A couple of weeks ago the VA realized they were double-medicating me and had me stop taking the antidepressants they prescribed me for nerve pain. The medicine I take for tremors also treats nerve pain and so the antidepressant was unnecessary.
The problem with stopping antidepressants are the severe withdrawal symptoms. I suffered from dizziness, fuzziness, and an overall “drunk” feeling that persisted. I also was very sensitive to loud noises and even had to walk out of my brother-in-law’s “charismatic” church service because of how it was affecting me.
These are not unique. In trying to see whether I need to be concerned, I did a basic search online for the medicine I was on and one of the top results was a medical discussion about its withdrawal symptoms. It recommended not going cold-turkey and instead slowly backing off the medication.
I planned to do that, but I also read most people are over the withdrawal within two weeks. With a week already into it and me planning to take a week off to travel to DC, I decided to just dive in feet first. While it made for a very fuzzy DC trip, I wanted to be off it.
Finally, the withdrawal symptoms from coming off the antidepressant are starting to subside.
I am also noticing benefits of stopping the medication. My Fitbit is showing that my quality of sleep has increased, and I do not feel as drowsy as I used. Rather than looking for justification to work from home so I can take a nap or stay in bed, this past week I got up every day and went into the office like normal. My energy levels are up as well.
I am not a fan of mind-altering drugs. This is the second time a doctor prescribed me to one and the second time it has messed with me. The first was an anti-seizure medication to treat migraine. I am at the point now where I do not want a medication if it is designed to work on the head. I would rather deal with the occasional migraine than take anti-seizure meds. I would rather drink a glass of milk than take Ambien. And I would rather just deal with the nerve pain than take an antidepressant.
My suggestion: if you are prescribed antidepressants for anything other than depression, please ask your doctor if there is an alternative. There might not be, but it is better to take meds that do not mess with your head.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and have no desire to be. If your doctor prescribed you an antidepressant for depression, DO NOT STOP TAKING IT!