Since I started this blog I have never added to it. But this article, which was sent to me by one of the blog readers, is so important and informative I just have to put it right up here where you can easily find it. It’s just one person’s opinion, but from everything I know, he truly GETS it and gives some highly valuable suggestions. Please just read with an open mind and take away whatever makes sense to you.
All my best,
*Please note that everything written on this blog is written by a mere concerned citizen, who’s just looking to share what she knows and help link people together, so they may help one another through a trying time. None of the material here should replace medical and/or psychiatric help, where it is needed. If you are in need, please contact a professional immediately. And remember, you are never alone, even when it may feel that way.
By Charly Groenendijk
Sept 9, 2000 ~ 2009
You experienced a negative reaction to an (SSRI/SNRI) AntiDepressant, what (not) to do Now?
“Who does Not Know the Truth, is simply a Fool…
Yet who Knows the Truth and Calls it a Lie, is a Criminal.”
– In “Galileo Galilei” by Berthold Brecht (1898-1956)
Take notice that also non SSRI anti-depressants (and even Ritalin) may interact (primary or secondary) with the serotonergic (or serotoninergic) system in the brain.
After your reaction to an (SSRI/SSNRI) Anti-Depressant
The first 3-18 months
One of the long term side-effects after experiencing a reaction to an (SSRI) antidepressant, is an extreme hyper-sensitivity of the nervous system to light, sound, supplements, herbs and fabricated synthetic vitamins. Furthermore physical symptoms such as muscle tightness, electrical shocks through the brain and the body, feelings of burning on the surface or inside of the skin (deregulation of pain perception), visual and/or auditory hallucinations, as well as emotional and psychological problems. For a more detailed discussion regarding above mentioned side-effects click here.
We do not recommend to expose your body to synthetic chemicals whilst experiencing more or less severe hypersensitivity of the nervous system. We rather recommend to get your essential elements from preferably organic low acid food. Low acidic foods have a high pH value which is ALKALINE or BASIC! You need to ‘alkalinize’ your system (body) above a pH value of ‘7’ !
Eat enough fruit and vegetables in a variable alkalinizing balanced diet, and drink lots of water. For instance tomatoes, bananas, kiwi’s, broccoli, aloe vera, carrots, cabbage, beans, cucumbers, etc., are a very rich source of essential minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Do not take 5-HTP to create more serotonin in your brain. By simply leaving your serotonergic neural system alone, you will assist it the most to find it’s own natural balance again. Unfortunately this will take some time.
Do not charge your nervous system like you always did before your reaction to an (SSRI) antidepressant. If you charge your nervous system too much, like too much stress, a surgery, unhealthy eating patterns, etc., you actually delay your recovery. You will have to learn to listen to your body, what means that you know when to withdraw and when to get active.
When you suffered a reaction to an (SSRI) antidepressant your nervous system becomes hyper-sensitive to ALL stimuli. What are stimuli? It is everything that acts on your nervous system (directly or indirectly) like light, sound, but also violence on TV, stressors, certain supplements or fabricated vitamins, etc. All these things act as stimulants to your nervous system. Actually the effects of a psychoactive drug and watching a horror movie are very much comparative to each other…that is: they BOTH act on your nervous system!
The key solution to recovery is NOT to stimulate your nervous system, but, to sedate your nervous system. Every time when you stimulate a nervous system that in fact needs to be sedated to recover, you delay the process of healing. We know it will be impossible to lock your self up in a dark, silent room and this is definitely not what we are trying to say. You just have to learn when to withdraw yourself (and thus your nervous system) from stimuli and when to come out.
Consider sweat baths (sauna baths). This is a very healthy habit. Sweat baths are extremely sedating to the nervous system. When you take a sweat bath on a regular base this will strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve the blood circulation. Next to this, go out in nature, trees, green, oxygen, gentle walking, etc..
About taking supplements
We learned that everyone who is experiencing (SSRI) antidepressant side-effects, is looking for the quick relief. People are experimenting with whatever supplement or fabricated synthetic vitamin they can get their hands on. Simply avoid this if that is possible.
As previously mentioned above, we do not recommend to expose your body to synthetic chemicals whilst experiencing more or less severe hypersensitivity of the nervous system. We rather recommend to get your essential elements from preferably organic low acid food in a variable balanced diet.
Two to three simple bananas and kiwi‘s, an egg-sandwich, 2-3 glasses of milk, a few tomatoes and an avocado a day provides many of the essential vitamins, (trace)minerals & amino acids you need on a daily base. Vegetables especially rich in essential elements are: Peas, Potatoes, Broccoli, Squash (Summer), Spinach, Lima Beans & Kale. The taste of nature is nice and it saves you money on unnecessary supplements too!
However we also understand that getting your essentials from a variable diet requires some skills in preparation and cooking of your daily meal. Not everyone is able or willing to do that. In that case you need to add your essential elements otherwise. We understand if you feel the need to take a daily multi-vitamin complex. There are many different multi-vitamin complex products, unfortunately a lot of rubbish amongst them. Most of them contain extra added synthetic chemicals which you must avoid. If you are going to take a multi-vitamin complex you need to be aware of the following:
- make sure that it doesn’t contain Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a role in the manufacture of blood clotting. Too much of this vitamin might interact with plasma serotonin which is also known to make blood form cloths (see article, “2.a. Serotonergic functioning”). Although there is more research needed regarding this matter, the anecdotal reports of (former) (SSRI) antidepressant users imply fabricated vitamin K as a cause for the worsening of their already exisiting symptoms.
- make sure that ALL B-vitamins are low(never above the daily recommended standard). It is important to note that most B-vitamins work as stimulants to the nervous system. You need to avoid that.
- make sure that the B3 compound is as niacinamide and NEVER as niacine (this will give a flush which could make you re-live all of your symptoms again).
Depending on the severeness of the reaction you experienced to an (SSRI) antidepressant we also recommend that if you decide to take your essential elements otherwise, to take calcium/magnesium/zinc in a vegetarian formula. Never exceed the daily dose of Calcium 1000mg, Magnesium 400mg and Zinc 15mg. Although calcium/magnesium/zinc are not known to act as stimulants, caution is needed. Always start with small amounts (1/6 of the daily dose), gradually build up and keep monitoring yourself.
In these first 3-18 months the cycles or the emotional rollercoasters (the tricks your brain is playing on you) can be extremely frightening. And it will seem like it never ends, especially when you find a bit of hope in the evening to be back at square one in the morning. Be firm! We all understand its the most frustrating experience right now for you. It’s serotonin related and that’s why you are experiencing delayed (withdrawal) side effects and flashbacks, but gradually it will get better. Evaluate your recovery by weeks and months, not days.
You are going to experience minutes, hours and days that you will start to feel better. The cycles will get longer in duration and eventually you will have more good then bad days. Though, it is most important you also treat your nervous system with care during these better days. Don’t think when the better days arrive that you can charge your nervous system like you always did before. It will give you a major set-back! Stick to the list we provide you below, on how to assist your recovery during this period.
Friends and Family
These times are very tough to experience. Your friends and family cannot even imagine the powerful influence these drugs have on your mind and your sub-consciousness. They simply cannot believe that these drugs can have such a powerful effect on someone’s brain. You might loose your trust in them after this. Try to accept and understand their ignorant and frustrating reactions. Avoid them for a while, if that’s possible.
How can I assist my recovery during this period?
- Avoid any psycho-stimulants such as medications, herbs, but especially: violence on TV. Why? Because right now your nervous system has become hyper-sensitive and extremely susceptible to every input from your surroundings, not only light and sound! You must also protect your sub-consciousness until you reach a level of emotional stability.
- Ingest low acid foods and try to minimize the ingestion of high acidic foods with a low pH-grade! REMEMBER: You need to ‘alkalinize’ your system (body) above a pH value of ‘7’ !
- Avoid Grapefruit Juice. Grapefruit juice is an inhibitor of the cytochrome P-450 enzymes. These enzymes are known to metabolise (break down) (SSRI) antidepressants in the liver. Drinking grapefruit juice whilst you are taking an (SSRI) antidepressant can create a serious toxic reaction, because the (SSRI) antidepressant will build to toxic levels in the bloodstream! For more information click here.
- No caffeine. Drink lots of chamomile tea, sweetened with honey.
- No alcohol.
- Don’t take Saint John’s Worth. St. John’s Worth works more or less as a natural SSRI (on post synaptic receptors), also interacting with your serotonergic neural system
- Don’t take Ma-Huang (Ephedra) because it’s a powerful adrenalin (epinephrine) stimulant, triggering adrenalin rushes.
- Don’t take Kava Kava, it can intensify (SSRI) antidepressant (withdrawal) side-effects or give flashbacks to previous side-effects you experienced.
- Eat neutral alkaloids, vegetables, etc..
- Consider fasting for 1 to 10 days. Fasting detoxifies your body, but be careful and monitor your bloodsugar levels daily.
- Don’t do any intensive exercise like jogging or aerobics, but instead try meditation, gentle stretching, gentle walking.
- Go out in Nature, or go to a Sauna, or whatever environment where you may find a little peace of mind and body.
- Listen to light Classic music or New Age music, watch cartoons (or anything else without violence), go walking, take hot or cold showers, anything that might work for you, anything to “manage” the “twilight zone” of suicidal and offensive thoughts and dissociated emotions.
- Focus on memories of events in your past (like childhood memories) which will recall positive emotions. Hang on to them!
- Learn during this period, which thought or view will give you any positive emotional response and write this down into the form of an affirmation! Read these affirmations for yourself every morning when you wake up! In this way you will slightly re-program your brain to tune into positive emotions.
Time and Nature will be your best friends in your healing process. In this battle you don’t fight to win because you can’t. You simply will survive it. Focus on the thought to survive this, and you will, just as other individuals did. Don’t force yourself to become the person again that you were before this, but make a statement to yourself that you will come out of this “trip.” Make this statement to your self everyday, every hour.
Whilst You are Recovering…
We strongly persist not to take any supplements, herbs and/or synthetic vitamins until your nervous system has strengthened over time. Continue to ingest proper food, vegetables and fruit during this period. Treat your nervous system with care. As mentioned above: don’t think when the better days arrive that you can charge your nervous system like you always did before. It will give you a major set-back! Be careful and monitor your body closely whilst you are ingesting a supplement or herb.
By Charly Groenendijk
Sept 9, 2000 ~ 2009