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Personality Changes, Changes To Feelings Of Love, And Hyper Sexual Behaviour


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#1 HRTBroken

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 12:59 PM

Hi All,

 

Im new to this site - I found it in a desperate search for answers regarding Cymbalta withdrawal in my wife

 

She was on 90 mg for 2 years. After reaching a point in her life that she wanted to stop she decided to go cold turkey, against everybody's advice. She went through the flu like symptoms and just generally feeling terrible for 2-3 weeks and we thought it was over. But we are now 4 months later and her personality has changed, she seems like an entirely different person. She is more self centred, aggressive, argumentative, irritable, and generally not herself.

 

We were a very good couple together, so I thought. We have always seemed madly in love, people often told us they were jealous of what we had together, how we seemed like soul mates. However 4 months after Cymbalta withdrawal, she is completely confused about her feeling for me. One minute she loves me, the next she does not and my existence is a problem. She developed hyper sexual behaviour wanting to engage in intercourse 10 times a day, not leaving the bed if possible. However we are separated for work and she has now put our marriage on a break so she can't betray anymore with her uncontrollable mistakes, that she regrets but can't explain.

 

Has anyone had any experience with this, the changes to feelings of love and hyper sexual behaviour? Will this go back to normal in a few months, and let us pick up the pieces, or can I expect a much longer road? 

 

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.


#2 gail

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 02:00 PM

HRT,

Welcome to the forum. I have no knowledge concerning this situation.

But we have on member that does, Fishinghat. He should be here any time now.

It seems to me that Cymbalta cold turkey could bring out this kind of behavior.

Why was she on Cymbalta? Did you know your wife before Cymbalta? That might help Fishinghat with his answers!

#3 fishinghat

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 02:06 PM

Welcome HRT

The hypersexuality is common in those who undergo cold turkey. Many of our members have experienced that (I am one). Typically the slower you withdraw the shorter that period lasts. Most who experience this only have to suffer through 3 to 5 days while the cold turkey people sometimes go through it for 1 to 2 weeks. It is part of a condition called PSSD. Of course that includes other sexual related symptoms as well. The general rule (from my drs mouth to you) is that these should all subside within three months of your last dose. If not they will more than likely be permanent. I got over the heightened state of sexuality in about 4 days but the rest of the sexual symptoms did not go away and this is coming up on 6 years. I have seen 4 drs about this condition and they say there is no known treatment.


The rest of the symptoms you listed are common for Cymbalta withdrawal. For someone who weans slowly they can last 6 to 8 months before letting up. For cold turkey survivors it is usually around 1 year with a few experiencing 2 years or more. Now having said that, there are those who come of Cymbalta with no issues or on ly 2 or 3 weeks of symptoms but those are rare.

#4 HRTBroken

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 02:52 PM

Thank you Fishinghat,

 

I have known her 8 years and the woman that has emerged in the last 2 months is not my wife. An entirely different person. She started the cymbalta 2.5 years ago after a pharmacist gave her the wrong drug which double dosed (well over recommended upper limit) her on an SSRI for a few months leading to serotonin syndrome, the psychiatrist put her on cymbalta and she balanced out. 

 

I am most concerned about the confusion in relation to love. If we can get past that, we can rebuild. At the moment, every second conversation is how much she loves me and is sorry, every other conversation is that she is confused and maybe doesn't love me anymore. That has lead to a trial separation initiated by her. She started to withdraw from me about a 2 months ago, her personality started to change (2 months after stopping the drug) and a few weeks ago started talking about being confused about her feelings for me. I guess there is really no way of knowing if the woman I love will return to loving me. 

 

So the uncontrollable sexual urges passed for you in 4 days? Its been going on for a few weeks now. She first lost her sex drive entirely, didn't want to be touched. Then all of sudden hypersexual, then I was away plus her unsure if she still loves me... you can imagine the rest. I'm sure this drug has destroyed many relationships!! She wants us to be on a separation so she doesn't betray me any further, because she knows she can't control it. 

 

Does the yoyoing of emotional confusion slow down gradually and dissipate or does it often stay permanently? This will be the hardest part to overcome. I am really hoping the emotional confusion will fade first, if that is two years long I don't think we will survive. 

 

I am actually about to finish medical school, with this horrendous drama in my life I intend to pursue research into the true effects of this drug. There is almost nothing academically because Ely Lily have completely neglected to study it. Psychiatrists tend to be more concerned about curing a particular diagnosis than studying vague symptoms of withdrawal, which are actually life destroying. I will go through all these forums and find out all of the supposed side effects after coming of it, and try to get funding to survey patients who have stopped the medication to see the extent of this issue. 

 

Any further information, particularly on the effect on feelings of love would be greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks


#5 fishinghat

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 03:24 PM

"She started to withdraw from me about a 2 months ago, her personality started to change (2 months after stopping the drug) and a few weeks ago started talking about being confused about her feelings for me. I guess there is really no way of knowing if the woman I love will return to loving me. "

This extreme case could be linked to the long-term effects of the serotonin syndrome. I will spend a couple days with the medical journals and see what I can find. Going on the Cymbalta would have stabilized her and now that she is off she may not only be feeling the effects of the withdrawal but any permanent serotonin syndrome effects.

"So the uncontrollable sexual urges passed for you in 4 days? Its been going on for a few weeks now. She first lost her sex drive entirely, didn't want to be touched. Then all of sudden hypersexual, then I was away plus her unsure if she still loves me... you can imagine the rest. I'm sure this drug has destroyed many relationships!! She wants us to be on a separation so she doesn't betray me any further, because she knows she can't control it."


I have read every post on this website and taken notes. A summary of that is a thread called Summary of Cymbalta Withdrawal in the Medical Support section. I looked over my notes and the person with the longest state of hypersexuality was 1 week. Of course the drs can prescribe medicines to help her control that. Serotonin Syndrome is famous for causing mania which can include hypersexuality.


"Does the yoyoing of emotional confusion slow down gradually and dissipate or does it often stay permanently? This will be the hardest part to overcome. I am really hoping the emotional confusion will fade first, if that is two years long I don't think we will survive. "


The emotional rollercoaster does slowly fade. Unluckily it can last for months. There are medicines that the drs can prescribe to help with these symptoms. They include benzos (effective but addictive with a nasty withdrawal), clonidine (not addictive and no withdrawal) and hydroxyzine (not addictive and no withdrawal). Of course like all medicines they work for some and not others.


"I am actually about to finish medical school, with this horrendous drama in my life I intend to pursue research into the true effects of this drug. There is almost nothing academically because Ely Lily have completely neglected to study it. Psychiatrists tend to be more concerned about curing a particular diagnosis than studying vague symptoms of withdrawal, which are actually life destroying."


You will find a lot of medical journal abstracts in the thread I mentioned earlier. I also have an extensive library on my computer so don't ne afraid to ask questions.

#6 invalidusername

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 04:27 PM

HRT,

 

Welcome to the forum - and a good move for you to have made. I am also sorry to hear of your current circumstances.

 

Fishing Hat has more or less got this covered for you, and unfortunately for himself, is the bet port of call having gone through a myriad of symptoms during withdrawal. But from my part to break it down into a quick bite-size snippet - and that is something that most people do not fully grasp - and that is the command that these pills have over one's innermost workings. 

 

As you will clearly know better than I given your background, personality is a complex arrangement within the brain, but is most noticeable through emotions (my field of study!). These drugs directly target the emotional centres of the brain, thereby having a cart blanche to do whatever they will for your personality. This is why so many people say "you are such a different person" when they come off medication - most of the time for the better (having previously having faculties and emotions dulled by the drugs), but can often be the reverse - and frequently so with Cymbalta.

 

However, due to the brain's inherent plasticity, it is able to change back in the same way it was altered in the first place. What your wife has take on is a huge leap, and it will of course seem like someone has switched over personality profiles,, BUT the original can be replenished. No-one can take away experiences, memories and so forth, and this will gradually piece back together the wife you know her to be. So rarely will a permanent situation occur.

 

All the very best. 


#7 fishinghat

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 05:38 PM

I poured over the medical journals this afternoon and found nothing but this short term hypersexuality during ssri and snri withdrawal. If I may ask what other meds is she taking?

I did find mentioned that the withdrawal with sexual side effects is often linked to a drop in testosterone (that happened to me too). I would see about getting her estrogen and testosterone tests done. It may shed light on the problem.

#8 fishinghat

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 05:56 PM

I did find that a lot of dopamine agonists can cause hypersexuality especially in combination with other medications. Any dopamine agonists?

#9 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 07:01 PM

So sorry for the position you are in but I know my husband could completely relate with you.

I came off Cymbalta rather quickly and have had my emotions go all over the place. From Don't touch me to wanting too much.

I was lucky enough to find a Psychiatrist that understood what was happening and put me on a mood stabilizer and got me in with a Psychologist who knew her stuff.

Cymbalta is famous for causing mood swings and the confusion your wife is going through. Sometimes it is temporary and sometimes (as in my case) it is permanent. As long as I stay on my meds I do fine. There to I got lucky in the fact that we did not have to try to many combos of meds until we found the right ones for me.  I still can get pretty wound up if I am not careful but the ability to self-calm and relax was just one of many benefits of two years of seeing the Psychologist. I still can go see someone at the Mental Health Clinic if needed and I touch base with someone from time to time.

All in all I know I am not the same person as I was but I manage to live and be a pleasant person most of the time. I also came to realize that I love my husband very much and we are working on our relationship again.

All the best to you and your wife

 

Nancy


#10 HRTBroken

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 12:15 PM

Thanks everyone for your responses, all very helpful. She is not willing to see another psychiatrist, so realistically I just need to ride out the swings of emotion and see how she is in 6 months.

 

Has anyone dealt with the emotional confusion without treating it? I.e. has anyone attempted to ride it out and felt ok at the end? Her personality changed whilst she was on the drug as well, she became more self focused - in withdrawal this has skyrocketed. She forgets to do anything for anyone else. This is just the complete opposite of her pre-Cymbalta. She couldn't have been a more thoughtful and caring person. Right now she thinks only of herself. I'm just really hopeful that in 6 months she has stabilised and returned to the nice caring person that she was before this drug. 

 

Fishinghat - after my exams I will go through the abstracts in the library and try piece together where I am going to start with some research. It needs to be done, even a survey of patients and patients partners exploring what changes they observed during the withdrawal process. 


#11 HRTBroken

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 12:22 PM

And Fishinghat - she did a month long trial of Wellbutrin, which is a dopamine re-uptake inhibitor to see if it would help with the sexual side effects of being on Cymbalta, but she found it made things worse. That was a year ago though. It may have played a role in this, there is no real way of knowing without a lot more research and functional MRIs to see what happens during and after patients use these drugs. 


#12 fishinghat

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 01:26 PM

Yes, DRI can make it worse.

Many have tried to battle their way through the withdrawal symptoms but as they are so horrid and can last 6 months to 2 years most give up and go on a ssri and then when stable try to come off of that. But to answer your question more directly yes some have battles through with little or no lingering effects.

#13 invalidusername

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 01:38 PM

Unfortunately the withdrawal can make some changes that would otherwise seem unthinkable.

 

I am known to be one of the world's biggest pacifists. I never get angry. I have been subject to threads, shouting, stand-offs and I just don't respond - never have.

 

Yet during withdrawal I am very ashamed to say there have been a couple of instances where I have shouted at the wife, and instantly come to and realised what I have done. It just isn't me. Period.

 

FYI - this was only 3 months on 60mg, and a 10-week withdrawal (cut short by some idiots who call themselves professionals)


#14 HRTBroken

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 03:46 PM

Has anyone noticed a change in maternal instinct after taking Cymbalta. I know people can become more self absorbed through some subtle personality changes, which could technically correlate. However my wife wanted 4 children before Cymbalta. I noticed her become more demanding and self absorbed. Now she has zero interest, in fact the thought of giving up time to look after children is mortifying. Its just such a drastic change to go from wanting a big family to thinking that its the worst thing in the world. Has anyone observed anything similar?

 


#15 fishinghat

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 05:05 PM

I can not recall any posts that mention such a symptom But the self absorption is common with mania.

#16 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 05:35 PM

Speaking for myself, there were many things that previously I was passionately involved in that I completely would not do. I lost interest in most things while on Cymbalta and it only got worse when I rapidly tapered off. 

Prior to Cymbalta I was a patient and caring person but that all changed when I started taking Cymbalta or as I still like to call it Crapalta. The depression and mania are things that I had never experienced before and it sounds like it is the same with your wife.

After all the dust settled for me they said I have Bipolar II. My Psychiatrist says I must have had a mild form of this before and the Cymbalta made it worse, far, far worse. I would really suggest giving a mood stabilizer a try which her regular doctor could prescribe for a short term just to see if it helps. I am sure it would be a relief for you and her if it works.


#17 gardenlady

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 04:38 PM

I can not recall any posts that mention such a symptom But the self absorption is common with mania.

I thought mania was characterized by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions and overactivity.  Isn't self-absorption a trait of depression, the opposite of mania? 

 

I've also read many accounts of people coming off of psych drugs who are "diagnosed" as bipolar, when in actuality, it's just a withdrawal symptom.  Psychiatrists will inevitably prescribe more drugs (what else do they do?) for nonexistent mental illnesses which are nothing but withdrawal symptoms, therefore, spiraling the person downward into increasingly worsening conditions.  Many people report that after they are through withdrawal, the so-called bipolar symptoms disappear.

 

These so-called diagnoses are really just descriptors, labels that psychiatrists make up and then change, subjectively, as time goes on.  There's nothing objective or scientific about it.  The DSM is a joke...if you do research into how it came into being, you'll see what a laughable publication it is.  Check this out: 

 

https://www.theinner...s-are-diagnosed

https://www.theinner...stic-manual-dsm


#18 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 05:24 PM

Self absorption is a more common symptom of a mixed episode. Cymbalta is famous for taking someone who has minor mental health issues and throwing them into a full mixed episode.

A Mixed episode is a combination of mania and depression at the same time. It is on the black box warning in the sheet that comes with Cymbalta.

I spent almost 5 months in a mixed episode and it was almost the end of me. This site literally saved my life. The mixed episode did not end when I stopped taking Cymbalta either as it lasted well into taking a Mood Stabilizer as it required gradual increases until a therapeutic dose was reached. Then I had a reaction which meant I had to change the medication.

I still suffer from depression but rarely mania alone, more like I get a mixed episode either before or near the end of my depression.

This is the most dangerous thing for me as people often become suicidal when depressed but with the mixed episode you still have the ability and energy to carry it out. I can only describe the feeling of a mixed episode as a feeling like I need to beat my head against a wall to try to stop the rapidly whirling dark thoughts in my head.

Often it is the rapid dark thoughts that have made me contemplate finding any way possible to make it stop.

 

I do not know if this helps anyone but this is me now off Cymbalta that I was only put on for pain.


#19 invalidusername

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 05:46 PM

"I've also read many accounts of people coming off of psych drugs who are "diagnosed" as bipolar, when in actuality, it's just a withdrawal symptom.  Psychiatrists will inevitably prescribe more drugs (what else do they do?) for nonexistent mental illnesses which are nothing but withdrawal symptoms, therefore, spiraling the person downward into increasingly worsening conditions.  Many people report that after they are through withdrawal, the so-called bipolar symptoms disappear."

 

So much truth in what our Hat says here. P-docs will readily have you playing AD roulette during withdrawal. Speaking for my own experience, the fact that any withdrawal can last longer than 2-3 weeks is lost on those that I have seen. They are convinced that what I am currently going through is what was "underneath" the cymbalta the whole time.

 

One word for that. Bullsh*t.

 

How these people are on three times my salary I will never know.


#20 fishinghat

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 05:48 PM

"I thought mania was characterized by periods of great excitement, euphoria, delusions and overactivity. Isn't self-absorption a trait of depression, the opposite of mania?"

Self absorption can be a characteristic of both depression and mania.

You guys both had great posts. If you read the description in the DSM V about anxiety, depression, BP 1, BP 2. PTSD, GAD, and the other "mood disorders" they overlap in their symptoms by around 80 to 90%. A clever shrink can twist any set of symptoms to meet any of these disorders. No science here.

#21 gardenlady

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 06:32 PM

Nancy, What happened to you is an atrocity.  You are not mentally ill, or even bipolar.  In my humble opinion, from your own description you are still in withdrawal.  You are suffering iatrogenic damage from being poisoned by a prescription drug.  The same thing happened to me and I'm tapering slowly to get off of it.  Even so, it has already ruined my life.....I've lost my siblings (the only family I had), my friends, and my home because of the incompetence of so-called doctors.  After my experience and learning about those of others, I don't think that psychiatry should even be considered a branch of medicine.  It has devolved into nothing but a parasite of Big Pharma.

 

After reading about many case histories of psych drug poisoning, it appears that it sometimes take 5-7 years or more for the brain to heal from the damage.  I'm hopeful, Nancy, that you will eventually heal, but now, you are obviously still in withdrawal.  I refuse to believe the lie that you are bipolar as you did not exhibit symptoms before Cymbalta.  Your condition is clearly caused by Cymbalta and is NOT a mental illness.  Other case histories have shown that healing is possible, but sometimes only after many, many years.  I really hope you'll allow your brain to heal and not poison it with additional harmful psychiatric drugs.  

 

I write this out of concern and care.  Obviously, it is your decision and yours alone.  But I encourage you to stop listening to the lies of Big Pharma and psychiatry.  They've already taken their pound of flesh from you....don't give them more. 


#22 gardenlady

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 05:30 PM

If you read the description in the DSM V about anxiety, depression, BP 1, BP 2. PTSD, GAD, and the other "mood disorders" they overlap in their symptoms by around 80 to 90%. A clever shrink can twist any set of symptoms to meet any of these disorders. No science here.

This is just another example of how utterly meaningless and subjective the DSM is.  It's  unbelievable how the public has been duped to take it seriously. 


#23 HRTBroken

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:02 PM

This whole thing is like being an observer in a situation you can't control or help with. So she seems to have emerged from what did seem to be a form a mania and now has insight into just how she has been acting and is devastated. I have observed just how out of control she was, but she doesn't see it that way, therefore thinks she has destroyed our marriage. She is however is still in a complete state of emotional confusion making it hard to cope with daily life.

 

What I am now interested in the new symptoms she has been describing now that she has insight. She says that she went dead inside whilst on the drug, and is now even worse having come off it. I know emotional numbing is a side effect. Has anybody got any experience in how long that takes to go away. In her words it took her soul, she doesn't feel like the person she was. It makes her feel cold and dead inside. I'm hoping that this goes away with time? Any personal experience with symptoms associated with the emotional numbness?


#24 fishinghat

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 02:36 PM

I am glad you posted and those other symptoms have disappeared. The emotional numbness will give way to large emotional swings, anxiety, depression and more anxiety. These usually take 6 to 8 months to begin to fade and up to a year. There is medication which can help the mood swings when they hit but for the numbness it is just a matter of time.


#25 invalidusername

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 04:12 PM

I am not quite sure from my perspective if the numbness is Cymbalta as I also have Celexa, Lexapro and Pregabalin going round my system, but my latest set of symptoms which started last week (6 weeks into C withdrawal) gave me exactly that. Emotional numbness. Nothing happy, but nothing too bad. Just empty. So if this is the case for my withdrawal, then I can indeed sympathise with her in knowing how it feels.

 

As Hat says, there is little that can be done with this as it is the brain rewiring itself. Patience is not easy... in the slightest... during these times. But there is a definite feeling that it is the brain doing something rather than your thoughts. That much I can feel. The trick is not to add to it as it just compounds the existing issues.


#26 HRTBroken

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 03:14 AM

I think I figured out more of what is going on with her. Early on in the withdrawal process, from one day to the next she stopped connecting with me. Like there was an acute change in her emotional connection to me. There have been cases of depersonalisation disorder reported in the medical literature in association with Cymbalta. From what i have read on here it sounds like its relatively common with Cymbalta, yet it goes undiagnosed because its poorly understood. She seems to be getting her emotions back, but still says when she looks me she knows she loves me, but can't feel it. She has left me because she doesn't think her earlier behaviour is forgivable, and she still has the sensation of looking at me with no feeling of love, even though academically she knows she loves me. Maybe this is just another label for the emotional confusion that we are all well aware off, or maybe its something different again. Any experience anyone?

 

Depersonalisation Disorder is the experience of feeling unreal, detached, and often, unable to feel emotion. It is a phenomenon characterised by a disruption in self-awareness and emotional numbness, where many people feel that they are disconnected or estranged form one's self.    "Relationships you know you value deeply lose their essential quality," "You know you love your family, but you know it academically - rather than feeling it in the normal way." 


#27 fishinghat

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:13 AM

Hi HRT

So sad you are going through this. You hit the nail on the head. The depersonalisation is very common with the withdrawal. The good news is that over the next few months that will slowly fade and her true feelings should return. Hang in there with her, just keep being supportive, reassure her everything is OK and that you are there for her.

#28 invalidusername

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:46 AM

You seem to have a handle on this as Hat says. Just remember what you are dealing with here. These are drugs that change the way the brain works. No-one really understands quite what it is they do to our chemistry up there. It targets our emotional centers of the brain, but the cognitive areas are not so effected which is why she can still state that she loves you, but does not feel it. Deep down she knows it is the meds that are doing this, as before it all, she had her feelings - and they will come back... in time. And it is the time factor that is so very hard, as I am living through it every day myself at the moment going through some horrible withdrawals. Although I do not suffer the same as you mention, there have been plenty of anger issues on and off from my condition, which is so unlike me. I have reduced my wife to tears, and it is heartbreaking for me.I don't control it.

 

What she is going through is no different to what one might suffer as a result of brain damage from another accident. Her brain needs to heal itself, and it is doing so as we speak. I do feel for you, and hope that the recovery comes sooner rather than later.


#29 HRTBroken

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 08:30 AM

Has anyone tried using a standard SSRI to help through the withdrawal process. My wife used to describe depression when it crept in as a looming shadow in the corner of the room, feeling like she was on the edge of darkness. Now in Cymbalta withdrawal she describes it as all possessing, completely encompassing her, darker than she has ever felt. With the additional depersonalisation and lack of emotion, and constant mess in her head. 

 

Her psychiatrist is suggesting a trial back on citalopram or escitalopram. Just wondering if anyone has used either of these to help through the long and arduous withdrawal phases? I know many of you dont want to be on anything after Cymbalta, its understandable. I am just seeking to understand if anyone has had success using this in the interim?

 


#30 fishinghat

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 08:59 AM

Yes, a great many have done this. The drugs of choice are usually Lexapro, Prozac or Zoloft. They all have longer half lives and are in general easier to wean off of. The issue is that most take 4 to 8 weeks to kick in.

Some of the other meds used include benzodiazepines (addictive with a bad withdrawal), hydroxyzine and/or clonidine. The last two are not addictive and have no withdrawal. All three are primarily aimed at controlling anxiety and not depression though.



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