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When Do You Come Off Medication for PTSD?

Discussion in 'Medications & Substances' started by anthony, Oct 28, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    A good question was raised with me, and here is my perspective on this.

    There is a right and wrong time to come off, or reduce medication. The time to do this is once you heal the majority of trauma and are more actively into the learning PTSD management skills phase.

    Obviously only you as the individual will know when the time is right, regardless whether conventional or natural medication, but if you come off medication at the wrong time, the implications could be harder than they are going need to be.

    When you come off medication during the PTSD management learning phase, you are going to go to shit with withdrawals if on conventional medication, which 99% of people use. If your trying to still heal the majority of your trauma whilst doing this, your really putting yourself through a harder ride than need be IMHO.

    If medication is not working for you, in that you are being made worse, then that obviously changes things, but then you should also be trying various alternative medications to seek the right mix for your body. No medication will react the same with any two people. Trial and error is what medication is. It is far from exact, and the only thing that often leaves a person suffering more than they need be, is the physician scripting the medication. Laziness is often the overiding factor.

    So, medicate conventionally or alternatively, heal majority of trauma first, then as your learning how to manage PTSD itself, the process of coming off your medication should be beginning. Medication is not a cure, regardless of type, and it WILL NOT react the same in your body for a long period, regardless whether it is the god sent of all feelings for you now (great that is), your body will build immunity.

    That is my take on when to get yourself off medications.
     
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  3. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I was feeling pretty stable on my meds and wanted to see if I could handle life without them. It didn't help that I wanted to get off the meds because I was feeling like I was 'giving in' or weak to take my meds. I know better than that now.

    My psychiatrist told how to wean down (with the stipulation that if things didn't go well that I get myself back on them). I was into my third week of tapering when all of the sudden things went from sugar to shit in a matter of just a couple of days. So I'm back on my regular dose.

    When do I go off? Who knows? I'm just glad to be feeling stable again.
     
  4. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

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    Think I made a mistake!!!!

    :stupid: Getting off my Remeron is proving to be more difficult than I imagined!!!! Nightmares are back and vicious!!!:cussing: Was up during the night for 2 hours....I feel so damned depressed that I want to grab my rabbits an blanket and curl up in a fetal position on the floor....ARRRRRRGGGGH!!!!!! I see my psychodoc Monday....will discuss this!!!! I have started more work on past Trauma....In my early years [2-6 years of age] It has been so mind boggling for such intensive abuse that occured then....No wonder I am so screwed up!!!!:cussing: I may start back up on the med before Monday....so hard to decide.....
     
  5. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    For me. Like my hubs pointed out. No chemical works on me any more short of a horse tranquilizer.

    I have had to do the deal with trauma during withdrawals. That is why I push as hard as I can as soon as doc hands you something to take med wise, you best jump on how to learn to heal and start trying. Don't sit around on your ass and think wow, I feel better and try to just go on like that. Rude awaking coming.

    You will learn drugs supress many emotions and may feel you do not need to act quickly. Bad idea.

    Also, you may think you have gone further than you thought while on meds healing. So once you are all the way off you get smacked with even more unaddressed emotions.

    I am speaking from experience and not blowing hot air out of my ass. Though right now as I am completely off one of my meds now the withdrawal symptom for me for Zoloft is simply put RAGE.:angry-fla

    I had been dealing with withdrawing from Xanax during healing. Stopped to withdraw from Zoloft. For a couple days I had to up my Xanax to 8-9mg a day to control the rage or someone would get hurt.

    Today I am on my old reduced dose of 2 mg Xanax daily since I have removed all the children from the home this weekend to work on controlling it, and the extra emotions I did not know were there.

    So when do you come off? Soon as you can IMHO. I am back to very strong Chamomile tea and Spearmint tea with the low dose xanax. Once the Zoloft withdrawals are done kicking me in the face I will return to cutting Xanax. I plan to be drug free soon and hope to just be sipping tea to ease tension like normal people.

    Xanax is useless to me as it no longer controls panic and fear, I had/have to learn to control it on my own. Self control does not work when my trauma shows at my door, but the intensity of panic would send me to the hospital at those times; so having the amount of meds needed to control it is better to have on hand instead of being in ER being shot up with dope. My dose has been reduced on the xanax from 10 mg a day to 2 mg a day. You must go off slowly for safety/health reasons. So when he shows up I can take 3 mg (used to take that 3x a day everyday and 1 mg in the night after nightmares) and calm enough not to go to hospital. But not calm all the fear and panic away, just enough to avoid ER. I have learned it is pointless to try and numb it, you need to feel it to work through it.

    Will I be able to bust through that one? :dont-know But if that is the only thing I can't control I am not going to bitch, even if I find all the rest still a pain in the ass.

    So take it long enough until you are able to start to look at your issues. Once you can with out losing your mind, being suicidal..., start cutting. Because they will not be throughly pulled apart until you do not have mood and emotional altering drugs in your system.

    For me I feel like I am in the home stretch. Every drug that has been removed and the more I educate myself the closer I am to recovery, and sometimes you will feel like you are having to start all over again, I know I do. Then you must look back at what you have done and recognize the accomplishments and see you have come a long way. I know I am rambling again, ya'll should be used to it by now! Any way my opinion and experience.
     
  6. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    I agree with this completely!! It was exactly what I was referring to in another thread when I said it was a temporary tool!! What drives me nuts is that other professionals do not push this little fact, even when they know all to well this is what it was meant for!! It's a good test to see if your team of doctors and therapists actually know what they are doing and if they care!

    Bec
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Marlene, what you experienced in the third week is about right, because your body is removing the chemicals from your system. What you felt, is what you will get next time also, because that is what withdrawals are. The difference in your situation though, is that I don't know whether you have healed the majority of your trauma or not. People often come here saying they have, then they get poked a bit, suddenly they know they haven't. So I am unsure about your circumstances as such. But if you haven't, then coming off your medication is not a wise idea at this time. Heal first, then withdraw when your learning to manage PTSD. Coming off medications during the management stage, whilst withdrawals suck, it helps you learn your management skills better, because during that actual phase of your healing you now have no medications helping you, thus the information and techniques you learn, you must apply and learn well, otherwise your going to fall over harder than need be.

    Veiled... you said it yourself though, your on the home straight as such, as you have healed a good majority of trauma, with only all the nasty little residual pieces lingering. Whilst they are disruptive and all, at this stage, your learning more by removing the meds and increasing your coping skills, as I stated above to Marlene, and hence the very nature of this thread.

    Wildfire, I would approach with caution for your case at present, because you have not healed the majority of your trauma, and only cuts and changes you should be making are to stabilize your dosage IMHO. Weaning your meds will come as you heal.

    Bec, I know what your saying. It often frustrates me with the sheer ignorance that physicians show towards patients health. Like isn't it the very reason we seek their help in the first place! Yet more often than not, we end up worse than we started in the long term.
     
  8. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Boy...that makes me want to make sure to keep my perscriptions filled!!! Not to sound like too big a baby,:crybaby: but I really don't want to go through that again! LOL

    Trust me on this-I'm no where near done dealing with it yet. That's about the only definative statement I can make about my life right now.
     
  9. sibemom

    sibemom Active Member

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    I can relate

    One of the reasons I was looking for a forum to discuss PTSD was because I have been on the Trial and Error of almost all meds out there. I am still very new into this, because the accident that caused this has not even been 1 year gone, but in this time meds of course are offered to help and THEY DO NOT!!!!!!!! The best one I took was Zoloft but still I agree it was a bandaid. So then the whole road of TRY THIS, TRY THAT, TRY THIS, and none of them set well with me and actaully cause me more distress because of the hideious side effects that I seem to get. I have always been a person who was VERY SENSITIVE to medication, and have NEVER been on any regular medications except vitamins and an occasional Ibuprofin for a headache. So when they flooded me with all the NEW AND WONDERFUL psychiatric drugs my body went into EXTREME REJECTION. What compormises my situation is the fact that I also have chronic and constant pain from RSD and the physical injuries left by this accident. I am doing my best to find alternatives. I hope I can learn how to deal with my doc's in a more direct way and get them to understand by trying to help me with DRUGS they are actually making my life worse. I am very glad I found ths forum.


    Ann
     
  10. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Sibemom: (hope I spelled that right)

    I also have extreme reactions to any chemicals. Are you tiny by any chance? I know I am and I have to take baby doses compared to others. For example: I'm on Zoloft. I take 25mg a night. That is my maximum dose!! I just went up to that, I was taking it every second night. You do not have to accept huge doses from the docs. DEMAND a smaller dose. They work for you, not the other way around. With PTSD, we all learn to manage our own health much better. If you have questions, demand answers and refuse to take the meds until they give you an answer you are satisfied with. Don't put up with their "god" attitude for two seconds!!

    Bec
     
  11. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Sibemom,

    I still see the shrink, she is a MD. But I also sought out another doc who can't dispense meds, PhD. I go weekly to him for CBT. The most theraputic though to help me do this and get off the meds is this forum. And it isn't easy to do. The sooner you help yourself the better and it sounds like you have the right attitude to do it and starting sooner than later.

    Happy to say my rage has eased a lot now :)
     
  12. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Thats what I thought, but better to ask first. Your on the right direction then Marlene, being to stay medicated until you heal the majority of your trauma, then you begin that ugly process of withdrawing once the real hard stuff is out of the way.
     
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