It's amazing how much better I feel now that I know what's going on and know that is not going to continue forever.
Here is Ann's email:
Here are some highlights of various medical reviews concerning “antidepressant withdrawal syndrome.” Bottom line: None of symptoms are life-threatening; worst symptoms clear up in 2 weeks and resolve completely in a month; duration depends on patient metabolism and no studies have examined elderly (post-65 years old); though tapering often recommended, guidelines on how to taper conflict and no controlled studies have compared whether it works/helps. So you should begin to feel better within 2 weeks after stopping all 5-HTP (and you only stopped a week ago – assuming you haven’t relapsed and started self-medicating again) and be pretty much back to normal in a month.
Symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome can include flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory disturbances, and hyperarousal. All approved anti-depressant agents have had case reports or warnings from their manufacturers of such reactions occurring in response to either abrupt discontinuation or medication tapering
… The syndrome is believed to be dependent on the elimination half-life of the administered drug and the patient’s rate of metabolism [Bitter et al. 2011], occurring most frequently following the withdrawal of agents with shorter half-lives [Sheldon, 2006].
.... Of the articles reviewed, only one discusses discontinuation in people over the age of 65 years.
In a recent retrospective chart review… and two small, prospective, randomized controlled trials,16,24 patients' SSRIs were replaced with placebo for five days or their antidepressant medication was abruptly discontinued. All noted that the most common symptoms of SSRI withdrawal were dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, lethargy or anxiety/hyperarousal, dysphoria, sleep problems, and headache
… there are no clinical trials comparing abrupt discontinuation with tapered discontinuation of antidepressants. …Notably, not all patients treated with SSRIs (which represents a very heterogeneous population) experience discontinuation symptoms.
If antidepressant discontinuation syndrome occurs and other serious causes of these symptoms have been ruled out, the physician should begin by providing reassurance to the patient that the condition is reversible, is not serious or life threatening, and will run its course within one to two weeks.