Skip to main content

How This Ayurvedic Herb Helped Me Safely Withdraw from Antidepressants




As a patient with chronic pain, I have to try out different painkillers and antidepressants to manage my pain. Most of these medications, especially the antidepressants, have side effects that include increased dependence and, therefore, can cause withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the duration and the dosage of the medication, these symptoms can range from a mere inconvenience to brutal and long-lasting health problems.

I myself faced tremendous difficulty while trying to wean myself off an antidepressant called amitriptyline. Like many of its counterparts, amitryptiline also has drowsiness as one of its side effects. Consequently, insomnia as a result of withdrawal from amitriptyline was a major problem for me. From a high of 75 mg, I was able to reduce the dosage to 25 mg at the rate of 5- 10  mg every fortnight without much trouble. However, reducing dosage from 25 mg onwards was a nightmare - no pun intended. I started experiencing disturbing vivid dreams that made it impossible for me to get restful sleep.

When I encountered this problem the first time, I tried a variety of sleep-promoting, relaxing herbs including Valerian, Chamomile and Californian Poppy. Valerian did seem to help a little bit in that I could go to bed early. However, the recurrent nightmares were not reduced in any way. I then tried taking a combination of multiple herbs together and also added hypnosis and white noise to the mix. It still didn't make any difference. The struggle continued for several months and I bounced around from one doctor to another trying to find a solution. In desperation, I even attempted using sleep medications but there was still no respite from the disturbing dreams.



How Manasamrita Vatakam helped me?

Eventually, my search took me to an Ayurvedic doctor who suggested using Manasamrita Vatakam as a temporary substitute for amitriptyline during the withdrawal period. He started me with two tablets to be taken one hour before bedtime. He advised that I continue with amitriptyline 25 mg for the first two weeks and then reduce it by 5 mg every couple of weeks from thereon.

Manasamrita Vatakam started working from the first week itself. There were no nightmares. Sleep hours continue to be reduced but I did not feel as exhausted as earlier. I also noticed an improved level of focus at work. Encouraged by this success, I experimented with reducing amitriptyline 5 mg every week instead of every fortnight. Here also I didn't face any problem. Eventually, I was able to come off amitriptyline within a month. I then continued with one tablet of Manasamrita Vatakam for the next 15 days before stopping it altogether.



Since then, I have used it to successfully come off other other medications like Venlafaxine and Escitalopram also.

What Does Research Say About Manasamrita Vatakam?

The studies that I came across seem to confirm that it may have beneficial anti-stress and relaxation properties. For example, this study indicates that it is comparable to Klonopin, a medicine used for treating generalized anxiety disorder among other medical conditions. The difference between the two, of course, is that Manasamrita Vatakam is not supposed to be habit forming.

A study on rats' brains indicates that Manasamrita Vatakam may have neuroprotective effects. It also mentions that the medicine has long been used in India for psychosomatic diseases.
And finally, this research article claims that it may be used to even treat cerebral palsy.

When I looked around for more information on this medication, I found that one of its ingredients is of this medicine to be holy basil. This herb has numerous research studies that describe its benefits ranging from antimicrobial and immunomodulatory to antidepressant and  antioxidant action.  So perhaps the presence of holy basil contributes to therapeutic effects of Manasamrita Vatakam.



Where to Buy Manasamrita Vatakam

Although it is sold in the US as a supplement that can be easily purchased from Amazon, I would advise patients to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before starting with it. I have found this directory to be useful in searching for doctors.  At the time of composing this blog post, I could find 845 doctors in the US listed in it. You can also reach out to Yoga Retreat Centres such as Mount Madonna in California to get recommendations on Ayurvedic doctors.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reduce finger, wrist and forearm pain due to computer mouse usage with Gentle Mouse

If you are reading this on a computer screen, chances are that you would have clicked your mouse at least a couple of times to navigate through this content. And in most cases, the finger used to click would be your index finger. Now imagine doing this repetitive movement every few minutes, day after day, year after year and you can easily infer that your fingers are at an increased risk of repetitive stress injury (or RSI) due to mouse overuse.

The common name given to this painful condition is  Mouse Finger.  The 'Finger' in Mouse Finger usually leads a person to believe that the pain is restricted to the fingers alone.  However, from what I have surmised after reviewing anecdotal evidence and medical literature, it commonly presents as a cluster of symptoms in the finger, wrist and the forearm. Perhaps that explains why there are no easily available research studies pertaining to Mouse Finger alone. Most of the research studies consider these symptoms as a part of  Carpal …

Strengthening Exercises While Being Bedridden

If you are frequently bedridden due to illnesses like chronic pain, chances are that you will tend to lose muscle mass. Less muscle strength can lead to increase pain thus causing a vicious cycle of chronic pain. It is important therefore to find a way to exercise and strengthen the muscle despite being bedridden.

Over the years, I have found myself frequently to be in this situation due to fibromyalgia.  There are several videos about exercises for the bedridden patients(for example, this). However, the exercises in these are more to improve mobility rather than increase muscle strength. Ultimately, I spent quite a bit of time compiling a list of exercises from YouTube that exercise and strengthen every major muscle group.  The list is provided below along with the major muscle groups that they exercise.As I have suffered from injuries because of using weights incorrectly, I recommend trying only with the resistance bands initially and that is what I have included in the list.
(The …

3 Quick Tips on Disability Insurance for The Impatient (And for Those Who Don't Care!)

I know your time is important. So let's get right to the main points first and save the details for later.
Here is what you need to know about disability insurance in the US.

Disability Happens More Often Than You Think
According to the United States Census Bureau, nearly 1 in 5 people are disabled. This does not include invisible disabilities which are estimated to be 10%. And then there are temporary disabilities that can prevent you from working for several months to a few years at a time. With these figures, as a conservative estimate, there is a 33% chance that you will be requiring disability insurance at some point in your life
.
It Happens to Women More Often Than Men
According to the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 24.4% women report on disability as compared to 19.8% men.

Employer Paid Disability, More Often Than Not, Does Not Help in Times of Need 
Employer paid disability is governed by ERISA law. According to this article that appeared in the Lo…