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    Thread: Ruined by psychiatry, struggling to go on

    1. #1

      Default Ruined by psychiatry, struggling to go on

      I'll try not to let this be a long winded story, I'm more just desperately looking for some hope and advice.

      I was a very high achiever and successful individual, graduated with first class honours and secured a high paying job in the financial services sector. Due to what is largely an internal struggle with self-worth and anxiety issues I saw a psychologist for a dozen sessions and when that provided no relief I was sent to a psychiatrist. He tried several antidepressants and when they failed to provide much relief changed the diagnosis to bipolar and prescribed lithium. Lithium started causing several side effects and so he started experimenting again to try and find a replacement. He determined that my fluctuating mood qualified as 'rapid cycling' and put me on the atypical antipsychotic asenapine (Saphris).
      After 6 months of being on asenapine I noticed my memory was horrendous and my once highly analytical brain had been substantially slowed, additionally I had developed an essential tremor that was making it impossible to write. Accordingly I tried taking myself off the drug, unaware that I would experience withdrawals. Within 5-6 days I had crippling anxiety and complete insomnia, so I caved in and went back on the drug and the anxiety disappeared over the following 2 days.
      I approached my psychiatrist about wanting to get off asenapine and he agreed that it obviously wasn't the drug for me and gave me a tapering schedule of a 25% reduction per week over 4 weeks. I followed this and experienced some minor anxiety whilst reducing the dose but nothing major. As soon as I ceased taking any of the drug however I once again got complete insomnia and after five days drug free the anxiety started to build and build and build till around day 14 when I was in a crisis state, literally clasping my head and screaming at my parents to make the pain stop. I literally cannot imagine a worse pain then the inescapable anxiety and constant panic waves that were sweeping through me that day, I honestly hoped my body would just give out on me and I'd have a heart attack and die. Unable to contain me, my parents admitted me to a hospital where I spent 5 days on a mix of benzodiazepines and low doses of zyprexa. The psychiatrist there gave me the option of going back on an anti-psychotic or trying a different type of antidepressant. I chose the anti-depressant option and was prescribed 100mg doxepin and allowed to go home.

      The anxiety is still there but isn't at crisis point, however I'm worried that it is just being subdued by the zyprexa I had in the hospital and will ramp up again over the next few days. My brain feels like it has been turned to mush. I'm literally completely disabled, I can't think for myself or do anything more complicated then get dressed in the morning and have a shower. I have this constant heavy, dark brain fog that makes executing the simplest of tasks extremely difficult. I'm really not liking the doxepin, I feel spacey, dizzy and constantly lethargic.
      I saw my psychiatrist again and he is of the opinion my symptoms can't possibly be withdrawal related as it has been almost 3 weeks since I stopped taking asenapine. He is viewing it as a new emergence of the bipolar disease. I never had anxiety this bad, never had insomnia or a tremor prior to treatment though and just can't accept that this is anything but withdrawal.

      I feel like my life is ruined, in the space of a year I've gone from a highly intelligent, independent young man with some mental health issues that probably could've been dealt with by the right therapist, to being completely disabled and crippled by psychiatric medication. I've been off work for 3 weeks now and will likely lose my job, have had to withdraw from post-graduate studies, it just feels like I've lost everything. Without a functioning brain and free from this tremor it honestly doesn't feel like life is worth living.

    2. #2
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      Hi and welcome to the forum.

      I'm really sorry you are experiencing this, it sounds horrendous and must be really frustrating for you.

      Here is a link you might find useful from Mind, about how to tell the difference between withdrawal and becoming unwell

      Mind - Withdrawal symptoms

      I can relate to what you say about feeling your brain has turned to mush. It's difficult to know what the cause is. I found antipsychotics reduced my mental acuity but then I think my depression does this also and I'm never sure which is chicken and egg.

      Can you get a second opinion off another doctor?

      I think there is a section on this forum about help with coming off medication, there may be posts there that can help.
      Thanks coraline166, acetyl gave thanks for this post.

    3. #3
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      Hi Acetyl, What you are experiencing is obviously horrifying and traumatic and makes me incredibly angry.

      I have had experienced being essentially forced drugs whilst in hospital that put me through a new kind of hell and then being told that they were more symptoms of mental illness. I feel like my problems have been really complicated from having been given any drug the psychiatrist could think of since I was still a teenager.

      They play mind games with you and take away your voice.

      Your whole situation has obviously become really complicated and I am so sorry for what you've been put through. You should definitely get a second opinion.

      I hope you get some more support and advice from people here- there is a lot of factual information available on this forum that will be able to guide you though this.
      It really upsets me that your education and work have also been jeopardised.
      I really think a second opinion is something you should fight for straight away.

      I'll see if I can find any information that could help you with this and will get back to you, because I don't know enough to advise you with all these connected issues.

      I'm sorry that my response is not ideal and if I've said anything unhelpful, but I had to reply and truely care about your situation.

      Best Wishes, Liz

      ADDITION: You might have already seen this but I found this link on the forum, that included further links to information on withdrawal etc

      http://www.mentalhealthforum.net/com...hiatric-drugs/

      I found this information on Rethink about getting a second opinion:

      http://www.rethink.org/living-with-m...econd-opinions

      If I find anything else that is relevant i'll let you know.
      Last edited by coraline166; 02-03-14 at 21:39. Reason: Adding links
      Thanks Toasted Crumpet, acetyl gave thanks for this post.
      Likes acetyl, coldwater00 liked this post.

    4. #4
      Nicola398
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      Hello acetyl, It sounds to me like what you are going through now are the effects of withdrawal. It takes longer than three weeks to go through withdrawal.I don't want to alarm you but the effects of taking these psyche drugs can permanently affect your mental faculties. That and I would check your thyroid for its functioning as that is another thing that can affect your brain power, if you had hypothyroidism that would slow down brain abilities and make your mind go foggy.That may be the problem rather than mental illness.I had that problem, in my case I had mental illness to but in my case it was due to cannabis abuse.I think in your case you could have had a thyroid problem in the first place which ended up being misdiagnosed as mental illness.I think you should ask your GP for a thyroid test.NicolaX
      Thanks Toasted Crumpet gave thanks for this post.

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      Quote Originally Posted by acetyl View Post
      I'll try not to let this be a long winded story, I'm more just desperately looking for some hope and advice.

      I feel like my life is ruined, in the space of a year I've gone from a highly intelligent, independent young man with some mental health issues that probably could've been dealt with by the right therapist, to being completely disabled and crippled by psychiatric medication. I've been off work for 3 weeks now and will likely lose my job, have had to withdraw from post-graduate studies, it just feels like I've lost everything. Without a functioning brain and free from this tremor it honestly doesn't feel like life is worth living.
      Hi Acetyl,
      I'm exactly like you a High achiever .. plagued with the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder first and later the "Voices" popped out ... but I have managed the "Voice" sysmptom very well and NEVER allowed them to interfere and disrupt my career !! NOT a single iota ... infact I have not taken a single day off work sick expressly on account of the "Voices" though I might have taken so on account of the Flu !! ...
      I have been documenting the way I have dealing with the "Voices" on this Forum ... when you get the time you can read through some of the Threads that I have started ...
      Of particular interest would be this one -- Characterisation of a couple of crazy Voices that infect me !! Where I describe the activities of the "Voices" in relation to trying to disrupt my "Job Interviews" ... but they NEVER managed to have any impact !!
      Another nice influential Thread that would provide you with insight is -- Giving the Voices a Clear Perspective --
      And a next Thread that the jist of which is that You can live your life to the "fullest" despite the "Voices" is -- Yet another Joke about the "Voices" --
      Hope this Helps ..and you will be able to overcome the trouble you are having with the "Voices"...
      Cheerio!!
      Thanks acetyl gave thanks for this post.

    6. #6

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      Thanks for all the advice thus far. From reading the guides provided I think it's clear I came off the asenapine way too quickly (it was actually just under 3 weeks from reducing to taking none at all), and have been plagued by anxiety and poor sleep since. I've printed off some of the guidelines and armed with this am going to see my psychiatrist today about re-starting a much slower taper.

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      It can take a while for the drugs to leave your system and to feel yourself getting back to normal.

      When I came off risperidone it took quite a few months to be able to perform basic self care again. I know this is a different drug but the prinicple may be the same.

      I hope it goes ok with the psychiatrist today - let us know how it goes.x

    8. #8

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      That's a bit disconcerting about the length of time to recover from risperidone

      The psychiatrist really wanted me to try another week of working through the anxiety, we discussed things like ways I could put structure back in to my day, ways I could not let my thoughts consume me etc. I actually left the session feeling pretty good and even did a light gym session last night.

      I woke up in the night though with the anxiety back at excruciating levels, now today I'm having full blown panic attacks and feel like I'm going to die. I'm kicking myself now for not getting a script for asenapine. How I'm going to survive another week feeling like this is beyond me.

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      Quote Originally Posted by acetyl View Post
      That's a bit disconcerting about the length of time to recover from risperidone

      The psychiatrist really wanted me to try another week of working through the anxiety, we discussed things like ways I could put structure back in to my day, ways I could not let my thoughts consume me etc. I actually left the session feeling pretty good and even did a light gym session last night.

      I woke up in the night though with the anxiety back at excruciating levels, now today I'm having full blown panic attacks and feel like I'm going to die. I'm kicking myself now for not getting a script for asenapine. How I'm going to survive another week feeling like this is beyond me.
      I was on the depot and taken off it, I didn't taper the meds. It might be different for different meds and also different people react differently. I wasn't meaning to dishearten you when I said how long it took for me, just to give you a bit of hope that it can take a while but doesn't mean you will always feel as bad as you do currently.

      I'm sorry about the panic attacks. Are you in the UK? If so there is this organisation that might be able to help:

      No More Panic - Panic Attacks - what they are and how to cope with them

      There's also a helpline for another organisation called No Panic: 0800 138 8889 (daily, 10am-10pm)

      Their website appears to be undergoing construction.

      Try and hang on in there, acetyl.

    10. #10
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      Definitely a story to make you think carefully before allowing them to prescribe you any kind of psychiatric drugs. I'm convinced that for all but the really severe cases it does more harm than good.

      I'm in much the same position - was highly analytical, gifted both creatively and mathematically, successful career behind me, but in my case a severe psychotic break rather than long standing symptoms that I sought help with. Now I'm on Risperidone, noticing decreased memory function and a few other side effects, but can't get off the drug because of withdrawal causing sleeplessness and eventually psychosis.

      I don't have any answers I'm afraid all we can do is take it one step at a time
      People are worried and unhappy in direct proportion to the lack of love in their lives.
      - Osho

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