Depression and Weight Issues Have you been diagnosed with depression, are possibly on depression medication, and find it affects your weight loss efforts? Post here for support!

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Old 04-19-2011, 01:50 PM   #1  
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Question Getting myself off Cymbalta - any coping strategies??

I have been on 60 mg of Cymbalta for 2-3 years after becoming suicidal and deciding to try another anti-depressant. I've not been able to stay on one (I have tried 2-3 in the past) because of severe side-effects (dizziness, nausea/vomitting, insomnia, hot/cold sweats, severe cramping, brain zaps) -- I have honestly never cared about the decreased libido and weight changes with these drugs, as I've only taken them as a way not to kill myself... so those types of things are secondary. Cymbalta is the only med I've taken for my depression where the daily physical side effects weren't crushing...so I've stayed on it.

My mood has really been on the upswing dramatically since the beginning of the year. I'm eating so much healthier (as is my husband) - I exercise regulary (and enjoy doing it, for the first time in a very long time) - I got myself off of Ambien (sleeping isn't perfect, but much better) and I am just more confident. My 40th birthday is tomorrow (arg!) and I think I'd just had it, really had it, feeling so bad about myself. I've been implementing changes in my life and it is working! And unlike other times I've tried to make changes, my husband is being not only incredibly supportive - but HE has already made the changes (he has started running half and full marathons, dropped 40 lbs and is eating SO well). Way easier to live like this when you're not doing it alone!

Cymbalta has helped, but I hate being a slave to it. Late on my dose? I get dizzy and nauseated. Can't get a new script written because my psyciatrist cancels an appointment? I go through withdrawal. Skip a day? I get nauseous, dizzy, hot/cold flashes - sometimes I throw up. Once, I fainted. I went out of town for a weekend once, with my best friend from college, and I forgot to bring my Cymbalta...I couldn't even enjoy the 2nd day because I felt so bad and all I could think of was having to drive feeling so bad.

I don't want to be on this anymore...it has served it's purpose, ya know? I have made other changes in my life and to me, that's how it is supposed to work...use it as a crutch until you can stand, and walk, on your own two feet again.

So - has anyone else done this? I am going cold turkey (last day I took it was last Friday). I know, I know - doctors all say, "Wean yourself off!!!" and I tried it -- last fall I started taking 5 of the beads out of my capsules at a time and even with just taking that teeny bit out, I was having side effects. So why drag it out and feel like crap for months when I get just suffer for a couple weeks and be done with it?

Have any of you done this, with Cymbalta or other anti-depressants? I'm not trying to open a complain-about-side-effects thread - but was wondering how you found relief from the withdrawal symptoms? I'm eating really well, getting my 8 hrs of sleep and I'm not doing Zumba for a few days (I can barely walk a straight line!) - also drinking a lot of herbal tea (peppermint tea helps w/ the nausea) - but was wondering if you all had other coping strategies? Anything particularly creative you did to help get you through the discomfort, insomnia, cramping, etc.? Would love suggestions!!

Last edited by Lunula; 04-19-2011 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:17 PM   #2  
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I know you said that you don't want to wean yourself off BUT going off of a medication should always be done under a doctor's supervision. My husband has been on depression and anxiety medications for a LONG time. He had the same problems as you, had trouble finding a medication that didn't have debilitating side effects. There have been a couple of times that he thought he was feeling better and didn't need the medication anymore. But, really the medication combined with him living healthier were what was making him feel better. Trying to go off the medications cold turkey always ended in disaster. The withdrawal was horrible. He has finally come to the realization that, as much as he hates being dependent on meds, it is something he will most likely have to deal with for a long time, maybe even the rest of his life. He has been able to reduce the dose for his medication (with the doctor's help) now that he is starting to feel better. I know this isn't the advice you wanted, but I truly think you need to speak with the doctor about wanting to go off the meds, there are ways the doctor can help.

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Old 04-19-2011, 03:27 PM   #3  
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Hiya! Thanks for the response!

Yeah, going cold turkey is nothing new for me. Honestly, I will muddle through the withdrawal - it sucks, but it's not life threatening -- I've spoken to my primary, and my OB/GYN (since we've been trying to have a child for years now), about going off this drug and they've both encouraged me to go off and see how I do without it (given my long history with dealing w/ my depression on my own, since meds have never been an option). I had a major episode a few years ago after my father died, I lost my job and then had emergency back surgery...that's what triggered me going on Cymbalta.

When I went off Effexor years ago (worst drug in history) I had horrific side effects and I went to see my primary (she's been my doctor for 10+ years now, so she's seen me through a lot) - I thought I was dying (while on the meds) and she had me just stop taking them - no weaning at all. I'm not at risk because of any other medical issues (blood pressure, heart, seizures, etc.) -- so I'm glad you brought that up, since not everyone should go cold turkey! For me, though, it's not an issue medically...it's just the side effects of withdrawal.

Okay, sorry for my ramble - I'm not doing this haphazardly and though I've dealt with depression for many years, my major episodes are always triggered by trauma in my life. Yes, I'll have more trauma - but I'm just not willing to stay on these drugs until it strikes again, and since I was also in therapy for 2 years when I first went on this med, I've honestly built better skills to deal with it in the future. But you're so very right - depression and meds are nothing to take lightly. I certainly hope your husband (and you) are doing well and I appreciate your response!
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:57 PM   #4  
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I am so glad to hear that you have taken the appropriate steps and that your doctor is aware that you are going off of the meds. That was all I was concerned about. I wish I had some advice for you as far as the withdrawal goes, but I am afraid it's just one of those things you have to bite down and bear. Good luck to you!! Both with this and conceiving!
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:26 PM   #5  
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Default Good luck

I hope it goes well for you; however, if you find you need it, it is not a flaw in your character. As my dr said, if you were diabetic, you would learn to live with insulin. It is not any different.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:46 PM   #6  
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Oh Heavens no, I don't look at it as a flaw at all -- I think anti-depressants, even admitting that you need to take them (and then following through), can be pretty amazing. After my dad died and I went through everything else, I felt like my life was caving in - I just could not get my head above water. My eating spiralled out of control because it was the only thing that provided me even a small sense of comfort. My dad was gone, I was unemployed and was recovering from back surgery...I tried to cope for a year and just couldn't do it. Instead of just suffering, I got myself into treatment and part of that was Cymbalta. For me, it was great having an anti-depressant where the benefits outweighed the side effects! But yeah, I did the work -- I faced my issues as head-on as I could and I started taking them knowing that I would go off them as soon as I could. Namely, because I wanted to get pregnant and second, because I knew that I could live life without them, as I had in the past.

I feel, for me...how will I know if the other positive changes I've made in my life...therapy, exercise, weight-loss, eating healthfully, connecting with long-lost friends, enjoying my hobbies again, sleeping without the aid of drugs and even cutting back on video games & tv-watching, are actually helping me unless I go without the meds? I just have to try it and see and I feel no shame in going back on them if I need to!

Last edited by Lunula; 04-19-2011 at 08:47 PM.
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