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Screaming, Meds, College, And New Diagnoses


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As some of you may know, I was prescribed Effexor XR for migraines when I was 14 years old. It didn't help, but I was unable to get off of it due to severe withdrawal symptoms. My prescribing doctor was not only unhelpful, but incredibly unresponsive. After he moved, the hospital refused to let me see a pediatric neurologist as I am 17. They wouldn't let me see a regular neurologist either... as I am 17. So they insisted that if I wanted to see anyone I would have to drive 3 hours to be reluctantly seen by a nurse practitioner. Not that I have anything against nurse practitioners; I was just sick of their nonsensical logical and their complete unwillingness to cooperate. With help from a great psychiatrist, I was finally able to get off of Effexor XR, but switching to lower dose Effexor and tapering with a low dose of Zoloft. I finally got off of Effexor last week, with only 3 days of increased pain and no psychological symptoms. As of Thursday, I am off of Zoloft and have had no problems so far. This is the first time I've been med free since I was 12 years old, and I'm ecstatic. :)

One thing I have noticed, is that since the tapering, I have been screaming a lot. Anytime anything drops or I bump into anything I scream. I don't feel anxious or even particularly startled, but my natural reaction now seems to be to scream. I've also been waking up screaming in the middle of the night almost every other day since. I wake up not remembering what I was scared of, but disrupt the household and scare my parents half to death. Waking up screaming for me isn't a new development. It used to happen maybe a couple times a year. I've experienced bouts of sleep paralysis since I was a child, but I've only experienced maybe 15 episodes my entire life. And I always remember vividly the nightmare creature in my room: unlike now. Frankly, this new development is just annoying. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this when getting off SSRIs.

More in the positive, is that I'm starting college this year. I've been doing homebound and cyber school my entire high school career, so I decided to skip my senior year and move onto college. The distance learning, online classes there are SO much better, so I'm very excited.

In the realm of the somewhat interesting, I've also been diagnosed with adolescent scoliosis (fun fact: I also never developed arches in my feet), polycystic ovarian syndrome, and acromial osteophytes (bone spurs). Which are all currently mild, but at this point it almost amuses me that I can't go to the doctor without them finding something else wrong with me. x)

Edited by Starburned
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Hi Starburned,

The screaming may be some sort of a side affect of coming off your medications. Seeing a neurologist would be a good doctor to start with. So sorry with the doctor situation. I have been there, because I am a parent of 13 year old son that was diagnosed with POTS when he was a 11. Getting a doctor to take you seriously at a young age can be very frustrating but since you are approaching adulthood this should be a benefit. Have you had any type of infection or virus within the last 6 months? Maybe something has attacked your system and is causing the screaming. I recently did a post called "Could PANDAS or Cans be causing your POTS?" It's a strange thing but it can happen in children, teenagers or adults. The post is somewhere on the 2nd or 3rd page of the forum. Hope the doctor situation gets better and congratulations on going to college. That's a big step for you and I am happy for you. Hang in there and keep asking questions.

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Thank you very much for your advice! :) Dealing with doctors certainly isn't always easy, and I am happy that I will soon be able to see doctors that don't accept minors. I had a ton of strep infections as a child, but not recently. I've also had obsessive compulsive tendencies since I was a child, so there's no tics or anything that really fits PANDAS. I did read a bit on that, and I will a little more. I have had tender glands in my throat all summer, which I chalked up to allergies but am considering getting checked out. Thanks again for your advice and kind words! I wish all the best to you and your son!

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