I've been on 10mg Paxil for a few years to help reduce stomach pain from a chronic illness and increase appetite. A month ago I decided to reduce my dose from 10 to 5mg because my doctor suggested I might see if a lower dose did the job.
Big mistake: within two days of reducing dose, the depression hit me. On the verge of tears 24/7, sobbing just about as much, no joy in anything, pouring out emotion onto family members, feeling absolutely worthless. The side effects were uncontrollable and have only just subsided after a few weeks of this.
Horrible, so glad I've got support because this stuff produces some truly dark thoughts when you try to quit it.
Over the past year, I was suffering from depression and heightened anxiety. My doctor asked if I wanted to try Paxil at 10mg/day. Not knowing anything about the drug, I asked if if will take away the depression and anxiety, my doctor said yes, I said fine, I'll take it. This was a turning point that I would later massively regret.
From there, I began taking Paxil 10mg/day and I could feel the depression disappearing slightly, but the anxiety was still there. I returned to my doctor and asked to bump up to 20mg/day. Wow, this took care of my depression totally, and even took the wind out of my anxiety. What else did 20mg/day do? I became "plastic" no longer initiating conversation with those around me, even family. They said that I seemed distanced, or "eyes open, no one home." But I felt great!
I was on Paxil 20mg/day for several months, and I began noticing more "side effects." I began eating more and putting on weight, and I found it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning! This began making me late arriving at work. I began to dread having to get out of bed altogether. I began telling people slightly jokingly, but very seriously that "Paxil loves to eat and it loves to sleep!"
After enduring these changes for another month or so, I decided I have to get off of Paxil. This was to be no easy task. I began researching online only to read horror stories of going "cold turkey" and having withdrawal symptoms, some very severe. I decided to get off Paxil no matter what, as I believed it was ruining my life.
After speaking with several people, including a pharmacist and my doctor, who all said the same thing, you must titrate, or incrementally lower your dosage over time. It is only by lowering the dosage that one can eventually remove Paxil from their life, and forego the nastier side effects of withdrawal.
I began lowering the drug immediately from 20mg/day to 15mg/day for one week, then 15mg/day to 10mg/day. A week later 10mg/day to 5mg/per day and pause. Throughout the reduction I made out alright, but going from 10mg/day to 5mg/day hit me like a ton of bricks. After a couple of days I began feeling dizzy and nauseous, foggy mind, and disconnected thoughts. Worse yet, depression reasserted itself, and serious thoughts of suicide. Despite all of this, I just wanted off of this hellish medication!
My new, revised plan was not to go from 5mg/day to nothing. I figured that was inviting another few weeks of the withdrawal side effects. So instead I am going to take, skip, take, skip etc. Then after a week of that I will take the 5mg I last time and ditch this damn medication for good!
So I have yet to do this, as I write this as a warning, I am at the last step before being unchained from this incredibly nasty medication for ever.
My plan is this, if after I dump the last 5mg and really bad withdrawal symptoms occur, I plan on taking St. John's Wort and any other herbal medications that lessen depression and anxiety.
There is one further thing I must add in the spirit of helping anyone who reads this, specifically men. A few months ago I was told about "Integrative Medicine" by a family member who had experienced very good procedures in hormone replacement therapy at an Integrative Medical clinic. I decided to go and find out what was wrong with me and see if there were healthier options for my depression and anxiety issues?
I had a rather comprehensive blood test, and later an appointment to go over the results. When I returned for the values from my blood test I was shocked at what I found. The attending nurse practitioner told me my Testosterone was lower than she had ever seen. My Testosterone was actually 124 on an index where a man of my age and health should be between 400 and 1100! This was a big problem, and this is where my depression and anxiety was coming from. I was stuck in a chronic fight or flight response! And this actually ate up my Testosterone.
The Nurse Practitioner said because my hormone was so incredibly low, they could do the procedure of beginning hormone replacement therapy that day. I said let's do it.
The therapy basically consisted of local anesthesia on my backside, making a small incision and implanting capsules of Testosterone underneath the skin on my rear. Fast forward one week - I felt great, like I could "take on the world!" The incision healed quickly, a couple of days, but I felt great. No more depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. I felt stronger, more sure of myself, I basically felt like my old self pre-Paxil, but without depression and anxiety.
I have to go back for blood tests to determine if my Testosterone remains at a higher level, or if I require another dose. The fact is, because my body will no longer produce the hormone, or in such low levels, I will need to have doses of Testosterone implanted for the rest of my life. And I have no problem doing that given how I now feel.
I hope my story can help other people out there, the Paxil story for any men or women struggling with a really terrible drug, or any men out there suffering from chronic low Testosterone.
I started Paxil for anxiety, sleep disorders, and depression when I my job training was about to complete and I had to decide what I have to do for with my life after that and I was also worried whether the company would retain me (offer me a job). I started Paxil CR 25mg and it worked wonders, I became fearless, confident and active, everything that I wanted in that phase of my life. I remained on the med for 1.5 years. But then the med slowly started to stop working, and I started to hate the side effects which made me dizzy all the time and I felt dumb, I had hearing loss, difficulty talking fluently (trouble finding words and finishing sentences) felt very less connected with the world. Than I switched job and moved to a different country, in which these problems doubled as I could not mingle with new people with my increasing hearing problem and lack of attention. So I decided to come off the med, I switched from CR to basic Paxil 30mg and started to taper off, by this time I was 1 year and 9 months on the med.
first taper - 20mg for 2 weeks
Did not feel any change.
second taper - 10mg for 2 weeks
Here I started to feel the change, my hearing changed significantly and my speech/vocabulary returned and I could talk fluently. Felt happy all the time - was feeling proud of my decision to taper off
On the otherhand I started to feel some withdrawal symptoms like dizzyness, headaches and sensitivity. I was crying on emotional scenes in movies (which I was loving as I had almost forgot this feeling when I was on the med)
third taper - 5 mg for 1 week
Feel good and active feeling increased - was loving it
Withdrawal symptoms changed, more headaches - and little brain zaps (especially when I moved my head)
Fourth taper - 5mg every other day of 1 week and finally Stopped!
Same as above - felt great
Only withdrawal symptom I had was sever brain zaps and vertigo after stopping - which lasted for almost 10 days - but these did not bother me as long as these did not give me depression.
2 weeks after completely stopping - I started to feel angry on little things, and than a little anxiety and depression started.
I am at the end of week four - and now I have sever depression and anxiety, fears of small things - the last week has been very difficult for me. I am thinking all the time to start taking the med again, to get over these symptoms, as I am not sure whether this depression is withdrawal symptom or the return of my original problem!
I am thinking I already am one month from stopping and how much more? and for how much time do I have to bear this if this is really a withdrawal symptom?
I also wanted to mention that I have been only taking Paxil Mondays-Thursdays for the past several weeks. I never get any withdrawal symptoms, other than that I feel like I have more energy over teh weekend.. Is this safe to continue doing, does anyone know?
I have been taking paroxetine (generic Paxil) 40mg for over a year now. I started on paroxetine 10mg about a year and a half ago and quickly increased my dose from 10 to 20, 20 to 30, and then 30 to 40. I've consistently been taking the 40mg once a day for over a year. This past Friday I didn't take my dose. I didn't take it Saturday, Sunday or today either. I haven't felt or noticed any withdrawal symptoms yet. Does it just take a while before you start feeling these symptoms? Any insight would be greatly appreciated! :)
Josh D from Victoria Australia here.
I'm going cold turkey on quitting Paxil, this was due to my doctor telling me i need to have a wash out period before switching to a new anti depressant Mirtzapine.
Well i've decided that i need to quit all Anti-Depressants all together as this is the time to work out what makes me happy and focus on that, not what chemical i need to put in my body to do this for me.
Now i've found this site today and man does it all make sense, i may not relate to all stories or advice on here, but I can say that all that is printed across these areas do match up with me.
My Symptoms include, vertigo, foggy feeling, initial headaches, dizziness, anger (but then again, there are alot of dumb people and dickheads i come across on a day to day basis, so maybe this is normal). feel like i'm in slow motion.
Paxil is evil, it needs to be eliminated from the prescription list, it causes more harm than good, it does destroy your life, and you don't realize the decisions you are making, as you are on a stupid plateau of emotion thinking it is the right thing i do. it made me gain 60 pounds in a matter of 4 months and no matter what i do i can't shift that weight.
It's time to take back my life and be happy with the hand I've been dealt and nothing more. All the best to the rest of you.
There is so much to say. I was on Paxil for about 2 years. About 8 weeks ago i noticed i was running low and needed to see the Dr. for prexcrption renewal. Since i had temprarily list my insurance, i decided thia was a better time than ever to get off of anti depressants for good. Numerous times i discussed this with various physicians. They all told me not to do it. Not a good 8dea at all. Despite this i started the step down process immediately. 40 mg to 20 to 10 to 5 over a period four weeks. I took my last 5 mg a week and a half ago. Thankfully the worst us over, but i am still experiencing difficulties that cannot go away soon enough.
For most of the first week, i only experienced strong electrical type impulses and vertigo. It was very hard to maintain my balance. The problems really started to begin with the second and third step dow. The vertigo and flu like symptoms were so bad that i really believed i might end up in the hospital. Then the insomnia happened. Add these problems to a crazybwork schedule and everything will go all haywire. I thought my brain might literally short circuit and i might go into some sort of shock.
I have been completely off th meds for a week and a half now. The flu like symptoms come and go, as does the tiredness, headaches, and vertigo. Some days are better than others. I just want it out of my system and to feel normal once again..
Funny i should forget to mention the immefiate short term memory problems.
During the past two weeks, i uave noticed some positive changes as well. After coming through the dark period and slowly emerging through the Paxil tunnel; i have found myself craving healthier foods and eating sweets and/or sugar are making me sick. I have more motivation and desire to do something with myself. I care and have feelings. The social anxiety is slowly disappearing. I want to be around people again.
Now i am looking forward to the person i can be without anti depressants. The life i xan live without terrible side effects. For now, patience must persevere. These symptoms will not last forever, but for a few more weeks.
Thank you for being a grwat place to go for support. This site has helped me to understand the diffulties for this type of withdrawel.
Unlike most people here, I took a relatively small does of Paxil (10 mg), not for depression but for digestive/stomach issues (IBS). I was on it for 15 years, so even thought the dose was small, my body was quite used to it. I learned about Paxil withdrawal from this website several years ago. Doctors had never warned me before and I'd periodically stop Paxil for a few days (like when traveling). I kept thinking I was getting the flu but it was the "wooshing", shock, and extreme dizziness that eventually helped me finally figure it out
My new GI doctor told me he wanted to switch me from Paxil to Elavil (10mg) which he says has been working better for his patients. I mentioned that I had had pretty severe withdrawal symptoms in the past and asked if I should taper off over a series of months. He told me that the drugs were similar enough in effect that I wouldn't likely have any issues. I even did some internet seaches about this type of switch and found some tables but nothing specific warning of withdrawal and suggesting tapering with this combination. Well, he was completely wrong. I am writing this mainly so that if anyone searches for an experience with this combination in the future they stumble upon this post.
I've had horrible symptoms - normal Paxil flu symptoms, head "woosh", dizziniess, vertigo, alternating tiredness/sleeping, etc. etc. However, it's the anger and rage that I'm hoping will help someone else to do this differently in the future. As I said, I wasn't on Paxil for depression and I'm a pretty happy person. I have a good job, beautiful house and vacation homes, three children, etc. I get upset once in awhile but mostly over something silly like my team losing a football game. I'm not yeller, my wife and I almost never argue, basically pretty happy at this point in my life. That changed almost instantly 2-3 days after stopping Paxil. I was having trouble sleeping a few days ago and I starting thinking about work. Like most businesses, we have people who take advantage of us and don't want to pay for projects we've completed. In general, this doesn't bother me. That night I starting thinking and thinking and thinking and I couldn't stop. One customer in particular who is just a really mean, nasty person, became the focus of an intense and massive wave of rage. I put on my clothes and went downstairs, grabbed a large knife and screamed at my wife and 13 yr old daughter (who had woken up) that was going to kill that MF'er and went out and got into the car. My wife and crying child came out and eventually after alot of screaming were able to get me back inside the house. It took about two more hours for the rage level to drop to the point where I could think again. I've been in exactly one fight in my entire life, a stupid 2-3 punch and then wrestling when I was maybe 10. That's it and I swear, if I had made it to his house I would have killed that man and I would have loved it. I didn't care what it would do to my family, my life, or anyone or anything else. Only that rage mattered.This is what trying to switch medicines has done to me. I'm nowhere near over this, but I think I'm kind of stuck now. I've started the Elavil, so if I switched back to Paxil and then tapered off I'd be worried about having withdrawal from the Elavil. I'm hoping, hoping that this stops. I can deal with the physical problems but not this.
A couple of months ago I asked my doctor if I could try paxil for my depression, he gave me a prescription for 20mg (we've been working on finding an antidepressant for me for awhile).
I took it for about a month, I had side effects such as paranoia, which went away after a week, and severe cognitive impairment(I can barely talk and I can't remember what I did before I wrote this post).
I then got the dose upped to 30mg, and the cognitive impairment went from severe to extreme. After a week on 30mg I realized I needed to get off, whatever help it may have given wasn't worth this. I knew that paxil is "legendary" for its withdrawals, but I thought since I was only on 30mg for about 5-7 days I thought I would drop the dose in half, I thought it may not have had enough time to get in my system, so going down by 15mg wouldn't be that bad. For the first three days i didn't withdrawal at all, something i read is common in Paxil withdrawals, and in those three days my cognition was greatly improved. Then at the fourth day they came, extremely vivid dreams, hot flashes, mood swings, and again cognitive impairment that was as bad as being on it. Now this would normally not be much of a problem and i usually wouldn't be posting anywhere asking for help since i would expect the usual 2 months of withdrawals I've had on other antidepressants. After a week of withdrawals, i suddenly felt better, not completely, but better, this lasted four days, and the withdrawals returned for another week, after that week suddenly the withdrawals worsened further, but over the course of 6 days got better, then i went back to the withdrawals. A week later, now, the withdrawals worsened again but aren't getting better. It's been 6 weeks now, and I'm scared what is going on, I've never had withdrawals like this before, I've read stories of people with withdrawals like this, each time they call this shifting "waves and windows", but they've been on paxil an average of 10 years, I've been for only a month. I really need help understanding what's going on with my withdrawals. I can't find any better place to ask. And if my story and question is confusing, I'm sorry.
I´ve been taking Paxil for almost 2 years at 60mg per day. I had a severe major depression. With time I started to feel different and noticed that this drug was no longer needed. I decided to quit by reducing doses (as seen on this website). I won´t lie to you, this is pherhaps the most difficult thing i´ve experienced in my life, because of withdraw side effects (I have almost all of them, even the not so common). I´m glad I found this website in order to keep my sanity as I thought I was alone and by my own, which makes you feel very bad. So this is the 4th week without any kind of pill on my life. There are so many brutal side effects still going on, but some of them are going slowly away. I want talk about them, because they are listed everywhere, so my post is to help and encourage people on this process. My strong advices are to: Focus on yourself and just do whatever you want to do; Avoid at all any kind of stress (even regular things in life and work if needed); Keep regular contact at least with one person that really understands you (you shall talk about anything you wish); Always remember that side effects will get easier and this drug was made from people to people, that means anyone can go through withdraw; Prepare yourself for this journey, do it correctly and don´t stop medication abrutly, in this way you´ll succeed at your first try, and won´t go through this process anymore and not to go back. Because side effects are very, and I mean very hard to deal with. I am going through and it´s brutal, but each day no matter what you do, time goes by and so does this drug from your body along to side effects. You will also feel extremelly better if you get a nice psychologist! Live and love each others! Don´t hide in your shell. Love is all you need!