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Abilify - A Tranquilizer For Use With PTSD

Discussion in 'Medications & Substances' started by Pitt Bull, Jan 3, 2007.

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  1. Ruth09

    Ruth09 Active Member
    Premium Member

    I just started Abilify (aripiprazole) at 2mg. The Rispridone I was taking at .25mg gave me pimples on my face and constant hunger. The hunger was like an additional Anxiety because I was weighing myself everyday fighting off the weight gain. I'm taking Trazadone for sleep at 100mg, sometime less. I've read that Trazadone is used for Depression, but I haven't noticed any mood change, nor change in my anxiety. I've been taking Trazadone for about 6 months.

    Lionheart777, thanks for posting your dosage. I'm glad its working for you.

    I'm hoping it works for my PTSD/OCD.
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  3. TLight

    TLight I'm a VIP

    I take an atypical anti-psychotic for PTSD, Seroquel. I've been on probably every single ssri there is and nothing helped with my horrible chronic depression.

    I was suffering from intense irritability and rages, although I controled them pretty well. But everything under the sun irritated me to the extreme. Makes life pretty horrible.

    I started on 100mg of Seroquel and it has radically changed my life for the better! I feel like it was a GodSend. I am gaining a bit of weight, but I'm exercising and watching it very closely, as is my psyche doc.

    I think Complex PTSD that has the rage, irritability component is a good reason for being put on an anti-psychotic.

    I'm much less negative and feel like there is hope in life for the first time in decades. I'm willing to suffer with any side effects for the chance of a few good years in life.
  4. QuietNow

    QuietNow Active Member

    This is an old thread, but to answer why Abilify (aripiprazole) and PTSD:

    PTSD can have dissociative episodes. I was put on because I had an episode where I "blipped out" for roughly 35 minutes. That blipping out is something like the schizophrenic episodes, though NOT the same. Abilify is also smoothing out the hypervigilance. I'm not startling the same way that I was, though I do startle still.

    However, for me, I am noticing a few side effects on it. One is common --lack of appetite and weight loss. I am going 3-4 days without eating if I don't schedule it. I've started militantly scheduling in at least some food, though I can usually only get down a few bites. That's because of the more uncommon side effect: my sense of smell (and therefore also my sense of taste) has diminished. I can taste the 4 major notes in foods: sweet, salty, bitter, sour. But not any complex flavors like floral, savory, earthy. Even the 4 major notes aren't as good. I'm dropping weight like mad, and wondering if I shouldn't get my thyroid levels checked.

    And there's the beginnings of a pain in my hip joint and legs, similar to what I saw on Yaz (a birth control pill given to women to correct PMDD). And 'charley-horse' style muscle cramps that are affecting my UPPER legs, not the lower legs where I've always seen cramps before. These cramps are the type where you are half-asleep and move a bit and suddenly it feels like your leg is being torn in half. The joint and muscle pain could be related to potassium levels. Yaz reduced potassium to get the antidepressant effect. I couldn't handle that lowering of potassium. It looks like the muscle pain and joint pain is uncommon with Abilify, but if it continues or worsens, I will ask to be removed from this med.

    I wonder if anyone else is on Abilify out there and if there are side effects that they've noticed?
  5. TLight

    TLight I'm a VIP

    I'm on Seroquel..........75 mg at night. I have CPTSD and major depressive disorder and dissociative disorder.

    I've tried all the anti-depressants, didn't do a thing.

    My rages and irritability are intense to the point I couldn't really be around people. The Seroquel has helped this. 7 lbs weight gain after a year.
    So, anti-pyschotic was the key for me......

    Haven't been on ambilify........but I'd say just try it, adjust to it and see if it helps.
  6. blarneystone

    blarneystone Member

    Huge warning on Abilify -- I am one of the few awesome people who got prescribed it and had a sever, SEVER muscle reaction to it. A muscular chemical reaction was causing certain chemicals in my muscles to amp up and were damaging my kidney's when I exercised on it. It really messed me up for a good while, I also found it was my "Rage" pill. At first I get seriously angry on it at first, and once my body adjusted it was easier, but I was having the muscular issues. I also found, personally, it increased my anxiety.

    It doesn't happen to everyone, I'm not saying everyone should avoid it, just be aware.

    I'm currently on 300 MG of Seroquel, 2MG of Tenex, 10 MG of Ambien, 1 MG of Klonopin and it is working pretty well as a general treatment; although I dislike being on so many medications; it is helping me.
  7. firehouse9south

    firehouse9south Well-Known Member

    Well I'm taking the lowest dose and I like it for now, so if its not broke.
    Heather likes this.
  8. QuietNow

    QuietNow Active Member

    OK, an update on Abilify for me. (see page 3 of this thread for beginning)

    I asked my pdoc to take me off this med about 3 days ago. I had noticed some "irritability" that was beginning to grow on it. I'd been on Abilify roughly 4 weeks at that point. It takes about 2 weeks to see effects. I was on the lowest dose of 2 mg at night only.

    The good points of Abilify were that for the first time when someone came into my office at work noticeably angry, I was able to think through the issue, stay calm and find a solution or at least soothe them down. Before I'd have retreated like an injured squid into tears, making myself physically smaller, and finding a corner or table to hide in. I also felt calmer. And the startling with hyperventilation and shuddering had pretty much stopped.

    But the bad points. I'd mentioned the loss of sense of smell and taste, the loss of appetite for days on end, and the muscle cramping. The muscle cramps went away except for occasional twinges every few days (usually after not eating for a while, so it may have been an iron or calcium absorption lack rather than potassium issues). And the irritability set in.

    Let me define irritable. I snapped at everyone for minor infractions. I got agitated a couple of times about clothes out of place in our bedroom (clutter can agitate me, but this was off-the-wall). I started having these intrusive pop-in-your-head visuals of things like people I was talking to suddenly turning into a demonic face, or me slashing someone with a knife, or screaming and beating someone with my hands. In non-threatening situations. Even casual and happy social situations. That did seem to fade off in week 4, but.....

    In the middle of week 4 my young daughter and I got into an argument that escalated. I spanked her. Three swats. On the bottom with my hand. WE DON'T SPANK IN OUR HOUSE. And I never touch my daughter in anger. This was anger. She was really upset, took days to undo her fear of being spanked and her acting-out aggression to others. I was horrified at myself. It was like I was acting on some other level. My daughter and I calmed down, I apologized to her for spanking, and we talked about what had happened and her behavior and better choices that we both could have made. I hadn't even given her a countdown warning on this one before just acting. She apologized to me, and though it took a few days to get the internalized fear ironed out of her system, without the Abilify things are definitely back on track. My daughter is a very good kid though she occasionally has these tantrum fits like many early elementary school kids.

    I instantly stopped Abilify. I can handle lack of sense of smell, taste, appetite, and occasional weird imagery. Not the escalating anger.

    I'm certain that this doesn't happen to everyone. But I think that I've got a lot of internalized rage that doesn't get of my internal closet very often and this drug was dropping the barriers. That's excellent for some. Not so good for me.

    I'm disappointed that the good effects can't be somehow retained and the bad effects ironed out. I did quite enjoy being that serene and calm. It felt normal. But I'd rather be an injured squid than risk that sort of volatile response. I think the intrusive imagery was a major warning sign, so I caution anyone who is noticing odd flash-in-your-head images (they are quite quick and graphic and gone just as fast) to talk to your pdoc right then and monitor your behavior or have a significant other monitor it.
  9. QuietNow

    QuietNow Active Member

    One last bit about my experiences with Abilify:

    My weight loss is not typical. Most experience an increase in appetite and after week 3 I could taste a few more things though I never really got hungry unless a day or so had passed between meals.

    When I started Abilify, I had what I thought was a mild stomach flu with a lot of acid reflux for several days and severe gastrointestinal cramping and distress. Well, when I stopped the drug, three days after the last dose the same thing happened. Chewing 3-4 antacids every half hour isn't normal. My pdoc mildly suggested that it may be a mild gall bladder attack (I'm in my late 40's, so, yeah, it could be that).

    But gall bladder and kidney issues are uncommon side effects of Abilify. I'm still probably going to do a liver flush in the next week or so to try to flush out stones in my liver. The high stress of PTSD can cause high cholesterol (though there's only one study on that and it was the blood samples from the Tokyo train gassing by that crazy cult. The medical teams took blood samples from everyone at the time and a month or so later and noted elevated cholesterol during the stress phase). Since gall stones are essentially cholesterol clumping up in your liver and gall bladder, gall bladder attacks can be an issue for PTSD. I don't think there's been a more in-depth study on this, though.
  10. TLight

    TLight I'm a VIP

    I had high cholesterol once when I was really stressed from undiagnosed PTSD...........

    I hate taking these drugs..........other than that, I've no constuctive comment.
  11. Lionheart777

    Lionheart777 Healing Warrior
    Premium Member

    I am sorry to hear that you had to discontinue taking Abilify. I have been on Abilify for about one year and I am doing well on it. I am calm and mellow and, I have none of the irritability that used to drive me into fits of rage. My sister even said, "I am grateful to have my brother back." My whole family is impressed, as is my regular physician. I can't say enough good things about it, but then each person's chemical makeup is different and what works for me may not work for others. I hope you find something that you can take that has all of the benefits that you are now missing.
  12. QuietNow

    QuietNow Active Member

    Hi Lionheart,
    Yeah, I have to admit that after week 2 of being off of it, I would have willingly braved it again for the serenity. But that irrational anger was very strange and very different.

    Oddly, my sense of smell has not fully come back yet. I keep making excuses --pollen, summer cold, flowers just not as fragrant this year.

    I may ask the pdoc to put me back on Abilify again. It was making me calmer. Maybe there was another thing that was stirring the irrational mood swings. The irrational anger was unbelievably bad. I snapped at my *in-laws*!!!!!! You can't find nicer people than my in-laws. But it was about the time that we were selling our old house. That has a lot of triggers around it because it was the first house where I was ever happy. And we sold it to live in a house that reminds me strongly of the one that I grew up in (major trauma) but is in a fantastic neighborhood.

    Perhaps the anger was not the drug, but maybe the circumstance. I do think that maybe I should try it again.
  13. QuietNow

    QuietNow Active Member

    My sense of smell and taste returned about the first week of June, 2010. I quit Abilify in mid-April, 2010. It's July now, and my weight has also gone back to what it was before the trigger event last September, 2009. (Rats. I was kind of hoping that maybe that weight loss would be permanent. Guess I just have to watch what I eat and go to the gym like other people.)
  14. QuietNow

    QuietNow Active Member

    Let me update that though I didn't return to Abilify, I started another drug that is having similar good effects. I just haven't been on it long enough to evaluate side effects, so I haven't posted about it yet.
  15. Lionheart777

    Lionheart777 Healing Warrior
    Premium Member

    I have had over a year on Abilfiy and I continue to do well, with only a slight increase in dosage. I am glad that you found something that is working for you!!!
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