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ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
Sertraline and Risperidone have completely killed my libido and made me gain weight. It may not seem like much but these things are affecting my well being. I have 0 interest in being intimate with my boyfriend and that breaks my heart. This relationship is what has been keeping me alive, I need to nurture it.

I'm really considering stopping medication by myself, gradually. I feel like I can face the psychotic episodes now. Somehow I've gained some mental strength lately, I feel like I can do it, and I feel like being intimate and getting my body like it used to will help.

Has anyone here stopped medication by themselves, especially these ones? How did it go?
 
theboy

theboy

Visionary
Jul 15, 2022
2,680
I stopped taking medication, but it was an agreement between me and the doctor. It was in pandemic. After about 4 months where I felt fine, I went into severe depression, among other symptoms and probably withdrawal. I went to the hospital and had to take medication again to recover. I understand that the side effects are significant and are affecting you. You could talk to your psychiatrist about changing your meds or something.
 
p4nic

p4nic

Member
Apr 4, 2023
14
I used to take fluoxetine and for random life circumstances I decided to stop taking those meds completely. I was on a "good" moment of my life, so I honestly didn't had any issues. It wasn't until six months later when I went through a hard time that I felt depressed again and had to take medication again.
Sertraline and Risperidone have completely killed my libido and made me gain weight. It may not seem like much but these things are affecting my well being. I have 0 interest in being intimate with my boyfriend and that breaks my heart. This relationship is what has been keeping me alive, I need to nurture it.

I'm really considering stopping medication by myself, gradually. I feel like I can face the psychotic episodes now. Somehow I've gained some mental strength lately, I feel like I can do it, and I feel like being intimate and getting my body like it used to will help.

Has anyone here stopped medication by themselves, especially these ones? How did it go?
I used to take fluoxetine and for random life circumstances I decided to stop taking those meds completely. I was on a "good" moment of my life, so I honestly didn't had any issues. It wasn't until six months later when I went through a hard time that I felt depressed again and had to take medication again. From my experience, what I can say is that you can give it a try if you feel confident enough, just be very cautious and try to be aware of any changes in your mood in case that it is neccesary to retake any meds.
I'm hoping that it goes well for you! Best wishes :)
 
ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
I stopped taking medication, but it was an agreement between me and the doctor. It was in pandemic. After about 4 months where I felt fine, I went into severe depression, among other symptoms and probably withdrawal. I went to the hospital and had to take medication again to recover. I understand that the side effects are significant and are affecting you. You could talk to your psychiatrist about changing your meds or something.
I don't have a psychiatrist, my medication is being managed by my GP, which the same as saying that they never change anything because they're not psychiatrists so I feel like I'm doomed to be on the same dosage and meds forever.
 
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rosenwasser

rosenwasser

per ardua ad astra
Sep 9, 2023
127
I'm so sorry you're experiencing these symptoms. Losing your libido and weight gain are no small issues, for many people taking psychiatric medication, this is a source of extreme distress and I don't think it's acceptable that it's suggested by doctors we just have to deal with it. I have two thoughts about this, as I don't know you and your situation, only take whatever is useful to you:

* Do you have access to a psychiatrist or can you find one affordably? I never took risperidone but I did take sertraline and it killed my libido and made me feel like absolute shit. Maybe it's one of your medications causing these symptoms and you can stop or replace that without having to deal with psychosis.
* If this isn't the case and you want to stop, find a peer support group. Sometimes stopping meds is easy but for some people (I'm one of them) the withdrawal syndrome is hell. I was extremely thankful for the help I received when stopping from people who went through the same, helping me lower the dosage bit by bit.

If you don't have experience with stopping yet, please don't quit cold turkey. Start with lowering your dose for a week or two and see if the withdrawal is manageable.
Best of luck :heart:
 
xmissellax

xmissellax

Need My Peace
Feb 25, 2024
113
Has sertraline helped you in other ways? I'm on escocitalopram (lexapro) and was considering switching to sertraline to help with OCD/intrusive thoughts/EUBPD but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'm terrified of withdrawal symptoms from lexapro and not sure I've heard great things about sertraline but I'm terrified about finding the transition tough
 
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rosenwasser

rosenwasser

per ardua ad astra
Sep 9, 2023
127
Has sertraline helped you in other ways? I'm on escocitalopram (lexapro) and was considering switching to sertraline to help with OCD/intrusive thoughts/EUBPD but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'm terrified of withdrawal symptoms from lexapro and not sure I've heard great things about sertraline but I'm terrified about finding the transition tough
For what it's worth I've heard good things about sertraline. It's commonly considered one of the SSRIs with the least side effects and I know ppl who take it long term and have had good experience with the med. For me it was terrible but unfortunately antidepressants are trial-and-error drugs.
 
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Dot

Dot

Globl mod - Info abt typng styl on prfle.
Sep 26, 2021
2,372
Sertraline and Risperidone have completely killed my libido and made me gain weight. It may not seem like much but these things are affecting my well being. I have 0 interest in being intimate with my boyfriend and that breaks my heart. This relationship is what has been keeping me alive, I need to nurture it.

I'm really considering stopping medication by myself, gradually. I feel like I can face the psychotic episodes now. Somehow I've gained some mental strength lately, I feel like I can do it, and I feel like being intimate and getting my body like it used to will help.

Has anyone here stopped medication by themselves, especially these ones? How did it go?

Wld alwys sggst doctr advce 1st bt if u r feelng bettr pssbly jst rduce dosge 1st & C whthr tht mkes n.e postve or neg8tve dffrncs

GPs shld b abl t/ chnge medcatns if ur currnt typ r makng u suffr
 
xmissellax

xmissellax

Need My Peace
Feb 25, 2024
113
For what it's worth I've heard good things about sertraline. It's commonly considered one of the SSRIs with the least side effects and I know ppl who take it long term and have had good experience with the med. For me it was terrible but unfortunately antidepressants are trial-and-error drugs.
I've been on citalopram for 10 years and switched to lexapro for a year now. It does seem to be working but my ocd rituals can be quite bad still. I've heard lexapro is one of the tougher drugs to come off and sertraline is one of the tougher drugs to go onto xD I'm finally in a bit of a clearer place mentally so I'd hate to ruin that with withdrawal symptoms etc.
 
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ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
Have you tried Wellbutrin? It's the only antidepressant afaik that doesn't cause weight gain and affect libido
I haven't heard about that one, will need to do some research!
I'm so sorry you're experiencing these symptoms. Losing your libido and weight gain are no small issues, for many people taking psychiatric medication, this is a source of extreme distress and I don't think it's acceptable that it's suggested by doctors we just have to deal with it. I have two thoughts about this, as I don't know you and your situation, only take whatever is useful to you:

* Do you have access to a psychiatrist or can you find one affordably? I never took risperidone but I did take sertraline and it killed my libido and made me feel like absolute shit. Maybe it's one of your medications causing these symptoms and you can stop or replace that without having to deal with psychosis.
* If this isn't the case and you want to stop, find a peer support group. Sometimes stopping meds is easy but for some people (I'm one of them) the withdrawal syndrome is hell. I was extremely thankful for the help I received when stopping from people who went through the same, helping me lower the dosage bit by bit.

If you don't have experience with stopping yet, please don't quit cold turkey. Start with lowering your dose for a week or two and see if the withdrawal is manageable.
Best of luck :heart:
This is very useful, thanks! I don't have a psychiatrist currently, only the GP and they say they can't change the medication because they are not psychiatrists :/
I will keep in mind the support group. I have stopped in the past, lower dosages, and was fine so I'm hoping I can deal with it nicely this time too
Has sertraline helped you in other ways? I'm on escocitalopram (lexapro) and was considering switching to sertraline to help with OCD/intrusive thoughts/EUBPD but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'm terrified of withdrawal symptoms from lexapro and not sure I've heard great things about sertraline but I'm terrified about finding the transition tough
Sertraline has helped me with feeling suicidal and depressed. I have taken it in the past for almost 5 years as well and it helped with the same things but always kills my libido
Wld alwys sggst doctr advce 1st bt if u r feelng bettr pssbly jst rduce dosge 1st & C whthr tht mkes n.e postve or neg8tve dffrncs

GPs shld b abl t/ chnge medcatns if ur currnt typ r makng u suffr
I thought they would be able to change it but they always say they can't change it because I'm a complex case and they're not psychiatrists. At the same time, they don't refer me to a psychiatrist and I'm losing patience. I'm tired of having to go to the pharmacy and GP all the time, having to sort out paperwork and a bunch of other annoying things. Just makes me feel sicker. I'm really in the mood to say "to hell" with all this and take matters into my own hands.
 
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theboy

theboy

Visionary
Jul 15, 2022
2,680
I don't have a psychiatrist, my medication is being managed by my GP, which the same as saying that they never change anything because they're not psychiatrists so I feel like I'm doomed to be on the same dosage and meds forever.
well, it is assumed that when one has a psychiatric illness, medications are used for months, years or a lifetime because it is a pathology. it is unfortunate.
 
penguinl0v3s

penguinl0v3s

Wait for Me 💙
Nov 1, 2023
683
Have you ever tried augmenting with bupropion? It can (with a high success rate!) make side effects of sexual dysfunction go away without stopping sertraline. People love Welloft (Wellbutrin + Zoloft), it's such a standard combination that it has its own nickname.

It makes the good in sertraline better and the bad lesser :)

I can explain a little more about mechanism of action and how it works if you're interested in going this route. It looks like you're benefiting a lot from sertraline and just hate the side effects, personally I would not go off of it if possible.

One of the reasons I'd hesitate is that if you get rebound depression, the meds that used to work can become less effective. Psychiatrists in particular, compared to other specialists of other medical fields, are more careful about taking patients off meds because it can really harm the balance of mood in a way that can't be fixed just by going back on to what you were on before.

I say this from personal experience of upping my dose too high, and still suffering the side effects of it months later despite going back to my regular/effective dose.
 
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T

thecreepycanadian

Member
Oct 24, 2023
14
Do it gradually, lowering the dose over time (and only after discussing it with your doctor). I'm trying to come off my meds (Paroxetine) because my feelings are just, blunted.
 
H

Hollowman

Empty
Dec 14, 2021
1,044
Do it gradually, lowering the dose over time (and only after discussing it with your doctor). I'm trying to come off my meds (Paroxetine) because my feelings are just, blunted.
Most Dr's aren't trained how to safely come off meds.
 
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K

Kit1

Enlightened
Oct 24, 2023
1,022
I stopped taking all my medication (including sertraline) at the beginning of September 2023 and survived - but suffered for it and can see myself with various symptoms flaring up now. However on a matter of principle, I would rather die than go back to taking any medication unless there is a positive change with how patients are treated compassionately by the surgery.

However it is not advisable to give up taking medication without the input of the doctor. If you are going to stop taking it, it will be advisable to gradually decrease the dosage.

Good Luck.
 
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ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
Have you ever tried augmenting with bupropion? It can (with a high success rate!) make side effects of sexual dysfunction go away without stopping sertraline. People love Welloft (Wellbutrin + Zoloft), it's such a standard combination that it has its own nickname.

It makes the good in sertraline better and the bad lesser :)

I can explain a little more about mechanism of action and how it works if you're interested in going this route. It looks like you're benefiting a lot from sertraline and just hate the side effects, personally I would not go off of it if possible.

One of the reasons I'd hesitate is that if you get rebound depression, the meds that used to work can become less effective. Psychiatrists in particular, compared to other specialists of other medical fields, are more careful about taking patients off meds because it can really harm the balance of mood in a way that can't be fixed just by going back on to what you were on before.

I say this from personal experience of upping my dose too high, and still suffering the side effects of it months later despite going back to my regular/effective dose.
I have never tried that no, no psychiatrist suggested it so far. They put me on Sertraline and Risperidone because that's what I have been on in the past.

I currently don't have a doctor that can advise and change my medication, I have no psychiatrist, just the GP who doesn't change anything because they don't have the knowledge to.

I decided to give up on the meds because I'm tired and no one cares. As far as the GP is concerned I will stay on these meds and dosage forever, they never consult a psychiatrist, it's always the same answer.

I'm lowering and hoping I will be okay, which I know isn't the best but it's what I can do right now...
Thank you for your input though, I saved your answer so I can tell a psychiatrist that if I ever get one again.
 
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AnxietyHangover

AnxietyHangover

Global Moderator
Aug 20, 2022
203
Be careful with how you are lowering your dose. I'm on venlafaxine, a SNRI that is notorious for its withdrawal symptoms, and whenever I forget to take it I feel like an absolute mess, experiencing dizziness, nausea, confusion, generally feeling weak... Lower your dose very carefully, small steps, and don't rush it.
 
ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
Be careful with how you are lowering your dose. I'm on venlafaxine, a SNRI that is notorious for its withdrawal symptoms, and whenever I forget to take it I feel like an absolute mess, experiencing dizziness, nausea, confusion, generally feeling weak... Lower your dose very carefully, small steps, and don't rush it.
Thank you for the tips. So far I've been doing alright, just dizziness and slight nausea starting in the afternoon. It has been manageable, just a bit uncomfortable. Will see how this week goes without Risperidone 🤞
 
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K

Kit1

Enlightened
Oct 24, 2023
1,022
I have never tried that no, no psychiatrist suggested it so far. They put me on Sertraline and Risperidone because that's what I have been on in the past.

I currently don't have a doctor that can advise and change my medication, I have no psychiatrist, just the GP who doesn't change anything because they don't have the knowledge to.

I decided to give up on the meds because I'm tired and no one cares. As far as the GP is concerned I will stay on these meds and dosage forever, they never consult a psychiatrist, it's always the same answer.

I'm lowering and hoping I will be okay, which I know isn't the best but it's what I can do right now...
Thank you for your input though, I saved your answer so I can tell a psychiatrist that if I ever get one again.
You can ask your GP to refer you to the psychiatrist placed with the CMHT for a medication review. They are supposed to oblige - if necessary, be honest with your GP and tell him/her that if a referral is not completed then you are contemplating giving up meds..,
 
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N

noname223

Angelic
Aug 18, 2020
4,332
I had psychoses and struggled to accept the fact to take the shit till the rest of my life. But it increased my life quality a lot to come to this conclusion.

I am pretty sure most people except some few people have to take for the rest of their lives antipsychotics to stay stable. I lived for a year or more without it. At first when you reduce it you will feel better. I think this is the honeymoon effect I read about it 2015/16 but could not find it anymore in the literature afterwards. The ones who are lucky are sometimes people who had a drug induced psychosis but not a schizophrenic epsiode. They "only" have to stay away from psychoactive drugs which most addicts can't achieve. I am pretty sure that I will never be able to live without antipsychotics till the rest of my life if I do not want a rebounce psychosis. There are studies from developing countries. And interestingly the psychoses which are treated without antipsychotics usually have a better outcome. The causality is very unclear. Maybe it is lthe working culture in those countries which is responsible for that. But for most people the following rule applies once taken antipsychotics (for treating endogenous psychosis) you should take it for the rest of your life.

I would also suggest to experiment with off-label use of other medication instead of quitting it but it is your choice. There are so many mental health medication. Some of them can fix sexual issues. I once read lamotrigine increases the sexual pleasure of women. It is a mood stabilizer usually taken for bipolar people. But it is important to find a psychiatrist who supports you with that.

Take my text with a huge grain of salt (as most texts from the internet) I read about all that stuff many years ago. It is important to communicate your actions with a professional. Good luck! I would also have not accepted the text I just wrote to you. I needed first-hand experience (which hurt as hell...)

You can of course also try other antipsychotics I don't know which of them you already had. I would probably almost never accept the first one. I think I tried more than 5 before I found an acceptable one.
 
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ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
You can ask your GP to refer you to the psychiatrist placed with the CMHT for a medication review. They are supposed to oblige - if necessary, be honest with your GP and tell him/her that if a referral is not completed then you are contemplating giving up meds..,
I did mention I wanted a referral and the answer was "let's see how this goes and on the next appointment we will discuss it".

It's such bs, the lack of care is appalling
I had psychoses and struggled to accept the fact to take the shit till the rest of my life. But it increased my life quality a lot to come to this conclusion.

I am pretty sure most people except some few people have to take for the rest of their lives antipsychotics to stay stable. I lived for a year or more without it. At first when you reduce it you will feel better. I think this is the honeymoon effect I read about it 2015/16 but could not find it anymore in the literature afterwards. The ones who are lucky are sometimes people who had a drug induced psychosis but not a schizophrenic epsiode. They "only" have to stay away from psychoactive drugs which most addicts can't achieve. I am pretty sure that I will never be able to live without antipsychotics till the rest of my life if I do not want a rebounce psychosis. There are studies from developing countries. And interestingly the psychoses which are treated without antipsychotics usually have a better outcome. The causality is very unclear. Maybe it is lthe working culture in those countries which is responsible for that. But for most people the following rule applies once taken antipsychotics (for treating endogenous psychosis) you should take it for the rest of your life.

I would also suggest to experiment with off-label use of other medication instead of quitting it but it is your choice. There are so many mental health medication. Some of them can fix sexual issues. I once read lamotrigine increases the sexual pleasure of women. It is a mood stabilizer usually taken for bipolar people. But it is important to find a psychiatrist who supports you with that.

Take my text with a huge grain of salt (as most texts from the internet) I read about all that stuff many years ago. It is important to communicate your actions with a professional. Good luck! I would also have not accepted the text I just wrote to you. I needed first-hand experience (which hurt as hell...)

You can of course also try other antipsychotics I don't know which of them you already had. I would probably almost never accept the first one. I think I tried more than 5 before I found an acceptable one.
thank you for sharing, that was very useful to read about.
It may sound weird but I actually don't know if I have psychosis or not. My psychiatrist said "you're not psychotic, you just had a psychotic episode". I told my new psychologist about the episodes I had lately and his response was that he doesn't think it is psychosis but rather something stress induced.

I have no idea what I have, maybe let me know what you think these are because I'm clueless.

The worst episodes I had were 2 months or so ago where I would start by listening a music playing, feel nervous and fidgety, then it would evolve to panic and even terror. I would feel that the objects around me are evil and I felt stuck, like I couldn't leave because I was afraid they would follow me, I couldn't look at them due to terror but at the same time I had to look at them to make sure they wouldn't change or do something. During this time I would sob, fidget with my hands and tell my boyfriend the things that were happening. He would rationalise with me but I couldn't believe him, I was 200% certain they were evil.

Lately I don't feel terror, it's more just fear and for the past 2 months the episodes have been consistent. It's always a fear of machines and LEDs from machines. I feel that they are sucking my life, that I can't trust them, that only I can see how they're evil because they do so on purpose. I still sob and fidget my hands while it happens.

What would you say this is? I have never seen things that aren't there, just listened to music when my boyfriend couldn't hear it and it wasn't like music in my head, it would come from somewhere physical, like the middle of the living room but my boyfriend couldn't hear it.
The closest I had with seeing something was the zipper on my bag looking like shark teeth.
 
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Iamtired

Iamtired

Experienced
Sep 30, 2023
207
Sertraline and Risperidone have completely killed my libido and made me gain weight. It may not seem like much but these things are affecting my well being. I have 0 interest in being intimate with my boyfriend and that breaks my heart. This relationship is what has been keeping me alive, I need to nurture it.

I'm really considering stopping medication by myself, gradually. I feel like I can face the psychotic episodes now. Somehow I've gained some mental strength lately, I feel like I can do it, and I feel like being intimate and getting my body like it used to will help.

Has anyone here stopped medication by themselves, especially these ones? How did it go?
What dosage of the SSRI and how long? I've been on psych meds for over 10 years. Zoloft specifically since I was 24. I'm not familiar with the other one yoyre on but with sertraline….PLEASE have a therapist or a doctor in place or even BETTER an outside support group (you can PM me if you want details on the one I use) because going off of SSRI even low doses literally can feel akin to dying (akathesia-nausea. Heart rate increase or decrease. Rapid mood swings. Insomnia. Depression) are just a few things that can happen. It felt like literal psychosis for me and your depression will fucking SPIKE. i tried to kill myself going off of sertraline last year. You don't need a psychiatrist but you need people in your corner to manage the withdrawal effects you are undoubtedly going to experience.
 
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ForgottenAgain

ForgottenAgain

On the rollercoaster of sadness
Oct 17, 2023
445
What dosage of the SSRI and how long? I've been on psych meds for over 10 years. Zoloft specifically since I was 24. I'm not familiar with the other one yoyre on but with sertraline….PLEASE have a therapist or a doctor in place or even BETTER an outside support group (you can PM me if you want details on the one I use) because going off of SSRI even low doses literally can feel akin to dying (akathesia-nausea. Heart rate increase or decrease. Rapid mood swings. Insomnia. Depression) are just a few things that can happen. It felt like literal psychosis for me and your depression will fucking SPIKE. i tried to kill myself going off of sertraline last year. You don't need a psychiatrist but you need people in your corner to manage the withdrawal effects you are undoubtedly going to experience.
I've been on 200mg of Sertraline for 5 months. I've been feeling some nausea sometimes but it is mostly dizziness almost all day for the past week, which is when I stopped sertraline. I've been feeling depression more these past 4 days or so, crying every day.

My libido has returned already which made me feel a bit better. Tonight I'll stop taking Risperidone.
 
Iamtired

Iamtired

Experienced
Sep 30, 2023
207
I've been on 200mg of Sertraline for 5 months. I've been feeling some nausea sometimes but it is mostly dizziness almost all day for the past week, which is when I stopped sertraline. I've been feeling depression more these past 4 days or so, crying every day.

My libido has returned already which made me feel a bit better. Tonight I'll stop taking Risperidone.
Ok that's not a long time but please please please watch your behavioral patterns and keep in touch with professionals and friends. That's quite a large dose and it could have really bad side effects besides the crying. I definitely cried a lot coming down from it. I would not normally recommend CT'ing but if it's how you think you must do it then ok.
Usually I would say- go down in increments. Like 25 mg every few days. This is where a good professional would come into play. It's interesting you say the libido is more active now because I had quite an active libido on and off so it just goes to show how everyone reacts differently to these drugs. Be safe and pm anything. ♥️♥️
 
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penguinl0v3s

penguinl0v3s

Wait for Me 💙
Nov 1, 2023
683
I have never tried that no, no psychiatrist suggested it so far. They put me on Sertraline and Risperidone because that's what I have been on in the past.

I currently don't have a doctor that can advise and change my medication, I have no psychiatrist, just the GP who doesn't change anything because they don't have the knowledge to.

I decided to give up on the meds because I'm tired and no one cares. As far as the GP is concerned I will stay on these meds and dosage forever, they never consult a psychiatrist, it's always the same answer.

I'm lowering and hoping I will be okay, which I know isn't the best but it's what I can do right now...
Thank you for your input though, I saved your answer so I can tell a psychiatrist that if I ever get one again.
While I loved my GP, looking back she didn't know shit about psychiatric drugs compared to my psychiatrist. Not even like 1/3 of the information. It's really worthwhile to see a specialist for this, though I empathize if you're in a tough spot and can't do that atm. If you ever need psychiatric drug advice when it comes to tapering or anything else, feel free to PM me!
Be careful with how you are lowering your dose. I'm on venlafaxine, a SNRI that is notorious for its withdrawal symptoms, and whenever I forget to take it I feel like an absolute mess, experiencing dizziness, nausea, confusion, generally feeling weak... Lower your dose very carefully, small steps, and don't rush it.
Hey, did you know that you can crush Effexor XR into 2 doses for tapering purposes, even tho it says do not crush? You just have to dose split because it turns the drug into a 12 hour life instead of 23 hour. Of course it doesn't work for everyone because of 'dose dumping' but you can continue to split the dose even more if that is a problem.

Also, have you looked into using a fluoxetine bridge? I normally wouldn't suggest fluoxetine bridge for most switches, but ven/desven is what I would consider exceptions.

The available pill doses for ven/desven are actually inadequate because safe tapering is impossible with just those options. The dose jumps are too high.
Has sertraline helped you in other ways? I'm on escocitalopram (lexapro) and was considering switching to sertraline to help with OCD/intrusive thoughts/EUBPD but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'm terrified of withdrawal symptoms from lexapro and not sure I've heard great things about sertraline but I'm terrified about finding the transition tough
You can look into "cross tapering," which lets you switch from one SSRI onto another gradually, so that you don't suffer withdrawal at all. Side note: I'm not saying that SSRIs are so interchangeable that you can switch from one to the other right away, I believe that's a bad idea, but they're chemically similar enough that they can be gradually swapped for each other and mitigate potential withdrawal side effects.
For what it's worth I've heard good things about sertraline. It's commonly considered one of the SSRIs with the least side effects and I know ppl who take it long term and have had good experience with the med. For me it was terrible but unfortunately antidepressants are trial-and-error drugs.
Escitalopram is the SSRI with the least side effects because it is basically the most pure SSRI, given how its so selective that it only acts on serotonin transporters--other SSRIs can interact with other neurotransmitters in minor amounts--but sertraline is considered the most popular SSRI. I think its mood boost potential better, even though its potential side effects are slightly greater.
I did mention I wanted a referral and the answer was "let's see how this goes and on the next appointment we will discuss it".

It's such bs, the lack of care is appalling
There's a huge healthcare (and societal) bias that women are dainty and can't tolerate pain as well, which makes doctors a lot more dismissive of women's degree of struggle. They assume the problem is less than it is 🙄

It really sucks to deal with and to have to go to this extent, but my experience is that you have to come prepared with the knowledge of what you want to take, or what you want to be done, and then be able to be assertive about proving the doctor that you know your stuff. "I've dealt with mental illness for the majority of my life, and have been struggling with the side effects of my medication in a way that is making my quality of life worse than before. I believe that it is best if I see a specialist because my mental wellbeing is already in a fragile balance. I don't want to keep blindly trying. I want more knowledge about my options and to be able to make an informed decision from my specialist." Something like that.
 
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