Accidental Cold Turkey

I had a rude experience of accidental “cold turkey” withdrawal in the last 36 hours. I went to bed last night with a clear recollection of having taken my meds. My evening rituals are all messed up because I’m at my sister’s house and I’m staying in a “guest house” outside, considerably away from the house. I’ve had to get my supplements and meds ahead of time and put them in baggies to carry into the main house.

Last night I managed to not take my meds. I did not discover this until 6 am when I happened to put my hand in my pocket and found the pouch with my meds. I’d made it through one hell of a night and I didn’t know what the fuck was wrong with me.

The anxiety was phenomenal–I was experiencing sheer terror, and my head, neck and back were in pain–I felt like I was dying at times. I may have slept two hours. While it was hell, when I figured out what had happened I couldn’t help thinking what if I just got this all over with. Felt really shitty for a time. I know I won’t do that as I have had fear of “relapse” (severe withdrawal symptoms leading back to meds) pounded into my brain. But shit would I like to get it over with.

This slow drawn-out low-grade hell is terrible and there is not an end in sight for probably two years. I’m tempted to just get it over with. I hear plenty of stories of people who have done the cold turkey thing–but one thing they all say is if they had known better or had the resources they would have done it different. But then they haven’t done it my way either. How do we compare each other’s hell? Whose is better or should I say whose is less hellish?

19 thoughts on “Accidental Cold Turkey

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  1. hello,i cold turkeyed off a drug.. a muscle relaxant and it has caused undue problems. it was a neuro who told me to come off it. Im 6 months off and still suffering withdrawals. Its the worst hell anyone is ever likey to go into.

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  2. Thanks to my process, my doctor is learning about withdrawal. He knew nothing. The good thing about him is he is willing to learn and trusts me. I’ve mentioned before–I had to move out of state to find myself in the hands of someone who actually trusted me and allows me to tell him what I need prescribed in order to do a slow taper….

    And anonymous…I’m on that five year plan too. It’s been about three already, but I started truly in earnest about 10 months ago. Always glad to hear about other peoples stories. If you care to share a more detailed version of your story with me I’d love to hear it. You can email me at

    gianna_kali (at) yahoo (dot) com

    I won’t share any details unless you want me too. And of course I don’t mind if you don’t wish to share.

    I suppose this post suggests I’m not serious about doing this really slowly–but it was really just a disheartened moment I was sharing. If you look at the blog in general, I’ve got a hard-core go it slow message.

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  3. Thanks to my process, my doctor is learning about withdrawal. He knew nothing. The good thing about him is he is willing to learn and trusts me. I’ve mentioned before–I had to move out of state to find myself in the hands of someone who actually trusted me and allows me to tell him what I need prescribed in order to do a slow taper….

    And anonymous…I’m on that five year plan too. It’s been about three already, but I started truly in earnest about 10 months ago. Always glad to hear about other peoples stories. If you care to share a more detailed version of your story with me I’d love to hear it. You can email me at

    gianna_kali (at) yahoo (dot) com

    I won’t share any details unless you want me too. And of course I don’t mind if you don’t wish to share.

    I suppose this post suggests I’m not serious about doing this really slowly–but it was really just a disheartened moment I was sharing. If you look at the blog in general, I’ve got a hard-core go it slow message.

    Like

  4. “Psychiatrists also don’t know a thing about psychotropic drug withdrawal”

    This is so true, and it’s becuase they tell people they have to take these meds for the rest of their lives as “preventive maintenance”.
    My former psychiatrist said that he’d never heard of withdrawal problems like the intense all over itching I had from seroquel withdrawal,(it strongly affects histamine) but I have to wonder how many patients he’s ever had that went off of it without going onto another drug in the same class.

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  5. “Psychiatrists also don’t know a thing about psychotropic drug withdrawal”

    This is so true, and it’s becuase they tell people they have to take these meds for the rest of their lives as “preventive maintenance”.
    My former psychiatrist said that he’d never heard of withdrawal problems like the intense all over itching I had from seroquel withdrawal,(it strongly affects histamine) but I have to wonder how many patients he’s ever had that went off of it without going onto another drug in the same class.

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  6. It took me just a few months short of five years to taper off of the ridiculous cocktail that I was on.

    I hear you on the bipolar diagnosis. If you so much as mention a colorful uncle or that you went without sleep once you are suddenly in the bipolar spectrum, or Bipolar II. Psychiatrists also don’t know a thing about psychotropic drug withdrawal and when people in AD withdrawal show the normal mood swings that are associated with the phenomenon they froth at the mouth wanting to label you. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

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  7. It took me just a few months short of five years to taper off of the ridiculous cocktail that I was on.

    I hear you on the bipolar diagnosis. If you so much as mention a colorful uncle or that you went without sleep once you are suddenly in the bipolar spectrum, or Bipolar II. Psychiatrists also don’t know a thing about psychotropic drug withdrawal and when people in AD withdrawal show the normal mood swings that are associated with the phenomenon they froth at the mouth wanting to label you. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

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  8. Oh my, I didn’t mean to cause so much concern. I don’t really want to go cold turkey…it’s just so damned tiring doing it the way I’m doing it. I can’t really expect to feel well for a few years. Especially if what people have told me about benzo withdrawal is for real–and I’m really struggling with the risperdal too, though it is moving along slowly but surely. Each reduction involves a week of intense withdrawal though and then there is a low grade shitty feeling all the time. Chronic fatigue so bad I have to take a break and sit down when I’m out shopping. I can’t hike anymore. I hiked 4 times a week up to 3 hours at a time up until about 8 months ago…I can hardly walk around the house now to simply clean it. I just want to feel good again and the distant future seems so far away.

    I was just feeling discouraged. I’m not about to go cold turkey.

    thanks for all your concern and support. I’ve heard enough from so many of us to know that I have a healthy future ahead of me and that is what I must count on.

    My bipolar was iatrogenic too. Though I started off the diagnosis with a hallucinogenic trip. In any case, I’m not really bipolar either. And I think a whole lot of people who are diagnosed bipolar are not and that is why I have the name bipolar in the title of this blog–for all of us who are wrongly diagnosed to maybe start thinking about really healing ourselves.

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  9. Oh my, I didn’t mean to cause so much concern. I don’t really want to go cold turkey…it’s just so damned tiring doing it the way I’m doing it. I can’t really expect to feel well for a few years. Especially if what people have told me about benzo withdrawal is for real–and I’m really struggling with the risperdal too, though it is moving along slowly but surely. Each reduction involves a week of intense withdrawal though and then there is a low grade shitty feeling all the time. Chronic fatigue so bad I have to take a break and sit down when I’m out shopping. I can’t hike anymore. I hiked 4 times a week up to 3 hours at a time up until about 8 months ago…I can hardly walk around the house now to simply clean it. I just want to feel good again and the distant future seems so far away.

    I was just feeling discouraged. I’m not about to go cold turkey.

    thanks for all your concern and support. I’ve heard enough from so many of us to know that I have a healthy future ahead of me and that is what I must count on.

    My bipolar was iatrogenic too. Though I started off the diagnosis with a hallucinogenic trip. In any case, I’m not really bipolar either. And I think a whole lot of people who are diagnosed bipolar are not and that is why I have the name bipolar in the title of this blog–for all of us who are wrongly diagnosed to maybe start thinking about really healing ourselves.

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  10. Hi Gianna,

    Well, now you know what it will be like for a definitely agnonizing perioed of time if you actually do decide to drog the drugs cold. I can not recommend doing this, but I do understand your train of thought here. If I had known better, I would never have stopped a high dose of K c/t, not would I have ever followed through on the other plans a months later to stop 3 other high dosed narcotics cold, per my Dr. 16 months on the other side of this, I am still having some pretty profound protracted withdrawal symptoms. I can’t say for certain that this wouldn’t be the case if I had tapered all of these or even one of these in a more managed and reasonable way. I can say with almost certainty that what you experienced last night is not the entire picture of what you would experience if you had gone 3-4 days without you meds. It does get much worse in C/t as the taper spells out over the first month ( w/ benzo’s, that is) and then the symptpoms (for me) began to abait, however slightly, over the next 6 months. What is left now is marginal by comparison, but definitely bothersome to say the least.

    I am here to support you in whatever you decide to do…but please, be cautious. I think you understand all too well the potential dangers here, especially given your reaction to missing the meds for one night. Do you really think this is the best time to consider something like this? Please don’t over load yourself! You have sooo much on your plate right now. My recommendation: be as kind as you possibly can to yourself right now.

    Love, Liz

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  11. Hi Gianna,

    Well, now you know what it will be like for a definitely agnonizing perioed of time if you actually do decide to drog the drugs cold. I can not recommend doing this, but I do understand your train of thought here. If I had known better, I would never have stopped a high dose of K c/t, not would I have ever followed through on the other plans a months later to stop 3 other high dosed narcotics cold, per my Dr. 16 months on the other side of this, I am still having some pretty profound protracted withdrawal symptoms. I can’t say for certain that this wouldn’t be the case if I had tapered all of these or even one of these in a more managed and reasonable way. I can say with almost certainty that what you experienced last night is not the entire picture of what you would experience if you had gone 3-4 days without you meds. It does get much worse in C/t as the taper spells out over the first month ( w/ benzo’s, that is) and then the symptpoms (for me) began to abait, however slightly, over the next 6 months. What is left now is marginal by comparison, but definitely bothersome to say the least.

    I am here to support you in whatever you decide to do…but please, be cautious. I think you understand all too well the potential dangers here, especially given your reaction to missing the meds for one night. Do you really think this is the best time to consider something like this? Please don’t over load yourself! You have sooo much on your plate right now. My recommendation: be as kind as you possibly can to yourself right now.

    Love, Liz

    Like

  12. Gianna,
    I don’t believe in accidents.
    I understand you wanting to “get it over with”, but please be cautious.Individual differences in the psychological, biological, and social aspects of one’s life can result in vastly different outcomes.It is different for everyone.You won’t necessarily end up in the hospital, but it is a risk for various reasons- one of which is that others could have difficulty tolerating your anxiety and distress.They may decide you’ll need a hospital.

    People, especially family can be so comforted by the thought that you’re medicated.(This has been my experience anyway). The minute they saw or heard something that offended their sensibilities, they wanted to know, “Are you taking your meds?”
    When I say “offended their sensibilities”, I’m not talking about violent arguments or suicide attempts or running down the street naked.I’m talking about something as minor as expressing disagreement or being critical of them in some way.

    I don’t know how many times I did end up in the hospital, because they saw my depression, anxiety, and other withdrawal symptoms and decided to have me taken to the hospital- despite my not meeting the standards for a mental hygiene arrest.The police and the hospitals don’t care too much about legal standards when you’ve got a bipolar dx and they hear that there are no meds.

    I would’ve ended up in the hospital if I’d had any contact with the outside world when I went cold turkey, definitely.

    I responded to your question about the med withdrawal that you left on my blog.I don’t know if you saw it yet.

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  13. Gianna,
    I don’t believe in accidents.
    I understand you wanting to “get it over with”, but please be cautious.Individual differences in the psychological, biological, and social aspects of one’s life can result in vastly different outcomes.It is different for everyone.You won’t necessarily end up in the hospital, but it is a risk for various reasons- one of which is that others could have difficulty tolerating your anxiety and distress.They may decide you’ll need a hospital.

    People, especially family can be so comforted by the thought that you’re medicated.(This has been my experience anyway). The minute they saw or heard something that offended their sensibilities, they wanted to know, “Are you taking your meds?”
    When I say “offended their sensibilities”, I’m not talking about violent arguments or suicide attempts or running down the street naked.I’m talking about something as minor as expressing disagreement or being critical of them in some way.

    I don’t know how many times I did end up in the hospital, because they saw my depression, anxiety, and other withdrawal symptoms and decided to have me taken to the hospital- despite my not meeting the standards for a mental hygiene arrest.The police and the hospitals don’t care too much about legal standards when you’ve got a bipolar dx and they hear that there are no meds.

    I would’ve ended up in the hospital if I’d had any contact with the outside world when I went cold turkey, definitely.

    I responded to your question about the med withdrawal that you left on my blog.I don’t know if you saw it yet.

    Like

  14. I dropped 50mg of Seroquel and suffered immediate and pure hell–BUT it lasted a month, and each month since then have felt better than ever. For me, it was worth the temporary agony, because I’m rid of it. I wouldnt recommend it, for anyone, I think this must be based on what a person can handle. I am glad Im done w it now. But for an example of not recommending it; one of my kids is withdrawing from Geodon, and at a VERY slow measuring dose reduction, which I am encouraging her to do, based on my experience.
    I am seriously glad its over for me and cant say how much better I feel. So its just a decision you will have to make based on what you want to endure.
    Good luck.

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  15. I dropped 50mg of Seroquel and suffered immediate and pure hell–BUT it lasted a month, and each month since then have felt better than ever. For me, it was worth the temporary agony, because I’m rid of it. I wouldnt recommend it, for anyone, I think this must be based on what a person can handle. I am glad Im done w it now. But for an example of not recommending it; one of my kids is withdrawing from Geodon, and at a VERY slow measuring dose reduction, which I am encouraging her to do, based on my experience.
    I am seriously glad its over for me and cant say how much better I feel. So its just a decision you will have to make based on what you want to endure.
    Good luck.

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