I’m going to focus on the depression side of my doctor’s appointment this morning and dedicate a second post to the issues with my back.
I mentioned in previous Depression Confessions posts, that after much thought and discussion, I’ve decided to begin the process of withdrawaling from the antidepressants I’ve been on for many, many years. I met with my doctor this morning to discuss my decision and figure out the best, safest way for me to withdrawal from both Paxil and Wellbutrin XL.
Before I explain how I’m going to do this, I want to be sure that I’m very clear about this one point. Never, never quit antidepressants cold turkey. Doing so can cause side effects that range from unpleasant to serious. Always work with your doctor to figure out if you should come off your meds and if so, how to do so safely. This is very, very important.
My doctor and I had a lengthy discussion about why I wanted to stop my antidepressants and what my plan was going forward in regards to managing my depression without them.
For me personally, there were a few reasons for wanting to do this.
For starters, I’ve been on the same meds for a very long time and I want to see where I am without them. Ideally, I want to manage my depression naturally. That’s entirely possible with things like therapy, diet and exercise.
I’ve never been one for one on one counseling because it’s never been super helpful for me. I do benefit from counseling when I’m feeling out of sorts and in need of guidance. Deciding to take on this journey of removing my meds is one such time I really benefited from seeking counsel.
As for diet and exercise, I successfully managed my depression for many year this way. I intend to do the same and see how it goes.
One of the biggest reasons I want to do this is because of the weight gain I’ve experienced. I can’t blame this all on the Paxil because I need to make better choices, but since beginning Paxil four or five years ago, I’ve gained about eighty pounds and that’s not something that has ever happened before in my life.
Before we discussed the actual withdrawal process, my doctor want to make sure that I was open to revisiting medications if this doesn’t work out. I’m absolutely open to that if need be, so that wasn’t a problem.
We decided to take these one at a time. She suggested working on the Paxil first because that likely behind a good part of my weight gain.
The process for withdrawaling from Paxil is lengthy and will take me about three months to complete. Paxil is notoriously difficult to withdrawal from because it has an extremely short half life. Just Google withdrawling from Paxil and you read countless horror stories. In order to avoid as many of these complications as possible, we’re dragging out the withdrawal process. This is one of those times in life when I want to be the tortoise, not the hare.
I’ve been on 40 mg/day for the better part of the last few years. That’s considered a medium to higher dose, at least from what I’ve researched. It will take a total of three minutes this to completely withdrawl.
Here’s the plan for slowly removing Paxil from my system over time:
Phase 1) I’ll take 40 mg one day and 20 mg the next. I’ll repeat this pattern for a total of four weeks.
Phase 2) I’ll take 20 mg/day for another four weeks.
Phase 3) I’ll begin taking 20 mg one day and 10 mg the next. I’ll do this for a total of two weeks.
Phase 4) I’ll only take 10 mg every day for two weeks.
Phase 5) Begin withdrawaling from the Wellbutrin. Schedule to be determined
That’s the game plan for removing the Paxil from my system, while giving my brain enough time to gradually adjust to the changes. It also gives me time to continue working in building healthier habits, that help manage depression naturally.
I feel really good about this and I began my first lower dose last night. I feel like I’m on the right path and I’m determined to make this work. ☺