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grapeape

Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

399 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post  

I don't want to go cold turkey and physically couldn't handle it if I tried. I was Cymbalta for a total of 5 days at one point and I thought my eyes were going to come out of my head - they were sore and the zaps were so bad I literally wanted to die.

So I went back on 20mg.

I also, at my pdocs suggestion, started taking my Lyrica at night to help with pain and sleep. My jury is out on whether or not it has helped. I have decided not to fight anymore with my treatment team as my PCP and pdoc both want me on something for chronic pain management. So I will do what they say for now with the goal being to come off the Cymbalta even if I have to take something else.

It's really quite depressing at times...ho hum.

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Posted (edited) · Report post  

it seems so strange to me that when i was on cymbalta (5 weeks, 2 days on 30mg) i was fine, feeling great, no side effects at all until i suddenly got extremely itchy, so stopped taking it, took benadryl for the itchiness, and the itchiness is all gone now completely but i feel downright horrible...

and i keep feeling worse by the day, by the hour. a feeling in my head that's hard to find a description for, a light-headed dizzy kind of heartbeat-esque kind of surge, i don't know if it's a brain zap, but whatever it is, it's awful. but as today has progressed it's not just in my head anymore, i feel it in my whole body. needless to say, this downright sucks!!! :bump:

and to top it all off, i ate way too much halloween candy today and now i feel sick!!! :hearts: but well worth it, i've been looking forward to diving into the candy ever since it's arrival!!! :shocked:

Edited by above the blue carpet

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Posted · Report post  

i'm wondering how grapeape turned out. i appreciated his posts, very informative. i went off cymbalta cold turkey 4 days ago, not enjoying it. i'm very glad to hear what everyone has to say, i've got all the same w/d symtoms. benedryl didn't help, tomorrow i'll try dramamine. i have 3 young children, chasing a 1 yr old is tricky when the room is spinning. but i'm hoping that it all gets better. i am tempted to get back on to taper off, but i'll see if i feel any better over the next few days, or worse. thanks to everyone for all the info.

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Posted · Report post  

I was considering stopping Cymbalta and while determining best course of action, I stumbled upon all of these sites which warn against the dangers of stopping cold turkey. My advice, give it a try- I started skipping a day between doses for a week, then 6 days ago- just stopped and kept telling myself one more day. It wasn't great, but it hasn't been horrible either. I felt like I was in a daze for a couple of days, felt odd in general a few times a day- but all in all it's been doable. The biggest problem with people trying to stop is the fear of the side effects. The more you wean, it only makes sense that you will prolong the withdrawl effects. Drink a bunch of water, stay busy with your work and basically suck it up. I know it sounds harsh, but if you are toying with the idea of stopping- then stop, and take a stand. If you have real reasons for stopping- then stop. I had a fairly traumatic year last year, and didn't deal with things in a healthy way, which in turn led to panic attacks. I've decided that dealing with my feelings, versus masking with drugs is what I want to do- so I had a clear cut reason I wanted to stop. If you have no real reason to quit- then don't, but quit tip toeing around, complaining about how it will make you feel weird and suck it up- you can get through it, and if you can't push through- you arne't doing yourself any favor by prolonging the inevitable. If you don't want to remain on it forever, you will have to deal with the side effects. Stop scaring people who are generally interested in stopping and have legit reasons- if you want to stop, you can and don't let people influence you and scare you out of getting off this or any drug.

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Posted · Report post  

Thought I'd add my 2 cent cymbalta withdrawl horror story since I just quit after about a year and and a half taking 60mg. My pdoc, if i remember correctly, said to just taper to 30mg for 1 week and then stop, which is what i did. I was fine for the 30mg week and for the next couple of of days after that. Then the zaps hit hard. I felt rage like i've never felt and I felt like I was going to lose control when I went out in public. I'm just glad I was off of work and could veg at home until this went away. Also, the dreams were awful. This all slowly subsided in about a week. From my experience, it does seem dangerous to stop this drug without careful planning and supervision from a pdoc.

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Posted · Report post  

I don't understand the thought behind coming off this med in two or three weeks when it takes about 6 weeks for it to start working. It seems that the taper would be just as long.......... My guess is that some docs don't understand that it takes awhile for the med to leave your body and you can upset your brain chemistry by taking it away that fast. I'd ask for a slow taper as I already get the zaps if I'm more than two hours late in taking the dose, so it's important that I take mine as soon as I wake up in the morning.

I suppose one of these days, this will be common knowledge and someone will wake up to the fact that this med is a hard one to come off of, for most people. I know it was a rough ride to get on it, lol!!

Jackie

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Posted · Report post  

My doctor switched me from Cymbalta to Effexor the other day because it wasn't working anymore and my insurance quit covering it. She has me tapering off of it. Instead of taking it 2 times a day I take it once and I take the Effexor 2 times a day.I've been having alot of dizziness and a spacy feeling.I've also had a bad headache and rining in my ears.

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Posted (edited) · Report post  

While effexor is classified as a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor(SNRI) like cymbalta it doesnt really have any action on norepinephrine until you hit 200mg, where as cymbalta inhibits norepinephrine reuptake at all dosage levels. Below 200mg you could pretty much call effexor an SSRI. If you arent above 200mgs you couold be getting some withdrawals from the decreased norepinephrine and I'm sure the serotonin reuptake inhibition isnt exactly the same either. These drugs may be classified the same, but they certainly dont act the same.

Edited by maintainin

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Posted · Report post  

While effexor is classified as a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor(SNRI) like cymbalta it doesnt really have any action on norepinephrine until you hit 200mg, where as cymbalta inhibits norepinephrine reuptake at all dosage levels. Below 200mg you could pretty much call effexor an SSRI. If you arent above 200mgs you couold be getting some withdrawals from the decreased norepinephrine and I'm sure the serotonin reuptake inhibition isnt exactly the same either. These drugs may be classified the same, but they certainly dont act the same.

Thanks for the info.I'm on 75mg twice a day of Effexor.

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Posted · Report post  

Hello everyone,

Thought I'd write a "me too" to this whole Cymbalta saga.

I used to take a 20mg dose of Celexa for about 6 years. I had no issues with Celexa. I loved it! The only side effect I had was a shorter period. Earlier this year, it just suddenly stopped working. I felt suicidal and moody, just a wreck! I went to my regular doc and he suggested that I try Cymbalta. I had seen the commercials on TV and was willing to give it a try. My first filling of the prescription nearly gave me a heart attack. $60 with my insurance?!?!?! This stuff had better be worth it!

The first month, he had me on 30mg a day. I felt like a total zombie. I was there but I wasn't. My husband was not happy with this. The second month, the doc bumped me up to 60mg. I was still a zombie for about 2 more weeks. During the sixth week, I started to feel better. I was happy with it. Then, the side effects started to kick in.

I would wake up in the middle of the night to change my PJs because they would be soaked in sweat. Sometimes, I would have to change 3 times. I would have hot flashes, chills, cold sweats. My sex drive totally went down hill. It returned after a month or so but it wasn't the same. It took a lot longer to get into the mood and to achieve orgasm. I had issues with constipation and hemorrhoids. When I finally had a BM (helped by laxatives), it had a really strong chemical smell. (Sorry to bring this up). Needless to say, I have had enough with this pill.

After reading some of the issues that others have been having, I realize that I am not the only one with these problems. So now I'm jumping off the Cymbalta bandwagon! Depression hurts? Well, Cymbalta hurts more!

I have been trying to do the tapering thing and I have come to the conclusion that I am going to experience the withdrawals regardless of what I do. I have been on the 60mg for about 7 months. I have six pills left and I refuse to spend another $60 on a medication that I no longer want to take. I took a 60mg pill last Friday. On Monday, I opened one and poured about half of it out. I haven't taken any since then. I am feeling the brain zaps and the disorientation. I have tried some of the things that other have suggested to ease the withdrawals and they kind of help. I have been taking a multi-vitamin, flax seed oil, 5 HTP, and tyrosine. I have been taking Benadryl at night to help me sleep but I didn't take one last night. I slept ok. I have been experiencing the vivid dreams and can still remember them a few days later. I have to admit that I like the vivid dreams. So far, no nightmares. My sex drive is returning, much to my husband's delight.

I feel very fortunate that I haven't felt depressed and ridden with anxiety yet. I am hoping that those will be mild. But I do experience the "flu like" symptoms. I feel achy and flushed, cold one minute, hot the next.

I congratulate all of those who have made it off of this stuff. Those of you who are trying to come off it, I feel your pain. I am doing my best to stay positive, like planning on using that money I'm saving to get myself something nice! I will keep you guys posted on my progress!

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Posted · Report post  

I posted here a few months back and said I had quit Cymbalta cold turkey and was doing fine.Turns out I spoke to soon.I started having brain zaps and going thru hell so I went back on it.This drug has screwed me up so bad at after being o it for 5 months I'm finally feeling back to normal.A little history so here we go.I started Cymbalta in July .I was nausea and felt light headed.I lost 20 pounds.I felt tired all the time.Getting up and going to work was almost impossible.But I stayed the course.Started gaining weight and getting more depressed not less so decided to quit the drug.I was fine for 4 days and then the brain zaps came.I couldn't concentrate at work it was horrible.went back to my doc she ramped me down to 30 mg a day that's when the headaches began.Everyday a headache.I lived on Ibuprophen.Went back to the Doc.She just knew that headaches would be one of the side effects seeing how the drug affects your brain.Guess what? Headache was not a side effect. :hearts: I strongly disagree with the drug company on that.She told me to stay on the drug a while longer.9 days ago the side affects were unbearable.I couldn't live with it any more.I had brain zaps,headaches,ringing in my ears,fatigue,nausea,constipation and a weight gain of 19 pounds.So 9 days ago I bit the bullet and quit taking it.Today was the first day I felt good in a long time.I have lost 9 pounds.My headaches are slowly going away.The ringing has stopped in my ears.The brain zaps are all but gone.

I have been through hell with this drug.But I made it.I plan to keep going.One thing I have learned is the next time my Doc wants to put me on a med I will ask a lot of questions especially about side effects....This is one bad drug in my opinon.

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Posted · Report post  

Once again, I must remind that everybodies experiences are different and subjective. For me this is most definitely not a bad drug.

Sorry, but I dont find much sympathy for people who quit cold turkey, unless they are stopping suddenly because of a serious condition. It is WELL KNOWN that you should taper off of most AD's, including cymbalta.

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Posted · Report post  

Once again, I must remind that everybodies experiences are different and subjective. For me this is most definitely not a bad drug.

Sorry, but I dont find much sympathy for people who quit cold turkey, unless they are stopping suddenly because of a serious condition. It is WELL KNOWN that you should taper off of most AD's, including cymbalta.

I'm certainly sympathetic for those who are tapering slowly off Cymbalta and having difficulty, however I always get this impression when I read these posts that people feel that Cymbalta is the only drug with bad reactions when trying to go off of it. I understand from Paxil users that coming off of it is HORRIBLE and I've heard those who have been on benzos. can have equally as rough a time. I've heard that similar drugs are equally as hard to stop taking.

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Posted (edited) · Report post  

Sory for my wifes tantrum, this has been really bad for her, she isn't normally like that, she was taking it for mild depression and ptsd and now shes going through hell from not taking it.

as for the comment about her being bitter, wouldnt you be bitter if a pill ruined your life, I think most of us would be a smidgebitter

be careful with your meds and dont push anyone one way or the other.let htem decide on their own

Edited by samvandyken

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Posted (edited) · Report post  

Sam,

Please note that I was in no way negating or stating that the horrible effects that people have suffered from withdrawal are imaginary or insignificant. I do sympathize. I too have felt horrible when coming off a particular AD. In my case, I get concerned that this is the only thread people will read when wanting to try Cymbalta and therefore I try to add some positive feedback.

Also, in the positive cheerleading threads, you will find negative posts from those who have tried Cymbalta and gone off of it, so we aren't the only ones imposing on this thread. These boards are open to all and you will find others who post negatives on the postives threads and positive notes on the negative threads. I think we just want to make sure there is some balance.

I certainly don't think it's worth getting disgusted over. . .I never intended and don't think I did minimize anyone's feelings about their withdrawal experience. I understand it is very real and very frightening and others rightfully should see these posts, as well as the positive posts IN ALL THREADS.

Sory for my wifes tantrum, this has been really bad for her, she isn't normally like that, she was taking it for mild depression and ptsd and now shes going through hell from not taking it.

as for the comment about her being bitter, wouldnt you be bitter if a pill ruined your life, I think most of us would be a smidgebitter

be careful with your meds and dont push anyone one way or the other.let htem decide on their own

Edited by DeeBear

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Posted · Report post  

It's hard to strike a balance between discussing withdrawal, and not scaring others away from a med that might help them. For me, the six months I was on Wellbutrin was the worst time of my entire life, but at the same time, it has helped many people. Although I went through the worst time of my life on that med, I know people who have been helped tremendously, so I wouldn't want to come here and say how horrible that med was in case I scared someone who might benefit from it. It was not a good med FOR ME. But at the same time, my experience was just that - my experience, and mine alone. I think it's important to hear both sides of the story, and if cymbalta weren't helping people, they wouldn't be here trying to present the other side of the story.

Before we judge a medication to be a "good" or "bad" drug, we should qualify that statement to mean that it's a good or bad drug for ourselves, and that it's not meant as a recommendation for others.

For those of you going through withdrawal on cymbalta, yes, withdrawal symptoms can be horrible, and for those who are being helped by this med, yes it does help many people. It would be wrong to only allow those who have had positive experiences to speak, just as wrong as it would be to only allow those who have had negative experiences speak. We want people to be able to hear both sides of the story, so they can make an informed decision. If people come here and only read posts about how horrible withdrawal is, they might be frightened into not considering a medication that might be a lifesaver for them. On the other hand, we have threads on withdrawal here to present the other side of the story. Being 100% for or 100% against any particular med would be unfair to those who are seeking treatment options.

I know this is a touchy subject, because I've been in the situation where a med didn't work for me and I know how upsetting and frustrating that is, and how long it takes to get on the right path to recovery sometimes. But, having seen people whose lives have been changed by that med, I try to remember that, as is often said around here, everyone reacts differently to each med. I'm sorry that anyone has bad experiences with meds, and I dont' think anyone meant to minimize that pain and frustration in any way. There's no one treatment for depression that works for everyone, and there's no med that works for no one. We all have to find treatment that works for us, unfortunately by trial and error, and we're here to share the good and the bad, and I hope everyone can remember that.

Everyone starts their recovery at different places, so everyone has to chart a different course. Please, everybody, let's remember that we're all trying to get to the same place, and that we can and should respect everyone's experiences, both positive and negative, along the way. We can share the good and the bad without negating what anyone says, and I hope that's the direction this thread takes - and soon.

Take care EVERYONE,

Dewayne

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Posted · Report post  

Well said DeWayne!

It's hard to strike a balance between discussing withdrawal, and not scaring others away from a med that might help them. For me, the six months I was on Wellbutrin was the worst time of my entire life, but at the same time, it has helped many people. Although I went through the worst time of my life on that med, I know people who have been helped tremendously, so I wouldn't want to come here and say how horrible that med was in case I scared someone who might benefit from it. It was not a good med FOR ME. But at the same time, my experience was just that - my experience, and mine alone. I think it's important to hear both sides of the story, and if cymbalta weren't helping people, they wouldn't be here trying to present the other side of the story.

Before we judge a medication to be a "good" or "bad" drug, we should qualify that statement to mean that it's a good or bad drug for ourselves, and that it's not meant as a recommendation for others.

For those of you going through withdrawal on cymbalta, yes, withdrawal symptoms can be horrible, and for those who are being helped by this med, yes it does help many people. It would be wrong to only allow those who have had positive experiences to speak, just as wrong as it would be to only allow those who have had negative experiences speak. We want people to be able to hear both sides of the story, so they can make an informed decision. If people come here and only read posts about how horrible withdrawal is, they might be frightened into not considering a medication that might be a lifesaver for them. On the other hand, we have threads on withdrawal here to present the other side of the story. Being 100% for or 100% against any particular med would be unfair to those who are seeking treatment options.

I know this is a touchy subject, because I've been in the situation where a med didn't work for me and I know how upsetting and frustrating that is, and how long it takes to get on the right path to recovery sometimes. But, having seen people whose lives have been changed by that med, I try to remember that, as is often said around here, everyone reacts differently to each med. I'm sorry that anyone has bad experiences with meds, and I dont' think anyone meant to minimize that pain and frustration in any way. There's no one treatment for depression that works for everyone, and there's no med that works for no one. We all have to find treatment that works for us, unfortunately by trial and error, and we're here to share the good and the bad, and I hope everyone can remember that.

Everyone starts their recovery at different places, so everyone has to chart a different course. Please, everybody, let's remember that we're all trying to get to the same place, and that we can and should respect everyone's experiences, both positive and negative, along the way. We can share the good and the bad without negating what anyone says, and I hope that's the direction this thread takes - and soon.

Take care EVERYONE,

Dewayne

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Posted · Report post  

Sory for my wifes tantrum, this has been really bad for her, she isn't normally like that, she was taking it for mild depression and ptsd and now shes going through hell from not taking it.

as for the comment about her being bitter, wouldnt you be bitter if a pill ruined your life, I think most of us would be a smidgebitter

be careful with your meds and dont push anyone one way or the other.let htem decide on their own

I apologize as well. I got a little carried away. I'm sorry your wife went thru such a hard time on cymbalta. I hope the future is much kinder to you and her. Happy Holidays!

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Posted · Report post  

I'm reading and am sorry that I haven't been around, but I have bronchitis and trying to get three kids holiday together and work has been a real drag on my health, or what's left of it, lol! I'm feeling better but am on steriods, two inhalers and antibiotics, so I guess I'm the bionic Mom baking and cooking!

:bump:

Anyhow, I get the zaps when I miss my dose a couple of hours, so I can sorta imagine how difficult this would be to incorporate in my lifestyle. I know how is mess with my concentration. It's not like one can ignore it, you know. It's like having an ingrown toenail and having to stand on your feet all day. It's hard to ignore.

I'm wondering if a cross-taper onto another med would help with the withdrawl. I've always told myself that if I ever decided to get off this med, this would probably be the only way to do it. I agree with what's been said. We all know there's no 'Magic Bullet' when it comes to any meds that treat any condition, and there will always be people who don't do well, people who have adverse reactions, and people who seem to do just fine on any med out there, and I'm not just referring to psych meds.....

I hope that we can all get back on track here and offer each other support. It's what we're about, you know. We all get excited at times, but I think everyone's gotten their point across, so lets carry on!!!

Love, Jackie :hearts:

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Posted · Report post  

Sam,

Please note that I was in no way negating or stating that the horrible effects that people have suffered from withdrawal are imaginary or insignificant. I do sympathize. I too have felt horrible when coming off a particular AD. In my case, I get concerned that this is the only thread people will read when wanting to try Cymbalta and therefore I try to add some positive feedback.

Also, in the positive cheerleading threads, you will find negative posts from those who have tried Cymbalta and gone off of it, so we aren't the only ones imposing on this thread. These boards are open to all and you will find others who post negatives on the postives threads and positive notes on the negative threads. I think we just want to make sure there is some balance.

I certainly don't think it's worth getting disgusted over. . .I never intended and don't think I did minimize anyone's feelings about their withdrawal experience. I understand it is very real and very frightening and others rightfully should see these posts, as well as the positive posts IN ALL THREADS.

Sory for my wifes tantrum, this has been really bad for her, she isn't normally like that, she was taking it for mild depression and ptsd and now shes going through hell from not taking it.

as for the comment about her being bitter, wouldnt you be bitter if a pill ruined your life, I think most of us would be a smidgebitter

be careful with your meds and dont push anyone one way or the other.let htem decide on their own

I hope your wife continues to post and lets us know how she is doing. I agree with Jackie that maybe a cross-taper with another drug would give her relief, not only from the withdrawal side-effects, but hopefully would also treat her depression and PTSD. She may not be too trusting of the medical profession right now, but maybe she can ask her doctor about this or change doctors if she's not happy with whom she sees.

These boards are the place to express your concerns and experiences, good or bad, with a medication and like Jackie said, we really are here to give support and encouragement.

I do hope she gets to feeling better. I've gone through many a day of misery, but I believe we can find the right medication, whether it is Cymbalta or one of the many others out there. Unfortunately, it takes trial and error and that is never easy. The end result can be very rewarding though once you find the right fit.

Sincerely,

Maddie

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Posted · Report post  

I'm reading and am sorry that I haven't been around, but I have bronchitis and trying to get three kids holiday together and work has been a real drag on my health, or what's left of it, lol! I'm feeling better but am on steriods, two inhalers and antibiotics, so I guess I'm the bionic Mom baking and cooking!

:bump:

Anyhow, I get the zaps when I miss my dose a couple of hours, so I can sorta imagine how difficult this would be to incorporate in my lifestyle. I know how is mess with my concentration. It's not like one can ignore it, you know. It's like having an ingrown toenail and having to stand on your feet all day. It's hard to ignore.

I'm wondering if a cross-taper onto another med would help with the withdrawl. I've always told myself that if I ever decided to get off this med, this would probably be the only way to do it. I agree with what's been said. We all know there's no 'Magic Bullet' when it comes to any meds that treat any condition, and there will always be people who don't do well, people who have adverse reactions, and people who seem to do just fine on any med out there, and I'm not just referring to psych meds.....

I hope that we can all get back on track here and offer each other support. It's what we're about, you know. We all get excited at times, but I think everyone's gotten their point across, so lets carry on!!!

Love, Jackie :hearts:

Hi Jackie!

Wow! Sounds like you are having an awful time of it. I really hope you start to feel better soon! I guess it's that time of year when all the illnesses start coming around, especially if we spend a lot of time indoors with relatives, etc. No telling what they bring with them-ha!

I hope your work schedule isn't too tough in addition to everything else you are preparing.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

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Posted · Report post  

Hi People!

So glad I've found a post like this, just what I was looking for.

I'll explain briefly mi situation :

I'm on Cymbalta about 2 years, It has really helped me a lot. Best med I tried by far.

Lately, though, I've been having horrible and very vivid nightmares, waking up all sweat and tired. Furthermore, I can't sleep more than 5 or 6 hours. I can no longer stand this situation, I need to rest...

I miss those days when I could easily sleep 9-10 hours and wake up completely great.

Well, my plan is the following:

1st Week- 50mg (20+30)

2nd Week- 40mg (20+20)

3rd Week- 30mg (30)

4th Week- 20mg (20)

5th Week- 20mg (Just one capsule every 2 days)

6th Week- 20mg (Just two capsules a week)

7th Week- 20mg (My last capsule)

What do you think guys? Will I succeed?

Thanks in advance.

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Posted · Report post  

If the sleep is the only thing you are complaining about then why not try something just for that? The cymbalta seems like its helping you quite a bit. Are you sure you are ready to come off of it?

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If the sleep is the only thing you are complaining about then why not try something just for that? The cymbalta seems like its helping you quite a bit. Are you sure you are ready to come off of it?

I tried with benzodiazepines but it didn't work. I'm not completely sure If I'm ready but there are other things I don't like about Cymbalta as well. Mainly three more ones :

-More difficulty with ability to reach orgasm (no so much as with other meds though). And reaching it is not as satisfactory as it used to be years ago.

-TERRIBLE hangovers in the morning if the previous day I drink some alcohol (even with just one). I know drinking is not neccesary to have fun but I'd like to have some alcohol once in a while.

-When I'm talking with somebody I suddenly forget very basic words (I know what I want to say but the word won't come out of my mouth). It's VERY frustrating (especially for a student like who needs his memory working 100%).

Thank you for replying :hearts:

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Posted · Report post  

OK, well that taper sounds good to me. The only thing you can do is give it a shot and see how things go. But please make sure you let your doc know whats going on first. Please let us know how things are going. Good luck!

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