Sufferer Suffering - Abilify withdrawal, cPTSD symptoms and constant state of fear


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I'm surprised I haven't signed up to this forum before. I was diagnosed with PTSD around 10 years ago, and recently cPTSD around 2 years ago by a specialist. As a result of a major trigger (threat to life) 8 years after my official PTSD diagnosis, I went into a psychosis and broke down. My psychiatrist prescribed me anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics. I was on them for roughly two years. Recently, because of severe side effects from Abilify, I've had to come off all medication.

I had forgotten what its like to live with cPTSD daily symptoms, and I feel like the withdrawal from Abilify is heightening their severity, significantly. I'm constantly alert for threat to life / safety. I have terrible intrusive catastrophic thoughts about having a terminal illness (because I have itchy skin). I am experiencing pronounced depression, existential in nature. Suicidal ideation, and basically my hyper-vigilance feels like I'm in a constant state of fear. It's so exhausting. I'm almost 6 weeks into the withdrawal (so med-free), and I would go back and titrate more gently but the side effects of Abilify were so extreme I literally can't do it (massive cognitive impairment with memory).

Has anyone else here come off their meds and had this type of experience with PTSD / cPTSD? Any hope to share? I don't usually reach out for help in public forums, but I feel like I can't talk to my family, fiance or friends as they just don't understand, then worry about me and make it essentially about themselves.



Yep yep... it’s called “rebound effect” and symptoms are usually waaaaay worse than “normal”, for a period of time. How long depends on the meds. Stimulants the rebound is oft just an hour or so, but some medications last weeks/months.

Wiki isn’t my fave source for these kinds of things, but they have a fast breakdown of types of meds & the type of rebound one will be looking at. Rebound effect - Wikipedia

Welcome to the community!


Wow, that's a lot to have to deal with. I hope the withdrawal is done soon. I experienced this when I quit taking benzos after 5 years. It lasted a couple of months and then went away.


I’m currently tapering off Trilafon (perphenazine) which is a typical antipsychotic versus Abilify which is an atypical antipsychotic. I had a misdiagnosis of schizoaffective for 13 years and was on pretty close to every antipsychotic (typical and atypical) that existed at that time. 2ish years ago I was diagnosed with cptsd and adhd but was stable and never got off the antipsychotics. I’ve suddenly had to go off the Trilafon because of elevated prolactin levels. I’m down to 50% of my original dose. I’m still on all my other meds.
honestly I’m a hot mess. I am experiencing the same symptoms I experienced in 2001-2002 and 2007 that caused me to seek medication and treatment for psychosis. I don’t think I was ever actually psychotic except for a week in 2008 when I mixed my Abilify with a lot of alcohol and bong hits of weed. That was the last time I was drunk or high. What I think I was originally medicated for was severe dissociative symptoms with mild visuals. But I told the doctors that I was sure I was psychotic and they all believed me…for 13 years. Until one day I was in a new (to me) hospital and the nurse told me that if you know you’re delusional you by definition are not delusional. But yeah. ADHD digressions here. My point is I’m down from 24 mg of perphenazine per day to 12mg, over the course of 6+ months, and I am extremely dissociative and experiencing severe complex trauma symptoms and have relapsed with self harm/suicidal ideation. So I have no hope or experience to offer you but I can definitely relate. I want to thank some of the people who commented on this thread because it is good to hear that it will get better eventually.
one supposedly good thing I am experiencing is that I am newly able to feel post traumatic emotions that were buried for my entire life, like anger and outrage about the abuse and emotional neglect I went through, and I am beginning to be able to actually work on some of the trauma instead of medicating it away and being a chronic relapser. I hope this helps a little even just knowing someone else can relate