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Avatar universal

Paxil Withdrawal my story

Hi All,
Just wanted to chime in here and share my story, if you are considering and antidepressant or SSRI, choose Zoloft or Prozac, because from what I read, getting off of them is much easier on the body because it leaves your system slower then with Paxil.
I've been taking Paxil 20mg for 12 years and felt that it was time to go off. So a month ago I went down to 10mg and I am now down to 5mg. Even tapering slow, I have had TERRIBLE withdrawal. I have had severe headaches and lightheadedness, and have felt very depressed, like I can just cry all day. My dreams have been crazy at night, I have been having a lot of nightmares that I wake up from. It has been awful and if I didn't exercise like I do, working out 6 days a week, I really feel like I'd be suicidal.
Tomorrow I take my last 5mg. It is so terrible I have been tempted to go back to 20mg. But I am determined to get this evil crap out of my body.
I just want everyone to know that they aren't alone and wanted to share my story. I am hoping to make it through this. I am told it might be 2 months of symptoms. UGH!!!!
27 Responses
480448 tn?1426952138
While Paxil most definitely is notoriously one of the more difficult ADs to come off of, I agree with the ladies above.  Everyone is different.  You may have the same experience with Paxil that someone else had with Zoloft.  Everyone needs to allow themselves to have their own unique experience.  Sharing your experience is great...but you simply cannot say that one med is "better" than another.

As for your taper...it's NOT slow at all!  In fact, it's very VERY fast, with some significant cuts in doses.  Cutting a dose in half, then 2 weeks later, cutting it in half again will absolutely cause some nasty symptoms.  Also, there isn't enough of a stabilization period in between dosage reductions.  Are you tapering under the guidance of a doctor?  

If so, I highly recommend you asking for a much slower and more deliberate taper.  Paxil is a med that, the slower the weaning process, the better.  If you are trying to do this yourself, PLEASE seek the help of a doctor who knows his way around these meds.  The right taper can make the difference between a hellish taper, or a bearable one.

"But I am determined to get this evil crap out of my body."

I understand that you feel that way, but there is no race here.  You're tapering entirely too fast.  A proper Paxil taper can take many months, to be done right...and will make a world of difference in your symptoms.

Keep us updated...let us know how you're doing!
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Well, everyone has a unique experience when taking medication.  We can't on the internet recommend any particular medication choice for someone as that is between them and their doctor.  Sorry you had a rough time though.  
1110049 tn?1409405744
I agree with above.  You should not recommend anti-depressants to other people.  We all react differently to medication, and what suits one person may not suit another.  For instance, for me, Prozac was the worst anti-depressant I ever took, and it made me very, very ill.

Only a doctor or psychiatrist should prescribe medication to an individual, after talking to them, and deciding which medication is right for them.

I am slowly withdrawing from Effexor, and it has helped a lot.  Just because a drug is difficult to withdraw from, does not mean it is crap.  Just take it very slowly.  I know I am going to have a hard time, but I will get there.  

Lots of anti-depressants are difficult to withdraw from.  You are not alone.  For all you know, some people may have had difficulty withdrawing from Prozac or Zoloft.  You can only go by your own experience of withdrawing from Paxil.  
Avatar universal
I just wanted to state my experience and to state that what I read about Paxil. I am NO means an expert or even a doctor. But just wanted people to be aware of my experience should they decide to take Paxil. I wish I was told about the withdrawal before I started, and might have chosen something different. I am sorry if I came across differently.

Today is my first day of being Paxil in 12 years. I still have a terrible headache and lightheadedness, but the feeling of wanting to cry has subsided, and my crazy dreams at night(mostly nightmares) have subsided too.

Thank you all for reading. :-)
Avatar universal
Also, I forgot to mention that yes, I am doing this out of advice from a Psychiatrist who I've been in contact with throughout this whole ordeal. She has told me that my symptoms are "normal"
480448 tn?1426952138
They are normal, but as I said, your taper is awfully fast.  I would ask to slow it down...that will help a little anyway.
1110049 tn?1409405744
I am withdrawing from Effexor XR but doing it very slowly, unlike you.  I have been six weeks on the first regime.  This week I will start the second faze, and it will take at least six weeks, if not more on that.  No hurry, just a slow taper until my body adjusts.  You dropped very quickly, and didn't give your body a chance to adjust to the lower dosage.

Your psychiatrist, I presume knows what she is doing, but I am surprised she did not ask you to taper slowly.
Avatar universal
Firstly, thank you all for your support. It really means a lot that you all don't know me and are rooting for me.

Today was a bad day. It is my second day Paxil free and boy do I want to grab my pill bottle and take a full pill. The worst headaches I have ever had in my life. Lightheadedness with these weird brain zaps. Ugh!!!

Emailed the psychiatrist today, she told me to hang in there. But honestly, I don't know how much more I can take!!!
1110049 tn?1409405744
I am so sorry you are having such a bad time.  I am no doctor, but how about if you went back to the lowest dose and taper very, very slowly from that, and see how you go.  

Remember I am no expert, but I think that is what I would do if I felt as bad as you.
Avatar universal
I honestly think it is too late for that, unfortunately. I've already been free of Paxil for 3 days. I wish my psychiatrist did taper me more slowly.

This is what she had me do: Originally on 20mg. I went down to 10mg for a month, then nothing. Symptoms were so bad she had me go back up to 5mg for 2 weeks, and then nothing.

I was already feeling withdrawal a week into taking 10mg. She should have had me go down to 15mg for a month, 10mg for a month, then 5mg for two weeks to a month.

I think it is too late and boy, am I suffering. I had another bad day today. I am just shy of going insane from constant terrible headaches, lightheadedness, and I feel like crying all the time again. UGH!!! I don't wish this upon anyone!!!
1110049 tn?1409405744
Oh I am so sorry.  I mean you listened to your psychiatrist, and you assumed she would help you withdraw without too many symptoms.  Seems to me she did not really understand how bad the withdrawals would be.  I am tapering VERY slowly indeed from Effexor.  I have withdrawn cold turkey from it in the past, and was OK after 2 weeks.  This time I am told by my doctor, if I do it slowly, I should not get a bad recurrence of what I thought was depression re-occuring, but could have been withdrawal.

It may not be too late to try and taper from the low dose.  i don't want you suffering more than necessary.  Keep in touch.
1110049 tn?1409405744
How are you now?  I have been thinking about you.  

I have been on 150mg Effexor XR for a number of years, and my doctor suggests I come off it.  The first phase was to alternate 150mg and 75mg which I have done for six weeks.  I saw my doctor yesterday, and she wants me to stay on this for another 2 months.  After that I will reduce to 75mg daily for three months.  She says the slower the better.  It will be over a year before I can quit.  

Daily I take a multi vitamin tablet, vitamin B complex and high dose of Omega 3.  I also take a yoghurt drink with all the good gut germs and a yoghurt with the same.  I am honestly feeling very well on this.  I believe the vitamin B gives me more energy.  I have walked as lot this week, and been involved in quite a bit of socialising, and feel mentally and physically well.

We will see later in the year how I am feeling as I slowly reduce my anti-depressant.  For me no hurry at all.  After all I have been on anti-depressants for 20 years!!

Let me know how you are.  What have you decided to do??
Avatar universal
Hi Maddie,
Thank you so much for your support. I am now 5 days of being Paxil free. I still feel like crap. The doctor is going to give me a script for some more heavy duty ib prophen to help me with the painful headaches.
I feel at this point, going back on will just put me more of a roller coaster. I am told there is an end to this. I sure hope so.
Seems like you have a great Psychiatrist. Mine, unfortunately leaves a little to be desired. I believe she should have tapered me slower.
I am taking tons of Omega 3, also started taking a supplement called SAM-e. Thanks again for the support. One day, I will be done with the withdrawal and feel like myself again.
Avatar universal
So to make matters a little worse, I woke up today with a head cold. UGH!!! I really just feel like one hot mess. Actually this all is now very laughable, as I am trying to have a sense of humor about all of this.

I did speak to my Psychiatrist, and depending on how I feel Monday, I might go back to 10mg and wean slow again after I've stabilized off of that. Or she might put me on a low dose of Prozac because she said it is easier to wean off of that. Or I can continue through this, she said the worst part of it is usually the first week. By Monday I will be on day 7.  So well will evaluate then.

Hope you are having a great weekend!!!

480448 tn?1426952138
Glad to hear you're keeping in touch with your doc, that's so important.  Let us know how you're doing!  Take care!
1110049 tn?1409405744
I have not see a psychiatrist for a long time.  It is my own  doctor who is helping me withdraw.

Strange, but only this week I put a question about SAMe on this site, as I had read it helps with withdrawals.  Do you think it is helping you?

Well at least you still have a sense of humour, although I doubt very much if you feel like laughing at the moment!  

Is your medication in the form of tablets?  If so, you could cut in half, quarter, etc and wean that way.  My medication is in capsules.  I have read here about people taking out the contents of the capsules, and slowly weaning that way.  I can go to 35mg in capsules.

Keep in touch, and let us know what you have decided to do.
480448 tn?1426952138
Yes, if you can laugg at yourself...boy that goes a long long way!  Sometimes, if I'm having a bad day, I just try to find the humor in some of the things that are bothering me.  Getting a good laugh about it makes me feel SO much better!  It's such an emotional release!  
480448 tn?1426952138
*laugh* that is.
Avatar universal
Thank you all SOOOOO VERY much for all of your help and advice. I seriously couldn't have gone through this without your support. You all are very generous with your caring. :-)

Will keep you all posted, but I think I am just going to keep going. Even with this crappy head cold, I'm feeling a little bit better today.
1110049 tn?1409405744
Oh we care so much about each other.  I am so glad you feel that in some small way we have helped you through a difficult time.  If we could all do this, just give a few supportive words to each other, we would all feel there is someone rooting for us, and caring what happens to us.

Yes please keep us posted.  When we try to help someone, and then no longer hear from them, it is a shame.  We like to know how people get on.

Glad you are feeling a little better.  Perhaps when the cold has gone, you will feel a lot better.  I hope so.

Take care
Avatar universal
Hi All,
I am now on day 9 of being Paxil free. I have been suffering through withdrawals and a head cold that I got last weekend. I really feel that the withdrawal caused my body to shut down. I rarely get sick. Even though I still have the brain zaps, withdrawal headache on top of sinus pressure that I have, I am now feeling optimistic. I don't feel the need to cry everyday, however I still feel a bit on edge. I am really nervous because I am getting close to that time of the month, and don't know what kind of PMS will be in store for me. In fact, I planned my taper schedule around my period.
I will keep you all posted. Thanks again for the support.
1110049 tn?1409405744
Can I just point out that your profile states you are male.  It was not until I read your last post that I realised you are female!!

Things seem to gradually getting better for you.
Avatar universal
Thanks Maddie,
I don't know why, it never asked me. But I am for sure female.
Thanks for keeping up with my post.

1110049 tn?1409405744
Hello, How are you feeling now?
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