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Author Topic: Tapering off of SSRI antidepressants  (Read 432 times)

akosi

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Tapering off of SSRI antidepressants
« on: July 08, 2017, 02:32:07 PM »

A common theme I see is that many individuals seek to taper off of antidepressants for various reasons.  While this is between the individual and their doctor, and should not be encouraged by others outside of this relationship, it does happen that one does wish to give up taking these medicines, and for these reasons I feel it would be best if we had an open discussion on this topic to minimize harm and support the individual with their choices.  As noted, it should always be done under medical supervision, as sudden cessation of an antidepressant is known to cause all sorts of side effects, from suicidal thoughts to even full body seizures.  They are not medicines to stop taking at the drop of a hat.  Additionally, taking serotonin augmenting herbs and supplements while still taking an anti-depressant can cause serotonin syndrome, making the situation equally difficult when it comes to tapering.

Please post your experiences, techniques, and methods for overcoming this process in this thread.
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Koda

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Re: Tapering off of SSRI antidepressants
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 04:06:20 PM »

I definitely have some recommendations to help taper and come off of antidepressants should one choose to do so.  There are a few herbs and blends that work on serotonin, quite prominently at that, however one needs to be careful as there is the risk of serotonin syndrome when these herbs are mixed with an antidepressant. Some do indeed lower their dosage of their antidepressant and take a low dose of a serotonin enhancing herb, but it is something that could cause too high a level of serotonin if taken irresponsibly, so taking these herbs while still taking antidepressants is not really recommended unless your doctor specifically endorses it.

I will however provide a list of the many serotonin augmenting herbs and blends that you can safely use once the SSRI has been removed from your system.

Kanna is the first, this herb works also as an SSRI. I quite enjoy this, and I find it balances my mood a lot. I use between 100-500 mgs. I prefer the fermented, cultivated variety. We carry a few different blends of this herb as well, such as "Kavannah teapills" (Kava + Kanna), "Ashwakanna teapills" (Ashwagandha + Kanna), "Empathogenesis teapills" (St. John's wort, Sacred Lotus, & Kanna) [Very potent serotonergic, definitely do not take this one while still taking SSRIs], 'Egyptian Chocolate medicated tea powder" (Mucuna, Ashwagandha, Kanna), "Nirvana Chai medicated tea" (Kanna, Rhodiola rosea, Ashwagandha), and "Lotus Ecstasy medicated tea" (Kanna, St. John's wort, Blue Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Catuaba, Muira puama) [Very potent serotonergic, definitely do not take this one while still taking SSRIs].

The next serotonergic I want to touch on is 5-htp. 5-htp is one of my best friends, and I often take it in the mornings to help balance my mood. This supplement is EXTREMELY potent. I use between 25-50 mg, anymore causes me a brief stomach upset. The trick to 5-htp, similar to Mucuna pruriens, high in l-dopa, is to take it on an empty stomach with green tea, or a green tea extract. These two factors let the amino acids, serotonin for 5-htp, and dopamine for Mucuna/l-dopa, reach the brain intact. We carry a teapill formulation of 5-htp at a 25~ mg dose per capsule, pre-mixed with a green tea extract, as well as turmeric, curcumin, black pepper, piperine, ginger, and other spices. This blend is known as "Serotune", and comes in teapill form.

St. John's wort is the last one to mention, this is incredibly potent at elevating serotonin levels and definitely should be avoided while still taking SSRIs. St. John's wort has the peculiar property of causing the body to produce more serotonin on a long term basis. This one is best for healing receptors that are non-responsive, such as after going completely off of an anti-depressant SSRI. We have three St. John's worts products, these are "Lotus Ecstasy medicated tea", "Serenity Grove medicated tea", and our "Empathogenesis teapills". We carry 2x St. John's wort extracts as well, but the whole herb is much more profound in my experiences.

Now if you are considering taking any of these supplements or herbs while tapering, be sure to get your Dr's. permission first, and do not mix them together. A single one of the bunch is enough, you can stack and combine once it is less risky and the antidepressant is out of your system. Once you do, some combinations can be quite enjoyable. I myself enjoy taking Ashwakanna teapills + Serotune teapills together, and sometimes even Kavannah teapills if I want to feel more relaxed and chatty, thanks to the kava.
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Ben Haller

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Re: Tapering off of SSRI antidepressants
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 06:11:53 PM »

Very interesting, I am in withdrawal from a devious benzo dealing Dr. I'm talking 10-15 yrs. I forget to eat or shower for example now that I have been cut off. I didn't realize they just wanted money. And as my tolerance went up my symptoms reappeared. I am in professionally managed therapy and have probably the only chance to retain my sanity because of all the support. I have tried kava kava, chamomile, lemongrass and actually a 5-htp valerian melatonin l-theanine GABA & L-THEANINE ALL COMBINED and can't tell a change, but usually get SOME sleep. I would like to hear your thoughts on the stronger serotonin boosting herbs you mentioned. It sounds like exactly what I need to boost my levels while I continue to remain in a borderline seizure state almost constantly. The panic is real. No one believes I used to take that much. Really! Benzos are supposed to be temporarily prescribed. This also brings on many other side effects such, and depression relapses very rarely to thoughts of suicide rarely. That is the only thing that has eased.
   I simply cannot function. Your advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
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Ben Haller

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Re: Tapering off of SSRI antidepressants
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2017, 03:09:30 PM »

Yesterday was a bad day, Sry for that. Since reading this and several other posts, I realized that I am not in benzo withdrawal anymore after 3 months. But I do suffer from the lingering effects of this plus powerful SSRI's. I have been taking a supplement containing St.John's wort 450mg, Holy basil 100 mg, Valerian root 50mg.(barely anything), 5-HTP 20 mg,  GABA 250 mg., Taurine 125 mg, & L-THEANINE 50mg. This with melatonin 10mg., allows me to sleep about 2-5 hrs every other night. So I give it 2 out of 5 stars. It helps a little. 
   After researching the SSRI'S and the withdrawal implecated, Manic depressive symptoms reappeared with a vengeance along with panic attack type stuff"PHD terminology", I have come to the realization that I need serotonin boosting herbs for relief and functionality and probably dopamine as well, not sure on the "dope" ...lol. But seriously, the dangerous effects of this have led me to believe that since I have not taken the Zoloft recently prescribed, I am safe from serotonin syndrome problems. What does the community think. Am I correct in this matter. Maybe you can tell the difference between this post and the others. Btw I am down to .5 mg klonopin and will continue to ween off until not needed per medical advice. These .5 DO NOT HELP ME RELAX. I AM USUALLY SHAKING AND PARANOID TO THE DEGREE THAT PEOPLE ASSUME I HAVE TAKEN UPPERS.
 FEELS LIKE 8 CUPS OF COFFEE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY BUT MY BODY IS IN BAD SHAPE FROM VEHICLE ACCIDENT INJURIES TO MY HEAD, NECK, BACK, LEGS AND L FOOT.
   9 of 10 people would be taking painkillers with the level of pain I have on a daily basis, I SAY THIS TO PAINT A PICTURE OF THE STRESSFUL LIFE I WILL HAVE FOR THE REMAINDER OF MY LIFE.
   I CHANGED MY LIFESTYLE AND WANT TO AVOID ANYTHING THAT MIGHT LEAD ME BACK SO I WISH TO GO NATURAL. MODERN MEDICINE HAS BEEN LIKE THROWING DARTS AT A DARTBOARD.
  SEROTONEGIC TEA'S HERE I COME!!!
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akosi

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Re: Tapering off of SSRI antidepressants
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 04:14:16 PM »

Hi Ben,

I think I can offer some input, just be informed beforehand that this information should not be taken as medical advice.

Lacking serotonin due to previous substance use can be a very serious issue when it comes to stability of mind and spirit.  5-htp is a great tool, make sure to take a green tea extract with it, and to take on an empty stomach to assure absorption.  When 5-htp is taken with food, or without an AADC inhibitor (Green tea extract does this), only 1% or so makes it to the brain.  The % is increased by a substantial amount with an AADC inhibitor, and is the only way I can recommend taking 5-htp to boost serotonin levels.  I recommend the caffeine free, 98% green tea extract from Meridian Botanicals here: https://meridianbotanicals.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=99&products_id=488

The rest of the ingredients in the supplement you listed all will help with anxiety and overstimulation, but one thing I should mention is that St. John's wort as an herb is 10x more effective than the supplement version.  This is due to the aromatic and sensitive nature of the compounds within the herb, which are often not present in extracted versions put into supplements.  It is like trying to encapsulate the aroma of fresh basil or rosemary, it simply cannot compare with the fresh herb, and the actives of St. John's wort are no exception here.  I have had great experience with the St. John's wort offered by Meridian Botanicals here: https://meridianbotanicals.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=249  Additionally, the following tea blend, 'Serenity Grove', which contains St. John's wort should also be tried.  The blend of herbs may convey additional GABAnergic type benefits that St. John's wort does not: https://meridianbotanicals.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=695

One last thing, avoid caffeine and stimulants like the plague.  You need your body to break out of a cortisol loop, and only prolonged rest and relaxation away from stress will do this.
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