Withdrawal symptoms after olanzapine - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Withdrawal symptoms after olanzapine

Nbpp profile image
3 Replies

Hi all,I've never posted on here before but just wanted some to get some advice about other people's experiences coming off olanzapine.

I had a PPP in November 2020 shortly after having my daughter. I had a very traumatic birth and almost lost my daughter 2 hours after I gave birth. I think this along with lack of sleep and having her in a lockdown ultimately led to my psychosis 2 weeks later. I was in a psychiatric hospital for 8 days and was put on olanzapine and sertraline to manage my symptoms. I tried a couple of times coming off olanzapine with no success but managed to wean myself off them around Christmas.

The thing is since then my anxiety has been dreadful, I initially struggled to sleep and had this constant anxiety all the time. It's sort of subsided abit enough for me to go back to work. Work however has been very unsupportive and threatened to discipline me for my absence. Fortunately they have had a change of heart and referred me to occupational health. Ive not had the appointment yet but my anxiety has started getting worse. I know most of my anxious thought are being triggered by work but I'm getting so frustrated that almost 3 months after coming off olanzapine I'm still struggling. The doctors have given the maximum dose of sertraline and I don't really want to go on more meds if I can help.

If anyone has been through a similar experience if you could let me know what you did and how long it has taken to level out after the olanzapine?

Thanks ❤️

3 Replies
Pikorua profile image

Good Morning Nbpp,

thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggles and welcome to the forum.

APP helped me tremendously 6 years after PPP. I was sectioned 2 weeks after my son was born in 2010. I recovered from PPP, but continued struggling with social and agora phobia, continuous anxiety and insomnia, especially when loosing my dad and mum in law 2 and 5 yrs after PPP.

Eventually, with the help of professor Ian Jones from Cardiff University I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 in 2018. Just to highlight that our make up and circumstances are all different, but I can resonate with your anxiety, which I now know is part of my chronical condition.

You will hear from other lovely women, who probably have chosen a different path with identifying triggers and scaffolding coping mechanisms. I have chosen therapeutic modalities only and natural plant medicine, but individuals also use meds in combination with therapeutic avenues. It has been a long journey and I am still learning and developing in order to add to my toolkit of managing my routine. Below are some examples relevant to my life style.

1. I learnt how to meditate in my 30s and when poorly I concentrated on the mindfulness of breathing. There are lots of different type of meditation classes, but also courses online.

2. I seen your message and at this moment I am writing to you, but once my big and little man are out of the house I usually practice 30 minutes or longer yoga with relaxing music.

3. I always have used art as therapy, especially when I only slept an average of 3-4 hrs per night or not at all for I believe nearly 8 years. Finally acquired a professional qualification in art therapy. It helps to pursue something, which helps you to relax...any kind of hobby.

4. During the pandemic I continued with self-studies in healing modalities and completed all 3 levels of Usui Mikao's Japanese techniques of Reiki which helps tremendously with stress reduction. I continued with Karuna Reiki (compassionate Reiki). I develop self healing strategies, similar to meditation, but with a Reiki life style. Of course there are tons of other therapeutic modalities that could help you with your anxiety such as acupuncture, reflexology, tapping, marshal art etc.

5. If my mind is extremely busy or I am hitting a low I use meditation healing music. I learnt how to chakra balance. Just search for it on the I-Pot or you tube.

6. I use a diffuser for aroma therapy. 100% essential oils. Very good for calming and relaxing.

7.. Then there is the choice of meds, I opted for CBD. Since mid 2018 I am able to sleep again. Life is so much easier now.

8. Please remember, we are all so diverse and our needs have to be tailor-made. I still struggle with anxiety as it is part of BP1. However, I learnt how to tune into my body and know when I have to have time out. I usually have a Siesta throughout the day just for 30 minutes.

9. I am sorry about your stressors at work. OH has an obligation to support you with improving work conditions and adapt to your needs when returning after PPP. Communication is vital in order to help you and find solutions together to relief with obligations, if too stressful. It maybe helpful to have a work journal, It is part of evidence and helps you to reflect. I am keeping a diary for my meditation and reiki process, but also daily routines.

OK, I better start my Yoga...Hope it helped a bit.

Take good care of yourself xxx

Nbpp profile image
Nbpp in reply to Pikorua

Thank you I really appreciate all your points. I think the work thing has made it worse as I managed to get myself quite calm when I was off on the sick. I'm going to try counselling to start with as since coming off olanzapine I've been very reflective towards myself and my mood and I think I'm starting to develop a fear of going psychotic again. I'm trying my best to understand what happened to make sure it doesn't happen again but I think that's were the therapy will come in. I also am finding art very therapeutic and have taken up cross stitching to relax. I also am starting to do workout on the treadmill at home as I'm still very sensitive to my surroundings and find running outside too overwhelming. I'm going to speak to my gp about what therapies I can try and I've done CBT which didn't help that much.

Thank you so much for sharing your coping strategies it gives me hope that I'll get through this ❤️ xxx

Carmen25 profile image

hi Nbpp

My experience was withdrawing from aripriprazole but I think there are similarities with withdrawal from other antipsychotic meds

The first time I tried to come off aripriprazole I also felt extreme anxiety and difficulty concentrating. I ended up restarting.

Second time I took the withdrawal very slowly and over a period of probably 4-5 months with very gradual dose reduction and this time I was fine.

I’m sorry to hear that work are not being supportive. Sadly even in this day and age some employers are less sympathetic to mental illnesses than to physical ones. It might be worth talking to occupational health about a wellness action plan. My employer was supportive with my phased return and, later in, allowing me time off to see a psychologist.

Best wishes

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