Here's a run down of the medications I have taken over the years and where I am right now.
23 years ago I received my first diagnosis, Post-natal Depression and Anxiety. I had a ten week stay in a Mother and Baby Unit and was given several different antidepressants until the doctors settled on Sertraline/Zoloft. I also took Lorazepam/Ativan for sleeping and beta blockers to help deal with the physical sensations of anxiety and panic.
I was on the highest dose of Sertraline, 200mg, for many years and at various points in my life,felt able to reduce it. It inevitably went back up again.
I never really understood what Sertraline was doing for me other than possibly balancing chemicals in my brain. According to the docotor this is what caused depression so I took his word for it.
About 5 years ago I hit yet another crisis point. I couldn't eat,sleep or work. Suicidal thoughts were turning into actual plans. No amount of counselling or pills seemed to be helping me out of this pit of despair. My faith (of sorts) was useless. I was doomed and being driven mad.
The doc decided to put me on Mirtazapine/Remeron on the lowest dose in tablet form 15mg. To start with it was amazing :-)
I could sleep, eat and function normally. I thought it was a miracle drug and was so happy to be relatively normal again. However after a year or so they stopped being so effective and my dose went up to 30 mg which I had to take in two separate does due to it being so strong and turning me into a zombie. Again the respite was much appreciated but this anxiety crisis was coming at me full force so the doctor upped my dose to the maximum,45 mg. According to my GP this was enough to knock out a horse and it certainly helped, for a while.
Despair seemed to be so eager to play a part in my life that it upped the pressure and soon I was back to feeling pretty crap!
During this time I had looked into nutrition which in itself frightened me stupid. I've been a fussy eater all my life so trying to change my diet added more fear around food. Thankfully I am tenacious, OK, stubborn, so I persevered and managed to introduce veggie juices into my diet which have since progressed to smoothies. I started taking probiotics and found they kept the constant flow of UTI's away (pardon the pun).
I also met a new therapist who enabled me to begin changing my thinking patterns amongst other things.
So today I am now on a lower dose. The docs had advised me not to reduce my meds but I felt I had enough resources to make a positive change. So I changed my doses by a day over many weeks.
e.g Mon 45mg Tues 45mg Wed 45mg Thurs 30mg Fri 45mg Sat 45mg Sun 45mg
I stuck with this for several weeks looking out for any physical or emotional difficulties. I upped things I saw as beneficial e.g. walking and reduced possible hindrances e.g. booze.
Once I was sure I was OK I reduced another night and so on.
It is a very slow way but I have managed to drop down to 30 & 15mg doses safely and with little or no withdrawal symptoms.
To date I am on Mon 30mg Tues 15mg Wed 30mg Thurs 15mg Fri 30mg Sat 15mg Sun 15mg.
Next week I will be changing Monday's dose to 15mg.
So that's me right now and this is what is working for me.
It may take a long time but I would rather take my time than risk relapses etc.
I am not saying this is a safe thing for everyone so do check with your doc especially before making any drastic changes. Rather I hope this brings hope to others that are wanting to reduce their medications.