Section 2: Listening to Your Body and Tracking Symptoms and Experiences

stacks of journals

Withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable and seemingly “random” at times, and it’s exactly that aspect of the process that makes having a written record so useful. If a person’s pattern of symptoms were predictable, and if she could anticipate that she’d have, say, a bout of insomnia right after reducing her dose and expect it to lift a week later, she could simply plan her calendar around that expectation without the need to keep a record of any other details. But many people find that withdrawal symptoms often are not predictable and come and go in entirely nonlinear ways.  In addition, the experience of many people who’ve tapered indicates that the very nature of withdrawal, which may affect memory and cognition, makes it virtually impossible to hold onto a “mental record” of symptoms and other related factors and how they connect to dose and timing. Therefore, keeping a ‘Symptoms & Experiences’ journal can provide both an anchor for understanding what’s happening to you and a guide to inform how you respond. As your taper progresses, you’ll discover ways that your journal will be essential when making adjustments—for example, if you decide to hold your dose for a period of time after an uptick in withdrawal symptoms, or if you want to track what happens after making changes in diet or exercise or other aspects of your lifestyle.

In this section of Setting Up a Taper Journal, we’ll examine two issues:

  • Why is it valuable to closely track withdrawal symptoms?
  • What symptoms and experiences should be tracked in a taper journal?