply to why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by sageblue on July 23, 2004, at 19:53:01

Hi you two,

Over the past ten years I have gotten on and off many drugs. I was on Depakote and usually two ADs at a time. Right now, my pdoc and I are experiementing with my "just" being on Wellbutrin, but this has been my experience:

Coming off ADs I've always gone through a period of increased anxiety and/or feeling totally loopy - or blank. Like I have absolutely no thoughts in my head. Once my brain and body get the drug totally and completely out of my system, I return to a base level. I used to think that without ADs I suffered from anxiety. Come to find out, I simply go through feelings of anxiety when coming off an AD - it is a side effect of withdrawing. At least for me. And I think the "blank" feeling is a side effect of withdrawal.

Coming off these drugs really does give us side effects. I've had a few pdocs who found it hard to believe I had withdrawal symptoms from coming off drugs. Other pdocs seemed to be knowledgable about how these drugs effect us when we taper.

After about 6 weeks without the drug, you should start to feel like yourself again. Again, it's different with everyone, but don't come to any conclusions about your diagnosis based on how you feel when you're tapering.
That's my two cents!

Good luck~
Sarah

> why do i feel 'blank' whenever i taper off of psychotropic meds? right now i'm tapering off of depakote, and feel like i can't concentrate as well, literally am not having as many thoughts. i just feel 'empty' in my head.
>
> i've felt the same way many times while getting off of an ssri, if i've been on it for a lenghty amount of time.
>
> does anyone have a theory about where this comes from?

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ? ST

Posted by sageblue on July 26, 2004, at 13:11:55

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by ST on July 25, 2004, at 23:40:20

Hey ST,

thanks for sharing your experience about coming on and off these numerous meds.

it's definitely disconcerting to feel less thought activity when i'm not actively seeking that through meditation or relaxation.

i would like at some point to take a drug vacation to see where i'm at without them now. last time i did it though, i couldn't really function after 3 weeks med-free. i think i will have to wait for a time that i can be off work and school for a significant period of time, and then try it out.

anyways, i'm no longer tapering depakote as the replacement med had very negative side effects -- made me cry and such. i have to wait another week for the neurologist to get back from vacation before we try something new. (the depakote is more for migraines than anything else, but i'd like to deal with some GAD too).

 

Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?

Posted by mike lynch on July 26, 2004, at 16:52:13

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ? ST, posted by sageblue on July 26, 2004, at 13:11:55


>
.
>
> i would like at some point to take a drug vacation to see where i'm at without them now. last time i did it though, i couldn't really function after 3 weeks med-free. i think i will have to wait for a time that i can be off work and school for a significant period of time, and then try it out.
>

I've been wanting to do the same thing for along time to...but outside activities that i'm involved in just makes it hard for me to function without them...so I always end up going back on them...If I had a solid year of just rehabilitation off the meds without school and all that, it would be great...I am just very slow and awkward off the meds so I hate confronting social situations something in which is hard to avoid at this point in time..It's not really anxiety but a lot of other problems...

 

Med vacation

Posted by ST on July 27, 2004, at 2:22:39

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by mike lynch on July 26, 2004, at 16:52:13

Interesting that a couple of you mention taking a med vacation...It seems like it takes such a long time to completely get them out of your system that one would truly need at least 6 months. Yes, our pdocs say 6-8 weeks or whatever...but the way the body works, it would take several months for all of our organs to filter it out. God - it even stays in your hair! Once it's completely out of your system, you'd need another 6 months to determine your reaction...oy vey...

Right now I'm off my Depakote and Serzone and am only on Wellbutrin. It does feel like a kind of vacation...things in my life are stable so I feel OK doing it at this time.

ST

 

Re:how to function on a med vacation?

Posted by sageblue on July 27, 2004, at 21:32:28

In reply to Re: why do i feel blank when i taper off . . ?, posted by ST on July 25, 2004, at 23:40:20

> Once my brain and body get the drug totally and completely out of my system, I return to a base level. I used to think that without ADs I suffered from anxiety. Come to find out, I simply go through feelings of anxiety when coming off an AD - it is a side effect of withdrawing. >
> After about 6 weeks without the drug, you should start to feel like yourself again. Again, it's different with everyone, but don't come to any conclusions about your diagnosis based on how you feel when you're tapering.
> That's my two cents!


hey sarah --

yeah, today my partner was saying that i have hardly been _off_ meds in 5 years, and wondering if much of what troubles me could be from meds.

for example,i have regular migraines, and have vision problems that i thought were from migraines, yet they vanished when i started tapering from depakote.

and i've been on medications that affect anxiety, yet the worst i remember being is the time described when i tapered off for 2-3 weeks a couple of years ago.

since numerous factors have changed since i first went on meds (treated for a thyroid disorder, more stable life, therapist in place, etc.), it may be a good idea to try to taper off. yet finding 6 weeks for a good brain bounce is difficult. i might try to taper during say, late december and then take the month of january off -- using my vacation for the new year and some personal leave time for a month.

how were you able to function when you came off meds? did you hold down a job at the same time?

 

Re:how to function on a med vacation?

Posted by ST on July 27, 2004, at 22:54:55

In reply to Re:how to function on a med vacation?, posted by sageblue on July 27, 2004, at 21:32:28

Hi,

Your migraines could be a reaction to the Depakote, yes! Weird thing is, some people use Depakote to *relieve* migraines.

Although these drugs can work wonders on our moods, they can create other problems. For me, my liver was just becoming too toxic and my thyroid started slowing. I do homeopathic medicine and acupuncture and my alternative docs kept telling me my liver function was very low and my thyroid was a bit low. Symptoms from this were weight gain, fatigue, lack of alertness. That's really what pushed me to get off Depakote, in particular. I felt it wasn't just its mood altering (ie: sedating) properties that were a problem, but the effect of taking such a drug on my organs. I also got off the birth control pill after being on it almost twenty years! So now it's just Wellbutrin.

As far as working goes: I am a very, very busy outcall massage therapist. Thankfully, I create my hours and can rearrange my schedule in case of emergencies. Since I started tapering the Serzone and dropped the Depakote altogether in May, I've missed about three or four days of work due to withdrawal symptoms. Some of my clients knew what was going on and were great about it, as they have gone on and off medications as well. Massage is my "day job", but I am an actress and writer. Fortunately I was not working on an acting project while tapering. When I have tapered while having an acting job
(before I knew how brutal the effects could be), it was a definite struggle to maintain any mental acuity, let alone feel creative.

This helped me: whenever I cut back the dose of the med I was tapering, I would do it preceding my two days off. For example, my last massage of my week would be on a Saturday at 4PM. I would take my meds as usual in the morning. However for my night time dose, I would cut back. Then I would suffer the initial withdrawal symptoms over Sunday and Monday, my days off. Then the rest of the week, I would stay at that dose until the following Saturday when I would cut back the dose once more.

I saw my acupuncturist weekly, which helped to detoxify my system at a quicker rate. I highly recommend this. Massage, which I get weekly, also flushes toxins through your body and boosts your immune system. I drank a ton of water and made sure I kept exercising. (I remember I stopped exercising when tapering off another AD and I think the symtoms were worse)It also helps me to eat healthfully during this time. Junk food made me feel worse on top of what I was going through with withdrawing!

Tapering in December and then taking the month of January off sounds like a good plan. However, I think if you taper very, very s l o w l y over a few months you may be OK as well. I have always been in such a hurry to get off of whatever I was taking. I was in a hurry with these meds most recently because I am going to Europe to tour a show in September and I want to be withdrawal-symtom free.

My boyfriend of 7 years has never known me without all the meds in my system. My friends who have known me for years notice a positive difference in me. They say my eyes seem clearer and that I have my "spark" back. For me, I think it's mainly the lack of Depakote. Depakote, even at the low dose I was on, really was sedating and slowing for me. I do have more energy now and don't tire as easily, which makes me feel like my liver is functioning at a higher level again.

My depressions were so severe and for that reason, I don't think I'm brave enough to get off the Wellbutrin. But I am certainly glad I'm off the Serzone, Depakote and the pill!

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Sarah

>
> hey sarah --
>
> yeah, today my partner was saying that i have hardly been _off_ meds in 5 years, and wondering if much of what troubles me could be from meds.
>
> for example,i have regular migraines, and have vision problems that i thought were from migraines, yet they vanished when i started tapering from depakote.
>
> and i've been on medications that affect anxiety, yet the worst i remember being is the time described when i tapered off for 2-3 weeks a couple of years ago.
>
> since numerous factors have changed since i first went on meds (treated for a thyroid disorder, more stable life, therapist in place, etc.), it may be a good idea to try to taper off. yet finding 6 weeks for a good brain bounce is difficult. i might try to taper during say, late december and then take the month of january off -- using my vacation for the new year and some personal leave time for a month.
>
> how were you able to function when you came off meds? did you hold down a job at the same time?
>
>


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