DEPRESSION/MENTAL HEALTH
FORUM
PAXIL WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS MIMIC HEROIN WITHDRAWAL!
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by Jaime, Sep 27, 1999
I am suffering from Paxil withdrawals.  Below is more information that the doctors won't tell you!!!

Tell your Doctors, and perhaps they will make the connection! How hard has it been for you to wean yourself from Paxil? It's as agonizing as coming off of heroin..and shares most of the same symptoms and long term effects! While researching an answer to all of the awful symptoms I experienced during my Paxil withdrawal, I was unable to find any medical resources listing Paxil as a source of these particular symptoms we all experience. Guess where I kept finding my search results directing me to? Heroin withdrawal. The symptoms associated with heroin withdrawal that are similar to Paxil withdrawal are: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, and leg movements, or jerking. While heroin produces muscle and bone pain, insomnia, and cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), which are not identical to Paxil withdrawal, the Paxil symptoms of headache, "electric shocks", dizziness and hot flashes as well as psychotic mental state (violent anger/hopeless depression, unwanted suicidal/homicidal thinking) are similarly debilitating and certainly result in the return to the use of the drug (paxil) in the same way that heroin produces that result! Most experts agree that the major withdrawal symptoms peak between 24 and 48 hours after the last dose of heroin and subside after about a week. However, some people have shown persistent withdrawal signs for many months. I think that most of us (the "experts" on paxil withdrawal!) would agree that, even with careful and lengthy periods of weaning off the drug, at least some of these frightening effects occur and are problematic in our lives for longer than the average heroin withdrawal duration of about a week! Most of us have found that, by the time a week has passed,off Paxil, the terrible sickness we feel has become so great, we are desperate to return to taking the drug again to alleviate the symptoms. And many often do return this way, again and again...simply because we can't afford to lose three weeks or more of work, withdrawing from a medication that Doctors routinely dismiss as not being a cause of such sickness (we all have a really bad case of the flu), or because we are so frightened by the strange, indescribeable physical and mental feelings of disassociation and nervous system "zaps" that we go back to the drug to restore clear thinking, fearing that we are "crazy"...especially since our doctors seem to have no understanding of any of these symptoms as relating to anything they have seen before.   I hope everyone who is serious about finding the truth about the drug Paxil and it's horrible withdrawal symptoms will be sure to notify their health care providers of all of the symptoms experienced with this drug and insist that the details be documented and reported to the manufacturer, distributors, pharmacists and anyone in the medical field who can process this information officially and end the notion that these symptoms are "hearsay", simply because the drug company has not chosen to make them "fact"! And the next time you feel, or someone tells you that withdrawing from Paxil is "not that bad", remember that you are in the throes of a withdrawal so severe. that few others, except heroin addicts, have experienced, and YES, IT IS BAD! But it can be survived!

: Shawn Allen
Answer:
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by HFHS MD-JM, Oct 01, 1999
Jaime,

     I'm not sure if you have any questions for me but feel that you may be somewhat misinformed.  Paxil, an SSRI antidepressant, is generally a safe and well tolerated medication at the time of initian and cessation.  Also it is not an addictive substance.
      A serotonin "withdrawal" syndrome that consists of flu like symptoms can occur after the abrupt discontinuation of medication(SSRI) most often when taking higher doses.  In order to avoid such phenomenon, which most people do not experience, the medication should be tapered as slow as necessary--usually a few days to weeks.  Keep in mind that this is not a life threatening condition.
       This information is intended for general educational purposes only. Please consult your personal physician for specific health concerns.

Sincerely,

HFHS MD-JM

Keyword:  Paxil
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Member Comments (82)
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by Nik, Sep 28, 1999
I have found similar symptoms after abruptly stopping Paxil.
My docter switched me to another anti-depressive and assured me there would be no withdrawl, even though I told her the day after I stopped taking the Paxil that I was so dizzy I could hardly stand up. She did not agree that Paxil was the cause of my symptoms but had no other explanation.
In addition to extreme dizziness, I had fatigue and nervousness at the same time, and a "roller coaster" feeling between being exhausted and being unable to sit still. These symptoms went away after about 1 week, but I do believe that withdrawl to this drug is very real- as is obvious here- and should be taken more seriously by docters.
Thank you for speaking up on this matter
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by Lee, Oct 01, 1999
Jaime,
  Hi.  HFHD doc just responded to my attempts here with the same denial that your doc did initially: "Paxil cannot cause what you are describing."  I found evidence from many reputable places in England and Australia that "know better." and forwarded it to local mental health office.  I hope there is a bit of consideration from "official sources" here in the US soon.  This is all very...,  "silly...."
                  Keep the faith.  Lee.
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by Lee, Oct 01, 1999
greetings,  Below is a response to an HFHS "answer" posted 10/1 re: paxil w/drawal that the system would not accept ('syntax error').
The saga continues...:  


Hell-o  
   Respectfully, I once worked in a rehab
probram and had to read and listen to many
descriptions of 'coming off' amphetimines and
heroin.  The similie (speed) is naturally not
_precise_.  There are too many congruities to
be coincidence, though.  There are so many
describing the same things.  I understand that
medical norms in the US do not consider this
w/drawal scenario a serious possibility.  
Things are very different in the UK and
Australia.  Perhaps "myopia" is not only a
patient anomaly.  Your comments are
appreciated, as an attempt to ease the
concern, a bit, but I am just curious enough
to keep an open mind.   Keep the faith,  Lee.
  (I am, for example, acquainted with one
person who was in the "loony bin" for 7 years,
sedated, for "schizo...."  Finally, a curious
physician discovered that she was not hearing
"voices," but tinnitus.  She is now fully
functional and happy.  It happens.)
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by Lee, Oct 02, 1999
Just adding another increment of evidence of the reality of "paxil w/drawal syndrome."  Big time tummy cramps and indigestion have arrived, days 7-8 off paxil, as predicted by those who know better than the "authorities" in the US.  Be careful, folks.  Its a big drag, but I just wanted to assure anyone going through it what is likely to happen.
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by Jonathan, Oct 07, 1999
I stopped taking Paxil almost a year ago because of the sexual side effects (delayed orgasm).  It took three tries over several months before I had the fortitude to get off of it completely.  The first couple of weeks were rough with "brain strobes" and sudden "elevator falls".  My mood was terrible but did improve.  After about 2 months things leveled off.  I'll not take it again because of the side effects and the withdrawl.  My Dr. acknowledged the sexual side effects but said that the withdrawl symptoms were due to my depression still being presant, not quitting the drug.  I'm sure he knows more about it than I do but it really doesn't matter what the reason, it was not pleasant.
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by Amy, Nov 17, 1999
Hi- I read your message while searching for ways to alleviate my Paxil withdrawals- my doctor told me to ride it out while waiting for the Wellbutrin to kick in.  I did a dumb thing by quitting cold turkey, but I never knew I'd feel sooooo bad.  Did you find any help on how to feel better during this period?  I've read that it can last for six to eight weeks.  Great, Huh?  I've been on Paxil for three years and it's been great but I've switched to Wellbutrin for some reasons that I won't bore you with.  I'd ben interested in knowing if you feel better, and if you ever got any help.

Thanks,
Amy Mira
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by Susan, Mar 02, 2000
I find it amazing that some physicians still insist that there is no withdrawl syndrome with the SSRI medications.  The ability of there psychoactive drugs to alter the chemistry of our brain and its' neurotransmitters tells you that abrupt, and even gradual cessation of the drug is going to manifest itself in unpleasant physical and mental symptoms.
I am a RN. I suffered a severe depression and relapse over the last few years. I have tried prozac, zoloft, and paxil with relief of the depression, but their "cure" resulted in a whole new set of physical problems.  Sexually, I was dead.  I also find that these drugs change your ability to feel appropriate emotions like compassion and sadness. Crying was impossible, even when it was normal to do so! Human touch, something I usually crave, I lost all desire for. I wish I had never taken the medications, even though they brought me out of significant depression. I am not convinced that the drug-induced "normal" states they brought on, were not just that....a "high" just like any other high, wether it be from cocaine, heroin or alcohol etc..  Are antidepressants any different than other drugs of abuse? Blake equates prozac with LSD, in her book "Prozac, Pancea or Pandora". She says the basic mechanism of function in the brain are the same.  What are doctors doing to people! Much more research is necessary for drugs as powerful as these.
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by Susan, Mar 02, 2000
I find it amazing that some physicians still insist that there is no withdrawl syndrome with the SSRI medications.  The ability of there psychoactive drugs to alter the chemistry of our brain and its' neurotransmitters tells you that abrupt, and even gradual cessation of the drug is going to manifest itself in unpleasant physical and mental symptoms.
I am a RN. I suffered a severe depression and relapse over the last few years. I have tried prozac, zoloft, and paxil with relief of the depression, but their "cure" resulted in a whole new set of physical problems.  Sexually, I was dead.  I also find that these drugs change your ability to feel appropriate emotions like compassion and sadness. Crying was impossible, even when it was normal to do so! Human touch, something I usually crave, I lost all desire for. I wish I had never taken the medications, even though they brought me out of significant depression. I am not convinced that the drug-induced "normal" states they brought on, were not just that....a "high" just like any other high, wether it be from cocaine, heroin or alcohol etc..  Are antidepressants any different than other drugs of abuse? Blake equates prozac with LSD, in her book "Prozac, Pancea or Pandora". She says the basic mechanism of function in the brain are the same.  What are doctors doing to people! Much more research is necessary for drugs as powerful as these.