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How to reverse damage done from years of taking prescription pills?

I took a variety of pills for a few years (about 5 years) including respiradone and latuda; I can't remember the other ones, but I think they were anti-depressants and mood-stabilizers.

I've been off them for over 6 years. When I first started to go off the pills, I did what the doctor said, which was to come off them slowly by reducing the dose over a few weeks before completely stopping it. It was brutal at first. I would get massive anxiety and mood swings, to the point that I would have to leave work because my anxiety and mood-swings were overwhelming. I also developed an issue where I everytime I wake up from sleeping (whether it be a nap, middle of the night, or from a full night's rest) I will wake up trembling with my heart racing and extreme dehydration.

I'm not a chemist or doctor, but I hypothesize that taking pills has caused my body to stop producing whatever chemicals it used to produce naturally to handle stress and anxiety on its own, since it was getting them externally through pills. I think this is why even after 6 years being off medication I'm still struggling with immense anxiety, mood instability, and the trembling and dehydration when waking up from sleeping.

Is there a way to detox, reverse, or recalibrate your brain to undo whatever dependency it has developed from taking prescription pills? As crazy as this sounds, I even wondered if it's possible to take pills that do the opposite affect of the pills that I used to take (like a "pro"-depressant or a mood-"unstabilizer") to cancel out the affects. I tried many things, like mediation, different diet, and intermittent fasting, but none of it has solved it. Meditation actually made my anxiety worse.
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Avatar universal
A point not given enough attention is this:
The withdrawal symptoms are NOT those of the condition for which the patient took the drug(s).
Helpful - 1
I think it can be challenging to decipher and often patients who discontinue a drug do not like to think that their original disorder (perhaps presenting slightly differently) is actually returning. It often really is. Withdrawal is real too though. But withdrawal usually dissipates more and more over time until gone. And then you very well are seeing a return of your psychiatric condition.
To add to that: another symptom I have now is severe brain fog, which is not a symptom I've ever had before taking pills. I've always been regarded as an intelligent kid and I never even really needed to study when in school because I had a keen intellect. Now, it's almost like my IQ has been cut in half. Sometimes my brain fog is so bad that I struggle to perform basic tasks. If I want to learn something, I have to study very hard, which is the opposite of how I used to be. It even affects me at work, mostly because I have a job that requires me to use my brain, and there are days that I'm completely unproductive at work due to severe brain fog.
Are you having trouble focusing? That's the issue? I'm asking because really, my son has complained of this to some extent after a major mental health spiral. He does still take his meds but you describe almost exactly how he would describe it. Last semester in college, he had a class that kicked his butt and at the end of the semester, he pulled off a major project and got the highest grade he could. He said he finally felt like he 'could' work through the brain fog because it's all still in there just waiting. He still has focus issues but has tried different strategies to work through it. He also will have unproductive days where he has brain fatigue as he calls it. Is this sounding like you?
The part about having certain days with "brain fatigue" may be similar to what I experience. I do have major difficulties focusing, but it's when it's paired with brain fog that it impedes me from performing even the most basic of tasks. When that happens, I end up in a zombie-like state and there's not much I can do other than just wait until it goes away. It can last as long as days or even weeks at a time, which really concerns me because I have a lot of obligations (like my productivity at work as I mentioned in my last reply).

Exercising does help with my focus and reduce brain fog a bit in the short-term, but not enough to completely get me out of the long-term zombie state.
973741 tn?1342342773
So, I have to ask you this question. Has it occurred to you that perhaps the medication had been working to control the psychiatric symptoms and now that you aren't taking it, they are back as part of whatever you were originally diagnosed with? Which what was your original diagnosis?

The body and brain are really interesting. I know that you can go into a state of hyper vigilance if you have been through stress, trauma, etc. and it takes a good while to come out of that. Cortisol can remain too high. This activates your amygdala and gives you the bodily sensations you are expressing.

Have you considered talk therapy and possibly a different type of medication again?

I hear you on meditation. I do it. My son does it. Sometimes it goes better than other times. He's tried hypnosis as he goes off to sleep at night. Journaling. Etc. Do you exercise? Does that help you over a period of time? Emotional regulation is impacted by this. Soothing things like swinging or bike riding. Sounds weird but that lateral movement is calming to the brain.

Helpful - 0
Hello, what's weird about my situation is that I was incorrectly misdiagnosed because of some miscommunication. The psychiatrists interpreted my philosophical beliefs as a form of psychosis, which is extremely irresponsible and not supportive of this country's freedom of religion. Because I was taking medication that I wasn't supposed to be taking, it's no surprise that I was slowly becoming impaired.

The result of that medication then made me start to believe that I did have an issue, so that's when I started looking for other medications. This is one of the things that many people think is corrupt about doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, because they give you something that will make you develop an issue to then have to give you other medications to fix the issue they originally caused you.

That's why I stopped taking medication, because there was nothing ever really wrong with me. I never had these symptoms that I'm describing. These symptoms are something that occurred after completely freeing myself from medication. I've tried talk therapy, it didn't help. Ironically, I got worse when doing talk therapy and only got significantly better when I stopped therapy.

I do exercise at least 5 times a week, but the symptoms that I describe do make exercising difficult sometimes because of my accelerated heart rate. I do journal as well, but not as consistent as I should.

I'm curious about what you mentioned on the high Cortisol. I can do extra research on that on my own, but are you saying that the high Cortisol can be a result of stopping medication, or a result of stress and trauma?

You seem to be suffering mental health issues right now that you are blaming on past medication. That's my point. I'd look at the fact that perhaps you need treatment NOW for these things. There is 'nothing' wrong with you except you have symptoms of anxiety and mood instability. :>)  Said with kindness.

  I'm not trying to relate your symptoms and current state of thing to the stopping of medication even though you are. I actually kind of doubt that this is causing this at this point. High cortisol is due to a prolonged state of stress and trauma. Our brain floods with cortisol at those times but if those times are so much and frequent, then cortisol just lingers and causes issues.

I'd actually try to get away from your idea of  meds of SIX years ago causing your today's issues. And work to solve the issues. You do not have to take medication again but would encourage you to remain open to the fact that you are likely suffering clinical anxiety and other psychiatric things. It's okay. Many of us are.

Get a proper physical and rule out things like blood pressure issues. (waking up with racing heart, anxiety DOES this but also want to make sure your BP is in order). Then start to be open minded on what can help this. Natural things that help. Exercise regularly. Protect your sleep and get proper rest. Hydrate. Eat properly. Socialize in a positive way. Limit social media. Consider supplements. And TALK therapy. Dbt therapy is excellent for learning coping skills. Things like meditation, mindfulness, cold when in crisis (resets the brain), vigorous physical activity when overly activated. DBT can be self taught.
By the way, my son has intrusive thought ocd. One common theme is medication he previously took damaged his brain. It's a form of health anxiety. There are many subgroups of Pure O ocd which it is called. Something about what you wrote for your original diagnosis makes me think that you may have some overlap with this.
Are you doing any better?
Not really, which is why I came back to this thread and added more information about the brain fog that I didn't mention in the first post I made.

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