Coming off Mirtazapine and dealing with anxiety

Postby Luckygirl54 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:21 pm

Hi every one,

I am on a very low dose of Mirtazepine (either a 1/4 or 1/2 or a 15mg tablet each night). I mainly keep taking it as it help me sleep. If don't sleep for a good numbetr of hours I am dreadful the next day with anxiety and just feeling bad and awful inside, if you can understand that.

I wonder if anyone has come off of theirs meds and dealt with anxiety and the accompanying symptoms successfully?

I feel my body is continually trying to detox from these meds. My skin always feels as if there is a film on it, particularly my face. My pores feel blocked, I get a lot of sleep from my eyes. When I get anxious the number tissues I get through from blowing my nose is amazing. Plus of course lots of trips to the bathroom and if it is really bad throwing up as well.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has dumped the meds and learnt to deal with the anxiety and the depression it causes.

Many thanks
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#1

Postby Rockbessie » Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:32 pm

Hi Luckygirl

I was on Mirtazipine and found that all it did for me was make me eat too much sleep a lot and have suicidal thoughts regrettably. I did have no problem coming off it though and I firstly did wean down from 45mg to 15mg which pretty much guaranteed me to sleep (it doesn't make you sleep as much on higher doses) I have been changed to Cipralex which has so far not noticably helped me apart from make me retch violently every morning - well I suppose that could be the anxiety.

I am on the end of my tether with meds too. The only few days I felt relatively ok was between meds although I would be going against all medical advice if I went off them and I did have a very positive experience with Citalopram the first time that I was ill. I have purchased an alpha stim and eagerly await its delivery although it was over £200 I would gladly chop off my leg if I was guaranteed to have no more anxiety!
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#2

Postby scampo » Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:52 pm

I came off mirtazapine with no problems at all except I felt better! It caused me to feel totally numb. It helped my sleep initially but I never felt good despite sleeping. This effect soon wore off and then all I felt was tired out.

You can stop it more easily than SSRIs - they can be a pig to come off.

I'd be very keen to know how the "Alpha-Stim" works, RB. Like you, I'd spend anything to find help with my insomnia, etc. Keep us informed and fingers crossed.
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#3

Postby Luckygirl54 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:08 am

Hi RB and Scampo,

Thanks for your replies. I too am interested in any stories from people who have or are using the Alpha Sim. I have asked for info on another post which you may have seen titled 'Alpha Sim'.

Here's hoping we all have a good day today.
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#4

Postby scampo » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:12 am

I had my fourth terrible night in a row last night so you can imagine how this morning feels... doh. Insomnia is not often mentioned, to my surprise and disappointment, on this forum. It's a silent illness that ruins lives in my view. I've tried every drug there seem to be with no success. When I'm desperate I take a Valium or lorazepam but then suffer later with the "rebound" anxiety those drugs seem to cause.

The sun is shining, though, so I expect when this fog (in my head...) lifts, all will be well!
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#5

Postby Luckygirl54 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:31 am

Hi Scampo,

I too suffer if I don't get my sleep which is why I still take the Mirtazepine as I don't think they do anything for my mood, they just help me to get fairly good sleep most nights and hopefully this gives me the mental strength during the day to deal with the anxiety etc.

The thing that frightens me is if I come off of them will I not be able to sleep and therefore go back back to being really, really bad as I was 2 years ago. If only we had a crystal ball and could see the future.

I have tried to come off of them before by loweriing the dose to 1/8 tablet and once at that point stopped taking them for a couple of nights but I got in such a state from lack of sleep and high anxiety that I got to the point where I didn't want to deal with it any more and felt I would do anything to stop these dreadful feelings of anxiety and the hopeless despair I felt. This was not good so I started up a small dose again and am still on it. So you see I feel I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Scampo do you find that when you are trying to sleep that you can get to the point where everything is black in front of your eyes and all you need to do is fall into this blackness to sleep but somehow something in you brain just won't allow you to do this? This is what I find when I have trouble sleeping. A also usually wake every 1-2 hours every night and on the bad nights I just can't get back to sleep even with the Mirtazepine.

I do hope you can have a reasonably good day.

Rockbessie please can you keep us informed on your progress with your Alpha Stim when you get it.
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#6

Postby scampo » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:46 am

I know exactly how you feel fearing a return to bad times. I was at my very worst two years ago and tried antidepressants with no success - just terrible side effects. Sleeping tablets just give me two hours of sleep - why I just do not know. I despair because of my poor sleep. The last two years especially have been bad news as I can no longer work (as a teacher) because of this problem.

My insomnia seems not the same as yours. I mostly manage to get off to sleep but then I wake up several times during the night eventually waking after a heavy hour or so of sleep in the morning feeling terrible with a thick muzzy head. This, at worst, leads to anxiety and depression but, thankfully, the depression at least is keeping away a little for now.

I always know when I will get to sleep as I find the bed feels very comfy and I get to the stage where I forget the thought my mind was working through (I'm always working through some nonsense or other - hardly ever worries, just this or that). When I am about to fall asleep, behind my closed eyes, I see a mixture of colours and the next thing I know, I'm asleep.

When I took mirtazapine it seemed very good at first for sleep but I still woke feeling awful. The useful effects on sleep soon wore off, though, and in the end I felt I was wasting my time taking them.

I went to a sleep clinic and was recommended a self-help book. Here's a link, it might help (it didn't help me but is highly thought of):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Overcoming-Inso ... 58&sr=8-11
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#7

Postby Luckygirl54 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:06 am

Hi Scampo,

I also don't have any trouble getting off to sleep, although I think that is the Mirtazepine. I usually read for and hour or so before I sleep as this calms my mind. It is also the not knowing that I find hard to deal with. Even Taking the Mirtazepine it doesn't guarantee a good nights sleep. I still get some bad nights even with the meds.

I know what you mean about the bed. Sometimes it feels all snuggerly and some times just something you sleep on. I guess this is due to how relaxed ones body is as the bed doesn't change.

I haven't worked in two years either. I think part of my problem is boredom. I want to picture my life being this useful person again but it is just actually getting to that point which is the problem. It is hard to commit to anything when you just don't know how you are going to be in advance.

I also am a great believer in Claire Weekes.

Thanks for the link I will have a look at that. There was an article in the Daily Mail on July 8th about an insomniac and her experience at a sleep clinic. It took her a year to get her sleep patterns back to normal by 're-training' her brain using muscle relaxants at night. You can probably read it on line.
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#8

Postby scampo » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:01 pm

"It is hard to commit to anything when you just don't know how you are going to be in advance."

That exactly describes how my life is too much of the time. It's terrible really and all the more so as no one really understands what insomnia means. Add in anxiety and committing to future events becomes something of a nightmare.

It seems we share a good deal with our problems! Oh for an easier life, eh? I'll search for that piece from the Daily Mail but I never find that paper very helpful. A neighbour has it and he's always - only trying to be kind - giving me hints and tips that he has read!

When I first took mirtazapine it virtually knocked me out, so quickly and deeply did I sleep. I was amazed at its power, but sadly I didn't feel rested the next day, more of a "zombie". Soon the effect wore off or I got used to it. One more disappointment if drug therapy. I feel envious of those who find success with medication. The only drugs that I find help a little are Valium and lorazepam and I reserve those for "emergencies".
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#9

Postby Luckygirl54 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:19 pm

I know what you mean about zombie like. I was on 2 x 15mg tablets of Mirtazapine at one time and I felt constantly in a fog. About a year ago I gradually lowered the dose to what it is now. I was also taking Clonazepam each morning when I awoke really early so I could get a couple more hours sleep. I also weaned myself off of those on a regular basis last Sept. I just take a 1/4 or 1/2 tablet in emergencies now.

Do you mind me asking? Are you on any regular meds at all now? If not do you get anxiety constantly rather than anxiety attacks? How do you deal with which ever you get or both?
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#10

Postby tachante » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:56 pm

I was on Mirtazapine from Dec 24th to January 23rd. I HAD to come off these meds as it was causing muscle pains in my legs and I could no longer walk (strange side effect eh...A&E couldn't figure it out, took them about 6 hours!).

After 24 different medications, I came to the conclusion that meds just weren't working for me. They were keeping me a tad happier, but on the whole the anxiety was just being suppressed by the medications - meaning I wasn't really dealing with it. Not to mention I felt terrible 110% of the time I was on them!!

I have now been off medications for panic disorder and GAD for 7 months on the 23rd of this month. I've been assessed by both psychiatrists and psychologists and the best way forward must be psychoanalysis or psychotherapy. I've had ABT before...and it didn't really help much as I was pretty much 'negative' and 'anxious' about everything. However, I have been signed onto a course of CBT and start it in September.

For me, medications weren't the way forward. After 3 years of social phobia and now having to settle with GAD and Panic Disorder - it has made me realise how much anti-depressants really were made for depression!! And not anxiety...
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#11

Postby Luckygirl54 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:17 pm

Hi Tachante,

Thanks for your reply.

It is interesting that you have tried so many meds. Although I have suffered from social anxiety, steadily getting worse, for quite a few years it was the taking of one little Citilopram (bad spelling I think) that pushed me over the edge and gave me high anxiety 24/7 with major anxiety attacks coming fast and furious. Or rather my bad reaction to it.

I am, therefore, extremely loathe to try any other meds for fear of my reaction to them. Even when I had my Mirtazapine prescription filled at a different chemist and I had a different brand I had a reaction. So I always now have to get this one particular make.

I would love to come off the Mirtazapine for good and see if I can move forward without meds but as you can see from my comments in the above posts I am a bit scared of doing this. I am just not sure if I am strong enough mentally to cope with withdrawals, even doing it slowly, and any increase in anxiety this might bring. I guess I am terrified of loosing the progress I have made over the last two years small as it might be compared to having a full and happy life.

What sort of levels of anxiety do you have to deal with? How do you deal with them? If you don't mind me asking.
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#12

Postby tachante » Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:29 pm

Citalopram was the first medication I tried, and I had an adverse reaction to it. Went into severe palpitations, lost track of breathing and knocked myself unconcious due to hypoxia (oxygen starvation). It was the palpitations that were causing the problems, hypoxia was my bad handling as they wouldn't go away. I was on the medication for two days before coming off.

"I am, therefore, extremely loathe to try any other meds for fear of my reaction to them"

^^ this is why i came off medications all together - 110%. I've been knocked out, unable to walk, delirious, throwing up...you name it. I'd had enough.

To be dreadfully honest, you can ask any top psychiatrist and he/she will tell you that medications do not help cure anxiety. Anxiety isn't even psychiatric, its psychological. That means you need psychological help, not tablets. This is what I refused to get my head round for so many years - thinking tablets would help but they dont. I couldn't take anything. The only tablet that never gave me trouble was Effexor, yet coming off it was a nightmare and it didn't work for me anyway.

I feel much better (health wise) since I've come off my medication. I've started to exercise which does help. I have GAD which means excessive anxiety, so I do still have very high levels. However, this is being controlled by psychologists and psychotherapy. I have an addition to lorazepam which isn't good...but this will be phased out eventually.

I have anxiety 110% of the time, even now! My way of dealing with it is keeping myself occupied, I'm the most excessive cleaner you will ever come across!! ABT did help a little, but with CBT things should get much better. I've grown up with this so its almost a part of me now, so I've sort of got used to it all.

Coming off meds was the best decision of my life. I;d urge others to do it, but I am in no place to preach. Therapy over medication anyday.

Any more questions feel free to ask hun x
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#13

Postby scampo » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:19 pm

Luckygirl54 wrote:...Do you mind me asking? Are you on any regular meds at all now? If not do you get anxiety constantly rather than anxiety attacks? How do you deal with which ever you get or both?


I've been taking a tablet called dosulepin ('Prothiaden' 75mg) for a couple of months as it was supposed to help with sleep as well as anxiety. It hasn't helped at all with the insomnia but my wife thinks it has improved my anxiety and edgy mood. I'm not sure it's the tablets or just time passing as I already seemed to be slowly improving before starting the new tablets (except for the poor sleep). I certainly don't get so much of the "I can't cope" feeling these days, thankfully but I still spend much of my time feeling uptight, like a pressure in the chest area and a "muzzy" head.

At the moment the worst symptom I have is utter tiredness (as you can imagine after four bad nights). My anxiety can show itself still, for example when I talk to someone, even a neighbour, I can feel an increasing sense of not being able to cope. When it was at its worse that kind of feeling was a daily event, sometimes constant, sometimes on and off but always terrible. It's was if a panic attack was around the corner.

If it wasn't for the tiredness at the moment I'd say I was definitely on the mend. I'm reluctant to say that though as it can change so easily and with the past few days of poor sleep I'll be honest, I'm worried things will take a turn for the worst. I'm convinced that good sleep is needed for a healthy mind.
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#14

Postby scampo » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:40 pm

tachante wrote:...After 3 years of social phobia and now having to settle with GAD and Panic Disorder - it has made me realise how much anti-depressants really were made for depression!! And not anxiety...


That's pretty much my conclusion but the dosulepin I've been taking for a couple of months seems like it just might be working on my anxiety even if by a little, it's better than nothing. If you haven't tried it, you might give it a thought. It's an older type drug and has none of the awful side effects of the SSRI drugs.

You say you are taking lorazepam. I do find that very useful for emergency use - usually at night when I just can't sleep or if I feel panicky rather than generally anxious.

A good tablet for middle-of-the-night waking, even when taken up to 4am is Zimovane (zopiclone 3.75 or 7.5mg). I get only two hours sleep from it but sometimes two hours is a lifesaver.

I haven't found therapy much use at all, sadly. I don't agree with your psychiatrist about anxiety, I have to say. I think anxiety and depression can go hand in hand, the latter resulting from the former. There must be many different types around though as evidenced by the posts here.
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