**Disclaimer and update: this is only an example of a protocol. Individual needs vary greatly. I in fact stopped tolerating all of these supplements as I got deeper into withdrawal. This was not a stagnant protocol. Now off meds there is an ongoing process of fine-tuning my responses to my body’s needs. (I pretty much don’t take supplements with any sort of synthetic substances, my body prefers whole foods and herbs) ` People in active withdrawal should be extremely cautious and wary about adding supplements as many develop extreme sensitivities to supplements. It’s much better to get on a supporting regimen BEFORE withdrawing. Once withdrawal begins the risk of sensitivities goes up.
I use a small cocktail of amino acids now. I haven’t always. It’s a rather new addition to my supplement regime. I’m exclusively using inhibitory amino acids, as when I tried excitatory amino acids I had bad reactions. Besides the story I just linked to I also tried SAMe and had a real nightmare of a time as well. SAMe is a combination excitatory amino acid which is often used as an antidepressant. I was using it as prescribed by a orthomolecular doctor for having high histamine which it is supposed to correct. It backfired big time.
I did much more research on amino acids before adding the inhibitory ones and it seems they are helping greatly. My new doctor, another orthomolecular, holistic and energy healing psychiatrist recommended a couple I wasn’t taking. I am now sleeping 9 hours a night. They seem to be helping.
A good place to begin a study of amino acids is here.
It’s possible to be tested for optimal levels of amino acids, but I personally found that test useless and the doctor who did that supplemented me with a broad based amino acid product that included excitatory amino acids. For now I will stick with the inhibitory and calming aminos.
When I met my newest doctor I was taking GABA, Tryptophan and D-Phenylalanine. GABA receptors are what benzo’s mess with and I’ve talked to a few people who have withdrawn relatively painlessly from benzos by using GABA. It’s not a sure thing though. Many people seem to feel nothing when they take GABA. Tryptophan is used both for sleep and depression but can rarely cause agitation so needs to be used with caution. It very obviously helps me fall asleep.
D-Phenylalanine must be differentiated from L-Phenylalanine and DL-Phenylalanine, both of which are excitatory. The D-Phenylalanine I take because it causes release of endorphins. It’s cut the pain of my endometriosis in half. No joke. I have gone from writhing in a ball of pain for 24 – 48 hours to being able to essentially ignore the pain. I still take ibuprofen. But prior to the D-Phenylalanine it wasn’t enough and I had tried every other non-addictive pain medication out there. Actually I did even try a stuff like hydrocodone to no effect. I suffer a lot of pain, so discovering D-Phenylalanine was a great relief. A profound relief that makes me want to cry. Endometriosis is no picnic.
Then I met my new doctor. She said I tested very low in Taurine, which she uses as a sort of mood stabilizer. I take that three times a day. I take the rest all at bedtime with melatonin. I take all of them on an empty stomach to optimize absorption. If you take them with food, especially protein they get lost in digestion.
The last amino acid I take is N-acetyl-cysteine which was also recommended by my new doctor. It raises glutathione which helps by doing a gentle detox. I was taking products called Immunocal and Protect which are basically the same thing. They are both whey protein products that deliver cysteine for the same purpose—raising glutathione, but they are outrageously expensive. The people who sell Immunocal and Protect claim plain old N-acetyl-cysteine does not absorb and therefore does not raise glutathione. The product I take is called CysNAC and has complimentary nutrients that allow it to absorb. It seems to be working. In the past if I’ve stopped Immunocal I’ve felt the difference and since I made the switch to the much cheaper CysNAC I feel fine.
Oh, I also take Theanine, another inhibitory amino acid that is often taken for anxiety. I had some on hand that I wasn’t taking and my doctor said it was a good thing to add on. I’ve spoken to many people who find it very soothing when they have anxiety attacks. I just take it at night with the rest of my amino cocktail. And like I said I’m sleeping 9 hours a night now with no hangover and that is after about 3 months of 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night.
I’m hardly recovered. I have a few good days here and there, but I’m so toxic I literally feel poisoned much of the time. Barely able to move. It’s been like that the last couple of days again. It turns out I tested high in mercury too. The glutathione helps detox that too, as well as the psych meds and enviromental toxins that I’m sensitive to. I also take Milk Thistle to help detox.
It feels good to be sleeping again, but I really wish it was accompanied by feeling rested. It’s possible I’m trending towards that as I’m certainly not as out of it as I was when I thought I was quitting the blog just about three weeks ago and I’ve had a string of pretty good days in there too—days in which I was able to leave the house, drive and be social—even if for only a couple of hours before exhaustion set in. That’s much better than being exhausted from the moment I wake and not being able to get out of bed. So, yeah, I’m tentatively hoping I’m trending towards more energy and I suppose it seems I am. I’m also tentatively hoping I’ve found a doctor who can really help and again, I’m thinking I have.
*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
It’s become clear to me that whenever it’s possible that it’s helpful for folks who’ve not begun withdrawal and have the time to consider a carefully thought out plan to attempt to bring greater well-being to your body before starting the withdrawal. That means learning how to profoundly nourish your body/mind and spirit prior to beginning a withdrawal. For suggestions on how to go about doing that check the drop-down menus on this blog for ideas. Anything that helps you learn how to live well can be part of your plan. That plan will look different for everyone as we learn to follow our hearts and find our own unique paths in the world. Things to begin considering are diet, exercise and movement, meditation/contemplation etc. Paying attention to all these things as you do them helps too. The body will start letting us know what it needs as we learn to pay attention.
For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings.
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