I am interested in hearing about any experiences switching from an SSRI such as Lexapro or Prozac to a natural remedy such as St John's Wort. The withdrawal symptoms of SSRI's can be so severe that I wondered if immediately taking St John's Wort while beginning to taper the SSRI can help with those withdrawal symptoms. Does anyone have any experience with or information about this? I know that SSRI's shouldn't be combined with St John's Wort, but since SJW takes 2 - 4wks to build-up in the bloodstream, it seems like it might make sense to start taking it at the time of starting to taper off of an SSRI.
Any information about alternative/homeopathic/herbal remedies used successfully during the withdrawal process would be very helpful! Thanks in advance!
There are many safe alternatives to SSRI's. I have found essential oils like lavender and Frankincense to be the best when trying to change to an alternative. Lavender has calming effects and Frankincense has the ability to get through the blood brain barrier of cell walls and reprogram cells. I also use a progessence plus serum that brings up my progesterone levels and is the feel good hormone in women. If you are male or female hormone levels play a bigger factor in our bodies wellbeing; that is a topic neglected by most Doctors. I only recommend therapeutic grade known pure essential oils from young living. I have suffered from withdraws and know that they do go away but can be tough to get through. Talk to your doctor first about going off of them. I am not a doctor or a nurse but have a lifetime of knowledge in using alternatives. Herbs are good like St. Johns Wort but essential oils are stronger and more effective.
Good to hear that you are trying to better your life and see natural results.
Awesome choice. St. John will give you what you need without the excessive medication. I notice you wrote a month ago, so perhaps you have already phased through... how did it go?
When you wean of SSRIs it's important to do so with some sort of supervision... the effects can be unexpected.
To minimize this, you should accompany the switch with a cleansing and detox regime.
Don't start taking any St. John's wort until you have already gone through a weaning process ... hypericum perforatum, the active ingredient, is as potent a drug as any SSRI and can cause craziness due to it effect on the blood.
Here's how to take St John's wort as an anti-depressive in cases of mild to moderate depression:
How to Take It
Most studies on St. John's wort have been conducted in adults. However, one study (more than 100 children under age 12) indicated that St. John's wort may be a safe and effective way of treating mild-to-moderate symptoms of depression in children. Never give your child St. John’s wort without medical supervision. Children being treated with St. John's wort should be carefully monitored for side effects, such as allergic reactions or upset stomach. You should not try to treat depression in a child without a doctor’s help, because depression can be a serious illness.
Dry herb (in capsules or tablets): The usual dose for mild depression and mood disorders is 300 mg (standardized to 0.3% hypericin extract), 3 times per day, with meals. St. John's wort is available in time-release capsules.
St. John’s Wort is also available as a liquid extract or a tea. Ask your doctor to help you find the right dose.
It may take 3 - 4 weeks to feel any effects from St. John's wort.
Don’t stop taking St. John’s wort all at once, because that may cause unpleasant side effects. Gradually lower the dose before stopping.
(My personal recommendation may not be legal in your country: use marijuana during the tapering off process, it will help with 2 things: 1. dealing with the withdrawl and 2. the process of secreting the ssris from their fatty storage. )
Discontinuing anti-depressants can interfere with normal social and occupational functioning. This usually starts 1 to 7 days after discontinuation, but it depends on the half-life of the medication. These symptoms may last a few weeks, however, sexual dysfunction has been reported to last a year or more. The largest complaint seems to be the feeling of “brain zaps” or “brain shocks” which are described as electric shock-like sensations; especially with Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Cymbalta, Pristiq, Zoloft and Luvux. Besides “brain zaps” and sexual dysfunction, here are a few more symptoms patients have reported: dizziness/vertigo, sweating, confusion, nausea, insomnia, temor, panic disorder, aggressiveness, nightmares, flu-like symptoms, visual and other sensory disturbances, irritability, fatigue, diarrhea, headache and dysphoria (absence of pleasure).
Protracted Withdrawal is the time period that begins once one has finished tapering off an SSRI - they are no longer ingesting the drug but it is stored in the body’s fat cells as SSRIs are fat- soluble drugs. We have no way of knowing when this condition ends because many are known to experience "drug pockets" where the drug which has been stored in the body, releases - due to exercise, weight loss, sweating, or a number of other reasons including the body's own nature to expel that which is unnatural and toxic. This appears to be a reason that these drugs can be
so difficult to taper off.
Additionally, there is seemingly no research available on the subject of SSRIs being fat-soluble drugs, [see right for description]. It seems that psychotropic drugs are fat soluble in order for them to pass through the blood-brain barrier.
Wean yourself off of Leaxapro gradually. I had few withdrawal syptoms, and marijuana did help.
Marijuana maybe good :) But for those with anxiety and pain attacks Marijuana will trigger it badly...As for Panic attacks and anxiety, On days you think you can, the cure is face those fears...I couldn't even answer the phone. I almost lost my kids to this sickness it was so bad...The pills added, more to the problems...So I just stopped everything and just faced everything...Go to youtube and listen to long relaxing cd's and build your own paradise in your head, so it takes you away from the anxiety... let out things you holding in to your parents, friends, and one you are people pleasing for ( Which is fears ) :) Don't just quit the pills..
.I would check with Ann Blake- Tracy on facebook and past this lady on to anyone dealing with mental health problems. She is really good, replies back and does it for free :) <3
Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (www.drugawareness.org)
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? - Our Serotonin Nightmare
Withdrawal CD: Help! I Can't Get Off My Antidepressant!
She has specialized since 1990 in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications (such as Prozac, Sarafem, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Serzone, Remeron, Anafranil, Fen-Phen, Redux and Meridia as well as the new atypical antipsychotics Zyprexa, Geodon, Seroquel and Abilify), as well as pain killers, and has testified before the FDA and congressional subcommittee members on antidepressants.
Since 1992 she has testified as an expert witness in Prozac and other SSRI related court cases around the world. Some of the more high profile cases she has worked on would be the murder/suicide of comedian Phil Hartman and his wife Brynn, the Columbine & Red Lake School shootings,
Andrea Yates – the Texas mother who drowned her five children, the Atlanta Day Trader, Princess Di’s death, the murder/suicide of the royal family of Nepal, Anna Nicole Smith’s son Daniel’s death, etc.
Ann Blake-Tracy will amaze you with documentation as to how often these drugs have lurked silently behind the scenes of major headlines worldwide!! To get an idea of how often and the types of reactions we are seeing in the news go to www.drugawareness.org for breaking news cases and www.ssristories.com for our database of 1000′s of articles on patients on these drugs and the adverse results appearing as headlines which Ann Blake Tracy and our Texas director, Rosie Meysenburg have been gathering for a decade and a half. With only two individuals gathering the cases it makes it clear that this shocking list is only the tip of this iceberg!
Her first book on the issue was published in 1991. What scientists are just now learning about these drugs she spelled out in this book and other early writings. She has participated in innumerable radio,
television, newspaper and magazine interviews since 1989.
We know of no one with such extensive experience and expertise on all of these issues surrounding the SSRI antidepressants as Ann Blake-Tracy. She knows this issue like no one you have ever met! Her latest book on the Prozac family of antidepressants: "PROZAC: PANACEA OR PANDORA? - Our Serotonin Nightmare" (2001) is the product of
many, many years of intensive research, and the cases of approximately 1,000 patients on a long-term basis.
Ann Blake Tracy also has an hour and a half long audio tape and/or CD, “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!,” which explains the safest withdrawal methods from these antidepressants discovered via trial & error over the past two decades and how to rebuild the body and brain after the use of these drugs – the product of many years working with patients in withdrawal from antidepressants and patients with serious adverse reactions to antidepressants.
Ann Blake Tracy has appeared on or consulted for television presentations for FOX News, Court TV, the History Channel, CNN, PBS programs, Dateline and 20/20, the Geraldo Show, the Leeza Gibbons Show, the Montel Williams Show, the Maury Povich Show and numerous local news programs. She has also appeared on many national radio shows over the past 20 years such as NPR, Coast to Coast, the Jeff Rense Show, and the Alex Jones Show. Internationally she has appeared in the US, Canada, Finland, UK, Russia. Ireland, and is currently working on one in Germany and another in Australia.
Ann has also appeared in two major film documentaries released the end of 2005, The Drugging of Our Children, by award-winning documentary filmmaker Gary Null, which contains interviews with Michael Moore and Neil Bush agreeing on the subject of the horrors of giving our children drugs; (This movie is available in its entirety at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3609599239524875493#) and the movie Prescription Suicide, a look into the lives of families who experienced firsthand the tragedy of antidepressants, produced by five-time Emmy Award winning Hollywood producer Robert Manciero.
For more information and materials go to www.drugawareness.org
I read this in a post somewhere else many months ago when I was trying to get off Effexor (or any extended release capsules) - basically, I had tapered to the lowest dose but couldn't get off of it without extremely terrible withdrawal (I didn't realize at the time because my doctor said the new medications acted on the same receptions so it should transfer fine).... finally called a nurses hotline because i was in bed, vomiting, could barely see, "shock" sensations (I got it really bad), and she was like, "TAKE A PILL NOW" (literally).
Anyway all that to say that I found this suggestion that you open the capsules and take out a little bit for a week, and then a little bit more, and then a little bit more, until you are literally taking nothing. It resulted in zero symptoms for me. It's scary at first to open up the capsules, but they are easy to put back together, and I do it over a pill box so if i spill too much I can pour back. It'll be longer before you're on something new, but St. John's Wort puts you at higher risk for serotonin syndrone (can be fatal, I think) even within 5 days of tapering off (although if you're at a third of a really low dose I wouldn't be as concerned). They just interact and some (like Cymbalta, which I take now) will have a higher likelihood of interacting and causing those effects which could be dangerous. I am about to go through the same process but wanted to share what i've learned and my experiences in case anyone reads this string later on (as I am reading it a year later and getting ideas). Thanks!
I used liquid st john's wort (under the tongue) with a SAD lamp when decreasing from 150 mg of Effexor to 75 mg. When I began to itch, I did some research and found that the itch was due to seratonin withdrawl. So I bought a big bottle of aloe vera and lathered myself up with that when I got itchy. I did this in 3 weeks.
In January, when I retire, I will be using St John's Wort and my SAD lamp to help me wean from 300 mg to none (I hope).
Hope this is useful.
Your best bet is certified organic essential oils. Period.