The Dark Side of Antidepressants | Chris Kresser

The Dark Side of Antidepressants

by Chris Kresser

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This week’s article in my continuing series on depression and antidepressants will examine the physiological, psychological and social consequences of antidepressant use.

Although these drugs are generally considered to be safe by the media and amongst medical professionals and patients, a close look at the evidence suggests otherwise.
Antidepressants have serious and potentially fatal adverse effects, cause potentially permanent brain damage, increase the risk of suicide and violent behavior in both children and adults, and increase the frequency and chronicity of depression.
Chronic use of antidepressants also promotes dependency on drugs rather than empowering people to make positive life changes, and places a tremendous burden on healthcare systems in the U.S. and abroad – but I will discuss those issues in next week’s article.

Physiological side effects

The adverse effects of antidepressants include movement disorders, agitation, sexual dysfunction, improper bone development, improper brain development, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a variety of other lesser known problems. These are not rare events, but the most significant harm comes only after months or years of use, which leads to the false impression that antidepressants seem quite safe.

More than half of those beginning an antidepressant have one of the more common side effects (Brambilla et al. 2005).

While some side effects may not carry serious health risks, others do. Gastrointestinal bleeding can become a life-threatening condition, and improper bone development in children is a serious problem that can lead to increased skeletal problems and frequent bone fractures as they age. It has been shown that serotonin exposure in young mice impairs their brain’s cerebral development (Esaki et al. 2005), and many researchers believe that the use of SSRI medications in pregnant mothers and young children may predispose children to emotional disorders later in life (Ansorge et al. 2004).

Another problem with the side effects caused by antidepressants that is often not discussed is the likelihood that additional medications will be prescribed to control them.

It is well-known that Prozac produces anxiety and agitation, so physicians often prescribe a sedative (typically a benzodiazapene) along with it. Since recent studies have shown that antidepressants cause gastrointestinal bleeding, doctors are starting to prescribe acid-inhibiting drugs such as Nexium to prevent this side effect. These drugs also inevitably cause side effects, which may lead to the prescription of even more drugs. (This is not uncommon, as I pointed out in last week’s article.)

Psychological side effects

Perhaps the best known psychological side effect of SSRIs is “amotivational syndrome”, a condition with symptoms that are clinically similar to those that develop when the frontal lobes of the brain are damaged.

The syndrome is characterized by apathy, disinhibited behavior, demotivation and a personality change similar to the effects of lobotomy (Marangell et al. 2001, p.1059). All psychoactive drugs, including antidepressants, are known to blunt our emotional responses to some extent.

Clinical studies of SSRIs report that agitation is a common side effect. When Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry analyzed the admissions to their hospital’s psychiatric unit, they found that 8.1% of the patients were “found to have been admitted owing to antidepressant mania or psychosis” (Preda et al. 2001). Agitation is such a common side effect with SSRIs that the drug companies have consistently sought to hide it during clinical trials by prescribing a tranquilizer or sedative along with the antidepressant. Studies by Eli Lilly employees found that between 21% and 28% of patients taking Prozac experienced insomnia, agitation, anxiety, nervousness and restlessness, with the highest rates among people taking the highest doses (Beasley et al. 2001).

From their inception, antidepressants have been recognized as having a worrisome capacity to incite changes between episodes of depression (characterized by dysphoria, insomnia, low energy, poor concentration, reduced appetite and diminished libido) and episodes of mania (characterized by euphoria, increased activity, rapid speech, racing thoughts, diminished need for sleep, hypersexuality and diminished impulse control).

Several reports suggest that SSRIs are associated with movement disorders such as akathisia, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia (acute rigidity), dyskinesia (abnormal involuntary choreic movements) and tardive dyskiniesia (Gerber & Lynd 1998).

These movement disorders are serious enough on their own. However, what is even more alarming is the potential for akathisia to induce aggression and suicide.

Akathisia, a condition of inner restlessness or severe agitation, is the most commonly occurring movement disorder associated with psychoactive drug use.

Akathisia-related violence receives specific attention in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Akathisia has been shown to increase violent behavior and suicide, and antidepressants are known to cause akathisia.


After years of foot-dragging and thousands of excess suicides, the FDA finally admitted that “two to three children out of every hundred” could be expected to develop suicidal thoughts or actions as a result of antidepressant therapy (Harris 2004). The risk of suicide events for children receiving SSRIs has been three times higher than placebo. (Healy 2005). Amazingly, no bans or restrictions have been placed on their use in children in the U.S.

While the increased risk of suicide in children has become better known, most people are unaware that a similar risk exists for adults. When adult antidepressant trials were re-analyzed to compensate for erroneous methodologies, SSRIs have consistently revealed a risk of suicide (completed or attempted) that is two to four times higher than placebo (Healy 2005).

Turning short-term suffering into long-term misery

A growing body of research supports the hypothesis that antidepressants worsen the chronicity, if not severity, of depressive features in many subjects. Antidepressant therapy is often associated with the poorest outcomes. In a large, retrospective study in the Netherlands of more than 12,000 patients, antidepressant exposure was associated with the worst long term results. 72-79% of the patients who relapsed received antidepressants during their initial episode of depression. In contrast, only one of the patients who did not relapse received no antidepressants during or following the initial episode. (Weel-Baumgarten 2000)

Longitudinal (long-term) follow-up studies show very poor outcomes for people treated for depression in both hospital and outpatient settings, and the overall prevalence of depression is rising despite increased use of antidepressants (Moncrieff & Kirsch 2006).

Epidemiological observations have long held that most episodes of depression end after three to six months. However, almost half of all Americans treated with antidepressants have remained on medication for more than a year (Antonuccio et al. 2004).

Long-term effects of antidepressants

Antidepressants have been shown to produce long-term, and in some cases, irreversible chemical and structural changes to the body and brain.

The administration of Prozac and Paxil raises cortisol levels in human subjects (Jackson 2005, p.90). Given the fact that elevated cortisol levels are associated with depression, weight gain, immune dysfunction, and memory problems, the possibility that antidepressants may contribute to prolonged elevations in cortisol is alarming to say the least.

In a study designed to investigate the anatomic effects of serotonergenic compounds, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found that high-dose, short-term exposure to SSRIs in rats was sufficient to produce swelling and kinking in the serotonin nerve fibers (Kalia 2000). Research performed by a different group of investigators showed that antidepressants can kill neurons and cause structural changes similar to those observed in Parkinson’s in rodents.

I want to emphasize that what I’ve covered here is only the beginning of the story when it comes to the adverse effects of antidepressants. There are volumes of published research and many books which present this information with much more detail. I recommend Peter Breggin’s landmark “Brain Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry” and Grace Jackson’s “Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs” as resources if you are interested in pursuing this further.


Join the conversation


  2. Mimi. How is it going? I know you went back on Lexapro after trying to stay off? How you feeling? Do you have anxiety?

    • Hello CC. No. Not much anxiety once I weaned on and got stable. I also worked really hard at therapy and other helpful things such as prayer, meditation, and taking charge of the stressful things in my life. I stayed on 10 mg of Lex for a year and have neen weaning over the past 5 months . Currently at 5 mg and staying there for a while. Life is truly better. Not perfect but that will only happen in heaven. I have gained too much weight but small price to pay. Best of luck.

  3. Hi My name is Linda. I’m 55 years old and have been on antidepressants for almost 20 years. When I first started there was no information, much less public forums on long term use. I originally started when I began teaching in a public school. I was given antidepressants for anxiety attacks where I’ve passed out, many times in hospitals for general tests, and woken up to doctors surrounding me thinking I had died. I was previously a heroin addict and detoxed myself a few times. I got on methadone to aide in learned behaviors as well as addictive tendancies. Nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead due to the extended use of antidepressants. I weaned off a couple of times only to fall into such deep despair that I quickly retreated. I finally decided enough was enough and weaned off and was determined to stay off no matter what it took. I stayed completely off for 2 1/2 years being painfully suicidal and depressed for the entire 2 1/2 years. (I had never been depressed in my life prior to withdrawing from antidepressants). I cleansed my body of toxins, changed to all organic food, took yoga, meditated daily and even went to the Amazon jungle in Peru for a 2 week Ayhausca retreat. I know addiction and the physical attributes of withdrawal. Antidepressants ARE different. They have altered my brain chemistry, thus altering my personality. And they simply don’t work anymore. I am determined to free myself from this synthetic poison. I have great compassion for those who suffer and urge you to work with a doctor who has wholistic knowledge. In my opinion, antidepressants should only be used temporarily and under close watch. There is no such thing as side effects. What the drug does to you IS the effects!!! I went to my primary care physician with my final disposition, taking full ownership for the decision I made to take them and to continue for so long. The best way I can describe his response was defensive. I realized he could not accept what he had condoned directly and under his watch (phycisian assistants). I could see the fear in his eyes of the totality of his professional practice in which so many will suffer. If you must, I suggest you take this drug with great precaution and if at all possible, use natural methods instead. The earth truly does provide all that we need.

  4. I really hate when people post positive comments about antidepressants in articles like this. Obviously you are going to feel better, the same way you would do if you took cocaine or got drunk. You are being drugged only, by your lack of emotional intelligence or wanting to face problems you instead take a pill to hack your brain and make you happy. Stop saying the same bs the psychiatrists do, withdrawal syndromes are not original disease exacerbations!

    • Do you not also feel better when you take insulin, blood pressure meds, eye drops, pain meds, cough syrup, sinus and allergy meds, heart meds, meds to put you to sleep for surgery, wear glasses or hearing aids or use a cane or walker, etc, etc, etc. I agree that antidepressants are used for a lot of wrong reasons, but until doctors get themselves smart enough to figure out how and when to use them, there will be lots of people suffering needlessly, both on and off them. I am sorry to say that I once felt the same as you but I was so wrong. Mr. Carl, are you emotionally or physically intelligent enough to cure yourself of cancer or diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis? Please come see me. I will make you a billionaire. Best to all. Praying for everyone.

      • I am surprised that no one has weighed in on this point of view. Kuldeep, are you Okay? Please check in and let us know. You are and will forever be a friend because of the help and kindness you offered to me and others. I hope you are well.

        • Hi Mimi, the only reason I didn’t weigh in on Carl’s point of view is because apparently he has never suffered with depression or anxiety. If he did he would know that it is not because we lack intelligence or do not want to face our problems or as Carl stated, take a pill to hack our brains to make us happy. People who have never suffered from depression have no idea what we go through. You do not lose 18 pounds because we do not want to face our problems. You do not want to live because we don’t enjoy being with our loved ones. As anyone knows who has taken antidepressants, we know the side effects. Given the choice between taking them and living or doing without and barely existing, I choose living. Carl would never understand that.
          Mimi, I hope everything is good with you. I am also worried about Kuldeep. I hope he is alright.

          • Okay, people. First of all I have studies on medicine and psychiatry. Second, I have spent years and years researching besides what they taught me at school. Third, you don’t know me personally to say I have never had depression when I have been through ten years FUCKED UP by psychiatry itself. Fourth, the only depression I’ve ever had was when I trusted them to medicate me (before school, obviously). Five, I have seen more ruined lives by these medications than “cures and miracles” as you want to imply. Six, antidepressants are not prescribed under very cautious rules and environments as you think, patients ask their doctors these drugs to overcome their psychological problems, if they succeed in having them prescribed then they regret when they have some kind of withdrawal syndrom or permanent or temporal brain damage (I’m talking about years). Seven, if you have depression and take some kind of stimulant, it’s going to be the best day of your life as you are hacking your brain, that is what you are doing because of your LACK of balls to try to face life. Eight, if you have clinical depression (whatever that means, because medicine doesn’t know why, where, when, how but they medicate you) it is due to another whole bunch of factors in your environment that are causing you that depression and suddenly they tell you they don’t know the cure or why but magically they have the pill to manage it. Nine, stop making stupid statements as you do because I seriously doubt you have the real knowledge on the subject.

            • Hi Carl,
              You seem very angry about this subject and you probably have every right to be. I agree that antidepressants are poison and i’m trying to get off them myself. But I don’t think you should judge others for taking them. People don’t usually choose these drugs because they lack emotional intelligence or the balls to face life. They take them because doctors prescribe them and because they want to feel ok and live a normal life. They take them because they have an illness and don’t know any other way to fix it. They take them because they actually want to face life and live it. If anything I think people with mental illness have to be more brave because of what they go through. Life can be tough but it’s even tougher when you have an illness and no one understands that unless they have been through it themselves. Until they find out more about what causes depression and anxiety etc people will just have to make do with the resources they have.

              • Well said Kim and I hope you can cope without them soon. I also have been on antidepressants, years ago I was seriously depressed and just wished to be gone it turned out (through my own realisation, a dream actually) that it was the contraceptive pill I was on when I told the doc he refused that it could be but I insisted that I should come off them within weeks I was a new person. Because of this experience at 17 I have become super tuned in to how diff things effect me you will not believe it but I have had the same experience from a supplement so I stopped right away, a tearful mess from a supplement!! I have anxiety but deal with it in other ways and was only on antidepressants for a few years and feel more in control now and have clarity. I am so desperate for people to be aware of the long term damage of these tabs, I don’t judge people for taking them and understand why like you the docs put me on them and we all listen to them right!
                I love what Linda said above so inspiring. I just hope the message gets out to more people I recently read that actually antidepressants work for 33% of the people that take them, what about the other 70%?! I recently went to a talk about it and heard that 99% of the time it is due to what we are putting in our bodies (i’ve had that one) and having too many toxins in our body that stops our receptors receiving feel good messages. Rebecca Hintze has written a book called Essentially Happy about it, I haven’t read it yet but its on my list (it was her talk I attended). Anxiety is horrible and I sympathise with anyone suffering with it.

            • Hi Carl ,thank you for your insight.
              I’m 38 and i never used to be depressive.In the last 6-8 months I’ve notice a change…
              I’ve started to have anxiety , depression, i feel it in my stomach. I’ve lost about 20lbs, my appetite is down. Done blood tests in Feb this year and they were the best so far, initially I thought could be something else, you know. Went to Gp explained to whole story and she put me on escitalopram.
              Got home done some research and my god the side effects… Now i’m debating if I should go on this path. To mention that i’ve gone through sexual trauma as a young adult that I’ve blocked all my life and never told anyone in my family. So i’m just wondering if my past could have anything with how I’m feeling right now.I’m married and I have a wonderful husband no kids… i never wanted any kids out of fear of not be able mentally to cope with it. Also i’ve noticed around my period I’m highly highly emotional , sometimes thinking bad things like hurting myself …. which is really weird because when the period is finished I slowly return to normal and I say to myself ” whats wrong with me that i feel and think like that ” …. and i try to brush it off…… but lately it feels like they are intensifying….
              I just need some insights , maybe some good advice …. i dont know
              Thank you

          • I suffer from depression and anxiety. Very nice, very crippling pair.

            As I’ve climbed out of those holes many times, I looked for solutions, or at least ways to manage these things. I’ve studied the data on antidepressants, especially SSRIs, and they are no more, or in the case of severe depression, very slighly more effective then placebo. Certainly not enough to justify the plethora of disabling side effects (1).

            I realised there is no easy solution, no magic pill, no revolutionary therapy that will cure me. My life is my responsibility, and if I don’t help myself no one will.

            It’s hard. Like for everyone, especially those who have similar issues. It’s like getting kicked in the teeth multiple times a day. But depression is also a great teacher of empathy, determination and self-worth.

            If you can learn from it.

            Good luck to y’all, and don’t sabotage your chances with pills that don’t work.


            • I agree with Carl and Damascus.
              Bottom line , these drugs don’t work long term. They damage . Suck it up , feel your pain and get to know it very well. Accept what you have created and then let it go. you’ll come out the other side a stronger , more empathetic being. Then you will be able to help others not hurt them. Also in my experience, ppl close to me using these drugs become very uncaring , agitated , selfish and quite frankly they hurt the ppl in their life that really care about them! I’ve been verbally abused and had to endure threats of bodily harm ! Others become passive/aggressive. Total personality changes. They also don’t seem to really care how they treat others. I’ve been depressed and anxious about half my life. Sure, I’ve been told by doctors to take drugs and I have but only for short periods. I wouldn’t touch them now . I’ve had panic attacks where I laid on my tile floor and thought I would die. I talked myself out of it and deep breathing helped. It’s scary. I’d rather hurt then inflict pain on innocents. It’s my pain ! It is weakness to cover it up with a dangerous drug . So yes, I think ppl want a quick fix. Too bad for everyone.

          • How right you are. Those who don’t know will cut in with these kind of self righteous statements. Mostly I just skip them and continue reading the contributions of those who KNOW what depressive illnesses feel like….

      • *syndrome. Comparing antidepressants to insulin or a cane it is really useless to say the least because if you knew the damage you would never take those things. Understand, psychiatrists do not know what depression is, they have never gone through it, they don’t understand why it comes, they medicate you, they don’t know what is causing you depression, but the last straw is when they don’t know how their magic pills are acting upon your brain. They have never cured a single “mental” illness whatever that means. Do you think they show you the real consequences of antidepressants in Pub Med or public studies you read? Wrong! Wake up, people, they don’t care about you but they have brainwashed you so well that you think so and even work defending them without a paid.

        • You obviously didn’t search my name on this forum Carl. It is not me but my daughter. She has OCD (and generalized anxiety). She also has a tic disorder, which many people do have comorbidly with OCD (since you say you’ve been to school Im assuming you know these happen in the same part of the brain). The tic disorder should resolve after puberty.

          My grandmother also had OCD (my husbands family has Tourette’s, so our daughter comes by this genetically). Unfortunately for my grandmother there were no treatments for OCD. They gave her electrical shock treatments a few times during my mothers growing up years. Obviously this didn’t help OCD. You have no understanding of OCD or mental illness if you don’t sympathize with someone like my grandmother who self medicated with alcohol her entire life. She was such a sweet woman and OCD is a cruel partner to go through life with.

          You make many assumptions Carl. I’m sorry you had bad doctors. My daughters pediatric psychiatrists have been very up front about medication. They told me they don’t understand why it works. Although studies are showing it is an uptake disorder at the synapse, people with OCD and severe anxiety may not be able to process and use the normally available serotonin, and all they have right now are huge doses of SSRI (OCD requires double doses and double time versus something like anxiety or depression). I am hopeful in my daughters lifetime there will be better medication but for right now, it’s what we have.

          They also told me that for anxiety or depression exercise (especially outdoors) scores as well in studies as an SSRI. They also did give me websites and studies not associated with pharmaceutical companies.

          They also informed me that the gold standard is medication combined with intensive treatment. Which my daughter has been doing. Then once she’s stable for at least a year we can try to wean my daughter off her medication. Because my daughter is severe, they told me she might not be able to be weaned off but only trying will tell us.

          My daughter was not even able to do therapy before her medication and dose was found and given enough time.

          Yes, with intense therapy, she has been “cured”. Not totally. She still has OCD but it’s manageable now. She has not been stable long enough to try weaning the medication. At this point she doesn’t want to stop taking it, she is too scared to go back to the way she was. Once she gets a flare it’s very hard to get back to a liveable state again. When you are a child and you loose months and months to mental illness it’s devestating. So we aren’t ready to try yet.

          There are caring, informative, psychiatrists out there. I’m sorry you never saw one.

    • Its not like that at all. Have you ever had a problem with depression? I have suffered for over 20 years,and believe me the last thing I want to do is rely on a drug to make me(feel normal).

      • That is exactly my feeling. I’ve dealt with this most of my life, and done the reasearch; the drugs don’t actually work, it’s the all-powerful placebo effect.

        Personally, I found great solace in Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration. I have a proclivity for unfun depressive episodes, so I tried to find a way to channel them towards something constructive.


        P.S. I know “unfun” isn’t an actual word. Well now it is! Sounds better than “voraciously trying ruin my life”.

    • Carl you obviously have not dealt with mentally ill family members or dealt with mental illness yourself.

      You can search by my name to find fragments of my story. I won’t repeat them all here.

      To say taking psychiatric medications is akin to cocaine or alcoholism shows complete ignorance on your part. If anything these medications prevent drug and alcohol abuse and allow people to live full productive lives.

      I wish these medications would have been available to my grandmother and father. I liken these medications to diabetes medications. People use to also have to deal with that disease on their own, with no help from medication. To say someone with diabetes should still suffer versus taking the redily available medications is cruel at best.

      • To say psychiatric medications are not akin to cocaine or alcohol (by the way, I never said alcohol…) shows your ignorance. I have studies on psychiatry and medicine and I know what I’m talking about. The most important thing is that I have been through depression myself because they medicated me with all those things and I know what it feels. That was the only time I had depression. People with ONLY psychological problems are prescribed with this sooo lightly and I have seen that myself IN A MEDICAL ENVIRONMENT. I don’t think you are coherent comparing diabetes with this subject. I think you are very wrong, please stop saying nonsense when you obviously do not understand what you’re talking about.

        • Carl, I am truly sorry that you are so angry and unaccepting of anything other than what you want to believe. FYI. I have an advanced medical degree with 35 hrs of experience. And yes, anxiety and depression, along with other mental and psychological illnesses, have physiological causes. And yes, you can compare it to other physiological illnesses. As I said, there is a place in medicine for the use of psych drugs. Unfortunately not all docs are qualified to use them
          Psych medicine, compared to other branches, is still in it’s infancy and a lot of trial and error remain.
          Unfortunately many of us will have to suffer for future generations to reap the benefits. Do yourself a favor and loose the anger. And aim your research into a new direction of unbiased research and self evaluation. And find a good doctor. You know as well as anyone that you can “Prove” anything you want to believe if you look in the right places. I wish you all the best and hope that you can find relief and peace. BTW. Been there and done that and yes I do know what it is like. Boy do I know

          • Mimi,

            I have been destroyed by an SSRI adverse reaction. The medication was Lexapro. I was diagnosed with Lexapro induced Toxic Encephalopathy by a neuro toxicologist who has studied antidepressants. There are many like me bedridden or in nursing homes or dead from one pill. There is barely any mention of this on the internet. But the are in Facebook groups like my Neurotoxicity (Toxic Encephalopathy) Support Group. There are 2500 members that Would love to discuss this with you. Some day the world will know.

        • Hello everyone, and especially Carl, if you could please comment a couple of words, I would really appreciate your opinion. I have been suffering from OCD for 7 years now, I am now 25 years old and I have been taking fluvoxamine maleate (aka Luvox) SSRI, for 3 years. In the meantime I had been having sessions twice a week for 2 years with a psychologist , now stopped for financial reasons, and after every time I did feel a little relieved. I have been to many psychiatrists, heard all of them saying the meds I am taking are safe for long term using. I am worried though, because I have become dull, gained weight and have diminished libido OR motivation among other unpleasant side effects. However, everyone (friends family) is saying they don’t see my anxiety and my obsessions, that I look much less stressed and that they don’t understand what the problem is. but ocd still tortures me loads in my head. So friends, have you heard of fluvoxamine and its side effects? Also, when someone stops taking the meds and after the withdrawal symptoms subside (I have tried it and I did have some dizziness and shaking so I went back on), what should he/she expect? I live in Greece and I apologize for my English, also thank you everyone for reading my comment and ….. be strong!

    • I cannot believe the ignorance on and of this sight! Truely inflexible minds who expect others to change but cling to their own beliefs.

    • This is true because I got extrapyramidal symptoms from metoclopramide which was prescribed for gastric emptying. Talking to many people withdrawing from SSRIs and other medications the symptoms are the same. I have no condition to return to…

  5. Hi everyone…Im new to the whole blogging and reaching out thing but here goes nothing….my name is Brianna im only 24 ,I am a mother of 3 ages 4,2,&1 so ofcourse im always on edge. I have suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Death i believe is what its centered around. Even if i just watch the news and here about someome dying I get frantic emotional and scared. I use to never want my mom to leave because i thought she might never come back. I use to cry scream and throw tantrums.Sadly that wasn’t enough to make her or my other family members know i had a problem. My older brothers And sisters even brought a tape from a tv ad and played it for me and laughed hysterically as it asked “do you suffer from fear and anxiety”? It hurt my feelings so much i was only like 11. So since then i always covered my attacks so that i didn’t feel weird or crazy thus seizing me never getting help. Now they’ve come back like never before and its taking over my life. Although im not a party or out in the streets kind of girl i still love to have fun like take my children places…we love church…we love outings..but sadly i now im afraid to drive and ride in a car thats when i get the worst attacks. I hate it and i feel like no one around me understand my sickness or how i feel…like theyll say we’re going to get you some help or whatever then by next week seem like im a burden. I miss having fun with my babies and being able to enjoy life…i been to a few doctors for my problem and now on medicine.I absolutely positively hate medicine of any kind!! Im on Remerom 15mg which i only take half and effexor xr 37.5 …i have taken them the way i was supposed to for a little while and wound up missing and having these horrible withdrawal symptoms so i started taking them again…now again i have a serious complex with medicines…&is starting to believe its making me worst &especially since i dont have a good support system my family both biological and in laws including the father of my children are big judgers! My life have been hell for like the last 5 or 6 years mostly due to my children’s dad his family and my family …I’ve been through a hell of a lot but i try to stay strong only person i could really lean on is my 4 year old daughter when im having an attack she’ll say it ok calm down and rub my back…but i know she doesn’t really understand what’s going on just want to help her mom…i just want help im tired tired tired and cant go on feeling like this im too young I’m a very talented artist i want to go to school i want to work i want to get better but i cant with feeling like i feel every single day.

    • Oh hunny, please hang in there. There IS help for you. It can take several tries to get the right medication combination. You need to be seeing a psychiatrist, not your family doctor, if you aren’t already.

      Do you have a therapist? There are CBT and ERP (cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy) these can turn your life around. Many (most) people as severe as yourself need to get the medication right first, work with a therapist during this time too, then you can go through CBT/ERP for recovery. After you have been stable for at least a year you can talk to your doctor about weaning off medication.

      Please try and find yourself a support system. You will get better, never forget that, there are treatments. Your children are young but if you wanted to go to school, universities have mental health departments to coordinate your care and child care for your children. You have a bright successful future in front of you. You can do this ❤️

    • Hi Bri,
      I too am an anxiety sufferer so I can understand how you feel. And i totally get the not being able to watch the news thing. It must be so hard for you to try and sort yourself out when you have 3 young children. I have 3 children too but they are 12, 8 and 8 months. Please keep trying to find something that works for you. I don’t like drugs at all and i’m trying to get off paroxetine at the moment but it helped me to feel better while I tried to find out what was causing the anxiety in the first place. I found out I had a hormone imbalance so i’m trying to get healthy and balance myself out again. One thing I do know is that having anxiety depletes your body of vitamins and minerals so you should try taking magnesium and b vitamins. Also lavender essential oil can be great for helping you sleep. There are other oils that help to calm and soothe nerves too. Also tissue salts are a natural remedy that I find really helpful. I use a brand called scheussler tissue salts and the type i use is called kali phos. It’s potassium phosphate and helps soothe nervous tension. I would say your body needs lots of nourishment to feel better again. There may be an underlying issue such as poor digestive health. I lot of health problems can stem from this. Your body and mind are connected so if you have a healthy gut then you should have a healthy body and mind also. I hope you find this helpful.
      Kind regards

    • Hi Bri, i know how you must be feeling right now having know supportive person to lean on when anxieties and phobias get in your way of living a happy enjoyable life. I’ve actually been there im a 44-year-old. Female with two adult children had a similar journey you are on,now I was 23,yrs old with two babies to look after i had severe panic attacks always worry about dying. Fears, of death, what helped me to cope with,This? The Bible; reading it day and night!!! psalms is. A very great place to start;Give all anxious cares to our HeavenlyFather (because he care’s for you)He will, help you to,see his abundant power. To rescue you at the right time. You must trust, and believe that he can an will do all things to help you to endure this illness meds alone cannot. Fix, a wounded heart. Or a broken spirit we content with right now. we need true Comfort, He can only provide? In the name of his Son, he gives.Us; undeserved kindness.????

    • Poke. Don’t take the meds, they’ll make your downward spiral worse. I’ve seen the medication juggle more times than I can count, and recently helped someone off. It’s about as fun as getting punched in the face all day, and can leave permanent medical issues. If you need to (and feel ready to), get therapy. The first therapist (or three) might not work.

      There are no easy ways out. No magic pill or person. It’s a long way, takes a few years or more, and is mostly about finding your own worth and value.

      I wish you the best.

  6. I presently feeling very depressed. I was always vulnerable to depression but 2016 has been a terrible year for me. They say to reach out for help when you feel that way but the help is not forthcoming. I presented at the emergency of my hospital when a suicide plan and was given an appointment with a psychiatrist for the following week (6 days later). The psychiatrist prescribed Zoloft. After 6 days of taking it, I had to quite became of spasms in my arms and legs and insomnia. Since then, I have been unable to reach the psychiatrist that prescribed it to me. I have looked for help in other places but have been unsuccessful. I am actually skeptical that medication is the answer but I don’t know what else to do. I can’t afford therapy and my life condition is not going to improve on the short term, perhaps not even on the long term. Help.

    • Hi Francine,
      I’m really sorry things are bad for you right now. What I did when I was feeling really unwell was to Google natural remedies for anxiety and depression and find out everything I could to help myself. There’s healthy eating, getting exercise (yoga and walking are great), keeping blood sugar levels stable, taking different supplements (fish oil, magnesium, b vitamins, 5-htp, rhodiola, L-theanine, cbd oil, bioplasma are some i’ve come across), essential oils. Look for books at the library for strategies on how to overcome depression or anxiety. Look at ways to repair an unhealthy gut too. If your gut isn’t working right then your brain won’t be either. You want to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs as your body and mind are connected. I’ve read that gluten intolerance has been linked to depression too so I change of diet might help. I hope you can find out what works for you. Kind regards, Kym.

    • Hi Francine, I too am a sufferer and have been on the Net looking for answers, I haven’t done anything about it yet but please look on YouTube at microdosing and also look for Professor David Nutt (apt name) at Imperial College London also John Hopkins University USA. Hope all goes well for you.

  7. My antidepressants caused severe side effects for 6 weeks and then it was fine. Despite thinking medication doesn’t work, it cured me. I can assure you it’s not placebo or anything that changed in my life. Only the medication. I would be crazy to just stop using them. Everything has risks.

    • Oh my, you have been cured but you can’t stop the medication!!! Seriously, think what you are going to write first.

        • He stated it a bit… ah… too directly. But if you’ve had these awful effects (even if you don’t have them now), and stopping the meds will likely result in… unpleasantness, are they really the answer? Or do they just create more problems?

    • I had side effects from SSRIs that were mild and I did not know severe until I had metoclopramide. Believe me, if you are writing this your side effects were not severe. I spoke to someone whose agitation was so bad they did not sleep for 11 days, I myself went four days without sleep. If you have had some side effects that may mean withdrawal could be bad for you. NICE guidelines recommend short term use and use of other methods first such as counselling. Please be careful, they are not to be messed with. I was glib before this episode.

  8. Dear all. I know it looks like I dropped off the face of the earth. I guess for a while I did. In a nut shell, I had a major breakdown after battling what I thought was withdrawal syndrome for over a year. I was suicidal, agoraphobic, constant anxiety attacks for days at a time, suffered multiple other mind boggling miseries. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or interact with other people. My family banded together and got me to a wonderful family practice physician w ho was the most empathetic doctor I have ever met. He worked with me for several month, got me in with a good therapist, and I am now back on Lexapro at 10mg. I am feeling human and enjoying life for the first time in years. I thought I would never go back on the meds, but it was my last gasp before I gave up completely. You can read my many posts over the past 2 years or so. I was so against the meds and still would love to be without them. I endure side effects of weight gains, sleep disturbances, skin crawling, decreased libido, etc, but I am now functional and somewhat enjoying life. At least much more than before. I agree that there many people on the drugs for the wrong reasons, but there are also people who really need them. I truly hate it for the younger folks who have a lifetime of uncertainties. I have been having trouble only for the past 7 or 8 years and am in my early 60’s. I swore that after I got off them for the first time that I would never go back on them no matter what. I was so wrong. I was lucky in that I found a good doc willing to have an open mind and a lot of patience who probably saved my life. I also learned a lot about how to control my life and not let it control me. As my very wise son said, “I refuse to let anyone or anything steal my joy.” I have found that there several blood relatives who suffer the same miseries, and I feel that in my case, I have a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Do everything you can to remove all the stress and angst from your life, and if that doesn’t work, then you probably need stronger help. I have gained a new insight into mental illness and try to be an advocate for the “Crazies” out there. To all the compassionate people on this site that helped me through some of the darkest days of my life, I thank you with all my heart and hope that I can somehow return the favor. I will pray everyday for those I know and those I don’t. I hope you will pray for me also. Angie, Kuldeep, Lee, Zoe, and so many others. May God bless you all. Keep in touch if you can.

    • Mimi when I hadn’t seen any posts from you or Kuldeep I was afraid there was something wrong. I am glad you are doing better. Living in darkness is horrible and you do what you have to do to survive. If you read my posts below you will see that I am presently going through what you just went through. Several times I was tempted to get back on my meds but I didn’t. For about 4 months my anxiety was non stop without any breaks. It has fortunately eased up a little or I am pretty sure I would have gotten back on them. It comes and goes throughout each day so I am trying to take it one day at a time. We haven’t heard anything from Kuldeep so I hope he is okay. Mimi take care and God bless you dear lady and I wish you the best of luck.

      • Hi Angie, just wondering how you are feeling now and if you eat wheat at all. I recently read that anxiety and depression can be symptoms of gluten intolerance so I am trying to remove gluten from my diet to see if that helps with my anxiety. I had really bad withdrawal symptoms after coming off antidepressants a couple of years ago and after a couple of months I ended up back on drugs. I was trying to slowly come off them last year but ended up getting pregnant so have just stayed on where i’m at with them for the past year. I want to keep weaning myself off them at some stage.

        • Hey Kym, thank you so much for asking about me. I’m not a big wheat fan but I did look into gluten free diets because it seems to help with all sorts of ailments. I don’t think I eat enough to make that big of a difference. I am taking things one day at a time. My doctor is pushing so hard for me to get back on my meds but I am still trying to hold out. It’s like being on a roller coaster. If I wouldn’t get a break every now and then I definitely would get back on them but I hold on to those few moments of peace that I get occasionally. I wish you the best of luck for you and your little family and I truly thank you for your concern. I hate to see so many people suffering but it helps me feel less alone when I know there are others suffering like me. God bless you Kym.

    • Mimi, I was wondering if you have any regrets about getting back on your meds. Every time I think I am beginning to get things under control I face another road block in my life. I keep reading your post and I want so badly to enjoy life again. I just keep going to back to withdrawals. I just wanted to see if you felt the same way or if you had any regrets. Either way I hope you are doing great! Have you heard from Kuldeep yet? I am getting worried about him. Take care Mimi.

      • Angie, my friend. Thank you for your continued concern and I am sorry you continue to be searching for answers. I myself really can’t say that I have any feelings about going back on the meds as I had no choice. It was my only option as I had tried everything else for well over a year. Was it recurrent anxiety and depression or prolonged withdrawal? I do not know. I only know that I had hit rock bottom and had nowhere else to go. I have always been a strong person able to face just about anything, but this was my downfall. I gave up after a truly heroic battle. It took a while of slowly weaning back onto meds, and I was also physically sick as I was doing this. I lost 25 pounds in a matter of weeks. But finally it started to get better and now I am functional and able to do just about anything as long as I pace myself and do not overdo it. My emotions are somewhat blunted at times, and sometimes they are on my sleeve. I also have concentration problems sometimes but manageable. All in all I am much better, but what are the drugs doing to my body? I am in my early 60’s and if this is what it takes to enjoy a few more years of life then so be it. God help the young folks just starting down this road. Too much stress in this life of ours. As far as Kuldeep is concerned, I also have worried about him. I think maybe he has resorted to reinstating and feels like he has failed. I don’t know for sure but would like to know he is okay. As far as you are concerned, life is to short to be miserable. If you manage to overcome without meds, I am so happy for you, but don’t beat yourself up if you decide to go back. I lost better than a year of my life fighting this battle when I had no chance of winning. I do feel better. You deserve to also, whichever way you decide to go. Peace and Blessings to you and your family. M

        • Mimi, like you I recently had to get back on my meds. I was truly heading for a nervous breakdown. It has been mental torture watching my father die a slow death since February and my mind just could not handle it anymore. He was very active and one day he had a stroke that paralyzed his left side and we had to put him in the nursing home. Plus it seemed anything that could go wrong in my life has gone wrong and it was just too much. I fought it as long as I could but I couldn’t go any more. I’m glad I reached out to you because getting back onto my meds has made me so sick. I see it did the same thing to you so I realize it was not my imagination after all. Before I got back on my meds I was so miserable and sick with my nerves. I could not eat or sleep and worst of all, I could not enjoy my 7 beautiful grand babies. My sister told me that I was not doing anybody any good by not taking my medicine and it was true. I can’t wait to get my life back. I’m just taking everything one day at a time. Take care dear Mimi. I wish you peace and God bless you and your family.

          • Hang in there Angie. Starting antidepressants always made me feel worse before I started feeling better. I hope you start enjoying life again soon! You will be ok.

            • Kym and Angie, yes oh yes, I was miserable. It took around a month before I started to improve. The worst was I felt like failure after over a year off SSRI s. I will never know for sure but I feel that this was an exacerbation of my AD/PTSD rather than withdrawal. Whatever. I feel so much better. Nowhere near perfect but much better. I can enjoy life again. I know you will feel better also. I just know it. We are so much alike. I too have 5 grand babies and love them dearly. Please just have faith and patience. You will feel better. Peace and blessings. Mimi

              • Thank you Kym and Mimi for your support. I’ll be so happy when I can really start enjoying life again. I’ll also be glad when the nausea stops but thankfully I have already noticed a difference mentally. I don’t have the constant what if’s playing in my mind non stop nor the constant fear and worry. I still have them but they aren’t constant and I am so grateful for that. It is also helping me as I go check on my father in the nursing home every evening. The best part is I am starting to relax and play with my babies again. I’m still taking it one day at a time. God bless you both.

              • Hi Mimi, for me I would say I definitely had withdrawal symptoms. I had dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears, extreme mood swings, difficulty concentrating and remembering things, fuzzy brain and weird feelings at the back of my brain that felt like my nerve endings were being burned, problems focusing my eyes, shaky hands, strange pin prick feelings all over my body, paranoia, feeling like I couldn’t get warm sometimes, and just a general feeling like my brain was shutting down. I’ve noticed that some of these symptoms are the same as ones you can get when you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, so I think seeing a Naturopath and taking supplements could greatly enhance wellbeing. When I told my doctor about the withdrawal he said he didn’t believe that’s what it was and it was probably just my anxiety returning. He said there was nothing he could do about it and told me he had to see the next patient. I left in a state of despair. I have changed doctors but the next one I saw just put me back on meds.

                • And Angie I also had the constant what if’s going on and thoughts just circling through my head all the time. I felt like I just wanted to turn my brain off for a while so I could get some peace. It really is horrible. I hope you feel better soon. Maybe you could try a digestive enzyme to make sure you are getting all the vitamins your body needs.

      • Ive been battling withdrawal off Celexa for 5 months now- I have symptoms Ive never experienced before- insomnia, rage, unbearable menstruations, extreme depression, suicidal ideation. I cant afford therapy so I try to find forums like this because no one seems to understand or care. This issue is serious. I was normal before I went on C. I couldnt get off it for three years. finally did it after pummeling my system with omega, Bs, Theanine and Sam-e , but still – having huge lack of balance hormonally/neurologically.

        • Kara I am so sorry you are suffering and can’t afford therapy ❤

          I think you will really like this book and find it helpful. The Mindful Way Workbook: An 8-Week Program to Free Yourself from Depression and Emotional Distress

          There’s another book, specifically for OCD but honestly I found it so helpful for explanations on how our brains work. There’s one entry in particular that explains unwanted thoughts and how to let them go, I really think it would be helpful to many people. The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

        • Hi Kara. Withdrawal is truly awful and I hope you will start feeling better soon. I ended up back on meds and am trying to taper off very slowly. I was getting to the point where I though if this goes on much longer i’d rather die. Have you tried taking magnesium for muscle relaxation? I read certain meds can deplete your body of magnesium. Also essential oils like lavender can be really helpful for sleep. I have been feeling a whole lot better since taking digestive enzymes and cutting back on wheat, dairy, caffeine and sugar. Keeping blood sugar levels stable can help a lot too. I was also recommended by someone on another forum to eat pumpkin seeds and take bioplasma. You pretty much want to nourish your body as much as possible. And I have found yoga to be extremely helpful too. I hope some of these things might be useful to you. Take care

    • The stories are heartbreaking I am living one myself, trapped in 20plus years of anti depressant use and now cant seem to be off them or on them, the more I try in this go around at 47 the worse it has been with 4,5 days tolerated only to start experiencing severe side effects from drugs like mirtazapine most recently that have supposedly low side effects and induce sleep for many but seemed absolutely poison to my body and mind inducing akathisia type symptoms on small doses of up to 15mg and much less after the drug started quickly becoming intolerable.

      • John, I am so sorry you are going through this. I don’t wish this on anyone but I feel less alone knowing this is not all our imagination but what we are feeling is very real. I had to get back on my meds recently and I don’t ever remember feeling this sick when I would get back on them before. I hope you feel better soon. I wish you the best of luck and complete healing. We are here if you need anything.

    • Mimi, I believe you were suffering form protracted withdrawal from Lexapro. These drugs change our brain structure, the brain remodels itself around the drug, and when that drug is taken away, our brain collapses, like a honeysuckle that’s had the trellis ripped out from under it.
      That’s why you stabilised so quickly bacon the Lexapro. Your brain got it’s fix back. These drugs are awful, an awful indictment of a society where the powers that be invent drugs to keep the masses passive, pliant, malleable.
      I’m suffering from protracted withdrawal still, 14 months after getting off prozac. Every day is a struggle.
      From what I have learned a slow, slow taper from these drugs is best, as it allows the brain to heal slowly without the disabling symptoms from such a massive shock to it’s system as having the drug it’s used to being stopped completely. The drug is malleable, it adjusted to the drugs, it can adjust back. But it takes a lot, lot longer. Sometimes you have to taper over a period of years.
      If you google the forum Surviving Antidepressants you will find a wealth of information, evidence and advice on there.
      I really do hope this information helps someone. We are not alone.

  9. First of all I was checking and I haven’t seen any posts from Mimi and Kuldeep in a while. I hope y’all are doing okay. Your answers to my posts have helped me so much in the past so I am hoping everything is okay with you two.
    Now to my problem. I had been on almost every anti depressant/anti anxiety pill for over 24 years. I tried numerous times to wean myself off without success because the withdrawal was horrible. My depression and anxiety would get worse and out of control until I got back on my medicine. It took me a year of slowly weaning myself off until I finally got it out of my system. I have been off my meds for a year now but my anxiety has come back with a vengeance. I am fighting so hard to not get back on them but I don’t know how much more I can take.

    • I’ve only been able to get through it with a Naturopathic Doctor. Someone who can get tests on your systems (adrenals, thyroid, hormones, etc) and fix physical problems that might influence the mental. And if you’re going to go the neurotransmitter route, go natural first – I’m on non-prescription 5 HTP and GABA, and there are so many other ways to help your brain without these insane drugs. But you really need to talk to a professional who will help you find the right balance. Too much and you’ll do more harm than good; too little and you’ll spend a TON of money on nothing. It’s expensive, but you have to decide if its worth avoiding the drugs. For me, I got my libido back, and when I went crazy (probably due to Lyme rather than withdrawal) and tried to go back on the meds, I felt WORSE, and the side effects were awful, so that sealed the deal – no going back!
      There’s also cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling; clean or anti-inflammatory eating, and lots of other things to try before meds. If you’ve made it THIS FAR I encourage you to seek a different route for anxiety, the drugs, in my opinion, aren’t worth it.

      • Thank you JeDa. I appreciate your response along with your recommendations and encouragement. I knew in my heart that I shouldn’t go back, I guess I just needed someone to remind me that in the long run it is not worth it. I will look into the alternatives. My state of mind is really in a bad place right now. I hope I can get some relief soon.

    • Angie, I have been off a ton of psychiatric MEDS since July, 2014, & am only now dealing with severe anxiety but will research, hunt & do anything I can to avoid any of those medications again. I had been on psychiatric MEDS for 28 years & had NO IDEA that I had been a walking zombie until getting off the MEDS in 2014. Talk about an eye opening revelation!!!!! I did not know the MEDS were making the depression & ALL the problems worse plus I was 100 lbs overweight & had numerous physical problems, only to discover, AFTER getting off those medications, the other physical conditions disappeared! I am now 60 years old taking a probiotic & that is ALL!!!! The weight fell off with no dieting. When the weight came off my cholesterol & stomach problems also went away. I do have some aches & pains due to arthritis but I will deal with the arthritis & be aware of it because I am ALIVE & AWAKE for the first time in 28 years! Looking back, I can understand what drug addicts are trying to achieve by using drugs….NUMBNESS & that is exactly what I had been unknowingly living prescribed by a doctor. If I ever questioned the medications or mentioned feeling bad, the psychiatrists would tell me that I needed another med or increase the dosage of an already prescribed med. I was even on the highest prescribed dosage of Klonopin, 6 mgs daily. I got off the meds totally by myself & by accident only due to financial hardship faced in 2014. The withdrawals were horrible, especially the Klonopin. It took months to get the MEDS out of my system but I have NO REGRETS!!!!!! I actually love life for the first time!!!!! I agree with JeDa who replied to your question. Yes, I am having a tough time with anxiety, at this time, but I am awake & know what has triggered the condition. I AM AWAKE SO I CAN THINK & REASON!!! I will find a solution but NOT with psychiatric medications. I want you to find the joy I have found & those medications are NOT the answer. It took 6 months to be able to see how getting off the medications had changed me in a positive way & I mean those first 6 months getting off the MEDS were hell!!!!! You hang in there & do some research for various other ways to help yourself rather than taking psychiatric MEDS.

      • Thank you Debbie. I am trying to take it one day at a time. Some days it is almost unbearable but I am still trying not to get back on them. I had been on my meds for 24 years. Every time I would try to get off of them the depression/anxiety would double and triple back on me. Even though I have been off of them for a year that is how I feel right now. My anxiety levels are through the roof. I have 7 beautiful grand babies who live within walking distance of my house and I can see them every day but my tortured mind is keeping me from truly enjoying them. I try to hide it from them. The oldest is 13 and the other 6 are 6 years and younger with the baby being 9 months old. I just feel like I am missing out on so much. I thank God every day because I have a very supportive family which helps me so much. Praying helps me a lot too but it is like a constant battle within my head. Even when I am comforted, my heart is either racing or pounding or the adrenaline is steadily flowing non stop. I reread your comment about research. I have a job that gives me a lot of free computer time and that is all I do, research anxiety. I am afraid of taking all these ‘natural’ OTC meds. I worry because what happens if I get off of them and I get the same reaction that I did from my meds, my anxiety doubling and tripling back on me. I just started taking a probiotic so hopefully that will help. I will still continue to take things one day at a time.

        • I am going to have to unsubscribe to getting notices. I’m starting to hate Chris Kresser and those like him for perpetuating the suffering of people like you Angie.

          My Grandmother had OCD and Anxiety. She was born in 1920. Back then no one even knew what OCD was, even in the 50’s all they had for her was shock treatments. How amazing if she lived today and could take medication and have therapy. Is the medication perfect, no. It’s not perfect. My 11 year old has severe OCD as well, like her grandmother. But it’s the best we have right now. There’s research going on right now and maybe in my daughters lifetime they will find out the mechanisms that cause it and have even better medications.

          Thank god we don’t live in a world that still exercises demons, literally. Not long ago that’s what we did for mental illness, think about that for a second. That’s how little we knew. It’s not perfect today but think how far we’ve come.

          I feel like Chris Kresser and other sites are going backwards, to where we were 50 years ago in research. My daughter might have to take medication her entire life, we don’t know. She’s done amazing in her CBT/ERP therapy but the fact is her OCD may come back if we wean her off but it will be NO FAULT of hers and science just doesn’t know enough right now but they do know they SSRI’s help people with severe anxiety. They just aren’t totally sure why. They readily tell you this.

          Get a psychiatrist you feel comfortable with, not a primary care doctor. Enjoy your grand babies. Enjoy life. Please. I knew my grandmother was mentally ill and it breaks the heart of those around you to know you won’t help yourself. Look up Bunmi Laditan on Face Book. She wrote a wonderful thing. The same organ that is sick, is the same organ that needs to make the decision to take your medication everyday.

          I don’t know if my response will be deleted but please get help Angie, from a doctor and not from people like the Chris Kresser’s of the world. Don’t forget, for Chris Kresser – THIS is how he makes HIS money. On articles like this. Don’t forget HIS motivation for writing things like this. Does he believe them? Sure. Probably. But he is one voice with a lot of monetary incentive so say such things. Be well Angie.

          • You have not felt it on yourself but people who do write here. Chris is not paying us. I have taken more than half of SSRIs available and antipsychotics. I have no symptom heart racing before effexor, not the super insomnia .. not rage before paroxetine .. I am 27 and suffering for PSSD. I was told that these side effects will go and it’s been a year I am going through hell even after stopping them. Still you want to believe, your wish – we are here the first hand sufferers … and not the said doctors who refuse to agree the suffering.

            • You mistake me and I am so sorry you are suffering. I truly am. I have a mentally ill child. Do you think I want to harm her? I have turned down more meds then I have given her and she has been doing cbt/erp therapy 2-3 hours every single week all this year.

              When I talk about the money, I only mean to say that while people talk about the drug companies and money, don’t forget everyone has motives, and don’t forget other peoples motives are not always as angelic as you would hope.

              I can only speak watching my grandmother and father suffer mental illness and self medicate. Their lives were destroyed by mental illness and if there was medication available (and they would have taken them) maybe their life and by default my mothers and then mine could have been “normal”. We will never know.

              Watching my daughter, I did everything we could before medication. She was trapped inside the house and her mind with her OCD. The only turn around came when she finally got on the right medication at the right dose. She told me she feels like a normal child for the first time in her life. She can live as a normal child, not trapped by her rituals and numbers. She still has backslides, she still has OCD, she still does therapy, it’s not perfect. But I would no more take away her medication then I would take away her medication if she had a heart condition or type 1 diabetes. I hope we can wean her medication and her psychiatrist fully supports that but if her OCD and anxiety comes back, she will be going back on because she can’t live a normal life without the medication. We do *everything* else in addition: yoga, mindfulness, diet, supplements, homeschool, and she’s getting a service dog.

              I wish you only the best and healing <3

              • Lizza, this site has been incredibly useful in helping me feel not alone and has given me insight (the internet and professionals seem to be SILENT about the awful side effects of these drugs so there’s not much out there for help in this) by reading about very similar experiences. Chris has created a platform to help us communicate, not send us back to the dark ages. I’m wondering why you would write a post that is so biased/black and white?

                • There are better sites to find useful information for one thing (mental health daily dot com has an active forum for withdrawal).

                  Second because there are truly mentally ill people that need these medications and the exact people that need them grab onto information like this to prove it’s better to be mentally ill. I know several people that won’t take their medications and their life is in shambles because of it and their children suffered because of it. One I had to cut off communication with. She would have literally printed out this article as to the reason she wouldn’t get help and then tell me she wants to walk in front of traffic. You see I live in an area where Chris Kresser is a practical guru (in the religious sense). Then they won’t seek medical help. Maybe other areas of the country are cut off from alternative medicine but in my area this is the norm not the exception. It’s great for people that don’t need real help.

                  I was only frustrated because someone not able to enjoy their life, or loved ones, need help. Many people lead normal lives because of these medications and to deny that IS going back to the dark ages. Where the only thing they had to offer my grandmother was shock therapy.

                  There are genetic testing you can do now to see both how well you will respond to an SSRIs, which ones work best for you, or if you will have a lot of side effects. These are accessible tests.

                  Natural and alternative medicine is wonderful. Unless it’s not.

                • Lizza,
                  This is for the people who have taken those SSRIs and found themselves in hell. I am one of them who was not mentally ill but stamped. Always bright both ways in academics and athletics. Some physical problems and they put me on Paxil. Now I am numb .
                  Off paxil 10 months, I cannot explain what I am going through and while on it what I had gone through.
                  Hell lot of medication changed, one after another.
                  Now if someone is mentally ill, if it helps calm down then it’s ok.
                  But the reality is far from this.. they are creating mental illness and there is no one to listen.

          • Hi Lizza,

            First I think I should state that, unlike some people, I do believe that there is a place for psychiatric medication and that obviously some people have benefited from it and they should not feel bad about that. I know that sometimes people in the natural health community (and elsewhere) can sound rather judgmental on the topic. I am so glad you have found something that helps your daughter. Unfortunately, for many of us, these medicines don’t help, in fact, they make things worse. And some people never really needed them to start with, but a doctor was too quick to reach for the prescription pad and now they are suffering from side effects and discontinuation symptoms. So for these people, information about alternatives and forums like this one provide a real service.

            In my case, I have suffered from depression and anxiety for almost as long as I can remember. My first experience with an antidepressant occurred back when Prozac was brand new and too pricey for my health plan so I was prescribed a tricyclic, desipramine, which gave me seizures. This scared me off these meds for over a decade, but since then I have been prescribed, at various times, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Ambien, Klonopin and Adderall (because bonus for me, I also have ADD!) Which ones worked for me? Unfortunately, none of them. If they had, I’d still be taking them and never question it. But honestly, they made me worse, not better. Prozac made me so numb and indifferent that I couldn’t enjoy anything, not even my favorite hobbies that have always brought me solace, like reading and birdwatching. When I talked to other people, it’s true I wasn’t anxious, but that’s because they didn’t even seem real to me. My husband said I “seemed dead” and that’s how I felt. Wellbutrin did improve my mood but I suffered constantly from dizziness, muscle aches, fatigue and sore throat, just not worth it. I could mention a similar story for each thing I tried.

            And what did my doctors say? Obviously I needed more drugs! When one of them tried to prescribe Zyprexa off label as a sleeping pill to counteract the insomnia I had as a side effect of another drug (I have never had symptoms that would call for an anti-psychotic) and when I expressed concern, he just said off hand, well, it can cause weight gain but so what cause I’m skinny–suffice to say, said no thanks. At that point I went to the internet and found this site and have appreciated it for what it is–another point of view than the prevalent one bombarding people to “ask their doctor” to prescribe them more meds. And it has been helpful to me. Nor have I paid anyone a dime to read and post here. We are all so different in how we react to medication but it can be so very frustrating trying to explain this to a doctor.

          • Thank you Lizza. I truly appreciate your concern. I had a nervous breakdown when I was 31 years old. I know anti depressants helped saved my life back then. For over 24 years I would be doing good so I would try to get off my meds. My depression/anxiety would double and triple back on me with other horrible side effects, so I stayed on them. 2 years ago I was losing my insurance and knew I couldn’t afford my medicine so it took me a very long year to slowly wean myself off. Before I got off my meds, I truly was worried that I had Alzheimer’s. My family was concerned also because they noticed it too. After being off my meds for a year my memory is coming back (although there is still so much I can’t remember) and my concentration is better but not perfect. Withdrawal is a very frightening experience. For the most part my anxiety stays low but like right now my father had a stroke and is paralyzed on his left side and won’t eat or drink enough to keep himself alive. I am watching him die a slow death and that is what triggered my anxiety (that plus everything that is going on in the news). When you have time read the blogs on here. Everyone has similar experiences like mine with taking these meds. I knew in my heart not to get back on the meds that is why I turned to this website for reassurance. I don’t know, maybe one day I won’t have a choice and I will need to get back on them but for now as long as I can keep functioning I will stay off of them. I wish you the best of luck and complete healing for your little girl.

            • It is heartbreaking to have a child with mental illness. I wish cbt/erp would have been enough for her (she actually couldn’t even do it before meds, it caused horrific panic attacks). Maybe she can wean. Maybe not. I’m taking her to the OCD annual conference this next year in San fransico so she knows she’s not alone. I never thought to tell her she wasn’t “crazy” but one of her first therapists told her that she wanted her to know that and my daughter said “thank you” that was heart breaking to think she thought she was crazy.

              She doesn’t remember a time she’s ever lived without OCD. It’s been her constant companion. My husbands family has Tourette’s and my husband suffered for a few years as a pre-teen but out grew his Tourette’s but not his ADHD (he doesn’t take medication). If you look up OCD / Tourette’s / ADHD they are all connected. With my family history and my husbands, my poor daughter never had a chance I suppose. I’ve resisted any diagnosis of ADHD. I feel its the anxiety and her psychiatrist hasn’t pushed it.

              I came here, ironically, because I too am not pro-meds lol. And they do reach for them too fast. But for some people, like my daughter, or someone that is housebound or literally not able to enjoy life without them, they can be a godsend. I do think there’s something they don’t understand yet going on and for a lot of people the SSRIs help. OCD requires double doses unfortunately. In children we are limited but I won’t give her an anti-psychotic but with max dose and ridiculous amounts of home based therapy she’s doing really well!

              I have a library of books I read to help her – and me – it’s tough as a mom and honestly it’s hard to even be around someone living with so much anxiety and children with OCD entwine a parent into their rituals and before you know it, it’s a dysfunctional dance neither one of you can stop. Anyways. There are two really good books. One is specifically for OCD but honestly I found it so helpful for anxiety, the author has OCD and is a therapist and the way he explains what happens in the brain I personally found helpful. Both are mindful CBT.

              The mindful way workbook: an 8 week program to free yourself from depression and emotional distress

              The mindfullness workbook for OCD

              I wish you well Angie! Have you looked into CBD oils? I don’t know if the legal in all states hemp based oils work as well as if you live in a legal state but it’s worth a try!

              • Thank you Lizza. From what I have researched, I guess my next step is to try CBT Therapy. I am just leary because I haven’t had too much luck with psychiatrists and therapists but maybe it’s because I haven’t found the right one yet. I don’t know about the CBD oils, I’ll see. Thank you and I appreciate you taking the time for your recommendations. I also wish you and your precious daughter well.

          • I am glad you are genuinely concerned for the mental well being of others. I do feel as if you are misguided. You have stated that you think that Chris is doing this to make money. Really? The people out to make BILLIONS in PROFIT on medicating millions of humans are the Pharmaceutical companies, medical & psychiatry professionals! What is really needed is the proper testing! Just to name a few….nutritional evaluation, heavy metal testing,behavioral investigation and discovery of trauma.
            Then diagnosis, then treatment. Which is mostly NOT the case when psychotropics are prescribed. There are so many things that get overlooked, one biggie; HEAVY METAL TESTING. Almost NEVER is this the course taken. There are a gamut of other tests that need to be done for a proper diagnosis and treatment for an illness, condition,disorder, however you word it? We are only treating the symptoms, without knowing the cause! And when you are medicating the precious minds of humans, it is much more dangerous than the illness alone. We will discover & believe this one day, as fact . I am terrified that in the meantime, we are destroying the physical and mental health of the masses. Chris Kresser is NOT out to do this, he is trying to get people to believe in themselves and educate people who are being deceived by “The system” May I kindly suggest you do the same and really research the drug(S) your precious daughter is taking. There are alternatives. I wish you and yours the best.

        • Angie. I have been off Effexor and ADD meds brought on by the Effexor. The most important factor for me getting better was HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY! This is not uncommon. I am 90-95% better when I went to a natural bio-identical hormone. Susanne Sommers wrote about finding them in Compound Pharmacies. They are popping up everywhere. Originally I used a gel called Estrogel that replaces Estrodiol as a close bio-identical answer but now I am on four hormone creams. One of my naturalpath’s didn’t agree. She is in a small town and limits her therapy to certain answers. I was crying everyday for 11 months. It took several weeks for the hormones to kick in but I am functional. I just visited my dying father in law and didn’t break down. I have heard of MANY women in menopause and after experiencing this. If you can’t find a compound Pharmaceutical who makes the product to fit you. Then try your regular dr and the gel. I got my tests and info through Tahoma Clinic in the Seattle area. They do a lot through the mail but cannot accept insurance. The other new discovery is a machine that uses magnetic pulses to restore neurotransmitter activity with very few side effects. It has been in use for the last 8 years and these clinics are popping up nationwide. Do your research, it is expensive. It may save your life. TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION. My daughter discovered the research in college when getting a neuroscience degree.

          • Thank you Julia. I had uterine cancer and my gynecologist is trying his best to keep me away from all that. I will check out Suzanne Somers book and I just googled Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It looks like something I would like to look into. I recently started meditating and that is helping me calm down a little when I feel like I am losing control. I am just taking everything one day at a time. Thank you for your help.

  10. Chris I’ve been following you for many, many years and trust you fully. I’ve read this article multiple times along with others supporting the damaging effects of SSRI’s. I took them for several years before becoming aware of the long-term damage that can take place. I have been free of SSRI’s for almost 2 years now. I have been struggling ever since to try and recover and resume some sort of “normal”. Is there anything at all that I and others can do to attempt to feel happy, energetic, and somewhat normal again? I exercise, eat well, take a shelf-stable probiotic that survives stomach acid but my sleep is starting to be affected once again and I still suffer depression and anxiety bouts, mood swings, weight fluctuations, etc. I refuse to go near SSRI’s again but I’m so concerned with having to go forward in life dealing with the damage left behind before I learned more. Help please?

    • Annette, I totally understand where you are coming from. If someone answers your questions please share them with me. I have 7 beautiful grand babies and because of my severe anxiety I cannot enjoy them or enjoy my life or as you say ‘to have a normal life’. I’m so tired of having anxiety. I’m not even asking to be happy, I just want to feel a little peace.

    • Hi Annette, and also to Angie,
      There are a few things I have found to help with my anxiety.
      Magnesium is great to help relax the muscles. the more stressed you are the more magnesium your body uses up too. I I take fish oil supplements to help my brain too.
      Lavender essential oil is awesome for sleep and there are other oils that are calming and relaxing too (chamomile, frankincense, rose etc)
      Tissue salts help too. they are minerals that are quickly absorbed into the cells.
      Recently I have started taking digestive enzymes to make sure my body is absorbing nutrients properly and have noticed an improvement in my health, along with cutting out gluten and dairy. Eating more raw foods would help as they have enzymes in them that get destroyed by heat and processing.
      I found out in the past that my hormones are out of balance so I was using progesterone cream (bioidentical). I stopped using it when I was pregnant but will start using again soon. It really helps with anxiety and pms symptoms.
      Also meditation, yoga, and I recently found out about the emotional freedom technique which I haven’t tried yet. you could Google it.
      L-theanine is something you could try too. It is an extract from green tea that helps calm and lift your mood. There is also 5-htp to help your brain produce serotonin. And rhodiola is another supplement that helps with that too.
      I have a book that says when you are having a panic attack you can use the accept, relax, float through method. So you accept how you are feeling, don’t try and fight it. then concentrate on trying to breath slowly and relax all the muscles in your body, then you kind of just float through it and wait for it to pass. Easier said than done 😛
      I hope I haven’t bombarded you guys with too much info. From what I’ve found out over time it seems like our bodies have been thrown out of balance by the drugs and other things in life and we need to get them healthy again. We need all the vitamins and minerals we can get to help our bodies heal and try to stay away from things that deplete those minerals eg, sugar, caffeine and processed foods. It has taken time for our bodies to get this way so it will take time to heal again. Just keep trying to find all the natural remedies you can to support your system and build healthy serotonin levels in the brain again. I believe we can be healthy again 🙂 also bone broth is great for the digestive system 😛

  11. I’m grateful I ran across this page. I have been terrified there was something more going on with me than just being on and then going off sertaline. I have been on anti depressants for 6 years. I switched about a year ago and found right away the depression got better but it didn’t last so I had my dose upped to 100. That was about 5 months ago. I have been thorough hell. I had an anxiety attack for no reason at my daughters dance recital. I drive for work and multiple times I felt I shouldn’t be driving. I have felt so out of it and get extremely exhausted. I was worried that something more was going on and knew I needed to go off the medication to make sure it’s the medication and not more going on. I did what I shouldn’t have and just stopped taking them a couple days before seeing my doctor. He stated there was no point weening off since I hadn’t taken for a few days. The first few days I felt better than I have in years. I was present and alive. I have had some side effects of being emotional and was bitchy a few days but nothing compared to what I’ve been through the last year. I still get exhausted but it is better. It’s only been a few weeks. I’m terrified of the fact that I may need to go on something. I almost lost my marriage before going on anti depressants and can’t do that again. How long after going off did you feel fuzzy thinking and tired? Also did anyone have any issues will being on the medication with compulsion issues? I gained allot of weight this year and struggled with alcohol which has been an issue but never to this capacity. I felt I had no control.

    • Lori, it may take weeks to a few months for the withdrawal symptoms to appear after cold turkeying your SSRI. When I stopped taking Prozac, it took 3 months for the worst of the symptoms to appear.
      Doctors don’t recognise protracted withdrawal, just as they don’t recognise that these drugs change our brain structure.
      Please rethink reinstating your med and tapering SLOWLY from it, decreasing by 10% of the current dose every 4-6 weeks is the recommended standard.
      And please google surviving antidepressants – I’ve received a lot of support there.

  12. All,
    My name is Jon. 2 weeks ago after complaining to my doctor about lack of sleep and extreme fatigue I was “instantly” diagnosed as being a candidate for Wellbutrin. This doctor did NO investigation as to whether I was truly suffering from depression and WITHOUT ANY communication to me of the side effects put me on this drug. I am otherwise extremely healthy. 9 days later I suffered and an awful convulsion – breaking my jaw and shoulder. I was and am devastated. I should have been told by my doctor what could happen. I was not even told of the insomnia effect, which was the precursor to the convulsion. Surely, with such a risk AND no concrete clinical diagnosis of depression, I should have had the side effects explained to me, so I could make an informed choice. I am so deeply sorry I only googled the drug when it was too late. I hope SO SO SO sincerely that this comment will deter just one person from the trickery of these drugs. Thanks you. Jon

    • So sorry this happened. I’m on Wellbutrin after tapering off of Effexor, and once I get my adrenal glands and hormones straightened out (the imbalance of which is probably the biggest cause of my problems, and can be treated with temporary natural supplements) I hope to go off that as well. I really wish they’d just stop prescribing antidepressants, they do more harm than good.
      So many things in your body can make you tired. My insomnia and sluggish mornings were actually caused by adrenal fatigue, but for years my doctor just gave me more antidepressants. Unfortunately, Naturopathic Doctors and other alternative specialists are ignored by the insurance companies and healthcare bureaucrats. It’s awful.

      • I tried to use Wellbutrin to bridge off of Effexor. Had terrible reaction to the generic Wellbutrin. Tried 3 different generics since a month supply of Wellbutrin 150 is over $1,200. The generic Wellbutrin cause terrible side effects everything to come back again that I had on the generic Effexor. Do you know what brand generic that you’re taking?

        • I can’t find the manufacturer info on my bottle anywhere. I know my mom takes a little blue Wellbutrin and when they changed generic brands, she had a bad reaction… I take a white one.
          At this point, it hasn’t done a thing to help me, even with lots of naturopathic support. After 3 months off Effexor completely, the side effects came back. I’ve been shaking for hours.

    • I am saddened by your story?
      I hope your injuries healed well.
      I completely agree with you and hope others see the LIGHT!

  13. Hi all. I just want to add that most people can taper off these drugs with minimal withdrawal with a very slow and steady micro taper. This often means getting the drugs in liquid form or making it into a liquid yourself. It can take a while but its what the brain needs to adapt without the drug. I wish I knew this. I tapered in 4 months and am dealing with issues a few years off. Please check out surviving It’s truly a life saving site. Lots of important info.

  14. I want to thank everyone in this comment section.
    I was prescribed Prozac (20mg) about two weeks ago.
    As of now I’m weaning myself off.
    The systems I was labeling as depression I can ease through a proper diet, exercise and all of the other things I know I should be doing anyway.

    Good luck and love to all,

  15. Been on antidepressants, mostly Effexor, for 15 YEARS. They never worked more than 9 months so I had to increase my dose more and more, then switch, and go thru the suicidal withdrawal stage, over and over and over again. I was told that the “chemical imbalance” ran in my family and I had no other choice. When I was a teenager I didn’t care that I had no sex drive, but once I got married and never orgasmed I finally got pi$$ed off enough to quit – it’s taken 7 MONTHS to get off 225 mg of Effexor (Doctor actually gave me 300 but I couldn’t sleep and didn’t use that for more than a few days), and sadly I’ve only been able to replace it with Wellbutrin. It’s been brutal.

    I share the sentiments of the previous poster who said I Hate Doctors, and everyone else. These doctors and pharmaceuticals may have given us PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE and we can’t do a damn thing about it?!?!

    The only class action lawsuits I’ve found for Effexor are for birth defects. Of course I can’t afford a lawyer, when you’re going thru withdrawal you can’t get out of bed some days, let alone work. But it’s not a “real” medical condition so you can’t get disability… WTF are we supposed to do?!?!

    I’m dizzy all the time. I can’t think clearly. I can’t make decisions as simple as “am I going to the bedroom or the bathroom right now?” My vision is blurry. Im shaking. Im freezing. I cry at least once a day, usually 3 or more times. My appetite is a mess.

    No one who has experienced this has posted that it will ever end.

    This is NOT right. Doctors knew about this for decades and ruined my life anyway.

    So. So. Angry

    • I want to add that this is the “gentle” withdrawal with the help of a naturopath and counselor- back in college when I had no money or real physiological support, it was nearly suicidal.
      I take 3,000 mg of omega 3 (with actual DHA/ EPA content).
      I found out my adrenal glands were shot (get a cortisol test!) so I’m on naturopathic adrenal support (for 15 years I was telling my doctor I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning bc I was so exhausted… He shoved more drugs at me and never thought to test my adrenal glands). So there’s one life-saver, thanks to Phytisone I can actually get out of bed!
      I take 5-HTP as recommended by my ND (to avoid serotonin overdose)
      As well as a digestive enzyme to make sure I’m actually absorbing nutrients – we basically need to build me a new brain. So I need like, 25 g of protein PER MEAL which is really hard, especially when I feel sick all the time and don’t want to eat.

      My heart breaks (and my ears steam) for anyone who cannot afford any treatment (especially since alternative medicine is rarely covered by insurance). I only have my husband’s support, and I know that with any less patient of a man, I’d have been divorced long ago, this stuff really ruins your relationships.

      I’d love to try accupuncture or biofeedback, or all the other ideas that are helping people in studies… Doesn’t anyone want a free test monkey? (Besides M.D.s, I don’t ever want to see another doctor again!!!!)

    • I’m only 17 and already having the same problems as u are and none of the doctors seem to care when I tell them of these problems and so the just up my dose I’m glad that ik I’m not going crazy and that I’m not alone with these couses of effexor but it really does suck that they won’t help that they just shove pills down our thoughts and think it’s helping when in the long run there messing us up worse

      • I highly recommend finding a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.) Mine puts my history together like a puzzle and tells me all the things she’d have done differently, which systems could be affecting the others and causing symptoms, and we are trying piece by piece to get all my body systems in proper sync. We fixed my cortisol levels (adrenal gland) and my thyroid with natural supplements- the docs would have given me Synthroid for life, which actually destroys the thyroid. We’re going to work on getting me off hormones next (birth control, for irregular and unmanageable periods).
        The sooner you find REAL healing for your body, the less brain damage you’ll have to fix from their quack antidepressants.
        Just heard about a relative who was a pharmaceutical supervisor and she refused to sign off on a new drug that the FDA would approve but she knew it wasn’t safe. She got fired. HER supervisor wouldn’t sign off either and quit.

        Anyway, the good news is that about 2 weeks after going off Effexor completely, the vertigo has FINALLY STOPPED! My vision is better but I still have trouble focusing my eyes – I just stare right thru things, and can’t look at people when I talk to them. Now I have sort of anxiety attacks without a trigger – jitters all through my body, I can’t stop shaking my arms or legs, pounding heart, and this overwhelming agitation. These come almost every day for one or two hours; still crying a lot; and very very depressed, unmotivated, and unfeeling, except annoyed and angry at everything. My muscles have no strength lately.

      • Just get off Effexor. I had mild depression and was prescribed this horrible medication. I decided I wanted to stop taking it after a month, but quickly realized I couldn’t. When I stopped taking it I had withdrawal. Now I have rosacea I believe from taking it. Be careful. I am an adult woman and it kicked my butt. I had the extended release pills. I opened them up and took out five of the tiny tablets, and took them for five day. I then took out ten and took for five days. I just kept reducing the dose gradually until I could discontinue taking them entirely. Save the tiny tablets in a baggie, in case you need them, because you cant stop cold turkey. Forget the doctor who gave such a powerful and unnecessary drug to me, a women who had NO prior depression and NO prior health issue whatsoever.

        • Hi Suzieque, I have pretty much he same story as you. My doctor put me on Effexor which I took for four months Jan – April 2015. Never was actually depressed, I don’t think – just a middle aged lady with life stuff, functioning, going to work – just a bit down bc of life circumstances.
          I really couldn’t tolerate the drug well and wanted to come off after a month or two but my doctor convinced me “it’s like insulin for a diabetic” so I stupidly stayed on. Decided to wean myself off after 4 months – got no real advice from my doctor, just told to “go slow”. So I weaned off in 3-4 weeks. The dizziness and brain zaps were unbearable. Now, 14 months after coming off this poison that I never even needed in the first place, I still have brain zaps (dozens of times a day) and mild vertigo/dizziness. Also new hypertension. I keep waiting for everything to go away but after 14 months or so with no improvement it’s dawning on me that the damage was permanent.
          I too was completely healthy before and had never taken any other meds or drugs. I try to take care of myself eat healthy foods etc and now I’m stuck with permanent brain damage. I am livid that this drug can be prescribed to people who don’t need it, really. Maybe if one is suicidal and nothing else has worked, I can understand taking the risk, but for an otherwise healthy person with some mild symptoms? Unbelievable 🙁

          • I wonder if there isn’t something especially toxic about Effexor. I tried several antidepressants before deciding they weren’t for me–Prozac, Lexapro, Wellbutrin and Effexor–and while all of them had nasty side effects (a feeling of complete numbness with Prozac, relentless insomnia with Lexapro, chronic sore throat and muscle aches with Wellbutrin), Effexor was definitely the worst of the lot. Just one pill put me out of commission for two days. I felt like I’d been poisoned. At that point, I realized none of these drugs were going to work for me–and after reading other people’s experiences, I’m just so happy it wasn’t worse.

            But even with people who took it longer, maybe the damage isn’t permanent. I read a memoir (I think it was called “Shoot the Damn Dog”–the dog in the title being depression) where the author was basically poisoned by Effexor, but managed to heal the damage with acupuncture. In my case, I have found reiki to be extremely soothing and helpful. So maybe there might be something that could help, even if it’s a bit unconventional.

            • I was prescribed Effexor about 16 yrs ago & became a raging, out of control, angry nutcase!!!! The psychiatric medications now terrify me, after having taken numerous & numerous types over a 28 yr period. I will RUN, RUN, RUN if I ever hear a doctor try to prescribe one of those type medications. They are NOT GOOD at all!!!!!

          • I’ve read nothing but bad on the internet, long-lasting effects and permanent brain damage. So I’ve been terrified it would never end. But 2 months off of Effexor, (6 years on, 15 years total on AD’s) I am feeling almost normal again. I take a ton of natural pills and supplements, got off hormonal birth control, and still need to get off Wellbutrin. But if anyone out there is reading, let me be the first to tell you it CAN get better. I almost went back on, but I got through the very worst week, realized I got my libido back, then decided I would never ever ever kill it again 🙂 So i’m off forever. And I’m very pleased with the results I get from really digging into my systems and imbalances with a Naturopath and fixing the foundation.
            Please don’t give up!

            • Thank you so much for your positive support and feedback to all of us wounded soldiers of Anti depressants. It really gives me renewed hope and strength reading your comments.

              • Well, I hate to pull the rug out, but I have to be honest. I started having new symptoms – extreme fatigue and muscle weakness- weeks after the last dose. I had found ticks on me several times this spring so I thought it was Lyme disease and got tested. Still can’t get the results, but after a month, the classic WD symptoms came back – nausea, vertigo, and this damn shaking of my legs. Can’t stop crying. I failed. I took an Effexor this morning (20 beads in an empty gel cap).
                Maybe it’s possible to go off, but it takes more time than I have the patience for. My husband hates me, I hate me, I’m still a “newly-wed” and I’m a different person than he married, so he’s faithful but incredibly frustrated, which just makes me feel worse.
                I kind of don’t want to live anymore.

                My last resort is the leaky gut theory. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, paleo, anti-inflammatory, organic, etc but it’s so. f**king. expensive. Then I spend 6 hours a day in the kitchen at least, trying to cook something and cleaning up all the dishes. I guess I need to go back on the drug to get my mind clear enough to commit to “paleo” or whatever diet cleans up your gut, to get my muscles actually FUNCTIONING again so I can exercise… then try again. I can’t heal if I can’t get out of bed. 🙁
                Still can’t believe there’s not a single lawsuit for this.

                • good news/bad news: Lyme is positive so hopefully this awful feeling is due to it, not withdrawal. I went back on 20 “balls” of Effexor and eventually got the side effects back – insane night sweats, insomnia, shaking… so I’m pretty sure I never want to take them again, no matter what. I’m off. I think I’m going crazy and need the pills… but on them I feel worse, so NO MORE.

    • I know what you mean, I also took antidepressants for years. One day I received Jesus Christ into my heart and life and He set me free and i have not taken any since antidepressants sincere then. I renew my mind by reading the word of God, the Bible, daily. I stand on Gods promises. God did not make me with fear but with power, love and a sound mind. Its a daily thing to read the bible and cast your cares on Jesus. He is trustworthy and loves you.

      • I know what you mean, I also took antidepressants for years. One day I received Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior and He set me free from antidepressants. I renew my mind by reading the word of God, the Bible, daily. I stand on Gods promises. God did not make me with fear but with power, love and a sound mind. Its a daily thing to read the bible and cast your cares on Jesus. He is trustworthy and loves you.

        • Well, I am a devout Christian and went through my life with a lot of prayer and faith… and I’m still in this mess. I credit God for not allowing me to kill myself when I severely wanted to die the first time I went off Effexor.

          Unfortunately, our bodies are all different physiologically, so we cannot expect faith to magically heal us all; and people interpret depression and the treatment differently – I’ve heard that real Christians don’t need antidepressants, and I’ve heard that God has blessed us with the technology of antidepressants to cure the “disease” of “chemical imbalance” so we should take them and be better people. We are fallen creatures, subject to the pains of this world. If Jesus would make us all perfect on this earth, we wouldn’t need Him, would we? That’s for heaven, and we have to deal with the here and now.

          I now believe that antidepressants are a man-made poisonous money maker and I wish the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA shills who approved it would be stuffed in solitary confinement, fed all the poisons they sold to others and left to rot in their own hell of side effects.
          But some people I respect very much are thankful they have a pill to cure their insanity.

          God created our neurotransmitters, vitamin B, fish with Omega-3, healthy real food not made in a factory, and all the electrical impulses and memories and connections in our bodies. Why not harness the nature we were given to heal the problems that were probably man-induced anyway (crappy food, crappy environment, crappy drugs)?

          Sorry to the non-religious folk that I fed the Troll. But I do not discount religion and it’s important to me, so I’m a bit touchy about happy-go-lucky Christians who judge and throw salt in the wound that is already a broken human.

    • You sound a lot like what I went through. Did you have problems while you were on Effexor? There is a problem with some of the generics and Effexor was a big one. It feels like you’ve got permanent brain damage and you can’t think right. Usually the people have trouble while they’re taking Effexor because it’s the pill that’s causing it. I developed extreme anxiety and fear and Suicidal Thoughts while I was on it.

    • Yes it’s shocking. I’m so sad to hear that you have been through such a horrible time. My experience has been pretty much exactly the same as yours. Put on Prozac for fatigue during first year after my daughter’s birth. Have been on similar ssri or snri for 20 years and I have been trying to get off them for 20 years unsuccessfully. I always get disgustingly horrifyingly dreadful withdrawal symptoms and the doctors say “you are depressed” and put me back on them. I even had ECT once when the withdrawal was so bad. I think I’ve been permanently brain damaged by these drugs.

      • Kirsty a long, slow ‘micro-taper’ may help you finally get off these drugs. They reduce the drug very, very gradually, giving your brain time to get used to the slow decrease of the drug it’s rebuilt itself around, and heal. is a fantastic source of advice and knowledge, and has helped me deal with my protracted withdrawal from a doctor advised cold turkey after 13 years on prozac. I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through over the last year on my worst enemy.
        Please, if you’re reading this and want to come off your meds, you can, but you must taper them slowly – sometimes over years depending how long you’ve been on them and the dosage. If you cold turkey, or do a rapid taper which most doctors advise – you will end up back in the doctors office with worst symptoms than you ever had before going on the pills – but the doctor will still say ‘you’re having a relapse of your “condition”‘.
        The word is spreading, and soon these drugs will not be handed out like candy, and treated with the caution they deserve.

  16. I was in a major depression and was put on antidepressants and anxiety pills, I was also treated by a psychologist. After being on the pills for 10 months, during the middle I felt the sensation of my penis gone. My psychologist deemed me psychologically fit (nothing wrong with me anymore) and Ive been off the pills for over a year and yet I still have the side effects of ED. My urologist said it was psychological without even doing any tests on me or testing nerve dmg or blood flow in the penis. I dont know what to do, ive also gotten pains in the vein on the right side testicle after taking cialis and the pains wont go away. What should I do? ive been to the ER and they said to take advil and it would go away but it hasnt.

  17. My name is Diane and I have been reading your conversation and I feel now that I am not alone in suffering the dark side of AD’s and anxiety medication. It got to the point two weeks ago that was enough was enough and I have been researching ever since. I am also now visiting a hypnotherapist which has helped so much. I have lost my husband, my daughter and a lot of my friends because I changed beyond recognition. I was an attractive, slim, content wife and mother who experienced a lot of close deaths and I had a nervous breakdown. My weight, appearance, personality all changed for the worse and I was knocked out all the time. I am slowly weaning myself off SSRIs and next will be clonazepam. I want to say thank you to all of you for your sharing your experiences and your tips. I am pleased to meet you.

  18. My father died and soon after my mother and siblings began to behave like imbeciles – I became their stress-ball of sorts. What should have felt like the loss of a parent became the loss of my entire family. 3 years of insomnia, panic attacks and a phobia, becoming a high-school drop out after being a mostly A student – I was diagnosed with clinical depression at 16. Resisted conventional treatment and decided to suck it up – the plan was: finish high school, go to university away from toxic family, work/take care of myself. Shit ensues- I matriculate, and my family became actively insane again: couldn’t study and was forced to marry my boyfriend (fanatical religious people who decided to coerce me via manipulation and threats) – three years after that in a not-great marriage and personal lack of fulfilment, I decided to give in to conventional medicine at 22.

    I was on Cipralex 10mg and eventually 20mg for almost 7 years. It wore off by the time I hit 30, and I thought I should wean off because I barely remembered what the hell I did for those 7 years. I only remember thinking “what does it matter; we are all going to die anyway” – about EVERYTHING.

    The shit thing is – I never resumed feeling anything positive. No doctor tells you how flat you feel, how your personality is lost through continued use of these medications. Right now, I’m still clinically depressed (recent diagnosis by a psychiatrist) – and with divorce/moving (yay, two for one; thanks life) I feel compelled to take medication yet again because I’m not managing at all, I am full of anxiety, nerves and sadness – and loneliness. I’m worried that I’m going to have to be on them for the rest of my life. I feel broken inside. But I can’t motivate myself to do anything productive, and efficiently, and I’m hoping to use the ‘dark side’ to get going, wean off again, and hopefully stay on top this time.

    I hate everything. I hate doctors. I hate family. Sorry, I’m so full of hate – no wonder I always turn to the dark side.

    • Here on this forum everybody understands your agony very well. Please be content that you are not alone. Millions of people are fighting same or similar conditions. Do describe your exact problems once again with details of exactly what is going on now? Forget past issues and what happened when, just write what is happening now. I am sure our fellow friends will give you some valuable feedback.

            • @deathnote: Everybody’s writing style is different. Kuldeep has made a lot of great contributions here, which I value a lot. Coming in and swearing at people’s contributions is not the best way of entry if you want to find help or exchange thoughts.

              • Yeah I regret posting that knee jerk comment. I didn’t scroll comments. I was sharing my experience, saw “forget about the past” and lost it a bit, projection issues. Wasn’t aware this was a forum, of sorts.

                Kuldeep – sorry for the rudeness, I explained where I was in life, and that I think antidepressants screwed me up/erased my non cynical personality (or maybe that’s life) but they’re the only thing that can help me to get going again. Lack motivation otherwise.

                • It’s perfectly alright dear.. i am absolutely ok. You see this apologies and sorries are such nice tools that it can resolve many things. And, sometimes we become friends out of such incidents.
                  Anyways, for your health sake let me explain to you what I actually meant. I said ‘forget the past’.. so what i wanted you to understand and perhaps it applies to all of us here is that we have a tendency to dwell in past events and we all should try to cut that past film. In last 10-15 yrs whenever i used to visit a new doctor (i think most of us would have visited multiple doctors) so what would happen is that i would start narrating the entire long story of my life events and life complaints. How the parents behaved in my childhood and at xx age how i went thru yy problems and bla bla bla.. and mostly all doctors would simply listen to your meaningless speech and at the end of it all he would prescribe what he had already decided. it was only recently that i met a very knowledgeable doctor in Mumbai. He is truly a men of wisdom. He told me Kuldeep, ‘forget the past’ ‘tell me what is happening now’? Just talk about ‘now’.. initially i also felt a little awkward that he is not ready to listen to my suffering of all these years, but later he explained to me that if you allow yourself to constantly re-visit your past again and again and again then you will never never come out of this present condition and move forward. Bygone years are only a story, a memory film playing inside your mind, it is not real anymore, it is not renewable, you cannot rewind it, revise it, reframe it. You cannot change or correct anything from past. He said ‘forget what happened, forget who hurt you when, forget at what age in life you missed what because of whosoever’. ‘forget why you got on to this chemical medicines and how horrible they are’… ‘the fact is that you have already taken this drugs for so many years, you cannot undo what is already done. Stop going back into time and stop torturing yourself. It’s meaningless and useless to keep thinking about past events with ‘if and but’. You haven’t exercised for last 3 years? Forget it, you cannot go back to 2012-13. Start exercising now. Within three months you will see the benefits. Only look forward with strong will and sincere hope. Tell your doctor what is happening now, tell yourself what should be and can be done now!

                  So in that sense I put my words ‘forget the past’.. only concentrate on ‘what is happening now’.

                  I hope we have no misunderstandings. And do keep coming here and keep writing. It’s therapeutic feeling to read and know each other.

                  Thanks to those friends here who took my side in good faith. Love you all.

      • I was diagnosed BPII and medicated to the hilt. 200 mg ssri and 100 mg Clonazepam. I could not work and slept four or five hours during the day. My moods were depressed or irritable. I gained 70 lbs in a year. My muscles ached a lot so I was also adding Ibuprofen. I turned to alcohol because it helped block out how I felt and I also made 2 suicide attempts. My husband and daughter have nothing to do with me now. I am getting well for my daughter and taking herbal supplements, exercise and meditation. I am also going thru hypnotherapy. I an 52 and have lost 16 years of seeing my daughter grow into the smart woman she is. I should explain that I am English and find it difficult to explain things because that’s how we are. Maybe that’s why I was thought to be a bot ……

        • Sorry about that misunderstanding and possibly adding to your stress. Lol I’m sure you aren’t a bot 🙂
          I’m not an expert, but I definitely recommend therapy for you and your daughter if she’s open to it. My mom hates talking about things and I suspect she’s always been depressed, which led to her treating me like a stranger after dad died. I would have loved counselling to save our relationship- but that’s me, I don’t know if your daughter would be open to that, though I think everyone appreciates effort especially when it’s from family. Wish you all the best. Xx

      • Hi,
        This is bhasski here. I just saw that you met some Doc in Mumbai. I have been in Mumbai for 2.5 years for job and seen 2 private doctors for 2 years and they couldn’t help One changed the meds or better increase it. Other charged a huge sum for listening and more talking.

        Its been terrible and had to left my job as I was not able to cope up with anything. However, you are right that we dwell in past.

        Currently I have severe brain fog, pssd, lack of confidence and of course, my past looms over me. I cannot sleep at night, though when severly tired, I sleep in day. Overall all wake time is fatigued. I cannot laugh and get involved in conversations and left my meds about 30 days back.

        I know that almost all of us are into this or gone through it, but is there anyway to get your real personality back?

    • Deathnote. Please, please don’t let the hate eat you up. I experience the loss of my mom, sister and niece in 90 days. I had a stressful, stressful, toxic job in horrible banking. No support at home or work. A deadbeat husband and son to deal with. Worked 12 plus hours a day plus an hour commute. All of this finally got to me and I just found myself crying and not even knowing it. I realized I was depressed and thought I need some help. My Dr gave me Effexor. Something told me that this drug was bad and after a month, I tried to quit. Quickly realized I had to get a refill and taper myself off the drug, because I was not going to let the Dr. give me another one to wean me off. I found a post from someone that suggested tapering of you own medication by removing some of the tiny release tablets inside the capsule. I some how managed to do this and was able to get off the drug. I do believe it changed some of my thinking ability in that short time frame, I also believe it effected my skin, and gave me rosacea. I tell you all this because I too, hated everything and everybody, but after this horrific experience, I realize the hate was only hurting me and not anyone else. All of the things that happened to me were toxic and the hate I felt was too…but only to me. I encourage you to find your way out of the darkness. Get some the sun, sing, walk, go to a movie, church, garage sales, anything that you enjoy. I am happy today with no medicine. We all have a cord of strength that runs though us, I hope you find it and pull your way out. God bless.

    • I understand your suffering been in the same boat. A certain period of time wiped out. However there is hope. I myself was on anti depressants for around a year then gave up as it is not a cure. I wanted to be ME again not a zombie. After wasting few years in search today I fortunately have some concrete answers to depression. U can contact if you want.

      • Hi Govind,

        I just read your post and am very curious as to what concrete answers to depression you have?

        I am struggling and have been for about 16 years. I’ve tried over 30 medications with varied results, most of them not good.

        Currently, I am taking several vitamins and supplements to help with my mood instead of pharmaceuticals. I’ve had some relief but it’s not always lasting or consistent. I’m still experiencing depression right now and it’s so difficult. I cry a lot every day and feel very low and hopeless. I rarely enjoy anything anymore, even things I like to do. Desperately searching for some relief.

        Thanks for listening. I hope you respond.

    • You are in my prayers, angel. May you find some happiness in something? Nature is a wonderful source of healing. Being in the moment proves to be the hard part.? ✌&❤

  19. Hi im writing trying to find some answers for my sister. She is 48 years old she has been on depression medicine Xanax and several others for depression over the last 5 years or more. She got to wear she would not get out of bed eat or even drink. She has lost all mobility and has to be taken care of feeding bathing she cant walk her she does not have control of her hands or arms. we took her to hospital and they said she had a severe UTI and she was admitted for a week. MRI Cat-scan spinal tap and all kind of blood work was done. They told us she should get better. Shes been taken off all her meds except one depression pill. She has gotten any better shes worse. She talks out of her head so to speak. The things she says are not what is going on sometimes she screams and yells… for a bit she would make sence here and there and now she doesnt at all. Im very worried about her. We live in a small town and we cant get any answers. They say she will get better over and over. Im heart broken about this and scared for her. If anyone knows any where i can get some kind of help or answers please let me know.

  20. I was prescribed ZOLOFT by my General Practitioner, after i told him i was feeling a little down in the dumps and anxious. I am a 41 year old male, with no previous mental health issues, and am physically fit and eat healthy as much as i can. I am in good physical health and do exercise daily. I had no idea what an SSRI was and simply took the medication based on my doctor’s best advice as he said it would “make me feel better” Boy was in in for the shock of my life! Here is a short journal of my first few weeks on ZOLOFT:

    First 7 days – Took half pill, 25mg as instructed.

    -feeling weird
    -diarrhea(some days),
    -upset stomach and lack of appetite.
    -Almost constant dull headache.
    -Very thirsty all the time. felt generally bad and out of sorts.

    7th–22nd day – Full Pill, 50mg

    -Dull headache at least for part of every day.
    -Nausea abated a bit some days, either no appetite or extremely hungry.
    -Anxiety increased by double or more, especially on waking in the mornings.
    -More panicky than usual.
    -Some days felt sick some days felt ok. No lifting of anxiety,
    -Impossible to fall asleep at night, felt “wired.” at bedtime.
    -Sleep disturbed and not deep or relaxing, vivid dreams and nightmares nightly.
    -Some flu-like symptoms, shaky, hot then cold (day 20)
    -negative, obsessive thoughts for much of the day, on most days. (like before the pills)
    -Constantly thirsty, drinking all day, reduced caffeine to two cups of tea per day.
    -Increased paranoia
    -Inner tremors
    -Shaking hands and legs
    -Out of body experiences

    I felt like i had been literally poisoned but persisted with the medication as the leaflet said it would take at least 3 weeks to “kick in.” I have never felt so terrible in my entire life and literally felt that these pills were damaging my brain. Having looked into the matter, i saw online that thousands of people have suffered similar symptoms to the ones i had, and countless medical experts talk about how damaging SSRI medication is for the body, mind and soul. When I went back to my doctor with my list of symptoms he casually, almost nonchalantly said “Yeah, these pills dont agree with you, but you need to take them for two more weeks in order to taper down the dosage” I said ok and then asked him what the next step should be. He said “I have no idea, I am not a psychiatrist” I replied “so why did you prescribe me these drugs” he went red in the face, looked down, and ignored my question. I left his office and will not return.

    I looked in depth at how medications like ZOLOFT, and PAXIl are tested and approved by the FDA and was horrified to learn about the process of “Blind testing” and the money involved in back handers within this unsavoury industry. I of course read a number of positive reviews from SSRI users who said it helped them to feel better, but to those people i say, “What happens when you poop-out on the max dosage, which happens 100% of the time” I would then ask them “and what happens when in a few years you have brain damage and decide you can handle life and come off the ZOLOFT or other SSRI” There is no feasible answer to that, especially as NO LONG TERM testing has been done on these drugs. Are the public that dumb to simply listen to their doctors without questioning long term effects of the chemicals they are given? If you are told to take an SSRI, for whatever reason, are taking one or after many years wish to come off them, I would strongly suggest you pop onto the internet and look more deeply into the issue. You will be as shocked as i was, and when you see that it is ALL about money and nothing to do with looking after your health and best interests, you will feel foolish for simply listening to your doctor, who just got a holiday in Hawaii and handed a bunch of the latest samples to give to his or her unwitting patients. I have no doubt that SSRI medication will go down as the worst medical tragedy in history. Use your brain, not a pill.

  21. I came off of Paxil 20 MG and Seroquel 50 mg. 10 days ago. I had been on them for 6 years. Previously, I had taken just about every SSRI and mood stabilizer for anxiety and depression. They helped me for a time, but they always stopped working. In 2015 I started feeling horrible, inflammation in the joints & skin problems, including a rash on my face that looked like lupus butterfly rash. I was at my wits end. After seeking help from 2 shrinks and 1 derm, their answer is always more Western meds.
    I sought help from a Chinese doctor. While this isn’t an answer for everyone, he came at the right time for me and my daughter. He is wonderful, cares about us, listens with compassion and uses a non evasive treatment which works for me. My inflammation is down, my BP is lower and the lupus rash is gone. It is hard to describe but I felt like my body couldn’t regulate its temperature anymore. After alternative treatments, I feel cooler.
    I am dealing with the detoxing pretty well, but I am still having brain zaps and racing thoughts.
    My next step is meditation and yoga.
    That feeling of desperation when you are anxious is horrible, it always led my back to the shrink to get meds.
    I have reached a point in my life where I am not afraid. I will stay the holistic healing course until I heal completely.
    I am convinced if I had stayed on Paxil and Seroquel, I would have developed an autoimmune disorder.
    I had reached a point where it hurt to move. I now can do an 8 hour day without a nap.
    I wish everyone could have a voice. So many feel powerless and hopeless and get prescribed psychotropics unnecessarily. Originally, circa 1990, I was told the anti depressant was for 8 months to lift me out of the darkness. Now people stay on them. From 1989-2009 had been perscribed tricyclics, Prozac, Effexor, Depakote, Xanax, Klonopine, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Lithium, Celexa. ..listing all of these is shocking.
    The last shrink appt he prescribed Buspar and Hydro Pam. That was when I sought alternative treatment from a Chinese doctor. Their medicine has ancient roots and treats mind, spirit and body.
    My Western docs treat with scripts only.
    Good luck to all of you. I pray you are healed on your own terms.

    • Αfter 4 ys in tricyclic treatment prescribed mainly for insomnia and ‘idiopathic depression’ i decided on my own to stop the med. entirely.
      For 1 month i was feeling like a new person, my appetite was reduced and i increased the ability to concentrate in my work.
      But After this first month it seemed like hell broke loose.
      The concentration turned to mania, i developed a strange fear of loosing control on my body and diseases (i was diagnosed with panic attacs-something entirely new to me) and a constant ich with no obvious cause, imflamation and an unbearable akathisia-insomnia.
      This condition was constant for about 5-6 months, in the mean time i developed retinoschisis and had 4 laser-operation on my eye (i cant stop thinking that it was a result of high eye pressure due to the effect of the antidepressant on the fumction of the histaminic system).
      I lost the ability to enjoy my self with nothing, couldnt relax, i was constantly thinking of death, and the meaning-less of life. I think that i have become seriousely depressed. The only thing that calmed me was to go out and run or walk. I couldnt go in a car or go near the hospital, or in a tunnel.
      But the most owfull thing was thachycardia, blood pressure and a terrible and constant dyspnya and fear of chocking. This only stoped (not intirely thow) with continous sedative treatment. These symtoms was not reoccuring, they were simply constant for 5 mounths, (untill September.)

      When i was trying to share these thoughts with the psychiatrists i was seeing, i got no response at all, as if i was imagining things. They prescribed sedatives and a ‘ new -class’ antidepressant.
      i want to stop them gradually. But i fear the panic and fearfull thoughts will emerge for good if i rush things. I havent found yet a psychiatrist who is able to understand the problem.

    • Hello can you possibly share that information in regards to the doctor you’re using because I’m at my wits end with a parent who Is on a number of antidepressants and I don’t know where to go for help, I’m at this point because every time I complain, they seem to give her more medication and she’s driving me crazy, I have two children and I deal with this by myself

    • Hi,
      What I remember of myself was a good student,energetic and positive non harming thoughts – long ago.
      But now I am like inverted .For past six 4 years, I have been put on many medicines- Effexor, Zoloft, Fluoxetine,Seroquel and loads of shit.

      I had slapped my senior in one of my job encounters and left my recent job. I fought with my relatives. And now I feel that I cannot do anything.

      I have forgotten my work, my studies. Even couldn’t remember names of things. I feel I am not me.

      I live in a small town in India and off medication for 20 days. Following a roadback program from James Harper, but its not helping much.
      I am taking his supplements like omega3 .. NAC .. Alcar etc.

      Please ask your doctor if he can help.

    • Hi–I’m very interested in knowing what your TCM practitioner recommended. My symptoms, onset postpartum, pretty much exactly mirror yours–plus some gut stuff.

  22. I haven’t read all the responses and while there is a dark side, what doesn’t seem to be addressed is the dark side of not treating with medications. My daughter has OCD (plus general anxiety disorder and a panic disorder), she’s 11 and barely functioning. My Grandmother probably had OCD (never diagnosed) but had a life of alcohol abuse and I never remember her having even one friend, ever, she was committed as a young woman several times but there wasn’t meds back then (or decent therapies). On my husbands side there is a history of torrettes (which is related to OCD). My daughters is obviously a genetic disposition. While my daughter is dong an intensive CBT training we had to start her on medications (she has not been well enough for CBT). Her psychiatrist prescribed them with the intention of weaning her back off in 1-3 years and after going through CBT. We were placed on an in-home intense stabilization program in addition to the medication (then will transition back to office therapy when she is well enough). This seems like a reasonable plan. I guess my only point is that some of these dark side of antidepressant articles also should at least be addressing in a footnote, at the very least, the dark side of not prescribing medication. After having a father and grandmother with mental illness, I’ve seen up close and personal how un-medicated mental illness can look (both alcoholics and drug addicts-my father is now homeless-both having had life long misery). I wish everyone well.

    • Dearest Lizza. I feel so much compassion for you and your family. I get really down when I have a bad day and have all the “woe is me” feelings, then I hear a story like you and your family. I have been off of SSRIs for 1 yr and 2 mos. and are still going through all the different physical and mental withdrawal miseries that you will find mentioned here. I truly understand why you feel you have to place your precious child on meds. There have been times when I thought I would go back on just due to the unforeseen length and hatefulness of some withdrawals. I was on meds for several years and never once told that this might happen. I think what I am feeling is that in your case, there is no other foreseeable alternative, but we all just want you to know that if possible get her off as quick as you can. The cure, especially a long duration of taking the meds, puts one at a much greater risk of having a long, maybe lifetime of leftover side effects. Good luck and may God be with you and your precious family. Will pray for you often. M

      • The side effects of coming off was my biggest worry when placing her on them. I’ve turned down the other meds for her at this time. CBT is the best long term solution for my lovely wonderful thoughtful child. I wish she was well enough without meds to do CBT. I’m paying out of pocket for private yoga and mindfulness lessons, to augment her CBT. Between CBT and her yoga/mindfullenss teacher, I have high hopes she won’t follow in my grandmothers footsteps of life long misery and self medication but will also be able to live a life without life long medications. My grandmother received zero therapy (outside of shock therapy). I know many alternative people read Chris Kresser and there are people I know that need to be on medication that aren’t because of reading articles like this and have had trouble raising their children because of their refusal to take medications. As a child that would have benefited from a medicated parent, it hurts me to see people turn them down out of hand or try them and stop because they feel too good (which was a friends reason). While knowing the side effects and knowing that the doctors very much downplay how hard it is to come off these medications, there is a flip side to consider. I wish you the best Mimi, I hope you continue to improve. It’s never an easy path, whichever way you go. <3

        • I would suggest that you do some research with gut bacteria and why it is a big player with how the brain works. Because it plays seriously big role with our brain chemistry. And most of us have damaged bacteria what can cause all kinds of problems. I know that is one of the main reason behind my own depression. In the mean time I seriously hope that your daughter is one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get long term issues from these meds. I wasn’t so lucky. I dropped into the category getting worst side effects ever from these. Almost ended up dead because of them and now suffering thyroid issues that probably will never heal and will create more issues. I can’t say that they are safe because of that. And with the fact the pharmaceutical companies makes their best to hide the very serious side effects or make them look like they are possible just on so little cases that there is no threats really when they actually are real, I don’t really trust their safety ratings. I know one other girl who got hypothyroidism also from same medication than i did so in my eyes it is not even so rare.

          The more I have done research with functional medicine because the said thyroid issue the more I also believe that majority of these issues are connected to what we eat and how much antibiotics is in our food chain, besides eating them way too much to every little thing that we face. I hope that at some point the holistic research can prove the connection so well that even the normal doctors has to recognize it. Because now normal doctors doesn’t agree at all that those things would have connection. I have to admit that I have personally lost my trust with school medicine. It is influenced way too much by pharmaceutical companies.

  23. Hi,

    I’ve read some of the comments that people have put and it is true what most have said; unless you have truly experienced depression, nobody will know how it feels. I am 17 years old, nearly 18 and people may wonder what a 17 year old is to be depressed about, but it is all down to the person and circumstances.

    For me, it doesn’t matter if you are old, young, even a small child – the only difference between a child and an adult is that the child is unable to understand their emotions and why they feel a certain way. However that does not mean to say that they cannot get low or depressed.

    I’m on sertraline and I started off with 50g and now I’ve upped gradually it to 200g. At first I felt really spaced out as obviously your body has to become accustomed to the drug. I have honestly felt so down since taking the 200g and keep on getting suicidal thoughts. It’s like I’m drowning and I have this huge fog over my head where I can’t think properly. I am doing my A levels and it is just so hard getting through as I am a really high achiever. The thing is, my mum and dad thought that as soon as I went on the medication, I would all of the sudden get better. But it really doesn’t work like that. And I felt it too, for a while. I thought that it would be a “cure”, in a way. But I can’t help but think that it’s all internal, that we are the only ones to pull ourselves through it. But I really think that there is a physical/mental imbalance, because I just don’t feel in control one bit. Mentally I feel ill and physically my body aches so much. I just hate anxiety and feeling like this – everyday I wake up and just don’t want to be here anymore. It’s like you have to pull yourself through and be strong, because that is what you have to do.

    The thing is, on the surface I put up this front that I’m alright, like most people do really, but I just don’t feel okay. I try and laugh as much as I can, but I find it exhausting. It’s not like I don’t speak to people about how I feel because I do, like my parents and one of my best friends. But it just feels like it is getting to the point now that exams are getting closer and I need to just get my act together. I’ve been forcing myself to do the work this week, but before I upped the dosage I felt okay and much more in control. I honestly feel like I am on drugs (well anti-depressants are), but how can my body be like this! 🙁

    I just feel like I am battling with myself all the time and most of the time I just get this urge to leave my body. Mentally and physically I do not feel in tune at all and I know no-one can really much, except try your best to get through it. If people do understand, they’ll understand when I say this: it’s depression that controls how you feel, not yourself. People can say whatever they like, like “snap out of it”, but you can’t just make your mind do that! It’s like depression grabs hold of you and drowns you and I have no control over what it does. I recently watched a programme with this footballer and he attempted suicide by throwing himself in front of a car, but he survived. I can’t remember his name, but I think he’s pretty famous. He said to just keep on persevering and that there is a way out, even though he never thought there was a way out for him. And that’s how I feel – when will I see the end of the tunnel? Some people get through it, but I don’t feel like I will be one of these people. I know I’m a sensitive person and I over-analyse and think about things all the time, I just want to turn the switch off and stop worrying about different things.

    I guess I felt like writing this to give some people re-assurance, as I honestly understand what depression feels like and it is the worst thing.

    • Seriously, come off them. It’ll be HELL for a while (I came off Prozac 20mg and it was very bad for a couple weeks, so you will likely be much worse) but i can promise you in the long term these drugs will fuck you up worse. It’s super hard because they are so highly dependent, but yeah, please, please, consider stopping as soon as you can. It’s a vicious cycle. Depression is terrible, but there are other ways! And remember a lot of the time, the basis of your emotions is RATIONAL. You have a natural right to be depressed if you have an imbalance of pain and coping resources. It’s not about whose life is the worst, it’s about personal wiring. Which can be altered. It really can. I havent succeeded yet, but I can guarantee that meds will get in your way at the very least and destroy chance of recovery at the worst.

    • Hi
      Do not know if you live in a city, a small town or village as it all matters as to your environment and the people that surround you.
      Give yourself a day lets say a Friday and tell everyone who who gives you a negative that Friday is your happy day and that you are not interested in any negative remarks.
      Buy yourself a chest web cam and find as many interesting walks that you can which can take you at least 1 hour and cuss at the world to which you live in and put it to rights and do not give a dammmm and this way you can put all your depressive thoughts on your web cam to view at a later date.
      Look at all the hundreds of thousands of people who spend years at school being educated and most end up doing the most medial jobs for what ? beats me. look at life and say shit whatever comes i can take it, put yourself out to do what you want to do to make you happy priority if people try to interfere with your objective tell them to take a hike.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I have the same thoughts. I has be struggled with these thoughts for most if my life. I am 57yrs and I still do not understand my illness! It seems like a long time prison sentence. Sometimes I wish could swap my brain just for a while with someone who hasn’t had to deal with depression and these horrible and senseless thoughts. I just want to live a normal and happy life! I’ve tried all the therapies but they just don’t work for long. M wilkins

  24. Hi Mimi and others,
    I’m sorry you are having a hard time. Today is better for me. Monday and Tuesday were horrible so I just try to take it one day at a time. Concerning the mental health field, I truly believe they don’t have a clue. To find someone who could really help they would need to have had personal experiences with depression, anxiety or any other psychosis. If you talk to anybody who has fortunately never experienced depression/anxiety and they know you or someone who suffers with it, their response is usually ‘they need to suck it up’ or ‘they have too much time on their hands’, and other such nonsense. Then they will confidently say ‘look at me, I have trouble and I get up every morning and I go on’. They do not have a clue and I hope for them they never go through what we have and continue to go through. They cannot comprehend or understand the struggles we face almost daily to get by. It is my dream to become a professional in the mental health field to help others but it is financially impossible for me to do it at this time. My heart breaks every time I see or hear someone having trouble and I want to help. When I had my breakdown almost 26 years ago, I felt totally hopeless and I wanted to die so badly. That was such a bad time and I hope I never go through that again. I can survive the way I am now but some days it is still a struggle but I hope and pray it will be better tomorrow. I truly hope everyone will have better days every day.

    • Hi Angie,

      Thanks for the reminders to take things one day at a time. Today was a low day for me, frustrating after feeling like I was doing better after starting some new vitamin & mineral supplements last week.

      I started L-Tryptophan late this afternoon and it gave me a headache and maybe it helped lift the fog and give me a tiny bit more motivation but I can’t be sure. Most of all, I hope it helps me to sleep. I’m also reducing my coffee (a bit at a time so I don’t get a headache from that) because even though I drink it first thing in the day, I suspect it may be affecting my sleep.

      Something has to change because I have things to do. My family needs me to contribute financially and I need to get going on that.

      I think you are so right that so many mental health professionals who have not experienced mood disorders have NO CLUE and don’t educate themselves about what it’s really like and the alternatives to conventional treatment and advice. Don’t they think that if we could “snap out of it” we would?! No one would choose to live in pain. There is such a stigma, people just have so many assumptions about what it means to be depressed/anxious, etc.

      Anyway, I think it’s so important to remember that we are not alone, that we can do hard things and help each other. I’m so grateful I found this site and this post and this caring group of people!

      • Hi Nina and other dear friends,
        Today is a good day for me and I am so extremely grateful! For people who worry about the future like I do, I have a little tip and I hope it can help someone else. Some days when it is so bad it feels like the waves are rolling over my head and I feel so overwhelmed worrying about the future, I just say over and over, “live in the moment, live in the moment.” Something so simple but I have to remind myself of that all the time. I am always worrying about things that haven’t happened yet or having the feeling that something bad is going to happen in the future. Right when I feel I am about to lose control, I finally remember my little phrase. I stop, take a deep and say my little phrase slowly over and over until I calm down. It helps me to focus on what is going on now and to truly live in the moment.

        Nina I know what you mean about sleep (or lack of). I wish I had a tip or something to help you but I am pretty much in the same boat. I want to sleep but yet I don’t want to. I will not put my head on my pillow until my eyes are closing because I am scared of what I will be thinking of or worrying about before I go to sleep. I have to get up by 4:15 am to go work so by Friday I am exhausted and crash on the weekends. I hope you get some relief soon. Please know we are all here if you need us. I’m sorry I don’t check this every day. It seems there is never enough time. I wish we could get each others email address so if someone really needed us, we could help.

        I’m so thankful for the love and support of my family because I couldn’t do it alone. I’m hoping each and everyone of you have the support of your family and loved ones like I do. I thank God for mine every day.

  25. Kat, Angie. Evie, Zoe, Lee, Nina, Kuldeep and all the multitude of others who have come here to gain and give support when it is not available from the other sources. After slightly more than a year completely off the SSRIs, I have reasonably good days, but I also have occasional days from hell. Today was one of those days. Lots of stressful things that I tried to conquer like in the old days when I was whole and well. Can’t do that any more. I must back off and even hide away sometimes. I just can’t seem to accept my new limitations yet but learning. Winter indoors here in the mountains surely doesn’t help at all. God bless you all and keep on trying. I just need to say one thing. There are people in the mental health field that do not have a single clue nor do they want to. I cry to think of the times I have reached out for help or just an understanding person to talk to and have been put off, appointments canceled or postponed, refused access to services that I needed, even with a doctors order, etc. I have even spent time and money with a supposedly liscensed person who did nothing more constructive than type on his computer and tell me I needed to sit on my porch and read or relax. Over and over for lack of anything more constructive to offer me to talk about. I shudder to think if someone really unstable falls into these people’s ineptitude or uncaring clutches what the outcome might be. I get more and better love, understanding, help and support here than I have in a long time from so called professionals. And I really am not a troublesome or hurtful person. Maybe that is the prob. Maybe I need to demand someone competent. Or just stay away from them and depend on myself and my friends here. God bless you all and know that we are here for the long haul. Mimi

    • Hi mimi
      How are you? I would like to share my email with you and others. I am unable to check this place very regularly, whereas emails are a bit more convenient. Kindly write an email to me if it suits you. Regards
      kbgadhvi at

    • Just saw your comment Mimi. How are you doing? Hang in there. I know myself, I have to speak up, and it’s HARD but I have a child to consider, which makes it easier for me. It’s surprising how any incompetent people end up in the mental health field (I have a theory that many have their own struggles and that’s why they focus on this area of study). Keep searching for someone until you find someone caring that you connect with. I wish you only the best. <3

    • Hi Mimi,
      Please join me in your list so that I can overcome what I am going through right now . I left my job 6 months back .. came back native hoping to help and get help from family. But all I am doing is getting helped. I am going to be 27 now and it feels like I have lost all my courage. I am back at 12 and asking for help. I cannot think of anything by myself now, feel so hopeless. I have been out from home for 8 years and came back weak.
      I still wonder how am I going to feel strong again. I just feel laying down all the time and takes interest in nothing.

  26. Hi KatV,
    I just read your post. Look further down and read mine (Angie). Yours is almost identical to mine. I am going through a rough spell right now. I’m glad I know now what I should have known for a long time. When I would go through these rough times I would get back on my AD. I will not do it this time because I know the bad emotional times will ease up and go away eventually. It is so hard until it does go away. I know light deprivation has a lot to do with it. I go through these ‘spells’ every winter. I started having trouble with my mood swings again. Every time I think I have them conquered they pop back up. It is the anger that I have a hard time with because I am not like that at all. The anger and the feeling that something horrible is about to happen. I’m taking it one day at a time and focusing on my precious grand babies and all my blessings.
    Mimi I hope everything is good with you. I’m glad you are enjoying time with your grandchildren. It always helps me. I’m sorry you were going through a hard time through the holidays. I’m so grateful our bad days do get better.

    • Hi Angie, I’m sorry you’re having a hard time.

      I also struggle with my mood during the winter, but I’m noticing the days staying lighter a little longer now so spring is slowly on its way.

      I was having some terrible spells of anger (which is unusual for me) right before Christmas and I called a counselor but after two sessions she wanted me to get a meds consult and go back on ADs even though I had told her I didn’t want to. I stopped seeing her and am looking for support elsewhere.

      The sense of impending doom is familiar, too. I try to remind myself that my mind is telling me stories and I don’t have to engage with them. My meditation practice helps but it’s still distressing.

      I am new to this conversation but am so grateful to all of you who post here. It helps to know I’m not alone and not crazy!

      I’m wishing you better days ahead.

    • Angie, I understand so well about the mood swings and the feelings of impending doom. Today it has felt like the worst evil in the universe has been hovering over my shoulder. I have even had a few zaps that I haven’t had in many months. All this after 2 really good days. Maybe tomorrow. I will pray for you if you also remember me in your prayers from wherever you are. Please feel better. You deserve it. M

  27. Hello,

    I’m new to this discussion and just happened to stumble upon it while I searched for ‘what the heck is wrong with me’. I’m glad I found this. It scares me a bit, but it also makes some things clearer.

    Some history: I started taking Prozac at 19 (23 years ago). From the time I hit puberty I had a lot of problems with depression and anxiety and at 19 ended up in a psych hospital after my breakup with my first serious boyfriend.

    I was in bad shape. I think Prozac saved my life. I really do. But what I’m wondering now is ‘why the heck did they leave me on it for so many years?’ ‘Why the heck did I not question this?’ I just went along. I felt fine and had no noticeable side effects, so I just assumed the doctor knew best and I needed it forever.

    When I hit 40, I started sliding into a true depressive episode for the first time in all those years and they switched me to Zoloft, telling me Prozac had apparently stopped working. My suspicion is it probably hadn’t worked for years, but I hadn’t noticed since I was functioning fine.

    I stayed on Zoloft for 2 years and then my husband and I decided we’d like to see if it’s in the cards to have children (we came together a bit older). We realize the odds aren’t with us at our age (I’m 42) and I think we’re truly of a mind that if it’s meant to be it will happen. I’m honestly fairly at peace with that, not saying I wouldn’t be disappointed. But, I’ve lived a good life for all these years without kids and I do have nieces and nephews I can spoil, so it’s not like life would end.

    The reason that’s relevant is I decided that if I did get pregnant I wanted to be ‘drug free’. Advanced maternal age is risky enough without adding chemicals to the process. Plus, there have been recent news stories about anti-depressant use and autism. I also was fine with getting rid of Zoloft due to sexual side effects I didn’t experience with Prozac.

    Sorry for the ramble. Basically I just haven’t felt ‘right’ in months, since I tapered myself off Zoloft. I know I should have included my Dr, but they are always so negative about this. I think if you’ve had one psych hospitalization (even if it was 20+ years in the past) you are forever to be medicated in their minds.

    My biggest complaint is extreme mood swings. I get furious over things that aren’t THAT big of a deal. I cry over stupid commercials. I feel completely hopeless and that life has no purpose. I often feel like I want everyone to just go away and leave me alone. Sometimes I even wonder if I’m not a bit manic at times (I’ve never been diagnosed with or had manic depression). I’ll feel overly energetic and talk, talk, talk. Then I’ve had these GI problems that I did not realize may be connected until I read the responses here. I thought I had a stomach bug, but since it recurs every other week or so (nausea, loose stools mostly), I knew it couldn’t be a virus. It’s so weird. Sometimes I will feel normal for a week or so at a time and then *bam* something will tee me off or ruin my mood.

    I’ve also been having what I’ve heard described as brain zaps (almost like an electrical current in my brain). They are more disturbing than a real bother. It’s kind of creepy to say the least.

    Bottom line, I sometimes wonder if it isn’t too late for me. I took these *[email protected]# things for 23 years! Perhaps my brain is damaged? The doctor just said it was proof I need my anti-depressant, but my gut isn’t buying. I was 19 when this anti-depressant train started! I can look back at some of my overly dramatic teen angst and roll my eyes. People do grow up and out of some of that over emotional stuff. I don’t see why I’d be an exception. I don’t see why no doctor has ever suggested trying life without an AD. I’m kind of angry. I know I was hospitalized, but I wasn’t psychotic. I was never violent or a trouble maker. I didn’t attempt suicide. I checked myself in, knowing I needed help.

    Thanks for listening and I wish all of you the best in this new year. I hope we can beat this. Some days I feel more upbeat than others about my chances. Today, I woke up with nausea, so that dampened my enthusiasm. I still can’t believe that’s a symptom. It’s not psychological, so I dismissed it, but I do feel better having some explanation because it was getting very disturbing.

    Blessings and Peace to You All

    • Kat, I just stumbled upon this site and read your comment. Then I saw that you wrote it just 2 days ago!

      I think you’re very wise to listen to your gut on this one and try another way to mental and physical health. I’m trying the same thing. I took Zoloft & Wellbutrin for a few years after my daughter was born and I had postpartum depression. I have been off them for almost 3 years and my new therapist wants me to go back on SSRIs and I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO so I’m exploring alternatives.

      Do you know about The Mood Cure? There’s a book and also practitioners who support this method of good nutrition and supplements to regain health. I have just started to look into it. It turns out that there’s a local acupuncture/TCM practitioner who also uses the guidelines in the book to help her clients. I think I’ll cancel my next therapy session and upcoming meds consult and with the co-pay I save, go see her instead!

      I also try to follow the advice in Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint for eating and lifestyle.

      Dominate Depression is a site I’ve recently looked into as well that supports this path. Surviving Antidepressants is another site with a lot of info and support.

      By the way, the brain zaps do stop, I had them too and they were very unpleasant and disorienting.

      Also, I know that everyone’s experience is different, but I had my daughter when I was 45! So to me, 42 seems young to have a baby. 🙂 Do you know the site A Child After 40? You might find some good info and encouragement there from others on the path to motherhood on the later side. Do you think the nausea might be morning sickness???

      Please let me know how you’re doing. I think it’s important to find like-minded people and help each other when we follow unconventional paths.

      Yesterday I spent the morning in bed and the afternoon exploring this stuff. Now I am going to take a walk and get to work on some important stuff.

      Best wishes to you and all who read this. Nina

    • Hello, Kat. Just found your post. Have been trying to keep up with my grandkids sporting events without throwing myself into a bad wave. I do that sometimes when I get to feeling better/normal. I am glad that you stumbled upon this site. That is exactly what happened for me. I was at the end of my rope, and nobody that I saw medically acknowledged my situation. My family was ready to throw me in the river. I understand all the things that you talked about and more. It was a life saver for me as I thought at points that I was dying and I just wanted to know why. Continue to come here as there are lots of very kind and helpful people. Also check out A lady named Alto started it years ago and it has tons and tons of helpful info. I will be around as much as I can to support and sympathize/empathize. I know you are looking at a time issue but with this thing, time is often the most effective healer. Read everything you can find about this subject and it will help you cope as you transition through the waves and windows and all the miseries. Keep faith and stay as calm as you can. More later. Best wishes and hugs. M

    • Oh wow, you are not alone. I started having panic attacks at 19. Prozac for 4 years. Then Effexor for another 9. Recently almost 4 months after a death in the family I started going through some type of stress breakdown. (I think) or some
      Kind of withdrawal while on the same dose. Well I started having bad anxiety and getting very agitated. They wanted me to up my dose since I was on the lowest therapeutic dose for so long. I declined because Effexor is known for its harsh withdrawal and when you start upping the dose it starts working on other transmitters besides serotonin. Well I have always been do scared for the anxiety to return and heard such horror stories of people getting off I opted to stay on for 9 years. With no therapy. So we decided to wean me off the Effexor and onto Zoloft. (Works great for my sister when she takes it) well along with the withdrawal effects from coming off the Effexor and the start up of Zoloft I thought I was losing my mind. When I eventually got up to 25mg of Zoloft I knew I couldn’t wait out the side effects. I felt like I had 6 cups of coffee and it was making my anxiety worse in a weird creepy kind of way. (Hard to explain) i felt like I might start hallucinating at any point. So I tried Celexa. Well that was a no go. I felt just plain weird and out of it. Started obsessing about my anxiety and googling. Very weird. So I said let’s try Prozac again. I thought if it didn’t work Owell and I will use this one to taper off and see if I can function without meds. All the while they gave me klonopin and Valium during the tapers. I can only take very minimal doses of those because I’m so sensitive to these meds. But it did help alleviate the insomnia I was having while coming off the Effexor. My symptoms with no prior history of them except anxiety that started before even tapering. Insomnia, weird intrusive thoughts( when I thought to myself “maybe you should just go kill yourself” is when I flipped and wanted off the Effexor. I have never been suicidal, if anything Have a death phobia and when that thought popped into my head I almost had a panic attack, my dad commuted suicide when I was 19 and I believe that’s what started my panic attacks now looking back.) worse anxiety, feeling scared, heightened senses, dreamlike state, depersonalization, non stop thinking about death(not wanting to die), waking up everyday dreading how my thoughts are going to go, obsessed with how I feel, detached from life, feeling hopeless , depression, going from loss of appetite to wanting to eat nothing but junk, feeling sped up, agitated, irritable, stomach issues, apathy, inside my head too much ( talking to myself a lot in my head which gets on my nerves), thinking I might b bipolar or becoming schizophrenic, scared to be alone, checking anything I see out of the corner of my eyes, or thinking I’m hearing things ( but I’m not cause in the beginning I would check), nightmares , lucid dreams, feeling like I have the flu on and off, no interest in anything, can’t concentrate, 2 or 3 brain zaps so far, weird whooshing sound in my ears upon waking, lots of weird dream like stories going on in my head if I wake up too early and try to fall back to sleep, checking my thoughts ( do I feel like killing myself? Do I feel like I could hurt my kids?) feeling stoned( I think that one was part of staring the new meds), arguing with myself about not obsessing over how I’m feeling inside my head), hazy vision, headaches, bad anxiety upon waking, oh geez I could go on and on. All made me think “oh god I need to find another Med that works!” Well my last appt with a new psych I told her the Prozac was making feel bad depersonalization. So she said here take this mood stabilizer, stop Valium and here’s Ativan, if you have trouble sleeping take seroquel. Never have I been bipolar even though I’m very paranoid about it because my dad had just about every mental disorder. My two therapist have assured me they don’t think I’m bipolar. My mom would have probably noticed by now since I’m 34. She told me if I didn’t want to take the mood stabilizer don’t bother making an appt to come back. Well I’m Obviously not going back to her. They all seem to think i can’t be experiencing any witndrawal anymore from the Effexor. Well i think differently. So I came home and talked to some friends and family and decided to taper off the Prozac and see what happens before I start going on a whole diff class of drugs. At least give my brain and body time to adjust to not having the Effexor. Which unfortunately I have read many people have problems for years after coming off. Since tapering off the Prozac and the Valium I have still felt like a crazy person. But I have been feeling some spurts of normal in between. I still keep ruminating and have spiked of the anxiety. It doesn’t help I’m pmsing and just came down with a cold. My reg doctor asked me at my last appt , do you know how you feel when off meds? Hmm no I never was told I should come off. I have this obsession that I need something, like a crutch. I feel like a junkie.( No history of illegal drug use. ) I’m going tI try really hard and not take another Ssri at least till my next appt with the new psych and reevaluate myself. I have never had depression and obviously since coming off the meds I have experienced that and more. It’s hard to understand “it’s just the withdrawal!” ( I keep telling myself that when my brain starts acting weird) I’m not saying that people who are really depressed shouldn’t take meds. I just think I should have got myself some therapy and tried to come off sooner.

      • Not to mention the dumb songs I get stuck in my head , they keep playing over and over and are there most days when I wake up. (Never been a problem)

      • I’m new and read so many post that made me want to stop my meds I been taking for 4 months I’m glad I found you all who can relate what I’m going through

    • I would seriously suggest to all of you who have commented to this message and you you Kat that go get some super strong probiotics and see what those can do to you. Most of us have really damaged gut bacteria and it plays major part in our brain chemistry. 80% of the serotonine and other chemicals the brains are using are done in our gut and if that is messed up it can’t produce enough those and then we are given meds to replace that production…and sometimes apparently that ends up making the gut problem even bigger issue because of the negative side effects. Personally my healing started when I went vegan. I think it gave my body chance to start clean itself from all the toxins that I had been putting into it years in form of medication. I’m firm believer that what we eat can make major impact with how our brains are working. And I just currently saw a ted talk from psychologist who was part of treatment program where they used extra vitamins to help depression patients and they did work. i would also suggest that you search Dr. Andrew Saul (not medical doc) and his site doctor yourself. He talks a lot about niacin (B3) and how we with depression are lacking with that. If you have netflix watch Food matters document from there…he is one of the specialist interviewed in there. There is definitely different routes to get help than the toxic meds that are promoted by big pharma. Your body clearly knows it already and tries to guide you on different path. Trust it =)

  28. Evie, just re-read some of the recent posts and realized that not everything always comes thru to me in my comp in the right order or at all. Noted that you were having a rough time and wanted to send you positive vibes. I too have been on edge but seemed better today. Hope all is better for you. Mimi

  29. I hope that everyone had a happy holiday season. As for myself, I am glad it is over as I struggled to make normal. The joy and fun just wasn’t there as usual. But it is still getting little by little better. I remain amazed at the evolution of the different miseries that parade across the horizon of my life. Just when I think I have conquered and healed from one thing, another creeps in and attacks. I finally got over the last one, the blood pressure fluctuations with the migraine like headaches and visual disturbances. Now it is GI stuff with nausea and intermittent diarrhea again. The nausea is like morning sickness, but no vomiting. I have lost weight (yeah). but it is miserable. For a short while, the cortisol mornings eased up, but now they are back. 4:30 am every morning, it is like the fire alarm has gone off. Most of the time there is no returning to sleep. Also with the cold weather, the joint pain is back full force. On the positive side, my mental status is better. I still have attacks of anxiety and crying jags but less intense and less often. Feel mentally more able to manage small tasks, but still no big projects. Just thinking about it makes me tachycardic and sweaty and precipitates waves of all kinds.. I am trying to prepare myself mentally to begin weaning off benzos. I only take .5mg at night of Klonopin and .25 of Xanix prn 1 to 3 times a day. Usually only once.. Very small doses but I am worried as anxiety is my primary problem. Slowly is the secret, I know. But I am still not over the SSRI damage yet. It has been 1 yr and 1 week since last sliver of Lexapro. Should I wait a little longer to start the other? I guess if I am unsure and asking, then I should wait. How is everyone after the holidays? Please someone talk to me. You guys are my best support system and I cannot even imagine not having you guys around. I know that the holidays have been hard on everyone, but we need to put ourselves into the equation and take care of us or we cannot take care of our lives and loved ones. Do not be ashamed or embarassed . We all truly do understand.

    • Hey Mimi 🙂

      So by the looks of things you feel the same way as me for the Xmas holidays :(. I really hope that the new year brings you much more happiness and success. Keep your chin up and keep going, as you say it been a year since your last slither…way to go…keep plugging ahead ?

      I haven’t been posting, but I have been reading. I don’t know why, I think I still worry about airing my feelings publicly. As you know my illness since having the boys 25 years ago has all been kept secret, with just my husband, 2 close girlfriend, my eldest son, and recently my youngest son, in the know! Guess that’s all to do with believing and feeling, failure, weak, moaner, miserable person feelings – hence pretending 24/7 that I’m a bubbly happy carefree in public! So tired of it all. When I think how successful I was in my career and now I fear going to get a loaf of bread, heavens forbid having to ask for it to be sliced! Anyway I’m sad that we all loose out, that we all feel like ( so want to use a swear word here coz that’s the only to describe it)… Feel like yuk! Have to pretend and pretend and can’t express or say what we really want to, I hate it hate it and I’m sorry you feel this too.

      Here I am sitting in the garden, nice sunny day, dog next to me, my boys are doing their thing, my husband is unfortunately still overseas, and I’m home now, but he is ok. On the verge of tears again. Arghhhhh! And if you hadn’t asked Mimi for someone to reply, I’d just read it all again, got sad and felt crap and done nothing. So here I am mimi, I also have a glass of wine…pretty naff one, but I chose to drink that one as its disgusting and I won’t drink it too quick!

      Being home I thought would make me happy! Wrong! I spent the first week before Christmas out in the garden five hours a day clearing up, sawing, hacking, digging, basically exhausting myself in the hot sun crying away and getting angrier and angrier, when that was finished I’d start on something else, the shed, the garage, build some kitchen cupboards angrily, hack away at the wood with a blunt saw, just because I couldn’t be bothered to go get the nice one! Getting angrier and faster and deeper into misery, Still crying and hating everything. My answer to the boys when they said mum you’re overdoing it, calm down, sit down rest up, have a cuppa, just made me madder, my answer was I need to get it all done, then I’ll know it’s done and then can relax. Yeah right, they know me, I’ll find something else to do. Does anyone else find themselves avoiding relaxation? Saying that, I don’t want to get up in the morning, I want to stay in my bed on my own, but I need to know that the house, kids, dogs, cars, washing, garden is all done.. I always feel bad, so bad and guilty, Even if I do do it or I don’t do It, doesn’t make sense. My husband always says, this doesn’t need to be done, the house is clean, the leaves can wait, go read, chill, relax, but I don’t, I don’t get why, I want to, but I don’t enjoy it, so what’s the point, my mind doesn’t stop, I feel lazy, I fear getting fatter, sitting on my ever expanding rear end. do it all now and then relax….I don’t even pick up a book to read now.. Don’t watch tv, rarely listen to music just in case a song comes on that for some strange reason makes me sad and i cry, so I avoid it. My old Gp once said its my self destruct button, all this avoiding relaxation and not wanting to chill, doing everything all of the time! You avoid relaxing avoid making yourself happy…. He’s an idiot my gp! Gosh I even got a piano while I was overseas all set up at home for my return, so far all I’ve done is polish the damn thing, I could pick up a book, even google how to learn to play the damn piano – but do you think I can be bothered. Sitting here now and having written that, I bet I’d enjoy it, maybe if I can learn a tune in ten minutes perfectly no mistakes, I might feel good, but do you think I will, nope! I can barely put a sentence together without forgetting my words, let alone learn and remember notes, keys, left or right hand, Just don’t feel like it. Actually I think I’d rather dig a huge hole and fill it up again and re dig etc, than sit down and try to learn and remember and use my brain!

      My son is with me trying no Meds, my husband and girlfriend and one girlfriend is a psych secretary and is so trying to book me in for an appointment! Intell her no!I’m not going to! he’ll just give me Meds! But she doesn’t get that! They say go back on Meds, it’s essential, life’s short, enjoy be happy whilst you’re here! It sure makes life easier for them with me on Meds! But really, I don’t want to, I think I’ll end up sicker, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, loose my mind if I keep going.. Never get to retirement without being a quivering mass of uselessness, .but what if the research about these Meds is wrong, they are ok to take long term with no nasty effects, what if these sights are weirdo sites and have it all wrong, they are safe, my gp and others say there are all safe??? What if they are really right? Are these symptoms I’m having just effects of coming off or is it the depression and bi polar coming back, what if my doctor was wrong and it’s not bi polar it’s just depression? How do you know what to do? Take them? Don’t take them? Take supplements? Do they work? Help? Or is that rubbish too? Will it pass? How do you know what to do? To make me better, to make me happy, to smile to laugh to feel something other than anger, to not cry, arghhhhh!

      How weird is it to be like this, so mixed up, I’m in hiding at the moment and probably will be for ages or until I have no option and get sprung. I could be loosing a few friends as they know I’m home but I haven’t been to visit and I don’t want them to visit me either – stay away everyone! I run indoors when a neighbour pulls up, I don’t want to pretend to be happy nice, you know that cheery woman at the the end of the street who helps everyone, rescues strays, looks after kids, always says hi how are you… I don’t want to pretend and do this anymore, I really want to say, go away, get lost, leave me alone, you don’t really care, leave me alone…. So What I do when a car pulls into the street, I hide and run for it. But hey, whatever! Bugger and now the family across the street has seen me with my new hair colour, and know it’s me, so I can’t hide under the sunglasses and dark hair anymore! They know! Going to have to change the colour again!

      I’ve been off of Prozac, 3 a day, getting higher doses each time I go see doc, so I don’t go see doc, she has no idea, just happily gives me this and this or that and that, basically I do it all myself, and she signs the script! Tells me never to come off them, how am I coping, I cry, I smile, she’s says times up, take these, see me in six months! Not good, but it works, until a month before I left with hubby for overseas, so now it’s been three months off completely, no sleeping pills, so no sleep, no Prozac, nothing. I’ve done the research and tried the vitamins, done heaps of research, tried the 5 HTP plus supplements to no effect, and now it’s just 4 St. John’s wort that my local pharmacist gave to my eldest son for me!. I’m definitely not as wild as i was on arriving back home, but still feel like crap. Was that episode one of my downers? It’s been so long since I’ve not taken Meds I can’t remember how I go, or , and has it passed? and now its just general misery, I wonder if I’ll have another episode like the weeks of hell, or am I getting better with good ole St. John wort? If I am then it’s a miracle. I don’t see a psychiatrist, been there, seen it done it and it didn’t work, all I got was more Meds. So it’s just me and the boys and hounds at the moment, and a husband on the end of the phone! I wonder if I’m normal, are all people like this? and I expect too much to be happy, to like things, to feel joy, have I ever felt this though, really? It’s been too and soooo long, I don’t know what is normal behaviour and emotions. Somehow I don’t think I have, maybe for a second, then it’s back to it. I was asked what makes me happy by a doc before I left when I went to get a years supply of ad to take overseas, what makes me happy he asks? I couldn’t name a damn thing and still can’t, I laughed the other day, then burst into tears, I could feel it welling up inside then bingo, out its pours and there’s not a thing I can do to stop it!. My Achilles is still painful, so I’m still limping that’s another thing that stops me going for a walk, or does it? Just something else to moan about, rest it mum, ice it, stop doing stuff, yeah right that ain’t going to happen, oh Mimi I’m on the keyboard attacking it like a wood pecker! I knew I shouldn’t have started! I’m going to stop.

      I hope lovee that you start to feel better, gosh I wish I could wave a magic wand and bing it’s all gone away. I wish you were around the corner and I could help. I wish I could get the boys to drop off a bunch of flowers. I’m going to wish you a happier new year, with love and kindness and hope like crazy you get better, that everyone does.

      I think I’d better stop here, feeling bad and i don’t think attacking the keyboard is going to get better! Again, sorry for errors and bad punctuation, I’m not rereading this, as I know I’ll make changes that will be epic or even delete. I’m going to hit send now but send lots of love.. Oxo

      • Oh my dear Evie. I can feel your desperation radiating through your words. I am so very very understanding of how you and our other friends feel. There are times when I think I would be happy if I never saw or talked to another person for a week. I wish I could divide your energy with you cause I have none. I have to force myself to do pretty much anything. Trying to keep up mild exercise indoors but it takes almost all my energy to just do necessary things during day. Two things I think are adding to my distress. The just over holidays and some type of seasonal affective thing. I have always been an outdoor girl and even on cold days I need to be outside. Today as I write this, it is past noon and I am still in bed. The pressures and anxieties of the holidays stirred up my cortisol morning thing so everyday for last week or so I wake up at 430 am on the dot no matter when I go to bed. I have blacked out my room and done all the other sleep things but it doesn’t matter. Then there are the holiday sports tourneys that at least 4 members of my family are involved in. Yesterday was a very stressful situation and I got very upset about something that happened and I got mad as a hornet and caused a scene.. I decided that I would not go with my family today to the tourney finals as I was in a bad way and didn’t want to spoil it for them or do something stupid. Anyway, I have had a really good bawling, screaming cry and I feel better a little. Reading your post also made me feel better as I know that I am not alone. My heart bleeds for you, and all of us, but it seems to me that just when it seems like we are at our end, there is a relief of some form and we can go on a little longer. If, as my husband says, I could not worry about every little minute thing, I would be better. I can’t help it. I pray and try to turn it over to the Lord, but I still worry and fret then get sick with waves of all kinds.. Also the winter brings out orthopedic aches which doesn’t help. Blah blah blah. I could go on forever. I just want to send you many virtual hugs and tell you that I would do anything to help you and all the others to feel better. I will now get up out of this bed and do something. Anything. Please keep in touch. M

        • Hi Mimi, hello Evie.

          Do we all ever realize that after all what this ADs have actually done to us that we all are in such pathetic conditions? And the fun is (i know its not funny) that none of us pinpoints exactly what is happening. All our complaints are vague in nature. None of us will say specifically whether you have a swelling anywhere in body or an ache in a location or deafness/blindness etc..
          Anything and everything that we AD victims suffer is something general having affected the entire system, a functional error which cannot be sufficiently expressed in words. What we say doesn’t sound logical to others around us. So has anybody given a sincere thought that what is the actual damage gifted by the pharma cos to their loyal AD consumers???

          After much research and self evaluation i have come to a conclusion that the most profound damages are done to our nervous system. I am sure we all have the basic knowledge that we have CNS (central nervous system) sympathetic nervous system, para sympathetic nervous system and autonomous nervous system.
          These nervous systems can be imagined as a combination of electrical wiring and electronic motherboard. Together they form an internal communication network of our body and mind.
          Whatever damage this drugs are capable of doing to the nervous system, it has surely affected your sensory mechanism as a whole.

          Most of us say that we don’t like to meet people, we get hyper irritated over small things, we get fatigued, drained out for no reason, we have disturbed sleep patterns, our appetite and digestion are troublesome, our facial expressions have changed, eyes mostly puffy, we don’t feel the natural joy and emotions we used to experience at one time, to feel happy or to atleast exhibit it has become an effort and that we do perhaps to get a self-validation that we are not totally insane yet. Did you ever ponder that what exactly is happening to us?
          Atleast in my case i have concluded that this ADs have taken a toll on nervous systems.
          Eyes, ears, speech, taste, balance, muscular coordination, sensory acuity, realisation of surroundings, irritation, irrational anger, breathing, stamina, appetite, sleep, moods, emotions, joy, happiness, anxieties, nervousness, depression, seasonal effects, changes in heat/cold tolerance, conversation ability, driving ability, memory, confidence, responsibilities, social involvement, planning, enthusiasm, blood pressure, various twitches and spasms in body etc etc etc.. the list goes on and on.. All the abstract functional areas of life are affected. The above list has absolute affiliation with nervous systems.
          I have never heard anyone say that because of ADs i developed a heart condition or a damaged kidney (except if there was a pre-existing illness). All in all, the honourable ADs have proved to be biggest enemy of nervous systems.
          Unfortunately all such symptoms cannot be understood by people who have not been thru it, even qualified doctors fail to gauge the suffering. Only we the community of AD victims can feel the pain of others.

          • Oh Kuldeep. I know that you are feeling some recovery from the stressors of the holidays because you are back to your wonderful rationalization of our situations. You are educated in the anatomy and physiology of the Central Nervous system, and this helps to a degree in understanding the whys and wherefores of the manifestations of our myriad of different miseries. The CNS expands out into the peripheral nervous system and the connections there are essentially the same. These areas are where the serotonin malfunctions occur and are located all over the body. That is why we have such a wide variety of miseries. BUT regardless of where, why or how much, the blame is still to be laid at the feet of the pharms and the MDs who refuse or are too lazy to do their homework and find out about this phenomenon. I know, as do most all of us affected, that it is a money thing. And I also know that not everyone who takes these meds are affected this way. Many people actually benefit from them, Thank God. But we all deserve to know the risks going in and the opportunity to make an informed decision about something that may affect the rest of our lives in an extremely adverse manner.
            Enough about all that. I am getting angry and that doesn’t help matters. I am again sending hugs, prayers, best wishes, empathy, understanding and any other positive thing that I can conjure up to all of our brothers and sisters out there. Everyone please hang on until the relief comes and all is better again.

    • Hey mimi,
      Happy New Year to you and your family and friends..!

      All your symptoms are classic withdrawal syndrome. While reading i couldn’t find a single word that doesn’t apply to me too. Yes mimi, believe me, this withdrawals are a horrible task and a mission unto itself.

      You are already aware of the facts of weaning off so i am sure you will not haste with klonopin, however, let me give you one tip.
      Klonopin is mostly available as mouth dissolving type, right? What you can do for the slowest but steady dose reduction is that take one small cup or a glass and one spoon which you will keep aside now for next couple of months. Daily fill up the cup/glass with water exactly same level (i used to fill till half), drop the klonopin and dissolve it very nicely atleast for a full one minute or so. Now take one spoonful from it and discard, drink the rest. After a week start discarding two spoonfuls, then three, four, six..
      This is the slowest but perfect method of dose tapering. Breaking a tab is never uniform. This style is also very useful in the last leg of taper bcoz that is the time when people get desperate to bring an end to the horrific journey and start dividing the tablets haphazardly, one day less dose and the other day more. Before starting you can measure how many spoon fulls makes your cup/glass and plan accordingly. I would suggest 20 weeks minimum, and after you have reached less than 0.25 then go more slow.
      And by the way mimi, 0.5 klonopin is not a low dose. When the drug is present in your systems for years and years together then it hardly makes any difference whether someone is taking 1mg or half a mg.

      About the holidays, i feel like i am already on a long vacation since 2013.. my withdrawal experience was a bit too severe bcoz i had gone cold turkey (i still regret). For almost two years i was not willing to even step out of my bed. More than willingness it was just not understood what is happening? It was a weird and complex condition of multiple symptoms. Somehow i am better now but cannot indulge in the same old fashion. Now, mostly my first efforts are to try and avoid any type of party or a gathering or any crowding situation, but still if i have to indulge then i keep it to minimums, with least nervous exertion and judicious load on belly.
      How did you celebrate mimi?

      • My dear friend, Kuldeep,
        Thank you for responding. If you read response to Evie, you can see my situation so I will not write it twice. I am very impressed with your method to taper Klonopin. I am planning to use it, but I think I will wait at least another 2 or 3 months to allow more healing and recovery from this winter and holiday stressors. I will be able to hopefully get outside some by then which I am sure will help. It sounds to me as if you have recovered a little from last month or two. I know around the holiday period in your country, you were having a rough time. Even though I don’t know sometimes how I can make to the next day, my heart still hurts for all or you suffering on some level. I guess that means that I am still in there somewhere and there is hope for me. Right now I am pretty down. I am back to the state of bedtime being the highlight of my day. Well, I guess it is time to quit feeling sorry for myself and get out of bed and find something to do. Hey, I should feel like the luckiest person in the world cause I can get out of bed!!!! But I don’t. I feel like I have been sucker punched. Mimi

        • Hi Mimi

          In your mind can you picture; a little, although very fat mouse, who has well and truly overdone his self indulgence over the Christmas holidays being wedged into his wheel, sweating and panting and reading his pawful of ‘to do’ notes. He knows the task ahead of him – to start up the ‘good ole proper computer’ – I also think today his is wearing his blue sports cap! lol

          Dear Mimi, I am sorry but having just read your last reply to Kuldeep, you mention ‘If you read response to Evie, you can see my situation so I will not write it twice.’

          Mimi 🙁 I cannot find your reply to me, anywhere 🙁 I Have looked from my phone, the boys pad thingies and still cannot find the reply of which you speak – hence waking up my mouse who runs his wheel who starts up the ‘proper computer’! at the end of the day my little mouse will be as miserable as us too!

          I know how good your bed feels, I soooo love mine too. I think it is wintertime where you are, this does not help anyone. I know whilst I was overseas it was winter there, dark, grey, miserable – gosh how bad did I feel, a little sunshine and blue skies does make the world brighter, im still not sure that it makes me feel better but I like to have the windows open and feel a warm breeze. Hang on in there my lovely, can you read, or browse the internet to keep you busy? I know this is hard, most of the time I can’t even be bothered to pick the thing up 🙁 this miserable season will change and looking outside on a brighter blue sky with some warmth means open that window and although this won’t cure you or I, it’s a darn lot better than miserable winter, hey? I wish I could send you a photo of the blue sky I have here today.

          Keep well Mimi, thinking of you xxxx Evie

          • Evie, I am so sorry you cannot unveil post. I can see it even now. It is a direct response to your post on Jan 1 and starts out, “I can feel your desperation”. You appeared to be very stressed that day, as was I. I live in the NE mountainous part of Tennessee, and yes it getting to the deep dark part of winter. I have been reading a lot today about meditation and am going to take a class to see if that will help with my sadness and anger. It is better than staying shut up in the house all winter. Bless you and hope you and Kuldeep and all others are feeling better. Mimi

  30. Hello all, It has been a good while since I have posted, but all my energies and concentrations have been exhausted by preparing for the coming holidays. In the past, this time of year was always my most favorite, but now it is a time of anxiety and exhaustion. I have a milestone, and I am hoping this will encourage me. On Dec 20th 2014, I took my last sliver of Lexapro/escitalopram. It has been the hardest year of my life, but I survived. I am hoping that this will be an inspiration for all of my old and new friends here. I was in the depths of despair many times this past year, but it is getting better despite the waves of relapse. Be kind to yourselves and believe in your selves. No matter how bad it gets, it will get better. To my Christian friends, Merry Christmas. To my friends of other faiths, best wishes and many blessings. I love you all and pray for all our recoveries. M

    • My dear dear dear mimi..
      Wish you a very very very happy Christmas and a healthy happy new year ahead.
      Loads of love and regards to you and all other friends here.

  31. Hello, what led me to your site was my mother has been on all kinds of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers since I was a child (so about 20 years now). I feel like I’ve watched my mothers brain function deteriorate and personality change over that 20 year period and I feel in my gut it’s down to the long term use of these drugs. She can’t concentrate, has severe issues with memory and is unable to keep track of anything, she can’t concentrate for more than a few seconds on anything, she’s very jittery and can’t sit still. She’s extremely impulsive and is emotionally detached from her children (there’s 7 of us). She was not this way during the first part of my childhood and all of my much older siblings say she was a completely different person before going on these pills.

    I feel the more she’s taken these drugs the worse she’s gotten and the worse she’s treated us and the worst part is, she’s always trying to get all of her kids to go on them saying they make her feel great when we all think they make her act crazy. Do you think this sounds like the akathisia you speak of? Or maybe possible brain damage?

    Thank you for listening.

    • Hi Bri, I’m sorry I should have answered you immediately. As soon as I saw your post I recognized the symptoms. I was on AD for about 25 years. I started thinking I had alzheimers or dementia because of my memory loss and lack of concentration. I happened to come across this website and realized what my problem was. I have been totally off AD for almost 4 months and I am starting to get some of my memories back (not all) and my concentration is getting a little better. I am truly grateful that I have not felt the urge or need to distance myself from my children. I am sorry you and your siblings are having to deal with this. I am hoping it is not too late to reverse the damage being on AD’s for so long. If your mom tries to wean herself off them please tell her to do it very, very slowly. I have been weaning myself off of them for about 3 years. Everytime I tried to wean myself my depression would double back on me everytime. It is very hard to do but it can be done with time. Please feel free to voice your concerns or whatever you need to discuss. They have some very kind and caring people on this website that can help you. I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas.

  32. Hello all. It has been too long since posting. I suppose everyone is like me and using every bit of energy to get through the holidays. I have unfortunately relapsed with overlapping waves of discomfort. I am praying it is due to the stress of the holidays, which used to be my favorite, bestest time of year. Now I am really struggling. Feel real bad. Real bad. One day at a time. God bless you all and hope everyone is getting through.

    • Hi Mimi,

      sorry to hear you’re feeling so bad. I’m also in a wave. I did the mistake to try and do sports. Every time I try that I get thrown in a wave.

      I have horrible brain zaps and yesterday night I had akathisia too. I didn’t sleep all night.

      I hope we’ll all heal very soon, even though I know this is a marathon rather than a sprint.

      I hope you enjoy the holidays at least a bit.


      • Lee, sorry for you also and your wave. It seems to be never ending, but I am just now reaching my 1 year mark in 3 weeks. Overall most a things are better but should not be happening at all. It is a crime against society that these hellish weeks, months, and years are perpetrated on unwitting, trusting people just trying to better their lives. In my rationalization, I took ADs with the same mindset that one takes antibiotics or BP meds. I wasn’t trying to get high. Just trying to get through a rough patch at my doctors recommendation. If I remember correctly, it also wrecked a fantastic career/life work for you as well as me. I am so thankful that I found support among others of us in the same boat. Thank you for responding. I just needed a kind and understanding ear. Merry Christmas

        • Mimi,

          I 100% agree with you. It’s a crime against humanity. People have a right to bodily integrity which has been taken from us by our doctors.

          I was the same as you. I took the AD in the mindset of doing “the reasonable thing for me”. I researched a lot but came across the wrong websites who said that untreated depression was dangerous. I was thinking I need to take these drugs to keep functioning at work and in my part time studies and for my sick boyfriend.

          I’m sorry at your lost career and good life. I lost a lot too. I used to do martial arts. I was so fit I could run 15km no problem and climb up a rope like in the movies. I was working in a really reputable and good job that I fought my entire life to get.

          Now I’m at home for almost a year, suffering. It’s a crime.

          But we’ll get better and we’ll get our lives back. I’m doing a lot of activism at the moment to raise awareness to this topic.

          I hope I will get somewhere. At the moment it seems like nobody wants to listen.

          All the best, Lee

          • Lee, have you ever communicated with Alto on the surviving antidepressants site? She is into activism in a real big way and you might get some ideas. I, too am trying to get attention drawn to the problem in my small way, but any time I try to do anything really big I panic. I even have a hard time taking my car for service. Ha.

            • Hi Mimi
              My dear taking car for service is a problem for me too…!!
              Car service is just an example but any activity that requires going-coming, explaining things, complex conversations etc. My experience is that more than all this what troubles me most is trying to behave normal in front of people when actually you are not feeling normal inside. This situation takes a bigger role subconsciously and then triggers anxieties. So out of anticipation atleast i tend to avoid such situations.

  33. Kuldeep, I really like your idea of posting our symptoms, observations, etc. I will get to this as soon as I can. I think it is very important and may help others in our situations. Thank you for initiating this. M

  34. Dear all, I have not forgotten you, my friends. Like Kuldeep, Angie, Evie, Zoe, and everyone else, the holiday season has totally consumed all my energies. I have had house guests, my only brother and his wife from 11 hours away, and now preparing for Thanksgiving dinner at my house for 25+ family and friends. Then Christmas preparations. I am actually doing better than I thought I would, but still very anxious and having return of some wave symptoms, both physical and psychological. I have all of you on my mind and in my prayers and will post when I can. I will check in as I can. God bless all of you. M

  35. Hello all, Hope everyone is feeling okay. I know that not everyone can post everyday but know that I check in to see if any one needs encouragement. Kuldeep, hope you are better and Angie, hope your grandson’s health issues are going well. Let us know when the surgery is over and know that I am praying for him frequently. God Bless us all.

    • Hi mimi,
      I am sorry for i couldn’t reply to your previous post. Actually i had written the whole long response but somehow it was not getting submitted, i think it was some website issue, later i was too tired to write everything once again as i had not copied my write up.
      As i had said earlier i had elevated anxieties over our festival Diwali and almost two weeks were very hard to pass, however, comparatively i am better now. Mimi thank you for your advise in previous post that one has to push one’s self and sometimes it works, yes dear, I’ve tried this trick many times and at times it does work but the question always is who will push you on your behalf? When you have anticipated anxieties and aversion to meet people not feeling physically comfortable then you just don’t get that pinch of will to try and push yourself. But i agree that once you get going even if forcefully or out of spontaneous compulsion then its not always as bad as imagined. Next time i will remind myself of your advise whenever such situations arise.
      After one week of festival season now it feels like the silence after cyclone, the event came and went away. I have been observing that apart from our drug induced condition the entire human society, the world as a whole is going thru a behavioural transition in terms of festive moods and real pleasures. Earlier it was person to person touch in wishes, greetings, sharing and caring, now it seems very artificial, very superficial, synthetic in sentiments. festivals have become mere formality, whether you like it or not but you have to do certain things in a prescribed pattern which people have been doing since ages. Unfortunately the old charm is not there, festivals have been reduced to WhatsApp and Facebook, the human effect is lost somewhere in the overuse of technology, I feel so.

      • Kuldeep, my friend. In honor of our newfound friendship, I decided to learn about your recent festival Diwali. What a delightful and spiritual event this is. Although different religions, and different significance, the overall activities are similar to our Christian holidays of Christmas. I understand and agree with what you say about the change in the enthusiasum and heartfelt participation. It has all become so commercial. Like the drug cos, the bottom line is the measure of success of the season. All this when the world is blowing each other up. I am glad it is over for you and that you are feeling better.

    • Hi Mimi,
      Thank you for your prayers for my grandson. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday and I will keep you posted. Your prayers are very much appreciated. I cannot believe I am holding up so well. I still have crying spells any my heart is steadily racing but as of right now I am okay. I guess it is because I am trying to live in the moment.
      Kuldeep I truly hope you feel better soon. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, Mimi and all others who goes through these frightening times. It is so hard but it is best to just live in the moment and know that better times are yet to be had.

      • I am so thankful and happy for your family. Will he have to have any in the future or is it all done? How are you holding up? Kuldeep, thank you for the link. I am waiting till it is quiet here so I can really read and understand it. How are you doing also? Hope you are better after your holidays. We are coming up on ours and anxiety is creeping in. Trying to stay calm. It is not easy. God bless us all, and help us to find our place of peace and calmness. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • DearFriends,

      I wish to open a new discussion here, please give your valuable feedbacks in details.

      So far we all seem to be writing quite vaguely about how each one of us feels while on antidepressants or after withdrawal, but we do not specify exactly what all symptoms we have?
      If we read each other’s comments then mostly we’ll find general distress and mind irritations, very few specific physical symptoms. I wish that we discuss more accurately what each one of us feels or experiences as symptoms in body and mind both in day today life. Ofcourse body and mind are two sides of the same coin but we all have various physical damages. Some may have more abdominal symptoms, some would say more about neurological symptoms and others may have general complaints like extreme fatigue and weakness. There can be much more we can describe like sleep patterns, how you sleep? is your sleep satisfactory? Then we can write about food patterns and observations, do you feel hungry but cannot eat? Or your appetite has just vanished? Or does your hands tremble while eating, or it hurts after eating, what foods make you feel better and what makes you feel worse? So much can be written about food experiences.
      Further we can write if someone has effects on your gait, posture, walking style etc. I am sure everybody has some effects on eyes and vision, ears, swallowing difficulties, thirst, muscular coordination, hair, skin, nail issues, morning motions, urine frequency changes, heat and cold modalities, do you perspire more or less, any specific pains in body, any pathological alterations like diabetes, cholesterols.. We can write so much more..

      Kindly spare some time and write all what you experience and struggle with.

      • Well, right now I am plunging into my seasonal depression, which occurs every year around this time, so those are the symptoms that are bothering me…. Sadness, boredom with daily activities, wanting to sleep all the time, lack of appetite, wanting to cry frequently, etc. I remind myself that this happens every year around this time and it will pass. But I wish there was an easy “cure” for it. I just hate winter so much. In the past, I have tried antidepressants, and all were worse than the problem. Prozac: constipation, feeling very dull and stupid, no joy even in my favorite hobbies; Lexapro: feeling manic, too speedy, and horrible insomnia; Zoloft: feeling twitchy, wanting to jump out of my skin; Wellbutrin: feeling better mentally, but physically having sore throat, congestion and muscle aches; Effexor: just horrible, felt my brain was melting. Honestly, I think I just have to move to a more congenial climate. I cannot stand the cold and darkness, and I cannot stand the “cures.”

    • Good morning everyone. Mimi and Kuldeep thank you for asking about my grandson’s surgery. The surgery went great and he is recouperating very well. Hopefully he will home within 10 days. Yes he will need more surgeries but we will take it one day at a time. We are just so blessed and grateful to have him here with us.
      Kuldeep I am doing good, I have my moments but for the most part I am doing better than I expected. Everytime I would try to get off the AD whatever was going on in my life would be changed into the worst case scenario and feelings of impending doom would consume me completely. I was worried my grandson’s surgery would jump start this but it hasn’t. Don’t misunderstand me though, I am still going through crying spells worrying about my baby but this time it is realistic feelings and not irrational feers that used to terrify and try to destroy me. I am still having trouble with brain zaps and dizziness but as long as it is not impending doom and obsessive irrational fears I can handle this. I guess another thing helping me is I am also dodging real life. I cannot and will not watch the news. I had gotten on Facebook to keep in touch with friends and relatives but it has gotten to the point where I don’t go on it as much because there are so many horror stories of child, elderly and animal abuse posted daily and my mind cannot handle it. I still have trouble with my memory. There are still no many things I cannot remember but I was on my AD for 25 years so I am hoping with time I might get more of my memories back. I have never had ADD but since I started weaning myself off my AD (I have been totally off my AD for over 3 months now), I started having trouble concentrating. I used to read books all the time and now I cannot concentrate long enough to read a page or I end up reading the same page over and over and still not read it. It was affecting my work too but it is slowly getting better and I hope it continues. I’m still physically and mentally tired but that seems to be getting better too. I know that I can survive all this as long as I don’t have feelings of impending doom or obsessive irrational fears. That’s what would drive me back to my AD and the nightmare would start all over again. Poor Evie, when I read her post my heart broke for her because even though I am doing better, I still remember the nightmare I lived through for years trying to get off my AD. I hope Evie and everyone else is doing better.

      • Hi Angie..
        nice to hear from you after some gap. Kindly elaborate more about your grandson. what kind of surgery was it and why he will need more surgeries in future?

        Reading about your condition it appears to me that you are a strong person, a fighter having seen life very closely. However, one remarkable ugly side of ADs is that basically it affects the nervous system. Have you noticed that when we all list down our sufferings and talk about our complaints we all talk about anxieties, memory, impending doom, and words that points towards some unexplainable weird sensations, a dysfunctional state for which there are no exact and suitable words. As i have understood, this are severe damages to nervous system.
        While reading that you have stopped watching news i got a spontaneous smile with my brows up..!! Yes, i had similar experience with watching various things on TV, mainly unpleasant news and accidents scenes and such things started affecting me, i had to change the channels. On WhatsApp i avoid watching some videos which otherwise i would not consider as disturbing, but somehow now it triggers some unpleasant feelings, may be anxieties. And this is what i learnt that it is bcoz of nervous system gone hay way. Do remember Angie that facebook and other social networking didn’t exist just a few years ago, so its not compulsory to remain engaged there if you are not comfortable with it. We as human beings sometimes tend to assume that what will others think? are we out of mainstream? But i feel that all this is not what makes a life.

        Do write more about your grandson in detail. Blessings and good wishes for him.

        • Kuldeep my grandson was born with an undeveloped aorta. He had his first open heart surgery at 9 days old, the second at 6 months and this latest one at almost 4 years old. They were able to repair half his heart but the blood is able to flow through his whole heart so maybe they can repair the other half later. They were saying this surgery should last 5-15 years so hopefully this will give him a break for a while.
          I had wanted to add something on my last message about symptoms but I forgot. There was something a woman said in the comments that I could relate to. I don’t remember her name or remember word for word what she said but it was something to the effect that she sometimes loses control of her tongue. I honestly can’t pin point when this started (but I do know it was after I started to wean myself off my AD) when I started having this symptom. It started one day while I was talking, it was like my tongue jumped in my mouth. It started out by happening once in a while then it happened more and more and sometimes my tongue would keep from forming words. If I were drinking something and my tongue did this, the liquid would pour from my mouth. I had never associated this symptom with AD withdrawal (assuming that is a side effect). I once asked my family physician and she said she had never heard of it before. I was wondering if anyone else had this. It it not happening as much, just occasionally.

  36. Wow! I don’t know where to start. At the moment I don’t even know what is best to do. I have been on antidepressents since 1991 after being diagnosed with post natel depression, looking back I waited too long, and again going through my life, I’ve always been a worrier and a ‘tap head’ as my parents called me. Frustration, worry, anxiety, lack of self confidence, high expectations of myself, everything having to be perfect, leads to more pressure on myself. I was once told I cause my own depression and I should learn to chill and not worry. I am who I am and will always do the best I can at some thing and to do the best for everyone. Anyway, I can’t believe I am actually typing this in public, and I have a feeling I’m going to go on and on, sorry. Anyway, here I am in another country with my husband and son (20) whilst husband is on a contract for possibly a year. I’m now planning to head home I’m over it! After three months. Like I said I have been an ad since 1991 and every now and then I get the idea to come off, then end up back on them. This time ive been off of my Prozac 3 months, and feel awful. My son is here and keeps me going, come on mum lets go do this! But I keep crying, I’m crying now, like omg! I wouldn’t say I’m homesick, all good back home, my other son is house sitting and the dogs are fine. Even if I went home I’d be exactly the same. Perhaps I shouldn’t have come off of them with this adventure happening, I should have stayed on them so my friend says, Evie why did you come off them and go to another country? I just did because it seemed a good idea at the time! I feel awful, I’d quite happily stay in bed all day, but feel guilty, here we are and I have no interest in visiting this magnificent country, a chance of a lifetime, who gets this opportunity. Good job my son is here or life would be even worse. I found this site after searching for days on the Internet trying to find the answer to my question. How do I know when to go back on antidepressents? When is enough enough? How do I know if these are withdrawal symptoms or my depression back? It sure feels like depression! My doctor at home has told me it’s a life long medication and I am not to come off. Another doctor I visited after I felt my usual doc was just handing pills out and upping the dose as I require, said you’re not depressed, it’s a thought pattern! Like ok, not heard that one in 25 years. I’ve done the specialists, and many doctors and they all put me on pills. And here I am off them and struggling like crazy. Huge argument last night just because I think I needed to argue with my poor husband. He says go back on them! Yes I guess life would be easier for him if I did. But do I need to? Is this just a phase? What is this that is happening? After last night, I took one Prozac ( usually I’m prescribed 3) I thought I’d start on 1 to see if that works, but now I’m even more confused…do I stop, is all this you and a few other sites have been saying true, don’t the doctors know best. All I know is I’m balling my eyes out now and asking Complete strangers what to do! I’m angry, fed up, can’t be bothered to do anything, walk around like a bear with a sore head, I drank a bottle of wine last night! Yes I know not a good idea, I’m constantly in the mood of (apologies for language) pissed off, short tempered, wound up, tearful, instant tears even when I’m laughing, I watched a video on u tube normally something that wouldn’t bother me, didn’t even get to the end without blabbing all over the place. Omg I’ve even joined a gym with my son and started on a programme, yeah right, hurt my Achilles, thank god for that now I don’t have to go, but now I’m panicking about it never healing! I just don’t know what to.

    • Evie dear,
      it seems like your fingers have moved exactly in accordance with what is going on in your mind and body. wherever and whatever you’ve read about doctors not knowing about the so called psych drugs is very much true both in spirit and practice. why it is the way it is a million $ question mark? nobody really knows why the entire medical fraternity is in denial mode when it comes to the horrible effects of this chemicals and at the same time everyone who has taken ADs for shorter or longer duration has a mind boggling story to say. I’ve not come across a single person who would testify that ADs have not harmed his/her brain. May be half the doctors are deliberately turning a blind eye bcoz of greed and unprofessional ethics, and the other half are actually over reliant on pharma cos hypothesis and claims. Whatever be the truth, the practical fact is that whoever has been on ADs is in pathetic condition. May be after some years this will be recognized by public and practitioners at large and in retrospect they will acknowledge that ADs had been barbaric way of treating mentally ill people.
      For now you have to decide your life course. If you choose to go back to ADs then i swear i have no idea how it should feel? I suppose you will feel better from the present withdrawal symptoms and again you will be in the dirty pool of upping the doses and the same list of side effects which you will be well aware of since you have been on ADs since almost 25 yrs. If you are adamant not to retreat and face the forward journey then you will be one of the millions like us who are struggling day in and day out with the damages already incurred. In both situations you have pluses and minuses.
      Regarding your relapsed depression my view is that this evil chemicals are capable of altering your endocrine system hence you will certainly have rebound effect once you stop this chemicals and the person who has withdrawn from drugs will have to go through this horrifying experience, however, with passage of time it should get better. Brain will adapt to the new way of working. To what extent and how soon depends on individual biological response.
      I want to write more but i am feeling short of words, i am sure other friends here will explain in better ways.

    • Dear Miss Angie. Reading from your post, I am assuming that you are in the 40-50 year age group. Many of us are.
      This was when the rage was on for this great new feel good drug that could cure decapitation. It was prescribed for everything. Now there are thousands or maybe even millions of us who are suffering the effects, whether from still being on the drugs with side effects or from trying to wean off. The words you hear to describe this are numerous but are mostly synonyms for hell. BUT. It passes. If you find the information about slow weaning before you start, than it is usually easier, but I didn’t and followed the drug company and MD’s advice and did it over 3 months. Back space to your comments and you will know how I felt. I felt decent for a short while then the misery started. All the issues you speak of plus many physical miseries. I thought I was dying, going crazy and paying for some horrible sin that I must have committed. All at the same time. Considered ending it many times. But for my family I would have. I am now just short of a year after last pill fragment and am functional again. I didn’t think I would make it many times. I turned a corner when I found this site and found out what was happening to me. It was a life saver. I was to far out (6 months) to reinstate and start really slow wean so I just gave in to the slow death and went to my fate. I will not tell you about waves and windows as you will read all that as you continue to do your research. There is no magic cure except time. You must remove as much stress from your life as you possibly can. I had to give up my job, go to another church, stop volunteering, stop having family gatherings at my house, etc, etc. Couldn’t go out in sun due to headaches and eye sensitivity. Broke teeth from grinding. Anger, rage, feelings of doom, etc. Lost close relationships with my grandchildren. Mimi had turned into the big bad wolf. On and On and On. Sound familiar? The really good news is that it does get better. Some folks take longer than others. It depends on the drug, the duration, the wean, and the determination and support that you have. There are many discussions about supplements and other helps. You will also find all that as you continue to scour the internet. I take fish oil and B vitamins. If you receive help and understanding from your docs, you are very lucky. Most of us have had to create our own methodology for beating this. And beating it you will do. Just the fact that you are still on your feet is a testament to how strong you are. Also remember that it is okay to give in and not be strong at times. I, like you, was a damn the torpedos personality, and would and could tackle anything. I am a medical professional who left my career due to this. That has been hard for me to turn into a back seat passenger. But it is all part of allowing your self to heal. I am 61 yrs old. I feel so sorry for young folks who have jobs and kids to deal with. Keep reading everything you can, stay in touch with us here, and do whatever you need to do to feel safe and quiet during this time. Have your family read what you do so that they will understand. I was too embarrassed in the beginning to confide in anyone and almost lost my family due to my actions. Gee, I am wordy, but there is so much for you to learn. Enough for now. Mimi
      PS. The feelings of depression multiplied are a hallmark symptom of prolonged withdrawal.

    • Evie it just may not be the right circumstance for you to come off the AD. I did just as you – quit the AD just as I was moving across country alone. I nearly died. I got back on for another year until I was in a stronger position mentally. Then I got off when I was ready. It took a year of ups and downs – often feeling worse than before ever going on them. But one day I realized I was over it. I still have to be ultra diligent with exercise, sleep, being social, good diet (I quit gluten which helped) or I will fall back into depression. Also depending on your age, peri menopause and menopause can definitely cause mood swings and sleeplessness. Best of luck to you and don’t beat yourself up. You’ll get there, if not now then in your time.

  37. Kuldeep, I have been thinking about what you said about trying to be normal around other people and the anxiety that it exacerbates when you can’t or if someone asks what’s wrong. I have been telling folks that I am dealing with a health issue that has drained me and I am sorry that I cannot participate fully or at all in many activities. I assure them that it is not fatal and I am recovering slowly but surely. It is all true and this way you have an excuse for staying home or not participating in whatever is at hand. If someone is bold enough to ask what’s wrong, tell them it is complicated and personal and sometimes requires you to rest frequently. Ask for their prayers then change the subject.. I so hope that you are feeling better. You have helped me so often and I hope this helps you. One other thing. I have sometimes forced myself to attend or participate in something that I dreaded or was anxious about only to find that I enjoyed myself after all, but not always. So you never know. You can always use the above excuse and leave if it doesn’t work out. Best wishes to all. Mimi

  38. Kuldeep I am so sorry you are going through a bad time. I’m like Mimi, I am actually having a good day so my heart goes out to you and I truly feel your pain. I am so grateful for this website because I felt so alone and did not understand what I was feeling and going through. I was about to get back on my antidepressant to get back to ‘normal’ when I came across this website. Believe me I am not planning on getting back on them. I’m worried because I have been reading all these horror stories and most of the people were on their medication for short periods of time. I was on them for 25 years so naturally I worry about the long term effects. It is comforting to know there are people like Mimi, Kuldeep and others who are here that have experienced all these symptoms and side effects and can help. Kuldeep I totally understand everything you are going through, the feelings of exhausted energies, brain confusion and wanting to be alone. I hope you feel better soon and I know you will. For myself one of my main concerns are my loss of memories. I hope I am able to get most of my memories back and to hopefully have a clear mind again. I guess I will always have struggles with anxiety and depression so I will continue to live one day at a time and when that is too much, I will try to remember to live in the moment. I also have so much guilt because I encouraged so many people to get on antidepressants because it ‘helped’ me so much and now I realize the damage I have caused these people. I feel so encouraged since I have gotten my story out in the open. It was like a form of therapy for me and has already made a difference. Mimi and Kuldeep, thank you so much for your support and Mimi thank you for your prayers. Kuldeep I hope you feel better soon and can enjoy your holiday. You are so supportive of everyone on here. Please know we are here for you too. I will keep all of you in my prayers.

    • Angie, Kuldeep and others. I have tears in my eyes as I read Kuldeep’s comments. It is the same here as our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach. In the past, these, along with Halloween, were my favorite times of the year. I managed to set out a few Halloween decorations for the grandkids but they are wondering why I am not the all out decorator/celebrator/have fun person I was before. We usually have a big Halloween party with a dress up theme for old and young alike. I have been Marilyn Monroe, the Terminator, Peg Bundy, Disco queen, Rambo woman, etc. Always cooking, baking, decorating and playing like a kid. Like Kuldeep, now it is all I can do to acknowledge. First year in forever that I have not dressed up in costume. Now I am dreading the coming days. I can not imagine how to get through till after it’s all over. Although it continues to get better, high anxiety events seem to bring back not only the emotional but the physical symptoms. The headaches and visual issues are the worst. I suppose it would be accurate to say that the joy is overshadowed by the anxiety. I hope and pray that somehow, some way each of us can find a way to bring back that part of ourselves that loved life. If not for our sakes, then for those that love us. I continue to pray for each of you. Kuldeep, hang in there. We understand.

  39. My name is Angie and I am so glad I found this website. I have been reading all the comments and although I am so sorry to read of all the trouble and problems people are going through I am relieved to know that there is a logical explanation for everything I am going through. I have been on antidepressants for 25 years. Throughout the years I would try to get off of them but my depression/anxiety would double and triple back on me so I would get back on them. I thought it was all in my head but now I know that it is not. For 2 years now I have been slowly weaning myself off of Lexapro. I have insurance so it is affordable for me but I didn’t want to have to depend on it if I were to lose my health insurance. I have been totally off of it for 2 months and it has been so hard. I am 55 years old and was having severe memory problems. I was terrified I had alzheimers or dementia. I found this website and it was like everything made sense. The brain zaps, my equalibrium being off, dizziness, paranoia, anxiety, memory loss, everything. Right now I am going through extreme anger and irritability and this scares me. I am known for my ability to get along with people and this is so foreign to me. I don’t want to be this way and I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe I have never heard of all this before. The first time I tried to get off my medication I was having all the symptoms listed above (except the anger). I went to the doctor and told her all my symptoms and since antidepressants aren’t addictive that couldn’t have been the problem. They did an MRI of my brain and could find nothing wrong. I got back on my medication and the symptoms went away. It has been a vicious cycle for 25 years and I will not give in and start taking the medicine again. Can someone tell me how to help with the anger, rage and irritability. I don’t want my grandbabies and family to see me like this.

    • Oh, Angie. I can so identify with your concerns. I said and did things that I am so ashamed of and never would have done so except that I was in the throes of withdrawal. I even smacked my x pastor up back of the head. He so deserved it, but still!!! There is no cure except time and healing which is different for everyone, and sometimes but not always seems related to how long you were on the poison, and how slowly you weaned. I thought at 11 months after a 3 month wean that I was over the worst. The physical symptoms aren’t too bad but my emotions continue all over the place. I have anger and crying jags and self loathing and feelings of impending doom and cortisol mornings. My advice is to not put yourself in situations that will increase your anxiety or overly tire you. Plan days to yourself where you can recover after particularly stressful days. Stress is my worst enemy so I try to avoid it, but can’t always do that. I too have grandchildren that love and need me. I am 61 and have a destroyed career that I know I will never be able to go back to. It makes me ill to think about it. There are days when I feel almost normal then days (waves) when it comes back after I have pushed too hard. But just remember that the trend is always toward healing and back to being happy and useful. If you can, explain to your family what you are recovering from so that they will know. They may or may not understand. Show them this and other sites for folks going through this. One of these days we will all be vindicated and it will be made public knowledge what these drugs do. Just like asbestos or thalidomide or many others. Hope to hear from you soon. Keep us posted as there are a lot of really nice and helpful folks from around the world here who understand. They saved me.

      • Thank you for responding to my story Mimi. It is so hard sometimes. As I was reading your story about your emotions, it’s like you were reading my mind. I feel as if I am living on an emotional roller coaster. One minute I am content, then angry, then worried, then sad. It just goes on and on. I can halfway control some of my emotions but sometimes it is so hard. Last week I was having trouble with anger and rage, today it is anxiety and impending doom. I have a grandson who was born with a badly deformed heart. My precious baby is 3 years old and has had 2 open heart surgeries (the first one at 9 days old and the second one at 6 months) and has had numerous heart catheters done. He is scheduled for his next big open heart surgery next week so you can imagine how heavy my heart is and how my mind and my emotion’s are going in 100 different directions. On top of this they ran some tests on my son (my grandson’s daddy) to see if his heart problems were hereditary and they found out my son has a heart valve defect. I am so grateful he decided to get checked so at least they can monitor him. I try to take things one day at a time but you know how that is. With everything going on I am so truly blessed. I have 2 sons and their wives who blessed me with with 6 precious grandbabies (number 7 will be here in a few months) and and they live within walking distance of my house so I get to spend time with them everyday. They know everything that I am going through and they are so supportive of me and give me strength when I need it. I don’t know what would have become of me if I didn’t have them to support me.

        • Angie, I am so happy for you that you have family who understand. Sometimes I think mine do, but others it is like they get tired of tip-toeing around. My grand babies live close but I do not see them every day. Part of that is my fault as I have a need to be alone a lot. My life/career was very public, very stressful, and very intense most of the time and was shift work for 30+ years so I have issues with sleep and severe anxiety. Other times I do pretty well. It was better but I think I overdid it this week. You are so positive and I hope you are over the worst time. I think I am but it still is rough sometimes. I keep praying and looking for peace. For me and you and all the others.

            • Mimi, thank you for the prayers for my grandbaby. It seems you and I have a lot in common. Each day gets a little better but it is still like a roller coaster with the ups and downs. I hope you, me and all the others can get our lives back to normal and find peace and happiness. I pray anxiety and depression will leave us alone, once and for all.

              • Angie, I so agree. I am actually having a pretty good day. Hope you are also, as well as all the others out there. I am so thankful for finding this place. I was so alone before I came her and got information and support. There are wonderful people here who will pop in and out just when you seem to need them most. It really got me through some dark times. There are other places that you can get help and lots of clinical information but this seems to be so caring and personal. I know that there are souls out there who are fighting this alone, and have no idea what is going on, as I was. I hope they find help and support somehow, somewhere. Just knowing what it is and that it will get better is a life saver. Still praying for your family. Keep us posted.

                • Mimi and Angie,
                  Hello to both of you.
                  I am reading your posts and replies and follow ups for last few days. Please be assured that others are connected and involved with you in your pain.
                  I didn’t respond bcoz firstly i had a bad wave and was trying to come out of it, so couldn’t gather enough energies to write even few words. Secondly, today is India’s biggest festival Diwali so for last many days it was like an occasion coming closer and closer and anxieties building up about the fact that people expect to see you and meet you as normal as always, which is not the case with me now. Can’t explain to each and everyone the entire story of sufferings, and that frustration itself creates gradual anxieties, mind subconsciously praying that sooner this festive days pass the better. Tomorrow is our new year and i have no idea how will i manage to meet so many people and attended numerous calls repeating same dialogues of ‘Happy new year’ and hundreds of mobile msgs which have to be reciprocated.
                  I know all this will pass, but the haunting question is what has happened to me? I was never like this. This debilitating condition, exhausted energies, confused brain, no mood to involve in anything, no wish to see anybody, and above all can’t explain to anyone why i am not behaving normal.
                  Anyways, love you all and good wishes for all.

  40. I have a horror story. These drugs ruined my life and traumatized my children and family. They made me disabled; before, I was a pediatric R.N. Now I am on disability and unable to travel now to see my now-grown children due to both my financial situation, and because of the permanent tardive dyskinesia and other physical effects the drugs have had on me. Is it possible to sue the drug companies? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • I apologize if I did not introduce myself to the ongoing blogging. My name is Sunne Ann Paquette; I am 54, and I live near the OBX. I was a pediatric nurse, I want to be an art teacher, I have 2 grown kids that have been traumatized by my behavior on these drugs. They are doing well money-wise but the emotional effects will linger forever. One in particular also took these drugs and had unexpected behavior. I am sick that these drugs have so impacted my family, and all the other innocent people in the world in the way they have. I am deeply spiritual and want to thank god/dess for all the blessings in my life. I would love to blog with others about our situations. Maybe we can help each other heal.

      • Hi Ann,

        I am sorry to hear your story but as a fellow antidepressant survivor/ sufferer myself, I know how it affects every avenue of our lives…family, career, personality. If you don’t mind me asking, are you actually on government disability due to the medication side effects and withdrawal? And also, are you in the US? I have actually considered applying for disability bc long term use of Paxil/Prozac has so altered my brain function that it is nearly impossible for me to function at my job and have healthy relationships. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to you! Zoe

        • Hi Ann, Zoe, Josh, Kuldeep and everyone else. I am having a bit of a bad patch this week. Probs at church that I have attended 48 yrs. We are leaving to find another church and I am devastated for my family. They have all grown up in that church. The big thing is that one of the women who is creating a lot of the discord appears to me, the SSRI sniffer,(This means that I can spot a fellow sufferer a mile away just by the look in their eyes) to be in the throes of one of these drugs. She hasn’t always been this way, and just the look in her eye and the anger she spews reminds me of how I used to be while I was in the drugs. I am going to give her the information for this site. Anyway, the point being that the stress from this has thrown me into a wave of relapse. But I know that it will end eventually.
          Thank you Kuldeep for the kind words about my slowly returning positivity. I indeed have thought about writing a book, and now I have a subject.

          I, too am disabled from my job and many aspects of life, but have labels attached to my condition such as GAD, Depression, and PTSD because of my many many years of EMS helicopter and ED work. It’s FUNNY that most of this didn’t start till after I was put on SSRI’s for acute depression after very stressful 3 years of caring for dying family members. I also had issues with lower extremity pain and numbness and incontinence. Eventually a cystic tumor was found in my spine but the neurosurgeon said that he didn’t think it was responsible. By this time, all I could do was cry ALL, and I do mean ALL the time. So I finally give in to being crazy and crippled and disabled and all the other BS. As I had lost my job, I lost access to the mental health care that I was getting, and my GP continued to write my meds. He is a nice guy but doesn’t have a clue. Then finally in the middle of all this misery I got a glimmer of a rational idea from the good Lord only knows where, and began to taper myself per the Pharms recommendations. (Way too fast) And as I said before, after about 6 months post last pill scrap, BAM. Hell came down and misery filled my life. It’s most all here on this forum. But it does get better. A little at a time. Even my legs work better and I don’t pee myself like before. Anxiety is always lurking. Remember everyone, Serotonin is everywhere and can affect everything. I do not know if you would be able to get disability solely on the damage from SSRI’s but it would be an earth shattering event if you could. Unfortunately it would be a daunting task and I would hire a very very good lawyer to do it.

    • Hi Anne – interesting to hear about your Tardive dyskenisia. I was on paroxetine and then citalopram for around 15 years (am now off them, have gone through the usual hellish symptoms) and have been left with terrible neurological tics (neck, eyes, limbs and extremeties) that are extremely uncomfortable, painful and have destroyed my confidence and self esteem. I have seen many doctors and been diagnosed with Adult Onset Tic Disorder which is incredibly rare apparently. No one can say what the cause is but more than one, including a neurologist, has said that it is a possible side effect of years on the tablets and I believe it to be so. I am a husband, father of 2 children and a director of a company, but I would say there isn’t a day that goes by when I feel like I don’t have the strength or resolve to carry on. It’s sad that at 41 years old, with so much to live for, that I feel like this, but at the same token I know I am not alone with these feelings, there are others in worse situations and self pity is not a healthy state of mind. I would be interested to hear of your TD symptoms and what, if anything, you have done to get some relief. Best, Josh

      • Hi Josh, Ann, Kuldeep,

        I was wondering Josh about your story specifically since you were on paroxetine nearly as long as me. I’m wondering now that you’re off totally, are you able to laugh at all and has your personality returned to the pre-med state? I started Prozac around 91 and then Paxil around 93 and started tapering (from 30 mgs) in 2006 but could only get down to around 10 mgs. Stayed there for a year but had to go up to 12mgs because it so affected my personality/ job/ relationships- I was in unbelievable mental and physical pain. People were actually kind of scared of me when I got down to 10mgs and I’m a very gentle person prior to this med horror. Thanks for sharing your story! Zoe

    • Hello Ann,
      It is very very painful to know that you have gone/going thru such terrible time. It will be absolutely meaningless to sue the drug companies bcoz they are money wise giants having numerous legal suits ongoing in various courts of laws, i don’t think they will care a damn for one more case. Pharma cos are very insensitive to your suffering otherwise why would they be marketing such life destroying drugs in first place? And for legal matters all cos have a team of lawyers who are well versed with technical ways to manipulate their defense in the eyes of law, it will be a sheer waste of time, more money and little left energies.
      Regarding the emotional turmoil in your relationships you have only one option to open your heart in front of them, tell them that it was not you who behaved xxx yyy zzz.. it was the horrifying effects of chemicals, it was not in your control, you can even promise them to show hundreds of similar cases where people have unknowingly behaved in cannibalistic manner under influence of drugs. You can only hope that someday your own people will understand you.

      Which drugs were you taking and for how long? what is present scenario? Are you still on drugs or withdrew them?
      Do write every detail ann, we all here have same stories and we would love to know you more.

    • Hi Josh, Ann, Kuldeep,

      I was wondering Josh about your story specifically since you were on paroxetine nearly as long as me. I’m wondering now that you’re off totally, are you able to laugh at all and has your personality returned to the pre-med state? I started Prozac around 91 and then Paxil around 93 and started tapering (from 30 mgs) in 2006 but could only get down to around 10 mgs. Stayed there for a year but had to go up to 12mgs because it so affected my personality/ job/ relationships- I was in unbelievable mental and physical pain. People were actually kind of scared of me when I got down to 10mgs and I’m a very gentle person prior to this med horror. Thanks for sharing your story! Zoe

  41. Hello, Lee, Kuldeep, and all,
    I am happy to say that I am doing well. Of course I have lingering effects, and every day when I wake up I am prepared in case a wave were to strike. Nearly 11 months after final pill fragment followed by a relatively mild withdrawal for about 5-6 months, then BAM. Experienced most every symptom that is mentioned in this forum including thoughts of suicide. All that has pretty much gone with manageable episodes of headache, auras, and quick temper. Also anxiety is easily flared. I read about the people who have long term horrible events including death and am enraged that this can continue. I have lost a few years of my normal life so far but these poor people have lost everything. I continue in my personal mission to tell everyone I can about this. I can watch and listen to someone and be able to tell that they are experiencing the hell that is these drugs without knowing anything about them. I have even asked people before and gotten affirmative answers if they don’t tell me it’s none of my business. I am like a drug sniffing dog. I can just sense the sufferers. Shame, shame, shame on those who perpetrate this torture on people.
    I am worried about Deena. If you are still checking in, please let us know you are okay. To everyone who is affected by this, keep the faith, know that it will eventually get better.

    • Hi Mimi,
      I love to read your’s English and the way you translate your thoughts into words and the manner in which you articulate messages is simply superb.
      On a serious note you should consider writing a book, i am sure you will do it very good.
      Similar compliments i had given to Zoe, his language and command over reproducing thoughts into words is very good. I am happy that atleast you people have this skills intact despite having gone through terrible condition.
      All the best wishes to you Mimi and Zoe if he reads this message.

      Mimi, regarding your post i am observing that actually you seem to be a positive personality. Altho you too have suffered a lot but you try to overcome it all by optimistic attitude. You say 2 bad things and 3 good things, that’s very inspiring quality.

      • Thank you Kuldeep. If I could, I would hug you. Most of us suffering this horror don’t hear things like this very often and it means the world to have someone notice. God Bless You for it and also for your obvious empathy for the others here. You always try to help.

    • Hi Mimi
      Sorry I cannot reply in timely manner….started new job and it’s taking ALL of my brain power to manage it. I am sorry to hear about your struggles but from what I can remember from your earlier posts you are still within 1 year of cold turkey cessation, so just hang in there and be patient. The brain does heal in most cases, from my understanding, but it just takes Tremendous faith and patience. I too can tell if someone is on ADs…you can tell from the irradic behavior. Sorry to hear about your struggles at church too. There are a lot of needy, hurting people in church, but there are strong, mature people too. Sounds like this lady needs help and compassion and perhaps “speaking the truth in love” to her. Praying for you, Zoe

    • Hi Mimi,

      I thought I’d check in again. It’s 8 months after my brain was fried by 5 pills of Effexor.

      Symptoms are fluctuationg a lot. I have an electric head, memory loss, brain zaps almost 24/7, heart problems, I’m sweating like mad, muscle twitches. The worst paranoia and depression are gone at the moment, which is good.

      But I do have to say these drugs have destroyed my life on all imaginable levels.

      I can’t believe how ignorant doctors are about these drugs.

      I hope everyone is recovering. Wishing you all lots of healing.


      • Hi Lee and Mimi,
        Last week i had written some 2-3 msgs but each time there was a message from the regulators of this website that your message will be shown after moderation. I think i had mentioned some websites for Deena and so it was stopped.

        Lee, you had taken Effexor only 5 pills in total? how many mg pills? it is a bit strange to know that only few days of this drugs can alter your brain pathology, just horrendous chemicals.
        I too am suffering bcz of Effexor only, but i took them for atleast 10 yrs before quitting in 2012 end, still struggling three years later.
        In India we don’t have Effexor name but have Ventab XR and Venlor XL etc, the contents are Venlafaxine only, the most notorious of these drugs.
        Lee, besides Effx 5 pills what else you were taking and for how long?

        • Hi Kuldeep,

          I took the lowest available dose of Venlafaxine 37,5 mg.

          Only for 5 days. I never took any other psychiatric durgs or any illegal drust.

          This just shows that 1 pill of an antidepressant can fry your brain for good. I networked with many people who had so called “catastrophic reactions” to antidepressants. One guy took only half a pill of Lexapro (Escitalopram) and was in hell for at least 4 years. Another one took one pill of Lexapro, had serotonin syndrome and two strokes immediately after.

          You can even find a paper on the topic if you search in Google “Catastrophic reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome associated with serotonin syndrome.”.

          In the paper, they cynically say “the patient expired” when they mean the patient died of serotonin syndrome.

          These are horrendous, toxic, dangerous drugs. I think we would all have been better off taking street drugs than these toxins.

          • Why is it that every person taking or having withdrawn antidepressants have an ugly story to tell which is more or less similar in every corner of world. At the same time world over the doctors are not ready to believe their patients regarding the horrific results of this ADs. I mean how can the entire medical fraternity deny something which is actually happening with the entire patients fraternity? why aren’t doctors believing the sufferers??

            • I’ve been wondering that for a while and the answer is: Money. The pharma industry is conducting such powerful lobby-ism, they have literally brainwashed doctors into thinking antidepressants are perfectly safe sugar pills. They are suppressing any critical information.

              We had a documentary on TV recently that showed how patients who died by side effects are “removed” from clinical studies by labeling them as “lost in follow up”.

              The FDA is populated by industry insiders with massive conflicts of interest and the European regulatory bodies are even funded by the drug industry. It’s a big business in which lives don’t count.

              I gained inside into the adverse reaction statistics for antidepressants. There’s thousands of deaths alone for Venlafaxine. Almost 2000 suicides, thousands of strokes, heart attacks, sudden deaths, acts of violence, even homicide. Statistics for other antidepressants look similar.

              We never hear from those who died because they can’t speak for themselves anymore. It’s sad.

              • Hi Lee,
                I agree with the point that very large scale money is involved in pharma industry and the research that are done are not open to public scrutiny and thus unfair on all counts.
                However, my actual question is that not all docs are given money by pharmacos. Recently it is observed that not only psychiatrists and MD physicians are prescribing this drugs but almost every medical practitioner including junior docs and small docs in villages are freely giving away this drugs as if it were simple painkillers or paracetamols, and that is ridiculous trend in world.
                One cousin of mine who is living in a remote backward village of India is on ADs. I asked him who prescribed this drugs? And he said his village Dr who is only a MBBS and hardly experienced put him on it. Surprisingly, this trend is very much prevalent in every part of world. More and more general doctors are putting their patients on ADs for smallest complaints. It is a very wrong precedence, where will this all land up? ADs are basically not an answer for every human complaint, and this drugs should be given only as a last resort in cases of severe depression/anxiety disorder patients. Whereas the scenario is just opposite. Every Dr is freely prescribing ADs for even casual ailments.
                Pharmacos will never step back bcoz their target is huge huge money, only the doctors have to have their own wisdom and compassion for their patients. Lastly, people have to get educated about the ill effects of ADs, there seems no other solution.

          • I only took ONE dose of Effexor and it knocked me out of commission for several days. As I wrote in my journal, once I had recovered enough to be coherent, “I have never imbibed a tall, frothy mug of weedkiller, but I imagine the results would be similar: insides feeling scorched, brain seemed as smooth and rubbery as a hard boiled egg.” Not a pleasant experience, much worse than the sadness and fits of crying that led to my prescription.

      • Hi Kuldeep and Zoe. and anyone else out there suffering at some level. Or maybe there are those who are well enough that they do not need to be reminded of their ordeal. I hope that is the case. That is what I pray for all of us. That the day comes when you no longer need to come for support. I am glad that some of us stick around to encourage each other and assure those just starting their journey that it does get better. One step forward and so on. Sometimes it is three steps back but you do eventually catch up. I am 10 months after a too fast taper and over the 24/7 days of total misery. Now although usually daily, it only lasts short periods of time. I have learned skills and coping mechanisms that sometimes help, and sometimes I just have to ride it out. But it does get better. Every day is a new challenge in which you do not know which of the traveling miseries is going to afflict you so you have to be prepared for everything. The biggest help of all is to learn to treat yourself gently and not to expose yourself to the stimuli that triggers a wave. Right now I am doing pretty good, but struggling with sleep. I am trying to learn better sleeping habits after 30 plus years of shift work. Along with all the sleep environment changes, I admit to taking sleep aids, even benzos at times but I need to conquer one demon at a time. And sleep is a great healer, even when induced. I hope when the 1 year mark arrives, I will be ready to tackle that issue. My dose is so low that I am hopeful that I will have an easier time. I know that I will go much more slowly. I need everyone to understand that I am not a substance abuser. I was subjected to a myriad of stress over a long time and was offered help in the form of chemicals. I fell into the trap in an effort to keep my career and deal with all the other bad stressors in my life. Thank all of you who have encouraged me through this ordeal. Most of the time it was the only support that I had and probably saved my life. God Bless and help us all.

  42. Looking for answers for my 15 yr old daughter and myself. My daughter was placed on Prazac at the age of 14 because she was having emotional outbursts and crying fits for no reason and was very anxious. She had not started her menses yet so doctors thought it would help until he period started and her hormones leveled out some. Once she started her period they took her off Prozac and then out her into birth control to help with the mood swings. I don’t think the Prozac really helped much either. Her mood swings were getting worse once she turned 15 and she became very defiant at times and then others she was was very normal. She’s a straight A student and very athletic so she does have a busy schedule. She wasn’t sleeping well so the dr recommended taking OTC melatonin to help her but the. She was starting to rely on it in order to sleep. She had a major episode about a month ago and I had to take her to a mental health hospital for evaluation because she was completely out of control. Now she has been placed on Zoloft and she can’t remember the most basic and simplest things I ask her to do and I don’t know if it’s the mess or whatever if going on with her mentally. I can’t find anyone in our area that deals with adolescents for psychiatry to get some kind of evaluation done on her to find out if it’s hormones or the meds or some kind of mental disorder. I feel completely lost and guilty because at times I can’t stand to even be around her when she starts being mouthy and out of control. I take Paxil and have for many years due to depression and anxiety so I feel like maybe she has inherited something from me and it scares me for her to be on meds because I have no memories of most of my childhood which I believe may be due to being on anxiety/depression meds for so long. I can’t even speak correctly at times because I can’t put Hingis into words or I am afraid to say the wrong thing etc. I don’t want her to end up like this. What can I do? I’m afraid to take her off meds and her have more breakdowns but feel like she’s suffering side effects from it.

    • What a sad situation. who are we to decide that every girl should and should start menstruation at certain age? 14 was not too late, nature has it’s own ways, couldn’t you trust wisdom of nature?
      And what is mood disorder? Every second person will have to take psych drugs if slightest variations in behaviour are judged as psych disorders. Behaviour is an individual phenomenon, how can all people in world be expected to live within a fixed prescribed pattern only? growing children also go through lots of hormonal changes which simply needs patience and understanding. The time is not far when psych drugs will be the primary rule for every human problem. What a ridiculous evolution is going on in this world..!!
      Your child is still too young, try to take her off of all drugs in a very slow manner under supervision of any doctor. You don’t need a rocket science expert to deal with a single drug situation. Then after love and affection and tolerance as the only medicines needed to live a normal happy life. You too, even though after many years of taking drugs should seriously considered living chemical free life. Almighty has given you the best systems in your body and mind to tackle all the situations that life throws at you, but if you just don’t give your natural self a chance and immd resort to chemicals then don’t expect God to do any miracles. Don’t just cry, Stand up, decide if you want to live a chemical free life? If yes then ask your doctor to make a tapering schedule and go ahead, give it a try atleast.

  43. I am a 28 woman and about 4 years ago I took SSRIs for approximately a month and a half (maybe two), and then I quit taking them cold turkey (I did not know the risks beforehand). Since taking the drugs and quitting them I have been experiencing constant stomach pains which are caused by severe stomach bloating, constant mucus and a flu-like feeling (plugged ears, runny nose..) and severe fatigue. I have lost a lot of weight and now I am underweight and extremely weak.

    Mentally I’m doing really fine (I took the drugs only to help me with a minor stressful problem at the time), however my physical health keeps deteriorating and neither I nor the doctors know what to do.
    I have done a lot of medical tests that did not indicate on some underlying condition, I was treated with acupuncture, hydrocolonic therapy, cleansing and detoxifying therapies, naturopathy and homeopathy, tried so many different diets, yoga, meditation and regular exercise, took antibiotics, took probiotics and infinite types of supplements- but none have helped.

    I am really frustrated, I’m 24/7 at bed (I have no “windows” of feeling good physically) and I really don’t know what to do.
    Can it be a permanent damage caused by the SSRI’s? I think these drugs might have changed how the serotonin works in my body..
    Does anyone has a solution for this??


    • Brigitte dear..
      certainly your condition seems to be very bad. Do remind yourself that there are no Locks in world made without keys.. its only matter of finding the right solution for your suffering and you will find one.
      In my best opinion you should immd contact Dr. Vikki Petersen ( ). You haven’t mentioned where you live? anyways, this lady does international consulting too.. If i am not wrong then her first consultation is free of cost, also you will get some good information from her website and if you can watch her hundreds of videos on YouTube. Atleast you will get some help for sure. I will pray for you. Good luck brigette

    • I happened across this discussion that I thought might be helpful:

      It wasn’t an easy process, but sounds as though it can be done with enough nutritional support.

      Almost all prescription drugs deplete the body of important nutrients. Here is another article that discusses that. Hopefully there will be some information that is helpful to you and others who are suffering the aftereffects of SSRI’s.

  44. I was on Lexapro for 5 weeks after having so much anxiety about my hair loss. I decided to stop myself because i didn not like it so. I reduced the dose of 15 mg over a 10 day period,, However, since tapering off, I have gained 15 pounds and lost more hair. As you can imagine, I am so angry with this drug and the doctor who obvioulsy did not listen to me. What is happening to me????Why do I keep gaining? My body has completely changed. I weighed 110 and now I weigh 125. I exercise 2 hours a day plus ride my bike all over. I eat healthy. This is not normal for me. Anyone have any ideas? I hate Lexapro and the doctor who prescribed it

    • I’ve been reading Suzanne Somers’ book Tox-Sick, and she discusses sudden uncontrolled weight gain as the body’s signal that it is overloaded with toxins. The book goes on to recommend ways to detoxify safely by eating a whole food diet, doing saunas and other things. Holding good thoughts for your recovery.

  45. Kari, haven’t heard from you in a while. Worried about you. Let us know if we can help. You sounded like you were in a rough patch last time you posted. What part of the world do you live in?

    • Deena indeed it is a hell, but equally the fact is that after some time u will feel better. This ‘time’ is different for every body depending upon type of drugs taken, duration, style of withdrwl, age, stress sources, social surrounding and finally your will power.

      • Tomorrow starts beginning of six months….from 300 mg of Zoloft and 20 mg of abilify. .it is put me in the hospital for 3days. U name the symptoms. .I HAVE THEM SEVERELY! im 44… and cry extreamly everyday. .just waiting for the day this all will end. This is mental hell….my body is in physical hell.. when will this withdrawal stop ?? When ?? I just cry for it to end. My husband says in time…. I BEG GOD TO HELP ME EVERY SECOND EVERY DAY. I JUST CRY FOR THE BRAIN TO HEAL….

        • I was on Zoloft 300mg and abilify 20mg for 2yrs….and was stopped cold turkey…and the MASSIVE WITHDRAWAL STARTED….MASSIVE! !!! Dear god help me get thru this…

          • Deena,
            I’m praying for you! I think it is never a good idea to stop ADs cold turkey because it is so traumatic on the brain. I hope you are taking lots and lots of fish oil. The longer you took the drugs the slower you should taper off of them. The brain can heal but much depends on how long you took how much. It takes a lot of time and patience! Please take care of yourself…there’s no shame in tapering more slowly. Praying for you.

          • Deena, you sound so much like I did a few months ago. Read back through the posts and notice the progressive healing. My heart breaks for you as I know just exactly how you feel. I am into 11 months after a too short taper. The worst seems to be over but I do have waves of relapse. I recognize them and try to do whatever it takes to get through. I am onto over a week of feeling almost normal. I will not be surprised or overwhelmed if another wave hits. I tell you this to let you know that it will get better and better. Each person has a different experience based on their unique selves. Do not give up. The biggest help comes from gaining all the knowledge you can about this horrible insult to our bodies. Search the web for any tidbit of info you can find. Everything you learn can help and encourage you. Be very assured that you are not alone. There are many of us out here and we all know what you are going through. Learn what is most helpful for you, whether it be fish oil, meditation, exercise, lots of fluids, prayer, or all the above. I can promise you that having confirmation from folks like us that what you are feeling is real can have a profound effect on your journey. It may not ease the symptoms, but it will give you confidence to be strong and know that it will eventually ease and finally end. Know that I will make you and your recovery the main focus of my prayers for as long as you need them. One day we will be vindicated and figure out the reason for our suffering. Maybe it is so we can help others thru our understanding and support.

            • Dr stoppd the meds…. my throat does not work, i have massive stomache pain brain zaps,vertigo,barfs,diarrhea massive brain running extream thoughts,memory loss, loss of cognitive thinking,lost muscle mass,lost 55 lbs since April when stopped the meds,severe anxiety. Lots more symptoms to go…..CANNOT DRIVE ANYMORE HAVE TO USE A WALKER TO WALK. When is it going to end ??? … i pray this will improve… cry to god and beg for a sign this will turn around for me…TODAY STARTS THE 6 MONTH OF HELL. I was put on the meds for OCD i was a hand washer….now i dont know if im comen or going. I pace all day long looking for answers. .. dear god, please hear my prayer……..

              • I have massive muscle pain,twiches,spasms,massive headaches, my tongue twitches and bounces all over my mouth…i lost my cordination, THE LEFT SIDE OF MY BRAIN DOES NOT WORK WITH THE RIGHT SIDE….i have extream head pressure… i live in Michigan were u can NOT go after drug companies. .. so i live in HELL ..MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY…the electrical zaps , skin eruptions hurt so bad…but i lost cordination in chewing and my throat for swallowing. ..why did this happen to me….why ?? I was such a busy mom and out going and my life has been robbed from me. People say give it time…. how long is this goin to last ?? My left ear has so much pressure ENT confirms no ear infection no fluid nothing…. i cannt regulate hot or cold, MY WHOLE BODY IS PINS AND NEEDLES…6 months of this and ALL OTHER SYMPTOMS. …Ive lookd up everything everyday all day and i dont understand why this has happened to me….lord,hear my prayer please……

                • Deena, It sounds to me like you need to do a much slower taper. What you’re going through is unfortunately normal for AD withdrawal BUT you need to do it wisely. I went through my own version of hell after being on Prozac, then Paxil and high doses since 1990. I started taper in 2006 and it took 3 years for me to taper from 30mg to about 12 mgs. Hellish is the word…BUT you cannot rush your brain’s healing process. If you cannot function then you have tapered too quickly. You can taper by breaking the pills down or by getting liquid version or by compounding the med into an oral suspension if liquid version is not available. If I were you I would go back to my doc and go back on a smaller dose of the meds and then taper slowly. Sending you much love.

                • Zoe is 100% right. No brain can adapt to traumatic withdrawal and unfortunately many of us have gone through it with horrible outcomes. Kindly take help from family and friends to meet the same doctor or another one as convenient to all and do something sensible. Time will surely heal the suffering but that is pretty long process, in the meantime atleast you can learn from others that sudden withdrawal is never a wise action. Always go at a slow pace, very slow.
                  If you meet another doctor then he might put you on some alternative drug, perhaps on some liquid as Zoe said, and once you feel stable then you can reduce drop by drop. The taper should be planned in months, sometimes more than a year, as and as your brain adapts to new strength of the drug then you further step down by one step, that way gradually you will come out. Ofcourse this doesn’t guarantee that you will not face any withdrawal troubles, but it will be more gentle, tolerable and systematic.
                  Pl visit a reliable expert

                • Deena, what general area of the world do you live in? Is there a mental health clinic anywhere close? Get someone to take you there. Take your computer with you if you can and let the person who sees you read your posts as well as a sample of others. Tell them everything. If they will not help you, go to a psychiatrist or neurologist. Do not give up and do not give up hope until you find someone who will help. in the mean time go to surviving There is a world of help here.

                • Hi Deena
                  I understand that your doc did not allow you to taper down and will not reinstate them but why can’t you go to another general practictioner doc – describe what has happened in general and that you would like to go back on Zoloft? You can break the pill down into smaller amounts for your taper. I know for a fact that almost any g.p. that you go to and describe terrible anxiety / depression will prescribe an antidepressant to you. You don’t have to tell them your total history with this other doctor….you could just tell them that you’re very, very depressed and you used to take Zoloft and would like to get a prescript for that again but that you don’t want to go to a psychiatrist b/c insurance doesn’t cover or something to that effect. It’s pretty easy to get an a.d. prescription in this country- at least in my part of the country it is. My experience is that you have to take control of the process yourself…Believe me I lived through all of this.

              • but why did your doc take the decision to stop cold turkey and not gradually taper? i am sure there would be some reason. Zoloft 300mg is not a low dose to apply sudden brakes, and don’t know much about the Abilify rebound effects but then there has to be some reason.
                The way you have been describing your symptoms it seems you are suffering too much. You need to either take help from another doc or your present doc should have some concern.
                Do try to elaborate the whole situation if you are able to write, i wonder how you will write so much..?
                Take care Deena, love and best wishes for you.

                • I was in the hospital 2weeks ago…the dr there tells us there is no such thing to ad withdrawal. ..would not reinstate me….doctors say im to far out to reinstate. ..but this is mental HELL…I DANCE WITH THE DEVIL EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE…. is this PERMANENT DAMAGE ?? HOW WILL I LIVE LIKE THIS JUST HOW ?? My drs are reviewing my file and see no need to give me meds… i never got a answer why my meds were stopped. .. i dont sleep longer then 2hrs a night.. when will any of this end…does anyone know when i will see a change ? It just feels and looks to my family it is progressing to get WORSE. … MY BRAIN JUST RUNS AND RUNS OF EVERYTHING. …

                • Deena, Please listen to all of us who have been where you are…you must go to a doctor and get a lower dose of your med and then taper more slowly. Many doctors do not know anything about antidepressants or the dangers of cold turkey withdrawal. If your doc will not prescribe meds to you then go to a general practictioner doc and tell them your situation. Most doctors are more than happy to give you meds! You must explain your situation to your husband/family and go to another doctor that will help you! In my opinion/experience people who have been on these meds for short periods (I was on them 16 yrs before tapering to current lowest level) have a great chance of full brain recovery but it takes a lot of time and patience! You were on 2 yrs and in my opinion that is not long enough for irreversable damage so I would not worry about that. I’ve seen some people on them for 10 yrs and even longer completely come off of the drugs. Please take care of your health and tell family/friends what we are telling you here and call another doctor. With Love, Zoe

            • The dr stopped me cold turkey. ..300 mg zoloft and 20 mg of abilify… me and family dont understand why it was stopped cold Turkey. ..NO TAPER AT ALL and now i have massive problems. ..neurological, intestinal,mentally,physically. … today starts month 6 of this…when will this torture of hell let up..??? When will i see the light at the end of this hell ??

                • The withdrawal started april 23 2015 today is the first day of month 6 of this….when will it end,when will there be a improvement? ? Is this permanent damage all these symptoms. .they all hit me in thhe one day in April. ..and they just blow up since. What is happening to me why wont this let up or end ?? My drs will not reinstate meds they said ther is no withdrawal from them..they are WRONG. What has happened? ?

          • Why would you die out of withdrawal? Instead you might get a new life. Ofcourse the withdrawal is a very ugly phase, like a thick and huge black cloud which doesn’t seem to be going away, but it will pass.
            In the meantime, nobody can give you the right advise as a professional expert can after assessment of your clinical condition. You have to find out some support. It is not necessary to approach only a psych doc, even an experienced general doc can help you. But you have to do something for your condition and only you can do it.
            Hope you will keep updating us what you think, how you feel and what decision you and your supporters take.

            • I have been to the psych drs NO HELP. Reg dr NO HELP hospital NO HELP…. i pace the floor in mental and physical HELL .. Y DO I HAVE SUCH MASSIVE SYMPTOMS. AND NOT A LICK OF IMPROVEMENT. … it is eatting me mentally and physically. . I dont get why there was no taper of my meds or why the dosage was so high… how long have people gone thru this massive withdrawal. … does anyone know when i should see a change in my condition. Please help

              • Deena, I’m not sure you’ve been receiving my replies/comments so I copied an earlier response here: Please listen to all of us who have been where you are…you must go to a doctor and get a lower dose of your med and then taper more slowly. Tapering and brain healing can take YEARS!! This has been my experience. Many doctors do not know anything about antidepressants or the dangers of cold turkey withdrawal. If your doc will not prescribe meds to you then go to a general practictioner doc and tell them your situation. Most doctors are more than happy to give you meds! In my opinion/experience people who have been on these meds for short periods (I was on them 16 yrs before tapering to current lowest level) have a great chance of full brain recovery but it takes a lot of time and patience! You were on 2 yrs and in my opinion that is not long enough for irreversable damage so I would not worry about that. I’ve seen some people on them for 10 yrs and even longer completely come off of the drugs. Please take care of your health and tell family/friends what we are telling you here and call another doctor. With Love, Zoe

                • Zoe, i am sdeena would be getting your posts bcoz i have received all including the latest (previous message copied)
                  may be she hasn’t read it yet or she is not able to respond due to her condition.
                  Zoe, tell me about your case. How long you are off and from which drugs? How you feel now? Where you live and what is your support system?
                  Pl try to write everything

                • Zoe…how long b4 i see some type of relief….this has 1 hell of a mental hold on me…i dont think i can go yrs like this…today starts 6 month for me….i just keep thinkn of family to keep me goin…but the devil is who im dancing with….

              • Deena, hopefully you get this reply. you cannot rush your body/brain in the healing and in the meantime, you do not have to be in such agony. If you have a career or kids to care for, you also have to consider those around you who need you, not to mention yourself. I found that I HAD to face the fact that I had to go slowly. I HAD to maintain the ability to work and some relationships and when I prayed…the answer I got was …you should go slowly. That’s the bottom line! We can’t always do things the way WE want to. How long it takes depends on the dosage, type and years taken…AND your own physiology. Choose to take care of your mental health and the relationships around you, while at the same time tapering slowly.

                • Zoe…the drs will not reinstate the meds…. for a slow taper…i was not tapered. .i was stopped cold turkey… i was not taperd they will not reinstate meds…

              • Deena, I understand that your doctors are not in support of a slow taper….I’m not sure why except for just plain ignorance/arrogance (the two go together). Therefore, you need to go to another general practictioner or psychiatrist. Believe me there are TONS of doctors that are EAGER to prescribe meds to anyone coming into their office complaining of depression, or even slightest headache! In my experience, I had to stop relying on my docs advice concerning what meds, how much, and especially how to taper off. It sounds like your docs are not educated in this subject at all- which is not uncommon. I don’t know why they would not listen to your obvious agony and reconsider their position, however YOU have to take control of YOUR health in the meantime and look up another doctor and explain your situation. Cold turkey antidepressant cessation is DANGEROUS and NOT ADVISED!

                • ZOE……when should i see a improvement? All the drs i go to have seen since this has started will not reinstate. I talkd to a clinic a few minutes ago, they said they do not want the liability of my case…what the hell is with that.. the other dr told me to deal with the permanent side affects. ..omg this is pushing me over the edge now…i scream in pain.!!!!

            • Hi kuldeep, I used to post more regularly on this site but have kept up w convo.s via email alerts but was so busy with work didn’t join in. I started on ad’s around 1990 as well as i can remember and have been on them continuously, except for a one time cold turkey for 1 month in 2006, since then. Started on Prozac along with Buspar (anti anxiety) for severe depression due to life circumstances. Then switched to Paxil in early 90’s when it first came out on market. Stayed on paxil 20mgs for a few years then doc recommended upping it every year until I was at 40 mgs. I estimate I was at or above 30 mgs for maybe 8-10 yrs. Finally, I “realized” through a series of serendipitous events that the drug was hindering me immensely in my work- I needed more brain power…that is my old brain back…so I began experimenting with tapering and cold turkey stopping around 2006. It turned out I was right that my cognition greatly improved when I reduced the drug, but we all know the unbelievably hellish experience of withdrawal- I experienced that in spades and then some. At the time I had only one family member supporting me in my “experiment” and I had my spiritual guidance/prayer. Eventually joined PaxilProgress website for some additional support. I tapered from 30mg down to my lowest point which I think was below 10mgs but after a year of holding there and the unbelievable mental pain of it (people were scared by me during that time), I decided to add small doses of Prozac back in and am decided I had to hold at about 12 mgs total (7.8 Paxil and about 4mg Prozac). I have pretty much held to that with some tweaking since 2009. I am in an incredibly difficult career/industry- architecture and this “adventure” in meds has effectively destroyed my career, not to mention my personal relationships. BUT I have tried to minimize and “move on” from my experience bc I desperately wanted my old brain back. I know that not many want to believe what I’m about say but there is a threshold of time on these meds, which as I said could be 10 yrs or longer even- depending on the person/drug/time/etc, when there will be/could be permanent damage that will not be reversed by time. Believe me I am a soldier when it comes to endurance and after a long time I had to come to that realization and have since cried and grieved over it, but am now trying to learn and grow and move on from it. There is purpose in horrific struggles and loses in this life. Still struggling to make sense of it and find out what the purpose of my struggles are now. I live in Atlanta, GA. Sorry for such long post!

              • Zoe, your post is not at all lengthy, in fact i felt it ended very soon. I am heartily happy to read your life story and certainly feeling emotional bcoz apart from some differences here and there mostly our suffering is same. And what to say about the social damages? Almost every relationship is ruined with this drugs. Nobody can ever understand why a person behaves unusual and how is he feeling, both while on drugs and after withdrawal, so in a way we all AD victims are in a different world.
                I still have an unanswered question that why are the so called doctors not accepting the fact that this drugs are damaging each and every one? They also do not listen or accept the withdrawal effects, i mean what is going on in this medical world? There is something which is certainly damaging to human brains and the entire medical fraternity is not ready to buy the facts..!
                The biggest folly is that none of the victims are informed before starting the drugs that it will be next to impossible to stop this chemicals once you get going, and when people realize it, it’s already too late, then the person is on his own finding ways to pull on his life.
                Brain damage is one, then there are so many other aspects of life which gets affected. Children who grow up with parents on this drugs have a compromised upbringing, husband/wife, others in family, social world, business or service, every thing is affected and yet doctors don’t believe, why??
                I was on venlafaxine for some 12 yrs, altho on low dose but bcoz of duration it has played the ugliest role. Plus i was also taking clonazepam at low dose. Before these two i was on several trials and errors for couple of years and then had finally settled on this two combo drugs. Altogether i took them for some 15 yrs before going cold turkey in 2012 end, exactly 3 yrs back. Since then its just a mission to feel little better every day. Days and months and years are passing by, God knows if a fully good time will ever be experienced. Most of my physical agonizing symptoms are over but the brain doesn’t function normal, it has become dysfunctional and nobody around can understand how different it feels compared to other normal people, can’t explain, can’t understand it ourselves also, just passing the time in silence.

                • Hi Kuldeep, Wow I rarely meet anyone who comes close to my experience…so it seems you are “long-termer” similar, but not exactly, like myself. I applaud you for you progress over the last 3 yrs and pray for your continued healing too. Many decry the medical profession now, including psychology/psychiatry for selling out to the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors are now so enmeshed with that billion dollar a year industry I think that their benevolence has been overshadowed by the marketeers who are largely ONLY interested in profits! Additionally, the medical industry has a blind faith in science- materialism, which is proving very unwise as time goes on. It is an ugly, evil business. We see more and more the results of this misguidance in our society….with the various shootings, and the myriad other domino-effects due to large quantities of people using these drugs. I agree with all of your comments. I believe people are becoming more aware of the dangers of ad’s over time but it really will take a grassroots effort/organization to have any voice on the national/global level. For my part, I ask God/Universe/etc.: what was the purpose of this injustice happening to me…bc I KNOW there IS a purpose. I am slowly coming to believe that it has helped me to understand many things about myself and how I got to the point of depression/anxiety that lead to these meds. “No pain/no gain” is a universal law I’m afraid, as much as I don’t like to hear it. I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences with the alternative med doctor I’ve seen that you mentioned in other posts? How has he/she helped you in your withdrawal? Also, are you involved in any other groups speaking out on this subject? I empathize with you regarding people not having a clue what you’re struggling with when you try to resume your life after years of using these drugs. It’s like “a new normal’. I currently have only two people who I receive any emotional support on regarding this topic. It’s a VERY lonely situation sometimes. It’s almost like you need local support groups for people coming off ad’s and learning to cope. Praying for your success! Zoe

        • Deena, I am very happy to know that your husband is supportive. Let him help you. Most people don’t have any support at all because this agony is not recognized by the medical field as it should be. This is one time that it is okay to doctor shop till you find someone who acknowledges your situation. If money or insurance is an issue, the local health dept maybe can steer you to a clinic or Nurse Practioner free clinic. Go out of town. I know that it is tough to get aggressive and make decisions in this hell, that is why you need to have your husband or other family or friend to help you. Praying for you. HUGS!!!!

          • I have insurance…ill spend anything to get my life back…i have very few supporters. .my husband has said in time this will go away but on the same note has told me -u get what u deserve taking meds !! So that just eats me every minute…mentally ! I have all these symptoms and i see no relief. I try to stay busy for what nothing i can do…this has pushed me to my limits wanting to know if this will fade. The intestinal problems,head,muscle issues EVERYTHING IS MASSIVELY INTENSE. … i pace the floor and wait for something to change ….and nothing does !! I was never told about side effects to these meds and the dr said this is not side effects.i live in Michigan usa. I just dont understand what the hell is happening. ..when will it end ? Since april i have got ofver 75,000.00 in med bills submitted to insurance and NOBODY WILL REINSTATE MEDS. “”THEY DO NOTHING “” i pray every second of my life for his to change. My 3 girls want there mom back…i want me back !!

            • Deena,
              you seem to be emotionally disturbed. On one hand you say you have support from your husband and at the same time his tantrums or mere casual dialogues have upset you. ofcourse words hurt and hits the deepest but when it comes to others we all humans always become selfish that the opposite person should understand you exactly as you feel your life, and unfortunately that never happens. Your husband is an individual, he has not gone through what you are experiencing, so simply don’t bother about what he says, always look for all the positive things that he does for you.
              Regarding your physical condition, yes dear nobody would have told you how horrifying it is once you get trapped in the clutches of this drugs. More unfortunately nobody will still believe you even now when you are actually going thru the hell. So the best way is to take charge of your life. Don’t keep thinking negative, don’t expect people around you to understand anything you feel, and don’t set any timeline for your recovery. There is no shortcut or a miracle pill to make you feel better, you and only you will have to fight your way out from this condition. Listen to Zoe, Mimi and others here, we all are worried about you. Believe us that as the time passes your suffering will reduce, but in the meantime you need to find out a caring supporting doctor. Michigan is not any remote town of Africa that you should feel helpless, come on Deena, whatever you are feeling is a common problem with all AD withdrawers, i am sure you will come across someone sensible to guide you for a well planned systematic reduction of your previous drugs. I haven’t heard of any case where all doctors straight away deny giving you meds and force you for CT withdrawal, there is a missing link somewhere in your story. Zoloft 300mg is not a very high dose but neither it is baseline dose so why would any doc push you into trouble? Please tell us more frankly what is the real situation?
              Last, nobody outside of your own self is going to rescue you from your condition. You have to gather courage and stop thinking negative. Also you cannot expect any miracle answer when all this will be over, there are no clear answers to these questions, everybody is different and it will depend on many factors that how soon you will start feeling atleast functional. Please be more frank about your life circumstances. If you are dissatisfied with your family support then write it down here, we all are human beings having similar stories, nobody is an alien having out of world help, everyone has family issues, not understanding husbands or wife or kids or bosses. People have broken marriages, business losses, suffering kids, financial problems and much more. Nothing to hide.
              Apart from your physical symptoms what else is bothering you?
              Love and regards to you

              • I read all the things these drugs can cause, my inner self is not knowing if im comen or going….is this a wd effect ? The left side of the brain is not cordinating with the right side of brain… my tongue jumps around in my mouth, i get a crazy muscle spasms in my neck and in my throat,my mouth and throat feel like they are on fire… will this go away ? I got brain zaps ,electric zaps thru my whole body,my WHOLE BODY IS PINS AND NEEDLES,my guts hurt soo bad and have constant diarrhea, alot of nausea, i cant tell the differce btwn hot and cold mentally, massive anxiety, extreame thoughts of shit that i have never thought of, sweating, tremors,muscle aches,pain,stiffness,hair falling out in clumps ears ring,left. Ear plugs up, i cannt sit still i have to pace around,i stress so dam fast over nothing,nervousness just to name somethings…,im a stay at home mom now. I use to be a vet tech for years. I live in michigan,have 3 kids, I SEE A THERAPISThave for yrs to deal with stress from work for always being a euthanasia tech. Its hard to kill animals all day long for 8-10 hours a day. So i got a therapist. I had massive spine surgerys 6yrs ago. But from working with animals and diseases i turnd into OCD handwasher. So family dr put me on zoloft 300 mg and abilify 20 mg ..and it helped with the ocd. And in April of this year he stopped the zoloft and abilify he said i was better. He would not tapper it. He would not leave me on it. Y ??? He would not ever address it to me or my family. Would never call any family back that is on my release of info papers. Till this day will not answer questions to anyone. He would not send info to the hospital even with my release papers !!! I saw the shrink that my therapist works with and he said no reason to reinstate, major hospital i was in 2 weeks ago said NO ! THEY SAID THERE IS NO WITHDRAWL !!!!! I have new team of drs now and neurlogist after hospital stay do to massive uncontrolled body movement and my brain locked up lost all communication….wtf was that about ? IS THAT WD ?? …i have calld every doctor hospital told them my case and i get no help !! Even calld other states and high known rehabs and WILL NOT HELP !! my family has no idea how to help me neither do i anymore… i pace around looking for the next spot to fall apart and cry in massive agony from this. I sleep if lucky 2hrs a night. And all i do is toss and turn its not even restful sleep. I LOOK TO SEE IF THERE IS ANSWERS TO WHEN THIS HELL WILL END….I ask every dr i see to help and they say theres no wd same with the pharmacy that filld the meds zoloft and abilify. Im stripped of emotion except to cry in despair. ..i have no brain anymore. Ive lost log term memory, short term memory…i dont remember my grandsons birth.. HE IS 2!!! WTF! !! WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?? I do not drink, i do not use street drugs!! i was a single mom at 18 yrs old i never had the time for drinking and drugs i had a baby to take care of my priority! ! In this whole mess of this, my family was supporting of me off meds and it just keeps progressing with these symptoms. …in a argument with my husband he tells me ..u get what u deserve when u take meds !! It was the biggest hurt i ever heard and felt in my heart. Why would he ever say that ?? I just dont get it. So i go to therapist even more to vent and understand what the hell is goin on with me. My therapist is not understanding why the shrink would not reinstate my meds either. Ive seen this therapist for yrs before and after these meds. And he says something has happened to me!!! IS THIS THAT I FEEL PERMANENT IS IT WITHDRAWL ?? I HAVE NEVER HAD TO DO A AANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL. ..WILL I GET THRU THIS ?? IT HAS ME RUNNING MENTALLY IN A F’N PANIC . All these things happening to me all at once. No dr to help me but want me back every month to check my additude. Wtf is that even my husband askd. What do they know from medical papers that we have missd ? I have copies of all med records for the past yrs on these meds. And no place it says depression or about my attitude!! What are we missing what do we look for in specific? ? We did find when these meds were given blood and urine were never checkd for drug levels. Is that normal ?? And thats the dr that will not,will not answer calls, will not tlk to u if u walk in there !! And would not send my medical file to hospital or take there call !! He has not sent my info to new drs EVEN AFTER I SIGND RELEASES !! I TLKD TO A LAWYER and i was tld the laws are tricky in michigan with drs !! Why ? What the fn hell is in that file that he does not want to let go ?? ITS MY SHIT OF REGULAR OFFICE VISITS FOR COLDS AND FLU STUFF I HAVE SPECIALISTS FOR THE REST.!! ….This whole thing has me mentally pushd to my limits. I tell myself this will pass and my brain says WELCOME TO THE DEVIL !! I SCREAM TO GOD FOR HELP…BUT FEEL UNHEARD !! AS U SEE I DONT HAVE A THING TO HIDE ! I dont hide shit or lie about shit. U dont get ahead in life doin that. Wow more massive brain zaps that last awhle not seconds or minutes ! Is that normal ? IS EVERYTHNG I FEEL WITHDRAWAL? ? IS IT NORMAL ? I read some of the people here have done this for yrs and from alot of meds. Do these drugs cause what i feel ?? I cry lke i say in desperation to give my 9yr old child there mom back that she cries to me for…she does not understand what is happening to me. She asks neighbors to check on her sick mom….my husband has people stop over to make sure im not a suicide case everyday…i know right from wrong…but this is the clutches of THE DEVIL !!! I HOPE I GAVE U ALL MORE INFO OF MY LIFE. So…..ask all the questions u want. I have not a thing to hide…but, obviously my dr does ?? Why won’t he release my record ?? … let me get the help needed. Is he afraid of something? Drs do get kick back in Michigan from med companies thanks to our past governor………

                • Deena, sorry for late response. I live in Gujarat India so the time difference is the reason.
                  I think you have too many physical symptoms and you are going through multiple complaints with a lot of pain. We all go through terrible time when it comes to AD withdrawal but some people are much more vulnerable and it seems that the intensity of suffering is more in your case.
                  Basically this drugs affect the nervous system and further the endocrine system, muscular sys, sleep mechanism and the mentals. Mind and nervous system when go out of order then they can cause multiple misfires in your entire body and mind. While you are complaining ABCDEFG.. just observe all your physical suffering symptoms and you will find that at organ level you will not have any significant pathologies. if you undergo various tests then mostly they will not show anything worrisome (unless you already have other disorders/diseases) so then you will wonder what all is going on when nothing much is showing in pathology reports. I have seen many many cases where there is a lot of physical suffering and no clinical pathologies. Its all coming from nervous system, the electrical activity in the body, which can exhibit numerous symptoms in the form of muscular twitches, ugly sensations all over the body including brain zaps, abdominal processes go hayway so indirectly they create a lot of disturbance. deficient sleep will have it’s own penalties, and then there are very small small various irritations in entire body and mind which you yourself cannot understand or explain. Together the total set of symptoms become like a package of ailments. In my observation mostly all this is centred around nervous system.
                  Over time this electrical disruption will start correcting by itself. The significance of slow tapering is mainly to avoid giving shocks to the electric system in brain.
                  However deena, you are definitely suffering too much, and it pains to realise it.
                  As you said you will be able to go to other states in US to get help, then why don’t you contact either Dr. Vikki Petersen in California or Dr. Breggin? I am sure you will find some relief from either of them.
                  Dr. Breggin is a very senior psychiatrist warning people against the psych drugs and he done some wonderful work, atleast he will guide you properly.
                  Dr. Vikki is a lovingly sweet friendly human being with lots of compassion for sufferers. She has her own ways to make you feel comfortable, just contact them, see what best they can do.
                  You can google both the names, they are pretty famous.
                  Hopefully something right will come your way and very soon you will be in comfort zone.

                • Kuldeep, this has affected every system in my body. I see u cannt comment if the thimgs i feel are permanent or withdrawl…. what is your story ?? You a doctor or a person that suffers ? My brain and spine scream in pain. And when u present all my symptoms to drs they say its a migraine and a touch of the flu. Even when u give the med history and the meds stopped drastically! How long did u suffer with the thoughts of shit u never would think of ??? Do they have these meds in India? Lke i ask, whats your story ? WHY HAS MY BRAIN SEPERATED ? that withdrawal? ..i try so hard to think positive, but symptoms are extreme. My brain feels like it is locking up and shutting down….not at all a great feeling.

            • Deena, Yes this drugs induced damages are felt in every system starting from brain to GI tract, muscular, eyes, whole ENT setup, balance mechanism, coordination of surrounding, rational thinking, emotions, joy, happiness, routine functions like walking, talking, sitting standing etc, everything.. you name the system or organ and it will be disordered.
              I don’t think you should apprehend that the damages are permanent, altho it may seem devastating and never ending, still it will go, believe me. when a health crisis strikes it is always serious and unbearable, but time heals many things, even most hopeless conditions have improved with time and effort and will power.
              No i amn’t a doctor deena, i am only a suffer like others. I was on different drugs from 1998 to 2002, then finally settled on venlafaxine and clonazepam which i took for some 10 yrs. In 2012 end i went cold turky bcoz of mounting side effects. It was a bad decision that i went CT, but i was so fed up of hyper perspiration (++++) and weight gain that i took an impulsive decision and then horrible two years followed with brain and other systems becoming dysfunctional same as your case. i was bedridden for 2 yrs, hardly able to manage to reach bathroom, or would forcefully sit in bed to have some food (couldn’t fully understand what is my plate, and at times my wife would feed me bcoz bringing hand from plate to mouth was difficult) after food again lye down, almost 22 hrs in bed for 2 yrs. Surroundings seemed changed, all sensory faculties were toppled, recognising familiar faces was difficult, if a person was standing standing 5 feet away i would feel like he is 10-15 feet away, people and objects appeared smaller or larger, voice over phone would sound like echo, ears would get puffed/blocked several times a day, head seemed swollen like having inflated double its size, vision blurred like i am looking at everything through clouds, there was a total disconnect with surroundings, people and space and time (it cannot be explained, only can be experienced). Virtually i had no sleep for atleast 2 yrs, same as everyone else Drs wouldn’t understand the condition or may be they understand but have no clue how to help..! it was a war to be fought single handed. Bcoz of prolonged insomnia hallucinations started, anxiety and panic attacks became a daily affair, OCD- dirty thoughts. Brain was in such mess and overactive mode that thought mill was not ready to stop, even in the half wakeful sleep there were rushing thoughts zigzag zigzag..
              Yes deena, in India we have same drugs, these psych drugs are same everywhere in world. Diff countries have diff brand names, the contents are same everywhere in world.
              Deena thinking positive is not a task which can be done, you cannot specially sit and think positive. Positivity is an understanding, it is the way you convince your deepest self that all this will pass, it wont be easy but it will pass away. Positivity has to becom your nature.
              Chemicals have played their ugly role and now the nature will play its healing role. Just keep breathing consciously, every time concentrating on breathing and observing what is happening, things will improve as and as the time passes.

              3 yrs after CT i am 70% recovered, struggling with the 30%. Hopefully you will recover sooner. All the best

              • Thank you for your reply… i deeply appreciate it. Yes my body has been hijacked by these drugs…every system in my body is effected. I SOOOOOOO deeply struggle with myself tellng myself this will pass…this will pass. And i just want to get better. Im pretty much bed and couch bound now. I try to get up and do things to help my family but the racen thoughts just kill me mentally. I use to be so on the run with work and kids cause i have 3 kids and a grandson. ..this has wiped me out neurologically…i wait for something to pop in my brain and release the pressure and pain,vertigo..dizziness and the insaine thought. Ivesearched for local support groups on this and can not find any. All i hav found is this page. And thank u for letting me know im not alone! Cause i sure feel like it….i try not to talk about it at home i try to hode it from my kids the hell im in…i dont want them to be burdened…but im going insaine inside. My brain does not let me cordinate to eat. So yes my husband feeds cant corinate to chew or swallow. .. i just really pray i can wait to see the other side of this mess..i hold on to pictures in my pocket of my family and say i got to get better but,it is so hard…i talkd to some family about what is goin on in my head and they think im crazy…i reach out for someone to listen to what is going on nd they dont want to hear it. I. Have a service dog now,i cry and tlk to him of course i get no answers… ALL of my senses are effected by this smell,taste,feeling,hearing,vision. My face twitches everyplace. And i tremor. It looks like seizure. Had a eeg and they said it was negative for seizure…i just dont know to deal with this….it is eatting me all the way around. Im so dizzy and my brain intelligence has been effected. People that i have known for a long time say holy shit what iis happening to you ? I just cry….i sit alone all day long cause i cant drive anymore, my brainruns even more. My family has noticed that my voice has changed and have developed a stutter….never had a stutter before! New things keep comen up…when will it stop ?? I eat and 4hrs later i run to the i lose weight due to this…did u lose alot of weight to ? IM MENTALLY RUNNING SCARED OVER THIS…RUNNING IN MASSIVE PANIC !! I FEEL LIKE THIS IS GOING TO KILL ME one way or another.. did u recover from the side effects ? What side effects are u left with ? Do u sleep at night now ?? Are u back to working ? Driving ? ..

                • Hi Deena,

                  First of all do not lose hope!!!
                  I am not a doctor, but a former user of SSRIs and I do get what you’re going through. I don’t think that you’re crazy, I too have suffered symptoms much symilar to yours.
                  I took SSRIs for about 1.5-2 months approximately, and cold turkeyed them- and have had those side effects! although I took them for such a short time (to help me deal with a minor problem and not a major condition) they did effect me for the worse.
                  Most of the docs and psychiatric docs do not acknowledge the horrible side effects of withdrawal process. I also know that not all patients suffer from withdrawl symptoms- so maybe this is why this subject is so confusing.
                  I can say this from my experience- but take into consideration that every person is different, thus every reaction to psych drugs and withdrawl is different. I am extremely sensitive and the SSRIs damaged my GI tract (have been having constant bloating, reflux, neusia, tendency for constipation.. -all can be invoked by SSRIs as those drugs act on serotonin and most of the body’s serotonin is in the gut), and I did too experienced neurological problems that I didn’t suffer before. However!- some of the problems did resolve over time & with a lot of hard work.

                  I had vivid nightmares after the SSRIs – but I managed to get rid of this symptom. I can finally consintrate (not fully, but way better than before), and I can control my anxiety (which started after the SSRIs).
                  I am 4 years after cold turkyed the SSRIs, and I feel better mentally, however my GI problems haven’t resolved yet.

                  I still try to find a solution to this problem (and to my constant mucus and clogged ears). I believe that I will find a solution – and you should believe that you too will find a solution to your suffering.
                  What have helpped me through this process is:

                  1- Biofeedback, EMDR, CBT and conscious breathing and medittion (you can try the latter by youtube clips)- All of these are natural-cognitive treatment for anxiety and racing thoughts (OCD as well). I recommend you to ask your therapist about them, or google them and find a therapist that can help you with the anxiety problems and thoughts. THIS IS MANAGABLE. our mind is flexible and these treatments can help it to fix itsef. At least it helped me. Also, these are common practices nowadays, not only to treat withdrawal, but also to help maintain calmness, tranquility and proper brain functioning.

                  2- very very moderate “sport” activities- I found yoga very helpfull, as it does not require much movement. There are many types of yoga, I haven’t tried Iyengar but I know that it is considered to be very helpfull in healing the body and mind. I used to run, but it was too intense for me as my body is too weak and do not get enough nutrition & sleep – so I do not recommend it (and also from your description you can’t move, so Yoga or meditation can be a good start).

                  3- nutrition. Try to find a doctor/practitioner that believes you, undergo blood test (for vitamins, iron and any deficiencies..) and change your nutrition accordingly. Also some supplements can help (good quality omega 3, vitamin D, probiotics..- but I recommend not to decide by yourself which supplements to take, you need to consult a professional and to undergo some blood work before- as some supplements can cause damage if they are not used properly and in the correct amount), and don’t forget to drink sufficent amount of water and eat green veggtables. It can help the body to detoxify and heal.

                  I am sure that you can find a doctor to help you with it. I know that this is hard. but try to google and get in touch with a reliable practitioner. It can be done- especially in the US, as there are so many options there.
                  You can look for MD doctor who also practices function medicine- these docs usually have much knowledge on nutrution, supplements, and many of them have holistic approach towards healing and will believe your symptoms.

                  4- find a good psych doc. As mentioned by kuldeep Gadhvi there are good psych docs who know the withdrawal side effects. Get in touch with them or google for some other psych docs. Maybe reinstatment in lyquid form and then slowly tapering can be a good idea for you- I don’t know as I’m not a doctor, and I myself haven’t tried it. So I CAN NOT recommend it to you- you have to consult with a professional that believes you and knows this subject.
                  YOU CAN find a psych doc to help you- there are lots in the US, so use google and others’ recommendations to find one (I recommend you also to google any doc that you consider going to- to check that he/she is reliable and have the appropriate experience),
                  Again, I’m NOT a doctor and can’t give you any medical advice, so you need to find someone professional to help you with your physical suffering.
                  Don’t give up hope! I am too still suffering physically, but mentally doing much better! so there is hope! I just need to fix my GI-mucous-clogged eares problem and I’ll be fine.
                  Sending you support, and don’t give up! I know that it is extremely difficult as some of your close family and friends don’t get it- but you will get through this!
                  Believe in yourself, try no to be passive and fight for your health.


                • also forgot to include Dr. Joseph Glenmullen’s site


                  he lists some side effects. Many of your side effects appear on this list.
                  Again, try to educate yourself on the subject and find a good doc to help you (you can bring this list with you).
                  This subject is not well understood, but with proper professional help you can alleviate your suffering, and maybe in the future get rid of it completely. DON’T LOSE HOPE!!!

              • The stories are heartbreaking I am living one myself, trapped in 20plus years of anti depressant use and now cant seem to be off them or on them, the more I try in this go around at 47 the worse it has been with 4,5 days tolerated only to start experiencing severe side effects from drugs like mirtazapine most recently that have supposedly low side effects and induce sleep for many but seemed absolutely poison to my body and mind inducing akathisia type symptoms on small doses of up to 15mg and much less after the drug started quickly becoming intolerable.

        • Hi Deena, kuldeep, Mimi,
          Sorry I cannot seem to get logged in to this website so I am not able to reply to comments logically, rather I have to reply to a person’s earlier comment-anyway….
          Deena, It seems to me you are fixating on some fears about taking these medications- and therefore you are thinking that your doctors know something that they are not telling you….is this what you’re thinking? Also, are you afraid to go back on a med at this point? If so, in my opinion, based upon your comments, you should not be fixating on this fear right now. In my opinion, you need to go back on smaller dosage, if not Zoloft then Prozac- many people use Prozac to taper off of antidepressants. This is the only way to get off the medication safely, plain and simple. There is no quick fix or magic bullet or shortcut. You CAN come off these meds BUT you have to accept that it must be done in the TIME it requires. In the meantime, you could continue in therapy and helping yourself psychologically and/or spiritually by prayer and knowing that God/Universe/etc. loves you dearly and is hating to see you suffering so much right now. You do NOT deserve this. I had to accept that I HAD to go slowly with tapering off and many others have learned this as well AND have successfully come off the meds over TIME and with the least amount of trauma to themselves and their families/ lives. Still saying prayers for you, Zoe

          • Deena, I want you to know that everything that you have described in your posts about your condition are not unique or even unusual. The intensity and variety is varied for each person. The fact that you were not on the drugs too awfully long bodes well for you that your withdrawal may hopefully be in comparison shorter. I know that at 10 months, I started to feel like I would survive and I was medicated longer than you, but I did do a taper, albeit a too short one. I do not mean this as a criticism , merely an observation, but you seem to be ultra sensitive to each of your miseries. I too wanted answers and a fix but there was neither. I did gain an understanding of what was going on and it made it easier to endure. Even when I cursed God and felt like I was in an earthly form of hell and had lost my heart, mind and soul, I knew that it would get better. I came to that understanding by doing my homework and studying everything I could find on the subject. The internet has wonderful resources and our friends here have also recommended helpful sites to go to. Like you, I had sought help from numerous medical sources and none of them was helpful except to offer more meds. My help came from my special friends here who have gone through this and keep coming back to help and encourage others. As I have said before, I would have taken my life if not for them. Even though I was cursing him, God helped me stumble upon this site and I began to heal. Please know that you will get better. 6 months seems to be a hard time for most every one and once you live thru those months, it starts to get slowly, slowly better. If you learn to deal with one problem at a time, the mountain does not seem so big. You will survive and be stronger in the outcome. I know Zoe thinks that you may need to reinstate and taper slowly. This may indeed be the route for you but I had already come so far (about 6 months) and I vowed to never touch another of them as long as I lived. Only you can make that decision. But if MD’s won’t give you meds, then you must learn to take each day as one step on your journey. Fight the demon of the day, or in some cases, let it win. There are no answers to your pleas of when and how. Just please let your body calm and offer it every opportunity to have peace. My heart and prayers go out to you several times a day as I remember you and your plight.

        • Hi deena,
          So how are you feeling today after communicating with Zoe, mimi, rachel and me?
          Do you have any specific questions? Pl do not hesitate to ask anything bcoz this is a forum of equally and similarly suffered people.
          Like you were saying about OCD of insane and dirty thoughts, you can share what is troubling you. I am still suffering from unhealthy thoughts but the intensity has lessened. I used to get dirty thoughts while imagining sex (not during actual sex, only during fantasizing) and that would be so much disturbing that why is it happening?? The moment i got some sexual thoughts this dirty thoughts would start coming together like intruders. Many a times i would start walking in the room with racing breathing and some sort of fear as to why this is happening? But when i learnt that the best way is to stop fighting with this then gradually this OCD reduced.
          Are you getting upset with any unwanted thoughts?

          • My racen thoughts are not of sex. Wish it was…. minemake e pace the floor. I find i dont like to be alone, i need someone around someone to desract my mind. I have to ALWAYS BE up my husbands ass..i hate to not be alone the brain runs on really bad thoughts. Thoughts i never had… stuff that puts me to the edge !!! People dont understand. This feels like the end of the rope for me

            • Deena, hope you are feeling a little better. Yes, it can feel like the end of your rope. And, trust me, we for sure do understand, as we have all been there. Please realize that there will be better days ahead. All the miseries that you are feeling will change, go away, get better, get less, come back sometimes, then gradually you will realize that you have felt almost normal that day. Then another symptom will ambush you. But eventually most all will be gone, if not all. I am having days where I feel almost normal, but I do not expect this every day. Keep in mind all of the people who love and need you and this will make you stronger. You probably still have a lot of work ahead of you but who knows, everyone is different and you may wake up next week and feel like you will survive all this. It is a hell like no other. Even losing a loved one has a finality to it, closure. But there are so many unknowns with this WD that it is hard to find that closure. Good luck and God bless you. As always praying for you.

              • Mimi….my brain stem feels like its going to fn explode !! …U tell me…is this withdrawal? ? Seriously is it ?? Its going to explode… so yeah im at the end of the rope

                • Deena, as you have had tests and nothing shows up, I am of the opinion that this is indeed WD. That opinion is based on the fact that I felt the same way at one point. I believe that you are looking for a quick answer and quick fix and all will tell you , there is not one that is quick.. The nervous system takes a good while to heal. You MUST calm down and concentrate on one step at a time.. If you can do it, place yourself in a quiet dark place and totally relax your whole body, one finger, toe, leg, abdominal muscle etc at a time. Do this till you have covered your whole body. It is called different things in different circles, but I like to call it a stress survey. It is really hard to concentrate when you are miserable but if you loose track, start over and keep going till you finally get through it. You will probably start to weep at some point and that is therapeutic too. Many people go through spells where they weep uncontrollably for no reason. I did. I would suddenly start having tears rolling down my face and couldn’t stop it sometimes for hours. It was embarrassing but it finally went away, just like all the other manifestations of WD. You will not die from this. Are you taking high dose fish oil? That is another big help. Start with the small things and when you get a small glimmer of relief, it will encourage you to keep trying. God Bless.

    • Hello all., been a while since I posted. Seems like I only do it when I am in a bad spell and need support. I am better than 9 months out from a fairly rapid taper (recommended by the drug company) and have endured more hell than I want to talk about. If not for the information and support on this site, I would not have made it. As mentioned before, I was a much educated medical professional and ended up on several years of SSRIs due to extreme and simultaneous job, family and menopause stressors. I am sure that at the time I probably benefited from them, but due to the unreported and long term effects of these drugs, I made decisions about them that I would not have otherwise made. And believe me, I did my homework as did my 2 daughters who are also medical professionals. My docs, both medical and mental health, didn’t offer any of the now known information about the effects either. This information has only been acknowledeged grudgingly in the last few years and most lay people don’t take the time to do the in-depth research and weigh the options and the pros and cons. Realistically, most folks are not in any shape to be able to make informed decisions. They just do whatever the docs advise. I have made it my mission in life to bring this subject to light by talking to every medical professional that I can. I have only found 1 person who is familiar with it and she is a pharmacist and has been very supportive and helpful when I have a debilitating symptom. I am one of the unlucky ones who has become ultra sensitive to OTC meds so it is hard to treat even simple things like my newly acquired post SSRI headaches.. I had to retire early from a job that I loved but I am lucky in that I am older and don’t have children to raise or too awful many bills. I just wish everyone who needed or were offered these drugs were informed before the fact and didn’t find out when it was way too late. I just want everyone to know that eventually the worst will be over. You may or may not be left with residual damage but it does get better. The most helpful thing that I can tell about my experience is to learn what your tolerance levels are and try to stay within them. I have always been a damn the torpedos type of person and I cannot do that now. I invariably suffer days or weeks of relapse when I do not treat myself gently and stay away from physically and mentally stressful situations. Even television shows can trigger me sometimes. Be kind to yourselves.

      • Mimi hello…
        You have posted a lovely message. I take your point that we should not be coming here only when we feel down and worn out, rather on better days we could share more inspiring and motivating dialogues.
        You have mentioned about your recurring headaches, can you please write more about it? do try to explain every observation in detail, when, how, triggers and type of headache. Type of headache is most important, do try to describe what you exactly feel during such episodes.

        • Kuldeep,
          I can always count on you to be here. I will try to do better and be here more often to offer support to others also. Even family and friends who love me get tired of the limitations of the new me and don’t understand. I am sure it is so with most of us who are damaged. About my headaches. They seem to be triggered by stressful situations or situations where I am in areas that are brightly lit. Also maybe by Chinese food. MSG? I am still testing that. My pharmacist friend suggested treating like migraines with OTC migraine meds which I am taking only at half dose due to caffeine. Sometimes helps but mostly dark room and day or 2 of rest. Just getting over one now that seemed to be triggered by being out in the hot sun half a day while volunteering for a fund raising event. I say triggered. The pressure is almost always there with various degrees of blurred vision but it gets seriously bad at times. Like something is inside my head trying to expand and any kind of light is intolerable. The only kind of H/A I ever had during my first 60 yrs was of the sinus kind. When the headache lets up my vision clears almost to normal. Then I only need reading glasses. As with all the other crazy symptoms, I hope this also
          will pass with time and gentle care. I had this problem at the very beginning of my post AD timeline but it went away then came back. The auras are not as bad this time, just blurred vision. My blood pressure has settled down somewhat so maybe this will also. I hope so as it is very debilitating and I have so many things I want to do. I continue to have spells of acute anxiety and occasional cortisol mornings. I am lucky as I have the luxury of lying in bed and meditating or praying this away. God help those who do not have this luxury. So now I feel better as I could get that all out to someone who cares and understands. Now, how are you doing?
          I know you have a family. Are you able to work or are you retired? How are you coming along? Do you have any damage left to cope with?

          • Hi Mimi,
            your headaches are the typical AD withdrawal effects as i can understand. This thing is common with most sufferers that it initially starts with photosensitivity and later on it settles into some kind of weird feeling in head for which there is no other word so people call it headache, but in fact it is not exactly an ache but a sort of neurological dysfunction which appears as headache. I understand your condition very well. Lights and crowds and traffic and any complex visual situation just triggers everything for worse. Only dark room and cut off from all complex stimulus gradually relieves the accumulated muscle tensions and ongoing dysfunctional state. Mostly it begins with eyes, then everything progresses with aura and aches and muscle pulls and nausea and loss of senses and derealisation of surroundings, and people around just cannot understand even 1% so then anxieties shoot up and blood pressure goes up and it becomes a whole package of discomforts.. I don’t know if you go through exactly what i am saying.
            Finally your room and your comfort zone is the only place where you can find some relief.
            These chemicals just alter everything.
            About my condition, Mimi, i am reasonably out of much suffering but it is not normal yet, seems like the damages are almost not reversible fully. Physically i don’t have much trouble to work, ofcourse it’s not normal, but more trouble is from the head, neurological functions, senses seem altered, don’t feel like engaging in any activity, all has changed, nothing is like before, just struggling with the new self.

            • That is exactly how it is!!!! Amazing. I am encouraged to know that the worst things come and go but saddened to think that some things may be permanent. I am glad that I am mostly able to function. It could be worse. My son has a friend with ALS. Please pray for him. Thank you for your help and understanding.

              • Mimi,
                I am in touch with many AD sufferers and have also tried to help many come off of this horrendous chemicals. Please do not take my words as final that the condition doesn’t improve totally, bcoz my healing is still under way and i am very very confident that i will get back to normalcy, if not quickly then may be with a bit more delay, but i will.
                Once nature comes into play then we can always trust its powers and its wisdom. All human beings are made to be happy healthy and joyful, it is only when some life equations go wrong that the human economy starts it struggle and the internal conflict is manifested on body in the form of various ailments. Once this process starts to reverse and if we don’t torture ourselves with external drugging then the body and mind have to heal, they certainly would, it’s only a matter of time and patience and willpower.
                I am lucky that i found my help in the name of Dr. Sankaran who is otherwise renowned as the best homeopath in world and my first hand experience endorses this status he holds. his mastery to understand your condition is unmatched, it was only after my treatment under Dr. Sankaran that i started feeling better and better, still long way to go and i am very hopeful for the best.
                Regarding the friend of your son with ASL kindly kindly believe me that Dr. Sankaran can possibly help him more than anybody in world, you can take my words as heartfelt suggestion, but decision is an individual call.

            • Hi. Just came upon the conversation and wondered if anyone knows how long AD withdrawal goes on? I’m still experiencing those “headaches” and feelings nearly 2 years after stopping high dose sertraline. I was on meds for severe depression for 3 years and tried to take my own life twice – both times a few weeks after stopping meds. I wonder now whether the two are related… I od’ed on a cocktail if sertraline and mirtazipine and hallucinated for 48 hours. I’m sure I have some long term damage from it all! Is there a link to suicide risk and withdrawal after long term high dose use? And do the symptoms of withdrawal persist long term? Thanks

              • Dear mel,
                For any technical help you have to rely on your doctor only bcoz there are various chemicals in psych drugs and each have different modes of action. For specific questions you can also go through websites like or any other platform where people having similar experiences can definitely upgrade your knowledge, atleast.
                Here mostly you will find friendly responses from people who have suffered AD damages and still going through the difficult times and how they feel, what they do to cope with the situation and stuffs like that.
                Let me assure you that almost every psych drug has more or less the same result where people have felt good and stable for certain period and then a time comes when either the drugs become less effective and they get tired of increasing the doses or otherwise side effects have gone beyond tolerable levels. For whatever reason once a person quits the drugs the journey into hell begins. Invariably everybody has to go through the terrible phase of withdrawal, atleast i have not yet seen any exceptions. 2 yrs is not a very long time to consider yourself as the exception, people have been suffering the withdrawal effects for much longer. However, if you ask yourself genuinely then your condition should be better compared to while you were on drugs, ofcourse with all those seemingly permanent damages, but you have to be fair with your self assessment.
                If you think you are getting suicidal thoughts or feeling very low and hopeless then you should seriously considered contacting your doctor. That doesn’t mean you will be back on same drugs, but the professional experts can always help you in emergency, if it warrants so.
                Nobody can deny the fact that this so called psych medicines are really really damaging and there is no miracle pill to rescue anybody instantly. You have to have a lot of will power, social support and a quest to feel better without depending on chemicals. If you have all these essential qualities then with passage of time you should feel better, not absolutely as normal as before but atleast in tolerable condition. In case you don’t have much hope and coping strength then pls do consult doctor.

      • Hi Mimi,
        I just read your post and hope it is not too late for a response I am on a mood stabilizer, ssri, & trazadone for sleep. I am in my 50’s and have been taking the ssri for about 15 years. Now my memory is failing me so much that it scares me. (Short & long term). I also have bleeding problems to the point that my Dr. Says if I continue taking ibuprofen, I will need a blood transfusion. I have found unsolicited research that says ssri’s can cause bleeding. Do have any advise please? THANK YOU

        • Hello, Carla,
          I did not have any serious bleeding probs while on Lexapro, but during my prolonged withdrawal I began having severe bleeding gums. Dentist could not find out cause. I also took lots of Ibuprofen for the traveling pain. Headaches to ankle and foot pain and everywhere in between. I became disabled at age 60 from all the physical and . mental issues associated with SSRIs and then trying to withdraw. But guess what. I am on the other side of it. Still have probs but nothing like the horrible hell that was there for many months. At least 9 months of withdrawal and still going on but much better. While on drug, mental issues, blunted awareness, memory probs, anger, anger, anger, mad at God, weight gain Hated everyone and everything. During withdrawal, it was mental and also physical. Wanted to die for a long time. Just wanted relief. But it does get better. Some sooner than others. I was on SSRI for years. Memory so bad I don’t know exactly how long. Just remember that there are neuro receptors all over your body, which is where serotonin works, and so therefore, any part of your body, mental and physical can be affected. Fortunately, the body is good at fixing itself and just takes time. Don’t give up. The best help that I found was on this site and a pharmacist who knew about prolonged withdrawal and told me I wasn’t a hypochondriac or crazy. This is a real phenomena that is different for everyone, and is just recently being recognized by psychiatrists, major medical schools, and some, although few, MDs. Hang in there and know that you are not alone. Tackle one problem at a time .Depleted energy will only allow this anyway. Post every day if you need too . We will help you all we can

      • Hi mimi,
        your advise to deena is just perfect, very well said.
        I also got inspired to try the method of relaxing each body part one by one.. I have not tried it ever but while trying to meditate i used to get crying outbursts, somehow now it just doesn’t happen. And yes it works very well as therapeutic.
        Mimi pls say something more about fish oil. I was always under impression or rather a negative bias that all about fish oil benefits is more of a commercial propaganda and so, honestly, i have never tried it yet. pls share all that you have known, which type and how much?
        Deena, good wishes for your recovery.

        • Kuldeep, I just discovered something that I wish to share with you and all others struggling with any of the difficulties of life. I heard this person quoted and Googled him, and I cannot stop reading his thoughts. Look up the name Joseph Campbell. He is a philosopher, poet, or some such. Search for his quotes and views of life. You will be amazed. I intend to research him thoroughly. It is awesome and of real value to me in recovery.

          Deena, I hope you will check in so that we know you are Okay.

          • Kuldeep, about the fish oil. I only know that fish is on every diet of any kind other than vegan//veg and supplies multiple good nutritional advantages. If you don”t eat fish every day, then I suppose that the fish oil is a good substitute????? I don’t know. I just know that doing something that I perceive as positive is healing and a step forward. Maybe it is mental thing, but I do know that there are positive effects for cardiac health, and anti-inflammatory effects. Hope you are doing well.

    • Hi Deena,
      How are you doing in last couple of days? any little relief?
      Sorry for replying to your old post. Somehow unable to find your last post to reply.
      Do write detailed reply of your condition, i am worried about you.

  46. I have been taking anti-depressants fr over twenty years. I have tried them all and then tried them again. Every time going off them thinking I didn’t need them. Each time got a little worse. Recently I lost my job as a receptionist at a doctors office who also was my physician. Since losing my job in April of ths year I have been without medication for over three months now. When working at doctors office I was treated with adder all 20 mg daily and Prozac 20 mg daily. The two together changed my life. For the first time I felt that my brain was working like everyone else’s. I was on these two medications for over two months, in losing my job I lost my doctor also. I have no insurance so I thought I needed a break off the medications to give my body a break and possibly see for the first time in over twenty years if I even need any medication so I quit cold turkey. It has been the worst experience in my life. No one can even stand to be around me. I’m so angry and bitter and sad and lonely than anyone can even imagine. Suicide is putting is nicely seems my only way out and I have no one left to help me. I’m on the verge of losing everything that I have worked so hard for my whole life. I’ve pushed everyone away and no one cares anymore. They don’t understand why I’m feeling this way. Not to mention family history of mental illness. I can’t take another minute of this ongoing getting worse pain im feeling. I don’t know what to do and when someone is severely depressed they need others help to move them along. So as I sit here writing I see that I know all f this because I’m writing it but yet still can’t get it done. And now my OCD has kicked in so my anxiety everyday is out of control” I don’t even understand why I’m writing this response to this website. My depression has cost me everything and everybody and it is not getting better and I don’t ever have a wave of happiness. Not sure what to do?

    • Hi Kari..
      why you talking so hopeless?
      My dear friend everyone here have the same story of suffering as you do, and believe me every body gets better after some time.
      I can guarantee you that if you hold on to your will power and wish to feel better than nothing will stop you. I guarantee you again that with time you will feel better.

    • Hi Kari,

      maybe it helps to realize that this pitch dark depression and hopelessness you’re feeling at the moment is a classic symptom of withdrawal.

      Not everybody gets bodily symptoms like muscle twitches, pains, aches, stomach problems. Some people’s withdrawal is all emotional. I find the emotional symptoms the worst. They pretend they are your own emotions. It’s hard to distinguish which part is you and which part is withdrawal.

      Once you have identified these feelings for what they are: Withdrawal symptoms, that doesn’t make them much easier to bear.

      But identifying them as withdrawal symptoms tells you one thing: This will pass. Sooner or later these emotions will just go away, even if you don’t do anything about them, take no other drugs and just let your body heal.

      I know, knowing this won’t lift the darkness, but maybe it gives you the knowledge you need to survive this situation in one piece.


    • Kari..
      one more thing.. if u feel u r totally unable to handle ur situation then consider this..
      Come down to my home in India. I am living here with my wife and two grown up children and u will not have any trouble here, i assure u that. together we will overcome this crisis of yours as i have managed to get out of this in last three years. Minimum I assure u is that u will be comfortable here and u can stay with us as long as u wish, till u feel confident to live ur life. This is not your alone problem, we all have suffered the same, and i am with you.

      • Hi, Kari, Lee is 100% correct. What you are experiencing is AD Withdrawal. Your brain has been hijacked by the drugs and now can’t function without it.
        I know how miserable you are how bleak everything looks. It’s not you. Remember the TV ad from years ago talking about ” this is your brain on drugs” and the cracking of the egg in the fry pan. They were talking about illicit drugs but those of us who have been on these poisons know it’s the exact same scenario.

        You can’t just cold turkey drop the meds and expect things to be okay. You need to taper them. Theres a web site called surviving antidepressants. PLEASE Go there, become a member and talk to the administrator. Her name is ALTO. She is also a survivor of AD’s and others on the site are too. They know how to properly taper off.

        It won’t happen overnight. It takes a long time to get off. But done properly, you can get on with your life and not feel like dying while you get off of them.

        I don’t believe Prozac is that expensive since its been out there for a while and there are mental health clinics in most states where you can get help at low cost.

        Do this now. Don’t wait. You need to get back in the drugs and properly taper off of them.

        Kuldeep and Lee, you two are wonderful people and we need more like you two. Thanks for advising Kari.

    • SSRI withdrawal is an absolute nightmare. It doesn’t feel possible that your body and mind can feel this bad. Doctors are uneducated and think it’s symptoms of an old condition eventhough for some of us the withdrawal symptoms are 100 percent different than the original condition . I am 12 months off antidepressants and Its still surreal how far off I feel. The physical and mental pain ive gone through is out of a horror movie. People generally completely recover but it can take between 1 and 5 yrs. I read recovery stories every day and it’s true we bounce back but it’s slow very slow for most of us. Our revenge is to become well again and not consume prescriptions aswell as anything that these evil corporations are affiliated with. Support people who have our best interests. Take what doctors say with a grain of salt and know that they are a product of a system that doesn’t have our best interest at heart. Healthcare is a business first and keeping you medicated and sick is the best way to maximize profit. We will all be stronger better and wiser from our experiences. Happy healing and be well

      • Matt.. very well said.. nothing can be more true than what you have written. I just want to add one fact, rather an assurance to all friends here..
        If you keep confidence alive then a time surely comes when you feel better.. Yes it may take 1 to 5 yrs, but body and brain do heal with time.

        • Kuldeep you are absolutely right. Keeping faith and believing that good things will come is an integral part of healing. Im not saying that if your negative you won’t heal. Thats not the case, your always on your way to wellness when it comes to WD! but rather keeping confidence can speed up the healing process. The happier our minds are the easily our bodies will heal. Be well Friends. We are all in this together

    • I dont think you are having a withdrawal syndrome. I thing you are experiencing syntoms of depression. And the right thing to do is begin again your medication. Depression is a disease like others and you have to treat. After beeing well enough for a long time, you can try lower dosis ( like 10 mg) and if the syntoms begin again, probably is because you have to take the medication for a longer time, maybe your hole life.
      Good luck,

      • Oh dear, this attitude is exactly why it took 20 years to figure out that there is an antidepressant withdrawal syndrome and it might take further 20 until it is officially recognized how severe and long it can be.

        Kari quit antidepressants cold turkey after 20 years. Withdrawal is the logical consequence.

        Antidepressants for life?

        Who would want to take a medication for life that has only been tested in clinical trials for 6-12 weeks? Are we facing a flood of SSRI induced Alzheimer? We don’t know….

        Another caveat: antidepressants don’t work for life. People reach tolerance, same as with all addictive drugs. The drug stops working, changing the drug doesn’t always work. At that stage people are doomed to suffer withdrawal and chronic depression. The depression part is now called “Tardive Dysphoria”.

      • Miss Patricia, Please do not make assumptions or offer diagnostic opinions unless you have experienced this yourself. It is not just depression. Let me say it again. It is not just depression. After having come out the other side of this horrific nightmare, I can honestly say that I don’t think I have any of my depression left at all but still experience in varying degrees and amplitudes most all the symptoms during the waves of relapse. As I write this, I am closing one eye as the floaters and lightening bolts are active tonight. Why are you on this forum if you do not believe in the withdrawal syndrome? I am a medical person as are several others on board here, and I know for sure this is not fiction. BUT I would never have believed it in a million years if it hadn’t happened to me. So we forgive you and ask you to offer encouragement and hope that we all need to survive this.

        • I Am very sorry!!! I didnt know this forum was about withdrawal syndrome and to encourage people to survive this. I have taken Prozac for 16 years and decided to stop. Every 6 days I had to take 1 mg less. I finally stop taking it after 3 months (I think). And it was marvelous for some months. But I experienced all my depressive syntoms 5 months after and I couldnt even go to work. I decided to take it again and now I am very well. I am a person that really have depression and I am sure I have to take medication. I didnt have withdrawal syndrome. But I have depression.

          • No offense taken 🙂

            You know that sometimes withdrawal symptoms have a delayed onset? They can show up with months of delay in some people. Even after 6 months or more. It’s not logic and nobody understands why it happens, but some people get things that are clearly withdrawal symptoms months after stopping (dizziness, skin crawling, vertigo). That’s why we’re sure this phenomena exists.

            The questions to ask would be:
            Does your depression feel different or worse than your original condition?

            Did the symptoms come out of the blue rather than gradually worsen?

            Do you have any new symptoms?

            Did the problem go away quite fast after re-instatement of prozac?

            I’m not sure in your case, but there’s many cases where people go through withdrawal and they are told “your depression is coming back”. So they are kept on antidepressants for years and years until they become tolerant and have to go through withdrawal anyway, just at a bigger scale.

            Listen to your gut feeling and see what it tells you: Is it withdrawal or really depression?

            Even if it is depression, antidepressants are just like street drugs: they “speed up” the brain. They are very harmful on the long run.

            If you conclude what you were having was withdrawal, then you could taper very slowly. I think the recommended is 10% of the dose per month.

            • Lee
              very well written.
              Yes it has to be agreed that depression, anxiety, ocd, and whatever else its called all come back during withdrawal phase and with many people it is experienced with double intensity. But if a person has the will to come out of the mess then a time surely comes when you start feeling better, altho after a prolonged struggle. Brain does get on its own at some point in time but certainly it’s a difficult journey.

            • Again to all of you guys who saved my life, Thank you. I think I am going to be lucky and recover in a relatively short time. It is almost 9 mos since last sliver of pill. I have been feeling “almost” normal at times, with waves that are becoming shorter. I am definitely wiser. Just wanted to know if erratic blood pressure has been a problem for anyone else? Got checked out at MD and changed manipulated bp meds. Still bouncing around without rhyme or reason, even on days when I feel ok otherwise. Best of luck, love and peace to all of you.

              • Hi mimi
                BP fluctuation is something that i have gone thru in the first 2 years of my withdrawal. I found that the under lying cause was anxiety. I took the pills on and off.
                After six months into homeopathic treatment my bp settled down almost to normal without any drug. Now it remains stable for last several months, effortlessly.

                I also found some YouTube videos interesting of Dr. B. M. Hegde (cardio) better known as people’s doctor. After more than half a century of experience as cardiologist, medical scientist and winning hundreds of awards he says he doesn’t recognize what is high cholesterol, high bp, unless it actually bothers a person. He disregards many medical myths calling them only scams manipulated by pharma cos to scare people.

      • Ms. Patrica,
        For heaven sake do not misguide people and you too don’t fall into the trap of this so called psych medicines. This are not medicines, this is simply a mega pharma scam where by some laboratory people found out some chemical which can temporarily alter your brain pathologies and make you feel different for some time. Soon the ugly effects leave you nowhere to go. This ugly effects start in different people after varied time scale so in-between people feel pseudo comfort, a sort of cushion from suffering. But sooner or later a time comes when this chemicals would have damaged your brain, mainly the functional part, and then you have no clue what to do?
        There is only one opinion about this horrendous chemicals that nobody should ever take them.
        Depression is not at all understood by any medical experts and neither by biological scientists, it’s meaningless to discuss further on it. The only certainty is that if you take this drugs then you will suffer inconsolably with brain damage.

    • Dear Kari,

      I trust you are hanging in there. Love and faith may seem to have left you but if there is one thing you can hold on to, it is HOPE.

      I would earnestly recommend that you find a good psychotherapist who can help process your grief and deal with underlying issues. Your GP can refer you to a talking therapist or you can also find organisations offering free counselling sessions for those who are in desperate need and unable to afford private psychotherapy.

      It is never too late to explore the root of your problems, deal with them. It takes courage to grieve but you will find that it pays off.

    • Kari hello..
      How are you feeling recently?
      Please do write everything that comes to mind.. We all are here to hear and understand each other and relate our conditions with people suffering similarly or differently.
      I wish better health to everyone

  47. Well, it”s me, Mimi. Lee, you were right on about the windows and waves. I am feeling better but it was a long wave. Well over a week. Indeed I also have loud tinnitus. Thought it was cause I had worked around helicopters for 18 years. I have not heard any of you guys mention drastic BP fluctuations. Maybe it was just cause I was so miserable and anxious. Thank you all so very much for being here. Yes I have good family, but unless you have been there, you cannot truly, truly empathize. I have other medical people in my family, and they are supportive but I can see the “you’re stronger than that” look in their eyes. So you guys are my support system. I am so thankful that I found you all. When one of us is down the others can lift them back up. Everyone hang in there and remember to take care of your selves. God hears our prayers, even when we are mad at him for letting this happen to us so pray a lot.

  48. Well, after 8 months off SSRI withdrawal hell, and starting to feel better with more frequent good days, I have had a tremendous down turn. Headache, nausea, apathy, traveling pain, and my blood pressure is all over the place. Anxiety is out of control and I have become agoraphobic again. All I seem to do is stay in bed. Mornings are the worst. I wake up like a fire alarm has gone off and it takes me half the morning to escape this intense anxiety. Can’t sleep much without help from Ambien. Thought this was mostly over. Could this just be a temporary set back? If this is going to be my life, I don’t think I can take much more. Seeing MD this week to make sure not something else. I am so tired of all this. I want to be happy. Anyone else have a bad setback after this long?

    • Hi Mimi,

      so sorry you’re going through this! I think it’s quite common for symptoms to fade and then suddenly come back with full force. It’s called “windows and waves” in patient forums. Waves of worsening symptoms are followed by windows where things are better.

      I know it’s frustrating. This horrible hell seems to never end. It’s already a very good sign that you had a nice window where you felt better. The next one will be better and longer and so on. You might suffer setbacks, but the overall trend will be always up.

      Do you have people who understand and who can support you? I think that’s really important.

      Stay strong, you already survived 8 months of this, now it won’t be that long any more. I’m just so angry that good people have to go through this hell just because of criminal pharmaceutical companies and corrupt psychiatrists in decision making positions.

      All the best, Lee

      • What makes all this devastatingly worse is that I have many years left in which I could use my education and skills to help other people and I have become not only disabled for work but in my personal life also. I am a 35 yr critical care nurse with 18 yrs exp as medevac nurse and field surgeon training. I should still be out there helping save lives. I sometimes pray, Father forgive them for they do not know the extent of what they have done.. It’s not just me that this has affected.

        • I feel your pain Mimi! It’s horrible how many thousands of lives have been ruined by these drugs.

          I’m the same: I had an awful childhood, fought my way out and managed to build a decent life for myself. I gave everything in order to build a career and leave my past behind. It was very hard to get so far. Now it’s gone.

          But you know what? We will get our lives back. We’re on the way up and out of this nightmare.

          There’s so many people who don’t even know that their lives have been devastated by these drugs. They may believe their doctors who say “it’s your illness, it’s not withdrawal”. They may remain in the psychiatric drug merry-go-round for a long long time.

          I’ve read so many absolutely horrible stories. It’s so sad 🙁

            • Nan i live in western part of India. I have taken the horrible drugs for about 14 years before saying goodbye to them in 2012-13.
              The withdrawal was extremely ugly and just not liveable, but then every person has that hidden strength which pops up in the times of adversities. I have managed last 2-3 yrs almost uselessly lying down in bed and trying to understand what is going on in mind and body. Things that have helped me are
              1. My homeopath Dr. Sankaran who is indisputably No.1 in world today. People from all over the world come to him and mostly all cases get better under him. I am lucky that Dr. Sankaran is just 150 miles away from my place. I visit him every month since last one year and i acknowledge that he is a genius of human mechanism.
              2. I took up strictly Gluten free diet. Going gluten free has reduced lots of inflammations in my body and that helps in faster recovery and general good feeling.
              3. I stopped consuming all the nonsense food.

              Three years down the line i am in much better condition.

    • Hi, Mimi, I know how disheartening this setback is. Please don’t loose heart. I was on high doses of Remeron for 11 years. It is now 4 years later and I’m still battling the ” collateral damage” brought in by this poison.

      Have you thought about secondary sensitivities? Do you find yourself made sick by chemical smells, been on antibiotics, any food related reactions? How about other meds you may be on.
      Take whatever the MD says to you with a grain of salt. Remember almost all of them do not recognize prolonged antidepressant withdrawal and may very well talk you into taking more drugs.

      Do your homework. Go to the website ” surviving” and look around. There’s a wealth of info there. Also, “beyond”. These people have been or are continuing to struggle with this plague every day.
      Don’t weaken. The longer you’ve been in AD’s the longer your brain needs to recover. Neuroplasticity takes time.

    • Mimi, sorry to hear about your suffering. Let me tell you that you are not a lone sufferer. Now you say you want a mere consolation or you want real solution? If you are happy by simply venting out your sufferings here then pls continue. But if you are seriously looking for a relief then you have to explore the options. Universe has unlimited options. I have had my share of the ugliest experiences and then found a help. Ofcourse i am still recovering but atleast i learnt that modern chemical model of medicine is not the only way.. There are other promising ways to feel better.
      kbgadhvi at yahoo. com

      • Lee, Nan, Kuldeep and all others out there. Thank you so much for the quick and knowledgeable support and suggestions. I feel better already..

  49. I have a friend who’s been medicated for depression for years. She disappeared from social life for a while, but now She’s BAAAAACK, with a new medication that makes her feel GREAT, SO GREAT, I FEEL GREAT ALL THE TIME!!!! All her Facebook posts practically pop off the page with all the excitement and emoticons and multiple exclamation points!!!! She’s really doing well now, didn’t get to bed until 2:30 a.m. and here she is posting away on Facebook at 6 a.m.! She feels GREAT GREAT GREAT ALL THE TIME TIME TIME. GREAT NEW MEDICATION IS WORKING!!!!!!

    Thing is, her mania is glaringly obvious to me, but all her friends are congratulating her on “overcoming” her depression.

    • Oh dear.. antidepressants really seem like a bulletproof way to ruin your life. If her doctor isn’t smart enough to realize this is a side effect, she might share the faith of so many: Being diagnosed as bipolar, put on even more toxic mood stabilizers and that’ll be it…So sorry for your friend. I hope you can reach her.

    • I do not do facebook but I have heard enough about this same type of thing concerning a relative of mine. All of the things that she has been part of and doing since she was a teen were evidence of some minor treatable problems. Then she got on the GREATEST med ever and ended up having multiple affairs, lost jobs, wrecked cars, etc, etc, culminating in leaving her 2 small daughters and husband for some POS she met on line in another state. He must not be much of a man if he would let her abandoned her daughters. She doesn’t understand why the whole family has alienated her and they don’t understand that although she does have some mental health issues, none of this awful stuff started till she got on the SSRI’s. She does not even act or look like the same person. If I met her for the first time, I would think that she was in a Manic fit. She just thinks she is Happy Happy Happy, regardless of the fact that she has 2 little girls crying for her every night. Oh yeah, she is not an ignorant POS. She is a very intelligent, highly educated beautiful woman who got into a downward spiral and fell into the unholy grips of antidepressants. I pray for her every night. It’s all any of us can do as we have tried everything else. It was seeing it in her that made me recognize it in myself and gather the strength to start my recovery.

  50. I took Cipralex (Lexapro) for 6 week. Now, 6 months later, I still have severe sexual dysfunction. I believe the sexual dysfunction is because dopomine (and noradrenaline) in my brain is inhibited by too much serotonin. These drugs are poison, they very quickly and permanently alter your brain!

  51. I tried about 6 anti depressants over 6 months to treat my anxiety. I’ve now been off of the medication for 8 months.
    I am very upset and don’t know how to help myself as when i talk to doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist about the issues i am having- they all deny what i am feeling to be untrue. I strongly believe my memory is failing, i am now very forgetful. It feels like a brain damage. I am only in my early twenties! i can’t focus on things anymore. the other day as an example, i was mid sentence in a social engagement – telling a story. all of a sudden i forgot the story/ what i was talking about and couldn’t continue. I am also not retaining any new information.I am worried that i will never go back to my old self. It is distressing because i am doing worse than before i started trying the anti depressant and no one told me of any permanent risks like this one! I felt these symptoms whilst on it – and now that i am off it, because i didn’t like the side effects — it has never gone away.

    Any advice please? this would be wonderful!

    • If u want to find true relief and reversal of your damages then in my opinion there is only one option contact
      1. Dr. Rajan Sankaran MD homeopath, world famous for his mastery over diagnosis.
      2. Dr. Mahesh Gandhi MD (psych) turned homeopath by choice, he also has fantastic results in psych drug cases.

      both are best, just watch them first on youtube and then decide for yourself.
      People find fantastic results. I am one of them.

      • Really? You’re suggesting the utterly baseless, scammy and totally scientifically debunked practice of homeopathy for this person’s issues? Shameful and ignorant in the extreme.

        • What’s shameful is when people accept the bs laid out by pharmaceuticals, but disregard anything natural. Yeah that’s smart use chemicals that potentially alter your god given gift. Criticize someone who uses what is natural to help people. You know nothing about it.

        • I agree with Kuldeep an Carrie. We have seen that the treatments offered in modern psychiatry and often medicine are not scientific at all. The trials are engineered to make toxic substances appear beneficial by introducing systematic errors into trials, bribing opinion leaders and ghostwriting. “Scientific” studies are written before the authors are even determined.

          In some antidepressant trials, the placebo group was on antidepressants up until right before the trial. They took them off cold turkey to make the placebo group fare worse than the antidepressant group and “prove” efficiency of SSRI over placebo. They moved suicides from the SSRI group to the placebo group. I could go on and on.

          This fraud also answers the question why the h*** these studies measured withdrawal reactions in the placebo group and then write “we measured withdrawal reactions in 78% of the SSRI group and in 34 % of the placebo group.”

          Modern medicine is not science, it’s fraud.

          • very true Lee.
            I feel that everyone should ask themselves one question. What is a Medicine?
            In my view there are no medicines that can cure or heal any disease. healing is a process that is always done by your own body. Disease is a condition when normal pathologies in your body either become deficient or there are excesses, what is called as ‘Disharmony’. This disharmony is experienced by the body and mind in the form of symptoms. The chemicals that we take in the name of medicines work only as ‘Interferers’ or ‘supporters’ or ‘Alterers’, they cannot heal anything by themselves, the chemicals have no healing power of any kind.
            By the time your own body goes thru the curative process this chemicals might give a helping hand. In case of emergency or severe irreversible pathologies this chemicals may serve as life saving Interferers or supporters. But for general disharmony of human mechanism the best way is to allow your own vital forces to heal itself, and every body is by default capable of handling every crisis if basic wisdom is followed of peaceful mind, natural whole foods, regular exercise and rest.
            If you don’t allow your own body-mind wisdom to do it’s functions by depending upon chemicals for too long then gradually your systems become weak, they lose their sense of self repairs. There is no harm in seeking temporary support from medicines but your existence cannot be allowed to function only on chemicals.

            • Kuldeep, I wish I had been offered a choice 14 years ago between AD’s and homeopathy and been wise enough to make the right choice. Instead, I was offered a choice between strichnine and antifreeze. Neither one good for your brain!

              • I liked the way you wrote that ADs are a choice between Strychnine and Antifreeze.
                What is your present condition? Are you still on drugs?

                • Kuldeep, I will have been off AD’s for four years as of September 4 ( my birthday). My main problem now is constant high pitched tinnitis and headaches.
                  I am glad that my ability to think has returned. It left almost completely at the end of the 11 year AD use period.

                  Still pretty averse to stress and not able to return to my 30 year veterinarian career.

                  Just want to be content with my life.

            • Ohh.. even i have tinnitus. mine was initially high pitched, now its constant at approx 30% of highs.. and i observed that it has direct relation with blood pressure and salt. Tinn is lower when pressure is normal.
              I am off the ADs since 3 yrs. And yes getting back to the old routine and work is simply a dream now, a dream full of guilt for not being able to perform in anything.

    • You are suffering with protracted withdrawal and maybe suffering from issues just because you took the drug. Your brain has to heal back from taking this medication. It will not happen quickly. It heals like a scab that keeps getting ripped off. It gets better and gets worst and gets better again. It will just take time. 6mths to 3yrs depending on he extent of the damage. Going through it myself. NO FUN

      • Mr. Bob. Sounds like you have a handle on things. I thought I did. Enough good days that I could tolerate the bad days. Now all of a sudden I am stuck in at least a week of almost constant misery. Admit that there have been a lot of stressors lately but I want this to stop and give me a little relief. Just for a little while. I am determined to beat this one way or the other, I will never touch another one of those things as long as I live. I am now nearly 8 months out from long wean and last Lexapro and I honestly feel like I am dying. Too many symptoms to mention. I feel like I have stomach and regular flu at same time. Any suggestions? I am doing everything I know to do. Also extreme bouts of anxiety. HA and visual disturbances. Thanks in advance for any help.

    • I feel the same way! I was going through cancer treatment (breast cancer) over 5 yrs ago when my family doctor decided I needed something. I was NEVER “clinically” depressed IMO. Never had any thoughts of suicide, nor have I ever been diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder (and no family history)
      I think this doc feels everyone should be on an antidepressant and I disagree. I USED to be a lot more fun, and now I feel blunted. I am physically disabled and live in major pain but I don’t feel I have a lot to be depressed about. I have NO motivation like I used to have. Like I told him, “I don’t give a shit about anything, even the things I WANT TO give a shit about!!” Whenever I mention getting off them (taking Bupropion SR 100mg=Welbutrin) he says things like “Oh let’s wait until after the Holidays” and I don’t get any real feedback from him other than that. I am ready to wean myself off them just to see if I still have any personality left! What is the worst that can happen??

      • I think for some reason in our society every doctor thinks everyone should be on something. I’m sure it’s the money thing. I’ve been on antidepressants since my early twenties and now I’m in my early thirties. I can honestly say no drug out there is going to get rid of depression 100% or anxiety for that matter. We have to realize these feeling are programmed into us. I think a lot of it has to come from us doing the work, knowing that life isn’t always going to be happy go lucky all the time. Sometimes life just plainly sucks. I’m getting to the point to where I’m sick of these doctors playing god on me and I’ll just figure things out on my own. Can’t do any worse than what their doing to me by giving me these dangerous pills all the time, because one doesn’t work, let’s try another. I’m done.

    • Hi ‘Join the conversation’
      I’ve had similar issues, brain-fog, losing the point of the story I’m telling, forgetting what I’m doing or should be doing – and a LOT of anxiety around all that.

      The biggest help for me has been this:
      (1) A paleo or paleo-esque diet. Because good quality saturated fats are not only great for your brain, but are an essential nutrient. So start each day with eggs (lots!) greens, fish oil and perhaps even bullet-proof coffee. Cook everything in coconut oil or grass-fed butter/ghee.

      (2) Magnesium. Great for the nervous system – and sleep.

      (3) Sleep in a pitch-black room (i.e. not even a glowing charger or power-board) and sleep 8-9hrs minimum.
      “Not all sleep deprived people are depressed, but ALL depressed people are sleep deprived!”

      (4) Vitamin D and exercise. Not lots, but get sunlight on your skin for 20mins/day and either go for a good long, FAST walk or a swim, or just lift some weights every couple of days for 15-20mins.

      (5) Meditate. Get the Calm app or similar and do some mindfulness meditation daily. It won’t seem to help for a while, perhaps a few weeks, but eventually, wow!

      (6) No phones, laptops, TV in bed after 10! The blue light is a melatonin killer. Read a book with a lowish yellowing light instead.

      Good luck and let me know how you go!

    • What you are experiencing is antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. Go to a site called “Surviving Antidepressants”.
      Hundreds of others going through what you are going through are there with there stories, collective wisdom and compassionate advice. I’ve gone through everything (all of the symptoms)that you are going through as well as many others. I’m back to normal these days, though I thought at times that I never would be. Just to reassure you-nothing you’re experiencing is permanent. Antidepressants radically change the nervous system around and once you stop taking them it takes different amounts of time for it to go back to it’s previous state. Going through many different antidepressants in a sort period of time was very destabilizing for your nervous system, thus the withdrawal symptoms. I’m sorry for your current suffering.

  52. I got antidepressants prescribed for a burnout. I was still functioning and thought they could get me through a stressful time until the next holiday. The doctor agreed (arghhhh????).

    I have been disabled from side effects and haven’t been able to work since.

    I had akathisia, brain zaps, chest pain, fainting, psychotic thoughts, I would get nausea when I moved my head, muscle twitches all over the body, migraine type headaches, obsessions and compulsions, racing thoughts, suicidality and self harming just to name a few. I could go endlessly.

    All that despite just taking a few doses of an antidepressant. It’s been now over three months and the symptoms haven’t yet stopped. They are very slowly decreasing.

    My doctors don’t believe me and put everything down to anxiety. That’s ridiculous because I never had any physical symptom before being put on SSRIs.

    When I mentioned to my doctor that all the side effects are written in the leaflet, he said the side effects don’t actually occur. They are just written in the leaflet to protect the drug companies from lawsuits. So that’s what the doctors truly believe about these toxic drugs.

    • Lee, pl do take solace by thinking that atleast u r not alone. what u have described is a common story worldwide.
      most Drs have never tried these drugs or they may possibly never try on themselves knowing the horrendous side effects. What we can do is only consider this as a serious accident which we can’t reverse now. The only way is to move forward in life altho, with never ending struggle.
      Do drink lots of water so to flush out toxicity, learn to say NO when n where not comfortable, and trust in God that gradually things will fall in place.

      • Thanks so much for your kind words Kuldeep!

        They are much needed at the moment. I believe once this is over I will be stronger than before.

        • Lee.. u r already very strong. Once u have crossed few months now its a forward journey. Soon u will be wondering that how soon the time passed by, and u will feel better, for sure.
          Try to flush out toxins by drinking water as much as u can, approx 3 litres a day is fine. keep your colon clean, eat lots of whole fruits and lots of vegetables, it makes unbelievable effect. Avoid pizza and other breads. Keep faith in God that all will be fine. Trust your body wisdom that it can heal itself. Mind is a very powerful tool, so keep it positive and change negative thoughts as soon as they cross your head, gently ask them ‘not now, pl come later’. All the best.

    • The web site surviving antidepressants got me through the same problems you’re having-that is, anti-depressant withdrawal syndrome.

  53. Guys,
    I need to tell you about recent events, which may just help someone else. I posted a while ago about my dire straits on sertraline, so I decided to follow up my research on food and supplementation and put it to work. 8 weeks ago, I convinced my doc to drop me to 50mg from 100 (why they should need convincing to allow us to get better, I dunno). Anyway, she permitted this, and I supplemented with vitamin d3 and amino acids. 5 weeks later, and I started to see marked improvements in my motivation and desire to get active, as well as a little more energy and happiness. It was then that I decided to start a new eating lifestyle, and hating diets, my wife and I commenced the paleo/caveman/hunter gatherer method. 3 weeks on from this….OH MY WORD!!!!!! I have a new lease of life. I have dropped 12lbs, never hungry, energy through the roof, joy and enjoyment from things is obvious for all to see, I am lovin the gym again, and the bedroom department is…well…imagination peeps. I am also hoping to gradually come off the sertraline, hoping to be completely non-reliant by July. Please, do as I did, and speak to your med professional before doing this. I now know what it means when people say they have turned a corner. The last 2 years seem so distant, that I don’t recognise who I had become, and it’s only been 8 weeks since decreasing began. I can only thank God for his guidance, and pray that this is permanent, just as I pray for each of you who are suffering also. xo

    • dont wait for permission form your doctor to stop the sertraline. Just wean yourself off slowly. Half the daily dose again and again, then take every other day, less and less. Or Google weaning off. You don’t need it anymore!

  54. I am having a hard time believing my husband that celexa made him cheat, go to strip clubs, drink, and lie. He tells me all the time that it wasn’t him, it was the drugs. Could he be telling me the truth can celexa really change a person that much?he also claims that he remembers nothing during that period of time.

    • Bmj, celexa or any other drug for the reason do not stimulate a person to do any wrong or cause a seduction effects but the drugs are definitely capable of altering a person’s decision sense. It sort of numbs your thinking.

      • so in your opinion, is this a side effect? I am trying hard to understand why he would do such a thing. I was in complete shock. He claims that he remembers nothing. He claims that after 8 months he realized that something was wrong so he started to taper off the Celexa and when he realized what he was doing it was to late. forgive me if I keep asking questions I amtrying so hard to understand.

        • Bmj.. You may choose to call it side effects or the main action of the psych drugs. what i remember about my self and have heard from others is that this drugs make a zombie out of a normal human being. The main effect/side effect is Apathy, the person loses his emotional software, altho the person knows what he is doing is wrong but deep inside he doesn’t feel that emotion, so he keeps doing the wrong as a robot.
          I don’t think a person will not remember anything, but if you put too much pressure on already confused brain then naturally the person will lie.
          In other words this drugs are same as heroine, cocaine, brown sugar etc.. The effects on brain are 90% same.

          • should a person be held accountable for their actions at the drugged time? Everything that he did was so not the man I know. Our home was also in foreclosure because he wasn’t paying any bills. I am having a hard time understanding this all. But if this was all done and he was aware of what he was doing and was just having a good time at my expense than I need to know for my decisions but if it was out of his control then thats a different decision.

            • bmj…As 25 yr professional in the field, NO, the Celexa is not the cause of your husband’s actions, his behavior is not a side-effect of the medication. It is unfortunate that too many people try to use medication as an excuse for unacceptable actions/behavior. A person on Celexa still knows right from wrong and is quite capable of making the appropriate decision. Also, it certainly doesn’t cause memory loss.

              • Klc.. with your seniority as a professional i wouldn’t argue with u, but all psych drugs do cloud the human brain, they do affect the normal judgment n decision of actions. When local anaesthesia is administered in hand or legs it doesn’t mean you don’t have the hands/legs, but certainly u cannot move it in absolute natural way, its indisputable. Similar is the action of ADs on brain.

              • I oh so beg to differ with you!!! I too am a 35 yr medical professional and while on an 8 yr nightmare ride with SSRI tmt, I did and said things that I would have never in my life have done. I had no energy, and multiple other physical sys. You can read thru part of my journey in this post. I am now almost 6 months off Lexapro and feel alive again. I feel emotions and enjoyment that I thought I had lost. I feel empathy for others that I had lost. I feel love again. I am regaining my ability to remember things. I thought I had early onset Alzheimers or microvascular disease. This is still sometimes a problem but gets better and better as time goes on. I do not believe that everyone has a bad effect from these drugs, but I KNOW that some of us do. Some worse than others. If chemical and neuro-receptor disorders can create monsters like serial killers, why can chemical changes from ingested sources not cause drastic changes? This may not be the case. He may just be a POS but do not completely rule out the possibility. A family’s well being is at stake here.

                • I do believe it was the drugs. This man has been through total hell with me through all of this and he is still with me. it is hard for me to understand things when I have been hurt. it is super hard when a spouse does the sort of things that he did. But with a lot of faith and sites like this one I am understanding and am truly seeing what has happened to him.

              • These drugs do cause memory loss!!!!! And, they DO cause you to do think and do things you would never have done before. Yes, of course, we are ultimately accountable for our actions, BUT when your brain has been altered by one of these monsters you don’t even relate to accountability, let alone give a crap. When i was under the influence i said horrible things to people and felt no obligation to any ideal.
                All of these mass shootings are done by poor souls under the influencd of these drugs. The drug companies are evil and the “PROFESSIONALS” are their duped pushers.

              • Rubbish! I can state unequivocally that many, if not all, antidepressants cause memory retention and concentration problems. These drugs have a significant affect on the pre-frontal section of the brain, which you should well know is responsible for short-term memory recall. Because medications like Zoloft do nothing more than inhibit brain activity, it stands to reason that taking them can result in reduced synaptic activity. More importantly, they limit the user’s ability to concentrate on a specific task for any extended period of time without their mind wandering. This is an essential part of the cognitive process allowing people to make the necessary connections that are so important for establishing reliable memory recall.

            • Forget 20 or 40mg.. psych drugs simply alter the normal brain functions. once the brain starts functioning in an abnormal way then everything is possible. Two people should not be compared, simply take it as a drug induced condition and be sympathetic towards your life partner. There is no way you can rewrite the gone time, so accept it as a bad phase, look around and you will find much more ugly things happen in others lives. Just observe your husband and try to feel why he is behaving in an unacceptable manner? Does he need your help, your empathy or your question marks?

      • Crisanta, bmj.. All said n discussed, this drugs are nasty n notorious but we are here to help each other find some relief, some options to feel better.
        In my experience, Dr. Rajan Sankaran is a meritorious doctor. After 8 months into homeopathy treatment under him i feel lot of my toxicity has come down. After withdrawal from psych drugs i had relapsed depression n anxiety for 2 yrs, and not to mention severe insomnia which is unexplainable. now i have least depressive feel, anxieties are at low levels and i am able to sleep few hours. Now i realise why Dr. Sankaran is internationally so famous. He is a genius.

  55. I know the damaging effects of Paxil. I took only 3 pills and my personality is different. totally flat. and no sexual arousal. I took them about 10 days ago. I am starting to fear this might be permanent. dont take these drugs. they are a chemical lobotomy

    • Very well said, antidepressants indeed is chemical lobotomy.
      However, why are you worried? Pl gather some courage and make a resolve to stay away from this drugs. For you i would suggest that kindly listen to Dr. Mahesh Gandhi on YouTube. He is very good at explaining what exactly is depression and anxiety etc, i am sure once you understand the funda you might be able to tackle it without drugs. Do listen atleast 5-7 of his speeches. He is a MD psych turned into a homeopath and is an international fame. He is not God but certainly he seems to have a good grip on mental illness cases. All the best.

      • Hi i was on venlafaxine 9 mths ago been on it off an on for 7 yearsive been off it an boy am i so not the person i was before my last try to gettin on it..i cant control my mental states feel brain would one go bout have this logded with the right people an been fixed

        • Jaye, i went thru the whole ugly package of venlafaxine withdrawal for 2-3 yrs.. Finally, what really made the difference was Dr. Rajan Sankaran. There are no two opinions about the fact that Dr. Rajan Sankaran is a genius, an international fame and a fantastic homeopath who is capable of restoring your health more than anybody else.

        • Homeopathy is the medicine of future. People are getting fantastic results. What else people want?
          Just try it without any bias or prejudice.

    • Yes I was on paxil 15 years ago. Get the definitely did some damage to the head of my penis as I can no longer feel any sensacion there. I’m sure it’s affected me now and in the past because I am still single and really Am not too worried about getting a girlfriend. That being said I do want to experience maybe a relationship in the future, although I don’t know if the effects of this is permanent. I think probably it is unless there’s something that needs to be turned on in my head or my brain.

  56. Just a word of encouragement. After a total of 8 years of hell and multiple drugs, consideration of suicide, many docs and loss of the joy of life, I took my life back. At times I felt like I had lost my soul. Now I know why the new craze for zombies. That is what I felt like and I am sure most of you do too. The withdrawal I did on my own over several months. It was a horrible experience and many times I thought I would die. I was even partially blind at one time. The headaches and zaps and visual auras and dreams and on and on happened. But it got better. I feel like a real person today. It has been 8 months since wean started and 3 months SSRI free. Still have occasional visual auras and a little dizziness and tinnitus, but I am hopeful these will eventually subside. If not, still a better world. I am even optimistic about some spinal surgery for a benign tumor around my sciatic nerve. They thought I was faking my leg pain also. Ha! My advise is to get rid of as much stress in your life that you possibly can before you start your quest. Take as many of the supplements as you can afford, eat right, and walk, walk, walk. Even if you have to use a cane to steady yourself. I want to send you all encouragement, love and hugs and tell you that it can be done. Take your life back. If it were not for posts like this and others to encourage me, I would never have made it. Also be very vocal to anyone medical or mental health associated who will listen about our experiences. I am a medically retired highly trained RN in my early 60’s who retired because of this mess. I would have never believed it in a million years. I was mean to people who needed help. God forgive me. I hope to get myself straightened out enough to go back to work and find a way to help folks like us. I still have a lot of nursing to do.

    • Hi mimi,
      Indeed your words are encouraging and yes your advise on walk walk walk is a million dollar fact, but unfortunately depleted energies and sick head doesn’t always support to go out and walk. Just the thought of going out of comfort zone and moving legs is a big task, but i understand that anyhow this should be done, no excuses, no ifs and no buts, just have to walk as much as possible.
      Wishing you a speedy recovery and improved quality of life.
      Pl throw some more light on supplements.

      • Indeed u r correct. The first time I tried it I only made it 1/4 mile. I was so proud of myself that I made it 1/2 mile the next time. Now I am doing 2-3 miles. Goal is 5. I am loosing small amount of wt. Also very encouraging. You find that when the fog starts to lift and the withdrawal effects taper off that you will feel more like it. I promise I know all about the depleted energies and sick head. I found a number of web sites that give you a laundry list of supplements and I couldn’t afford all that stuff. I found that Omega 3 fish oils, and the B complex of vitamins helped me. Particularly B12. It gives you a tiny bit of energy and as we all know energy begats energy. I quit eating bread and fatty stuff also as this seemed to make me more droopy. Lots of fish, chicken, turkey, vegs, nuts, etc. In short a good diet. And drink as much water as you can tolerate to help flush out your whole body system. I talked my doc into giving me B12 injections that I could administer at home. I am so happy that I drug myself up off that sofa in the last days of my withdrawal and took that first step. Not only did it help with my energy but I saw all kinds of wonderful things out there in the world. I laughed out loud at the squirrels. Hadn’t done that in a long, long time. You have to understand that I was so far gone that I lost my job, my friends, ostrasized my family, and rejected God. I was ready to die.

    • I tryed to get onto venlafaxine 3 mths of hell an that was mental health case worker an was left to wean myself i freaked an come off to fast..but holy moly i feel my hole life has been taken from this horride drug..i have mental changes al day everyday..cry everyday..dizzie nausa..list goes on..can you help reackomend anything to help.

  57. I was put on antidepressants 13 years ago. My problem was that I could fall asleep any time of the day. I could sleep standing up. I was exhausted all the time. If my small children would try to wake me, I would scream. Well, I am still on them. I ask my doctor every year if she can wean me off of them since I am now suffering from neurological problems. I tremor horribly and my speech has become broken at times. The doctor said that my problems are not caused by antidepressants. She called them Essential Tremor. I know my body and I know what antidepressant are doing to me. I know when I get completely off of them that I might as well call in sick from work for the week. The ringing in my head, the cotton mouth. UGH!!! I just want to get back to normal.

    • Hi, Becky, I was reading your letter and it is really disturbing that your dr. (?) dismissed your comment that you needed to get off your antidepressant. She made the comment that your issues were not caused by your AD. I just googled essential tremor and medline lists certain medications, such as antidepressants, as being the CAUSE of ET.

      You need to start doing some research on this issue or you will continue to suffer more and more problems from these drugs.

      Please read Robert Whitaker’s book “Anaromy of an Epidemic”. The whole ugly truth about these poisons is there.
      Also, go to ” Surviving This is a whole forum where people like you go to get off AD’s. Please don’t delay. And, your doctor doesn’t know anything about how these drugs work, what they do to your brain, or how to get off them. Do your homework and learn everything about weaning you can.

      Good luck!

    • Becky, which place u live? what is cotton mouth u mentioned?
      In my opinion all of us who suffer effects ADs have a common complaint that this is something neurological, but then we hear so many people say that their Dr did not agree, and most of all AD sufferers would have gone thru MRIs or other scans of brain at some point in time and found nothing, so nothing to really worry. However, when Drs simply dismiss the symptoms then that is also not acceptable bcoz physical symptoms are body’s way of expressing the discomfort and when there is constant complaint then it terribly affects the quality of life, and that needs some serious decision, bcoz day n months n years will keep passing, so when will we feel good? Even if Dr do not find anything still they have to try to make u comfortable, atleast the sufferer cannot be left on his own to struggle endlessly.
      In case of ADs there are two roads from which sufferer has to choose one, one is to change the AD or it’s power and second is to start coming off of it. Either of the two is not going to be easy road bcoz if u change the AD then it will just be a shift of symptoms from one set to another set, and soon the new picture will bcum equally ugly, bcoz ultimately all ADs lead to living hell. The other option people have is to start reducing the chemical in a very very slow and gentle way, and that too is not going to be easy, but atleast u can imagine the gradual escape from this horrendous drugs, atleast u can imagine light at the end of long dark tunnel.
      There are no two opinions that when millions of people are saying that this psych medicines are destroying their lives, making them into a vegetable, the life bcums like an animal etc etc.. the best thing one can do is to gather courage, trust in the good God and start reduction with a 6-12 months planning and believe in the wisdom of your body n mind that with time it will heal. with drugs also u are suffering, and without also u will suffer.

      I took my call in 2012-13 that i will suffer without chemicals, nature has not made us to live on factory made chemicals, and now its already 30 months past, still suffering but many things have changed for good.. The black clouds are going, i can see it, feel it. u may cntc me on kbgadhvi at yahoo .com
      All the best.

  58. I have been on Sertraline 100mg for a while now and although my dark moods have improved, I am convinced that there is a more biological reason for my depression. However, living in Ireland, even though we are blessed with a free healthcare system, it will immediately prescribe anti-depressants for any low moods and point you towards websites and CBT. These may well be helpful to a point, as are the antidepressants. However, I firmly believe that the AD’s are merely aspirin for the nervous system and there may be underlying issues needing addressed, things which the healthcare system will not test for, such as T3 due to the cost. Instead, they simply recommend another AD or to increase my current meds, which is simply put by me as ‘intermittently monitoring my demise’ rather than looking for a cause. I have no reason to be depressed, however, as I have gotten older, my low moods have worsened year by year and this is why I am researching other means for it. I am a qualified personal trainer, nutritionist and massage therapist, so I know the benefits of eating right, exercising, and reducing stress. However, with the side effects induced by the ADs, I have had to curb my career, and put my dreams on hold due to the weight gain and lethargy, as well as involuntarily postponing starting a family due to ‘ZERO’ sex drive. I can only pray that the private healthcare route will offer some alternative (once I can afford it), in order to get back to some kind of normality.

    I feel for everyone suffering with some level of depression and I pray for brighter days for you all. One piece of advice, I can offer is to research and discuss any medication with your Doctor(s) and to find and deal with the underlying cause of the depression and only use the medication in the short-term because you weren’t placed on this earth to work at quarter power or to lie in stasis.

    God Bless xo

    • Something that doctors don’t take into consideration are food and chemical sensitivities as the underlying cause of depression and anxiety. Also, nutritional deficiencies can bring on anxious states. I recommend reading and also Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby’s book, Diet Wise.

      Dr. Scott-Mumby’s experiences and case histories, especially, are clear indicators that foods like dairy and even the common potato can cause aggression, depression and panic attacks.

    • Check two things 1. Thyroid–there is no “average” low or high. If its not right for you will it can cause depression as well as a lot of other problems
      2. Your bed. Beds made of petroleum products and/or fire retardants made with 3 pesticides and other products.
      If you have both of these problems its worse.
      Two days after getting new bed, my granddaughter had a massive asthma attack (she does not have asthma). We covered bed with 6ml. clear plastic (that does not off gas). Problem solved.

  59. everything i read is about and for those who take anti-depressants, mood-enhancers, or whatever psychotropic drugs. what about the side effect of those of us who choose to feel life? i am currently suffering a supervisor who is – what i call – a SRRI junkie. she gets to avoid conflict, sub-consciously lie, and betray those around her to keep her world the way she thinks it should be while i suffer the negative emotional consequences. she takes pills everyday to ensure feelings of calm, but she creates an environment of resentment and anger. now, this is just my theory, but i live my feelings of depression because it is an indicator that something is wrong, just as my anger towards my SSRI-junkie boss is an indicator that something is wrong. i feel these feelings and make choices. depression is an indicator that our society is ill. And i just think that it’s abusive to take happy pills, all the while adding to the negative energy that natural, sensitive people must feel.

  60. I try not to place the blame on anyone but myself, but I can’t help but to think that antidepressants were a contributing factor in the horrible things that happened over the past few years. In 2009 I started taking Lexapro. First time ever taking a psychiatric medication. I immediately noticed a change in myself. I thought of it as a positive change. But my personality gradually went from quiet, reserved, and pretty much a bookworm… to very chatty, carefree and obnoxious. At first I thought this meant that the medication was working, it never dawned on me that I was changing for the worse. I was 19 at the time and in college. I stopped caring about school, all of a sudden it wasnt important to me anymore. All of a sudden learning wasn’t important, getting a career wasn’t important. I started becomming obsessed with celebrity gossip , fashion, partying, and other trivial things. I went from liking Alt and Classic rock to listening to Britney Spears. I started smoking. Suddenly drugs and alcohol appealed to me, when I had always been highly against any of that. I started smoking weed, drinking, taking vicodin and eventually doing heroin. I ended up in prison. In a matter of a year and a half 2009-2010 I went from a quiet, diligent college student to promiscuous drug addict and criminal. Since then, I spent 2010-2013 in and out rehabs and psych wards. I’ve been on every psychiatric med under the sun and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In March of last year (2014) I decided I was going to rid myself of everything. I wanted to see how I’d function with no medication. Fast forward to today (Feb 2015), I’m 26, back in college, I have a job, I am quiet and calm, and my true personality has come back. I love to read and listen to rock music. I love computers. I love learning. My craving for drugs and alcohol gradually subsided once I got off the Effexor and seroquel and trazodone and lamictal. I have zero interest in that lifestyle, It just vanished and I always wonder why and how. I went through hell, I have to admit, I went through a good 2 months of withdrawal. But, I devoted the rest of 2014 to resetting my mind and body. As well as I’m doing without medication, I’ve caused myself a lot of permanent damage to my life. I’ve lost friends, family, dignity, And most importantly , my future. I’m now left with a criminal record and will forever feel the repercussions from my erratic, wreckless, out of character behavior. Like I said, I can’t place the blame on antidepressants. Drugs were also involved and I take full responsibility for my actions. But, I can’t help but wonder if I would have taken an interest in drugs, alcohol, and an overall erratic lifestyle the first place, had I never taken that first Lexapro back in 2009. My personality completely changed and I didn’t recognize myself. Unfortunately, I’ll never know. Jeez I’m sorry this is so long, I had intended to keep this brief lol

      • Antidepressants cause personality changes, that’s pretty easy to find out. I don’t know what information you have considered before making an unqualified comment like ‘Dude, take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everything on your Lexapro!’. I’m pretty sure you haven’t researched or made any experiences with antidepressants yourself.

  61. Never again.

    I was on Escitalopram for several years, diagnosed for generalized anxiety disorder. The development of personality changes were quite rapid, but totally unnoticed by myself. Now, 9 years later, I’m recovering from manic psychosis after losing my jobs as a business executive in two companies. Some doctor diagnosed me as a bipolar, surprisingly enough those meds seem to cause bipolarity.

    I disagreed with that diagnose, started to find out what is wrong. The final truth seems to me NCGS – non celiac gluten sensitivity combined with sensitivity to coffee, artificial sweeteners, flavor enhancers, azo colors, etc..

    For a long time, thought those pills were godsend. I was horribly wrong.

    As a result, I consider western medication as a crime against humanity. My message for those companies: “Thanks for nothing!”

    • Five years ago, my husband experienced a significant depressive episode following the birth of our second child. At that time he started taking Celexa and benzos for sleeping, and saw a therapist for a few months. During the past few years he has changed into a person I do not recognize. We separated a year ago, after I discovered multiple affairs, misspent marital money, etc. He has a ton of family history of significant mental illness (schizophrenia & depression) and I see elements of bipolar and narcissism in him – your message made me wonder about whether the long-term effects of Celexa may have played a role in these changes. I should clarify that all of his relationships have deteriorated – his friendships, those with his family, his work relationships, etc (in other words, its not just the scorned wife!). He was always extremely competent and likable – but no longer exhibits these qualities. At this point, he isn’t listening to me or his family – so I guess I’m not really looking for advice about intervening, just support and insight.

      • Pls go back to him for he doesn’t know what he had been doing. These chemicals just take away all your behavioural controls and make you a vegetable that is alive but doesn’t know anything around. I am telling you this with authority bcoz i have gone thru similarly worst scenario for 10 yrs and my dear wife just tolerated all the inhuman tortures but never gave up. Today i regret and repent over each and every incident and yet i have no clue why i was ever behaving an animal. Pl go back to him, he needs help, not a push away.

  62. I am on citalopram now for the second time in my life. The first time I was put on it it changed me into the person I wished to be. Happy, care free and confident. It also switched ON my libido. Having went my entire teens, straight, but not busting a gut to get laid, on the citalopram I was like a dog in heat, a man on a mission. It ended with me meeting my gf who I still live with after 6 years and have a child with. After meeting her, I ended the citalopram as it did cause delayed ejaculation, but that could well be a positive for most people. I have slipped into major depression again recently and am now enduring day 2 of the side effects. Day one was the worst side effects included, headache, muscle ache, irregular heart rate, nausea, extreme fatigue, weakness, restless leg syndrome, insomnia and low blood sugar. Today I am experiencing less fatigue and low blood sugar ( I assume due to extreme hunger) but other side affects have gone and I even got a good 8 hours sleep.
    What I do know, is yes they may be dangerous, but the fact of the matter is depression is the result of low serotonin levels in the brain, ssris increase that level and make you better again , in time. (6-8 weeks). I plan on taking them for 3 months and then taper the use off gradually.

    • Hi, Ross. Really sympathize with you on your attempt to discontinue citalopram. I Withdrew from Remeron after eleven years. It took me two years to taper and that was still to fast. Even today I suffer withdrawal effects. But for me it was the right decision and I will NEVER regret it. I am now able to think and enjoy life in a way I’d forgotten while I was in the drugs.

      Please log onto “Surviving Antidepressants” and take a look around the website. It’s mission is to help people WD correctly from antidepresants. Yes, there is a correct way. Most doctors don’t have a clue. It’s a real travesty.

      And despite what you’ve been told about how AD’s work, nobody really has a clue. The serotonin “hypothesis” is really just that. What it does do, among other things is depress your body’ s cortisol response and totally scramble ALL neurotransmitters. There are a number of different neurotransmitters, all seeking to keep the brain in balance. By suppressing the production of one, all others are thrown into disarray.

      These drugs are NOT your friend. Don’t believe everything the pharmaceutical industry and their puppets, the physicians, are spouting to you.

      Trust NO ONE! Good healing to you!

      • Hi Nan.. really an encouraging write up. I agree that ADs are not friends and the hypothesis is absolutely an economic agenda by megapharmacos. I have made a big mistake in my life by withdrawing Venlafaxine and clonazepam abruptly in 2013 after taking them for 10 long years. I went through terrible withdrawal and still not stable, just struggling with life and keeping patience that things will change for better with time, but still in horrible state, physically and mentally both. Only one biggest strength God has gifted me is that my wife is super supportive. I cannot thank her enough in this lifetime.
        Any genuine advise?

        • Hi, Kuldeep, you are indeed blessed to have such an understanding wife to stand with you through this. I don’t think I could have come this far without my husband’s support. I know this whole process of WD is frightening to everyone who knows and loves us. They will never know how soul killing this recovery process is. I hope you tell her how much you love her everyday!

          My advise to you is to stay strong. Engage in good behaviors every day. Eat right, learn to meditate if you don’t already, get gentle exercise every day if possible, and control stress. That’s the hard one! And please take a look around the website ” Surviving”. There’s a wealth of information there on AD withdrawal.

          I withdrew fairly slowly, two years, but here I am three and a half years later and am still struggling with daily agitation, dizzyness, panic. Once again, though, I will NEVER regret withdrawal. It’s wonderful to feel again and think again.

          Please, hang in there. Be kind and patient with yourself. The horrible things you feel right now are withdrawal. They will pass and you will recover!

          • I’ve been on and off ADs for 20 years. Whenever I taper off following my psychiatrist’s instructions and do poorly, he keeps telling me that it’s not withdrawal; it’s a return of depression/anxiety, and back on a medication I go. He tells me I have “treatment resistant depression/anxiety” and that I need to be on ADs for life. Sounds like something right out of pharmaceutical company literature, no? I don’t feel it is true in my case. It’s the drugs themselves.

            I truly feel what I am experiencing is the neurological effects of the medications. I don’t even think it’s perimenopause or hormonal. I can sense the neurological changes.

            Why are psychiatrists not trained in very slow weans? Why do psychiatrists insist that what you experience when weaning off ADs is a relapse of depression/anxiety, and not withdrawal from the meds? How do you all distinguish between this?

            How do you explain to spouses, family members, friends that your behavior is from withdrawal from the meds, and not your actual personality?

            I don’t know how or if I will ever get my life back. Every time I try to taper off these darn things, I have such terrible effects and land right back on them.

            • Hi, Amy, I will point you in the direction of ””. There is a wealth of Information there for people JUST like you. Believe your intuition on this matter.

              There is a way to slowly, safely withdraw from these poisons. It will take time but really, that’s what we have in our favor.

              I could NEVER believe how a synthetic, manmade chemical could possibly target the specific cause of our depression and make us well again. It just didn’t make sense to me. Particularly for those of us who tolerated the side effects for years, like metabolic changes (increased cholesterol, increased blood sugar, weight changes, decreased white blood cell counts, memory loss, decreased ability to mount a vigilance response to stress, etc. etc. ).

              Most Dr’s don’t know ANYTHING about proper tapering. So, you’re correct. Taper too fast and you will go into depression. Your brain was hijacked by these poisons years ago and now only answers to the presence of the drug. Do you remember first starting these things and the warning it was going to take 6 to 8 weeks to feel the effects? For me it took years until my brain was brought into full drug control and I no longer felt depressed. Unfortunately by that time I also could no longer think!

              And yes, the depression you feel with too fast tapering is by far the WORSE depression you have ever felt! Been there, done that!

              So, you see the prescribers have it made! Stay on the drugs and maybe you’ll have relief. Go off of them and you’re bound to go off the cliff. At least if you WD the way they say to.

              Please, go to the website,look around, begin asking questions and form a plan. Many members are like you. Many, many years on drugs and they are in various stages of withdrawal. Their experiences will guide you and they are always available for support!

    • I would argue that SSRIs (or serotonin specifically) do not treat depression. Serotonin is a tranquilizer and blunts emotional/anxious ups and downs. Someone with depressive symptoms due to an anxiety disorder might take such an effect to mean “antidepressant”. However, emotionality is not depression: depression is a blunting of emotion and motivation. SSRIs over the long haul, while good for anxiety, are probably a DEPRESSANT.

      This tranquilizing/dulling effect, for me, is akin to drinking alcohol. And…..I don’t like it. Sure, it’ll relax you, but at what price? I’ve taken one or more of these god forsaken pills for 15+ years and am finally off them (initially treated for OCD). Admittedly, my emotions are running high and low right now but I am riding it out. For me, it beats the agitation, restlessness, and suffocating fatigue these pills cause.

      • How did you get off of them, and how are you dealing with the withdrawal side effects? Aren’t the withdrawal side effects worse than the original anxiety/depression?

        • Amy.. I couldn’t figure out if ur question is to me or someone else.. anyways, we all are sailing in the same titanic, so it hardly matters who is asking whom..
          My withdrawal was an impulsive decision. I had tried slow taper a couple of times and failed.. then i thought that such turtle speed will need atleast 6-12 months of patience and that would be too long.. one day, on 1st oct 2012 morn i decided not to touch this tabs again. I thought better to quickly go thru the ugly phase of few weeks.. I never anticipated the horrifying time to come.. 3 days, 5 days, 10.. 15.. then i couldn’t turn back, it was like go thru it anyhow.. 30 months have passed and i am still in the same rough waters, except that thought process has become 70-80% clearer, but physically it is HELL.. there are no proper words to express how a person feels, and nobody around believes us, or may be nobody can actually understand this suffering. It all seems like neurological symptoms, general controls are less, can’t stand or walk normal, can’t talk normally, sleep is just a memory of past.. dizziness, problem in connecting with others (incl family n friends).. can’t do any work more than few mins at a time, head muscles keep twitching with spasms like sensation, irritated responses to smallest matters, agitation for no reason, can’t enjoy food, breathing is not satisfactory, blood pressure keeps fluctuating, while passing thru familiar streets it feels like i don’t know where i am? super mrkts and crowds are most uncomforting, can’t involve in any socials, sudden pounding heartbeats, fears, anxieties, panic attacks… It’s a whole different world.
          only two people understand this, ME & MYSELF.

      • Dunno. Got similar effect with a less activating SSRI like escitalopram. That is increased depression if anything but lowered anxietylevels like with alcohol. But if your’e statement is generally true it would mean that one could get the same effect from benzodiazepines. However studies points to even escitalopram may have an antidepressive effect. Even if it was not they would still whine about benzodiazepine despite usually being better in an anxiolytic sense is prone to increase tolerance or cause addiction.

  63. Ive tried a few different anti-depressants and now after being off them for a few weeks I can now see how they wreaked havoc on my personality and mental equilibrium. I admit they could be helpful for people in a severe depression in the short term, but for people like me (minor depression and anxiety), they completely stripped me of my humanity. I just felt like I didn’t care at all about anyone else, I felt no connection to people, and the only strong emotion I had was angry. The not caring is not the depression speaking because I didn’t feel that before, I did care I would just get a bit blue sometimes. Anti-depressants are NOT “happy pills”, they don’t make you happy, they just mask a few of the depressive symptoms. Not to mention my concentration and memory were effected to. Not worth it.

  64. If you suffer from Depression/Anxiety DONT TAKE ANTIDEPRESSENTS, they don’t work trust me, all they do is make you gain wieght and effect the way you think.

  65. I have been left completely mentally and physically disabled my the antidepressant mirtazapine. I have lost my soul – no feelings and unable to connect to anyone around me. I only sleep 3 hours tops at night. I have tardive dysphoria – and un-treatable depression (I never had depression prior to this medication) and lots of deliberating withdrawal effects on top. It has destroyed me and my children. Getting any of the medical professionals to believe such damage has occurred because of this drug is just impossible. I have no way of getting any validation and my life is no longer a life. Permanent damage is possible…I am proof.

    • I strongly suggest you read the books written by Dr. Peter Breggin, (and perhaps set up an apt to see him). He believes you and you are not alone.

    • When we are messed up, Jesus can fix it! He has a reputation as a healer.
      Get out your Bible and ask Him for help. He has known you since before you were born and has been there every second if your life. He can get you out of this mess.

        • Hi Cathy
          Its true the good book will help, and for most antidepressants will make them feel better about themselves, but its the people around them that suffer thhere partners parents and siblings and this is only seen by the prescribed long after the damage has been done, antidepressants make you feel like far better person when your taking them but you dont realize dat your emotions are so out of cink that you say and do tge most horrid things without ever paying it a second thought and for the most part you get so detached from the real you that you dont realize the damage the cause to your partner and children in particular if ur young free and single well they are made for you, ive work in the medical industry for 48 years and only retired in 2012 and from 2004 onward ive not prescribed any ssri class ADS at all and no natural ADS such as gingko bilbao or st johns worth or tibetan rhodalia to an one in a relatiinship or that have children.

      • Yes – I believe Jesus can fix it. I hope he does soon because I am losing my mind and have been quite angry with God. I have had enough of this rediculous ness. Living how I am isn’t a life. This has been going on for a very long time (most of my life in fact) and has got worse.
        Tomorrow I will see my neurologist and have many questions to ask him.
        I think I’ve been tested long enough and have had enough of living like I’m only existing. I feel guilty for being a burden on my family.

    • Hi, Sara, I too used remeron for nearly eleven years, been off for almost 3 1/2 years and am still a real wreck. If you’d like to visit sometime, email me.

    • Sarah ~ my heart goes out to you … you are never broken ……..Women Who Run with the Wolves be Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

    • Sarah.. you are 101% correct, this chemicals are capable of doing permanent damages to brain functions. However, we the victims have to fight it with strong will power and trust in God that he has created a system which heals if given right environment. Just think of people who have terminal illnesses and they know their time is limited and yet they have to go through the ordeal. Dear life is never going to be absolutely smooth unless we lye in our graves, till then struggle is a mandatory part, so handle it with mindfulness as much as possible.
      In the meantime, try to see youtube videos of Dr. Mahesh Gandhi, he is a MD psych turned homeopath and international name helping people with good long term results, i find that this men understands human psych better than most experts, but do watch atleast 5-7 videos before you decide anything.

    • I am practically going through the same thing myself. Just keep fighting and trusting in God to get you through this.

    • You have to prove causality. Good luck with that. Even if you prove it, the lawyers for Big pHarma will beat you down and take everything you have.

      • Your life doesn’t matter to them, so why should there’s matter to you? Just take them to court to get at them, then gun them down. That’s the only way they’re gonna learn IMO

  66. Hi Chris,

    Do you think all ADs are created equal when it comes to the bad effects? I see references in your articles to some AD brands and not others. For example, I take Cymbalta (well actually, the generic equivalent now, Duloxetine) and have been on it for about 5 years now. I have to say that I feel tremendously better and, for me, the side effects seem minor. Remembering what it was like for me before Cymbalta gives me the shudders – I don’t want to go back there. It would be hard to give up my Duloxetine now if I learned it was having slow insidious effects on my internal organs. So my question is, would you ever do a deep dive on a particular drug like Cymbalta/Duloxetine or could you point me to objective data I could understand to learn about it? Thank you.

  67. for severe cases you need them but try to withdraw them as soon as you begin to feel right as surely they have infinite side effects hurting physically and mentally and affecting each and every part of your body.but can anyone tell whether depression due to excessive masturbation is treatable or not when one has done it for 3 to 4 years excessively or whether excessive sexual thoughts are under depressive treatment or what kind of treatment do they require

  68. I hate meds. I have been on a lot at a young age and I advise NOT letting doctors push new ones on you all the time, I was a minor and really had no choice. I have been on a few (not complete list): Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Abilify, Xanx, Clonidine, Vicodin ES, Seroquel XR…and many more and I truly believe they hinder more than help. Since I have stopped them I see that they changed me, YET I am much better off without them.

    • Hi everyone I am in my fourth month of getting off of advin vicdon wellbrution lexpro and many more antidepressants randomly taken omg I am so sorry I ever started Jus las week I weakened and decided to take clexa and nuertion hoping to get some happiness and motivation back and physically YUCK it feels so awful side effects I am 64 and I guess its time I suck it up also I am retiring and that is a huge adjustment for a workaholic so what do I expect but so glad I’m not alone thanks everyone for your support and storys

  69. i would like to advise anyone on AD’s to taper off at a rate of 10% every 4-5 weeks. This sounds ridiculous but trust me, coming off faster can result in severe anxiety, akathesia, depression, disorientation, a sense of fear you never knew before about just about anything and everything) and a host of physical symptoms as well. Not only that but these symptoms can wait several months to occur, leading one to believe they are pre existing conditions, when in fact they are delayed “withdrawal” symptoms and nothing more. Ive been through it, and as slow as the recovery is, you WILL recover. For support there is a wonderful forum, called HIGHLY recommend it as a source of comfort, hope and alternative healing, plus invaluable advise on how to safely taper AD’s. It can be done. Have hope.

    • Hi Everyone,

      Thank you for the opportunity to write: I am 38 and just started my 6th different AD in one year – Zoloft this time – I have taken it for 2 days and have the worst acid reflux ever….I get it with every AD I have taken – I just want to feel happy instead of so pathetic and I decided that if I had to take a pill to do it then I would but I can’t even do that – also tk.errified of weight gain. My brother committed suicide 2 years ago and I am frightened I may go down that slippery slope which is why I sought help – except it is not helping. Surely there must be an AD that does not cause this pain? I take Omezeraploe to counter act the acid but it doesn’t work. Any ideas gratefully received. Best wishes to you all out there, nice to know that I am not alone….I smile and act happy but inside I am dark.

  70. Hello,

    I have been on SSRI’s since 1998. I have had a panic disorder since I was 8 yrs old and didn’t get help until I was in my 20’s. Paxil was my first SSRI. I thought it was a super drug. I could talk to people, go outside by myself and not feel horrible. But then the first side effect happened. 30 lbs of weight gain in 4 months. I didn’t change anything, I was still doing everything I did prior to meds to keep my weight “normal” for me.

    My doc was not happy with the weight gain and put me on Effexor. I took this evil drug for 7 years. I started to get the brain shocks that felt like electricity going thru my head if I missed a dose or took it later than normal. Then I noticed I had ZERO sex drive. The weight was still holding on even with more exercise and eating good. I decided to go off the drugs. It took 3 months of cutting back and then another year of clean living to make the brain shocks go away. I was miserable, had more panic then I did without the meds before 1998.
    A few years later, I decided I needed help with my Panic. I commute far and cross a bridge that gets my panic going some days. I saw a new shrink and he was sure that Lexapro was the one. Lexapro with a Xanax chaser. I have been doing this for 2 years and now I am ready to go natural. SSRI’s are temporary fixes. The long term side effects are not worth the suffering.
    I am terrified to get off the meds, but I need my life back. I feel like a prisoner in my own body. now I am 60 lbs heavier and with Running, hiking, biking, walking and good diet, I have not lost a pound. I want my real life back. I want to feel passion for living.
    Reading this article and posts of others going thru the same issues makes me realize that I can do this. We all deserve a better quality of life. Docs are so pill happy. And like I said , it’s a quick fix. It never sticks around.

    I wish us all good luck, happiness and love in our journey.

    • Hi All,

      I’ve been on and off SSRI’s for the past 15 years. This time around it’s been about 2 years on. I’m out of the clear with all the craziness that put me there mentally and now is a better time than ever to clean my system out. I tapered off over 1 month. It has been 14 days completely off. I still feel terrible physically. Not to mention my irritability, mood swings, feeling like I’m crawling out of my skin and just a miserable person to be around period. I want to jump down everyone’s throats and I can’t stand myself. The brain shocks are awful too. I gained 30lbs as well. One thing I did find many years back that helps with the brain shocks is motion sickness meds! Huge, this helps. But now I’m so sick of putting other things in my body to recoup from the side effects. It is so horrible. I’m just going to hang in there and fight this one way or another. I picked up several supplements as well. I think I’m just going to go natural and discontinue everything and drink a lot of water, juice fresh fruits and vegies, cleanse colon and liver and work out a couple hours a day for the next 10 days since I’m off work for the holidays I can do this. I’m scared that my brain receptors relying on the meds, then removing them can cause damage and not function normally ever again. That to me sounds logical, maybe logic is the best answer. My logic tells me NEVER AGAIN will I go near meds like this.

    • I had panic attacks all through my late 20’s and early 30’s. Thank God I was never prescribed any drugs for it. I later discovered that I had an intolerance to dairy, which had been contributing significantly to a negative, fearful state of mind. Hard to believe that something so common can cause feelings of intense anxiety, anger and insecurity, but it does happen. Since eliminating dairy and some other foods and supplementing with all of the required vitamins and minerals, I am a new person! Now in my 60’s, I feel better now than at any other time in my life.

      Here is one resource I have found incredibly helpful:

    • I had panic attacks all through my late 20’s and early 30’s. Thank God I was never prescribed any drugs for it. I later discovered that I had an intolerance to dairy, which had been contributing significantly to a negative, fearful state of mind. Hard to believe that something so common can cause feelings of intense anxiety, anger and insecurity, but it does happen. Since eliminating dairy and some other foods and supplementing with all of the required vitamins and minerals, I am a new person! Now in my 60’s, I feel better now than at any other time in my life.

      I have a friend who has been on SSRI’s for a long time. She is now having problems swallowing food and is going to the doctor for an exam. They, of course, want to put her on an acid blocker, which has dire consequences on it’s own. I’m praying that she will find someone to help her get off all prescription drugs.

      Here is one resource I have found incredibly helpful:

  71. Just saw recent comments about undoing what SSRIs have done. I have been on 3 different medications in the past 10 years. I can see how they have changed me but I am also learning a lot about how to strengthen my own nervous system with nutritional supplements and I am off anti depressants even though there are difficult times and facing into winter and christmas… yuk. Magnesium supplement of 800mg per day… Vit B Complex and Spirulina tablets are on my daily in take and I am pushing through. Have a look also at to see if there is anything that can help you strengthen your nervous system too If we are not getting the vits and minerals we need our ability to have healthy nerves and brains will affect the chemistry of our moods. I dont mean to simplify it. Believe me, I have struggled through the lowest of times with suicidal ideation. Just sharing what might help others… Dee

  72. Chris. Thank you so much for this invaluable post! I have been following your work for several years now and am so grateful for all that I have learned from you!

    What can be done to help those who have taken SSRI’s long-term and are trying to do what they can on their own? I have been on a myriad of different SSRI medications for several years and just weened myself off of Celexa last month. I’m frightened at what these meds have done to my neurological system as well as the rest of my body. Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

      • I’m a woman, so I don’t know how SSRI’s affect a male body, but I am so so so happy to report that after 2 months completely off Effexor (after a 7-month taper) and 6 weeks after going off hormonal birth control, I have gotten my sexual functions back (or started – I was a teenager when I was put on AD’s so I never knew what I was missing, only that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be!) I am still on Wellbutrin, which is said to have less side effects on your libido. but who knows the possibilities when I finally get off that!?
        So two words of advice: I was *this* close to going back on Effexor because the withdrawal was so bad, but during a small window of opportunity when I wasn’t feeling like a total &!tch and my husband actually wanted me, I had my first orgasm… and my body screamed “Don’t you EVER EVER EVER go back on Effexor!!!!” 😀
        Second: I was also on hormonal birth control since I was a teenager for irregular periods. I’m sure the two drugs together really confused my body, and I was only able to start untangling the side effects when I went off one by one and replaced the drugs with natural supplements (as advised by a N.D, i do not recommend self-medicating based on internet studies!) So if you’re going to fix your bodily systems to go off AD’s, I urge you to consider everything else you are taking or could be affecting the balance of your systems.

        • Thank you so much for the hope. I tried on two occasions to stop and did for a 3 month duration. Both times it was cold turkey, and libido was a total ZERO during those 3 months. Maybe I need to wait more after I complete my current taper to recover.
          At least, there are hopeful stories around. Unfortunately, there are also many tragic ones as well….

          • I have explained a little how I did it on these comments, if you press CTRL F it will open a “find” box in the top right corner of your browser and you can search my name (JeDa or JeD) to find my comments. I was just told by my counselor that I am the first person she knows to successfully come off Effexor – all her other clients gave up! So, while I’m still on the long journey, I am feeling better, and have so much more HOPE, that I just want to tell the world!!!

            • Hit 3 months and everything crashed 🙁 Took some Effexor this morning to try and stop the shaking. What good is a libido when you’re a mess, your spouse is worried, scared, frustrated, and you both want to murder the people at Pfizer?

  73. Hi I was on cipralex for 10 days and developed PGAD (Persistant genital arousal disorder). Its been two years and I still have it. I was fine before I took the drug and now have this chronic life altering condition. I only took the SSRI as my sleep was suffering from a stressful time in my life and now looking back I would have rather never slept a day in my life than to have PGAD. I will never take another SSRI drug EVER AGAIN!!! I warn people of these drugs they are serious brain altering chemicals.

  74. I’m one of the many who were introduced to these drugs in the early 1990’s.I was on them for better than ten years, I loathe these drugs and the companies who push them. I was on a revolving cocktail of antidepresants and anti seizure meds for better than ten years. My body and mind are not what they were. I’ve had severe neurological problems, weight and digestive issues, chronic depression and an inability to move on with my life. I’ve done extensive research in what to do for my condition and I’ve come up with my own protocals for what ails me but I know that the person I was is no more. I’m 13 years down the line from those drugs and while I can pass through my days fairly quietly, there is no rest from the internal struggle of having a life that I can’t say I’m in love with anymore. Doctors are useless to me as they haven’t come to grips with the poison they’re shelling out or they don’t like a patient who knows the subject better than they do. I’m doing the best that I can but my prognosis is unknowable. My right side is weak. I have chronic muscle spasms and the meridians on my right side are damaged. And now that menopause is on me, that is bringing up all kinds of ramifications. It’s a lot like patching a leaky dam. You lock down one thing and another starts. I am glad that someone is tackling the subject out there. I’ve tried to warn others about these drugs but I’ve been told to go to hell. These things rob you of your life. Thanks for letting me vent.

  75. I wish I had nver taken any form of medications, I know
    I always had emotional problems and suffer with bpd, but I found that taking those pills was like laying my self a life sentence, my brain got worse so did my mentality, ok I cope much better but If I nver took them I know that I’d b screwed its like it injected mental health problems in my brain in order for me to be stook on theese things for ever, my mind goes crazy if I dont take them, its so sad :[

    • its wat they call a vicious circle sharon once they get you on sumtin the chances of you gettin off it becum slim,and ur rite they in alot of cases make u worse and way more dependent on more meds, its horrible ive seen these dopes destroyin good people for so long and wen i started investigating it because my own family was destroyed over ssri’s i found dat ders thousands of site like dis wit millions of women men and even kids on them saying the same as you and me, its sick i think they want the whole world strung out on medical grade drugs because addicts r easier to manage

  76. During my one year on Lexapro I reached a point where I had so much joint pain I could hardly drive. Doctors at the time did now want to acknowledge a link with the anti depressant. But I also had very severe perspiration and looking back a lot of moisture was being pulled from my body, obviously also synovial joint fluid. But getting anyone to acknowledge this medically would be hard. Now, 10 years on I am fighting arthritic joint pain and could hardly walk in the summer. What is helping to fight this now and be able to walk is taking a supplement that contains Omega 3, Copper, Turmeric and Ginger. I wear copper insoles and also eat ginger on a daily basis in addition to the supplements. I reckon this is what is enabling me to walk and reduce pain.

    • hi everyone,
      im looking for any help anyone can give me, my boyfriend was put on valdoxan for 4 months and they turned him into a zombie so our gp put him on citalopram for the last 10 months and hes horrible on them the doctor wont listen to anything i say because to look at my boyfriend now he looks great and hes now so sociable and out going, that he tells her its just me amd to ignore me, but we hav the most beautifull 4 year old daughter dat he luved and done everything withand he hasnt seen her in nearly 6 months he jus drinks wit his new friends instead now who are the type of people he used to describe as scum, he has left us so many times for days with no food no money while he wemt off on one and when he came home he was shocled that i had a problem wit it, and now if i open my mouth he flys into a rage i cant leave him like this he was a gentleman to me and a great dad to our baby and it all stopped as soon as he got them pills ive known him for so long and i loved him so much this is simply down to them pills, please if anyone can help please get back to me i need to get rid of them pills and dont no how.

      • If you and your kid are still with us you are lucky. Take care of what you can take of—-you and her. ‘ “Flying off into a rage” well YOU KNOW.
        Please have someone read what you’ve posted out loud to you then maybe you’ll get it.

        • Hi and thanks Wesley
          for your caring comment,
          I no exactly what you mean
          but its not that im in love with him and hav’nt got the sense to run,hes broken my heart in the last year so much that theres no future for us even if he turned back into his old self again,
          its all about our daughter
          Emma if i left he would still be granted access in court and then i just wouldnt be here when she was if she needed me and the thoughts of that rip me up inside, what i mean simple is this, when hes off the meds and please god back to himself ill still have to leave because i cant forget or forgive the things hes done the things he said were evil and the things he done much worse, But on friday nite 08/11 he was brought to hospital he was out partying again full of illegal class a drugs and he had a heart attack anyway i told the doctor on shift our whole story and how he had never touuched a drug previous to being put on Citalopram and how it had changed him and the doc said he would discontinue that medication so ill keep you posted but once again thank you for ur caring note.

          • i feel so so sorry for everyone on this page,
            my god i had the best christmas and new year,
            we’ve been out for walk almost everyday with our baby and life seems to be great again hes distanced himself from all the people he befriended wen he took those evil tablets he even stared to look for a new job but i had to tell him to relax for a while first or he would end up back in hospital, but he said we need the money because weddings arent cheap and that he wants a better life for us and emma,
            i wish i could hug each and everyone of you because i still wasnt certain 100% that it was the medication “citalopram” maybe he jus went of us or was going thru a change but it wasnt it was those tablets, please all of you stay strong and believe that they wont be on them forever, once the tablets go they will be back to you almost instantly, i thought i was goin insane and it was me even but it wasnt we are all correct on here those tablets are evil, he has cried and apologises every day he said its like looking at life going on thru someone elses eyes and the only thing that your interezted in is you he said the 2 feelings you have left are greed and anger so so true because i seen those in him all the time II pray to god r whoever that you all catch my luck and this horrible thing you are all going thru ends quickly for you all,
            I wish you all the very best and thanks X

  77. About 14 years ago I had been put on an antidepressant. I dont remember the time span but my ex wife said it was more than a year. Doctors would add meds to the list of what i was taking and, though she has passed away and the records with her, my mother told me several years later that i was give 13 different meds at one time. It was a horrific time in my life and i lost everything i loved, wife, daughters, a business and my whole life. i checked myself into a psych hospital in early 2002, one of multiple extended stays, and was lucky enough to have been seen by the chief of psychiatry. He took me off of all the meds and within 6 months i was back to my old self minus my previous life. while living in England i began having difficulty walking in 2006. a year of testing brought the doctors to the diagnosis of Neuromyatonia. I came back to the states in 08 and as of 1 year ago my health has been deteriorating. i had been seen by a neurologist at Indiana university and she had a theory that the meds i was being prescribed back in 2000-2002 may have been the cause.
    My question is, and my new neurologist is looking for reasons, could this be the case.


  78. Depression is a very real and common occurrence in our society today. As our society has become increasingly competitive, stressful and busy, more and more people are struggling to cope with the mounting pressure on their lives. I take Tranquilene to treat my depression and it really works. It helped me to relive my anxiety. You can know more about this antidepressant here

  79. I appreciate all that is written here. Instinctively, I have not liked anti-depressants and the few times in past I went on them for anxiety, they made me panic and I hated the experience. Despite what doctors dismissing my feelings on how they made me feel, my problems didn’t amount to enough to stay on them.

    I wish i could say that was the end of it but it was not. After a major life event (one that includes a life-ending disease), I had a major bout of depression. I tried to avoid anti-depressants and certainly cannot say I was “well” but I went to counselling and I went to a stop-smoking clinic and was trying to get well despite a pretty bad prognosis I would forever have to live with. I spoke with an NHS assessor and he suggested anti-depressants and as I wasn’t well, I thought I’d try them again. Big mistake – I think anyways. I panicked badly, was shaking, not sleeping and with a whole lot of real problems, it was pretty bad. I had to get off of that prescription and move to a lesser one. Which I did but the shock of that experience stayed with me and for an already depressed person, this was an event that put my vulnerable system through h*ll and, I feel, made my journey that much harder. During those first few stages of the 1st meds and getting onto the 2nd, all stop smoking well stopped, in point of fact I went from a 4 a day smoker, who was trying to quit…to someone who cleared about 400 cigarettes in about a month’s time…while I got on one, suffered on it, left it and then “acclimated” to another.

    They say anti-depressants make you worse before better and I certainly experienced that worse. I am not sure if that worse is good for everyone. Sometimes a person cannot take that last dose of really bad.

    Beyond that, I have IBS now (fun effect after taking my ‘medication’), I have smoking related difficulties (which I know is my own fault but certainly the increase in smoking I did when I went on AD compared to an effort right up to going on them to stop smoking might have some impact as well).

    Maybe that is indicative of something really wrong with me, but obviously, I read these articles and feel a kinship with those who have not found it good and who have not seen this as the path of all good things, because my experience was not good. However, in saying that what I feel most people, especially those who are depressed, would like to see is understanding of them and their feelings – not for doctors to see them as non compos mentis as depression makes you unable to assess anything and if you state the meds are making you feel this way, they see it as you probably are stressed and that is the reason, not the meds. This article is helpful in giving that understanding to those who don’t fit the medical box. The second is that they seek hope but that is a really difficult one to get. Most articles state how difficult it is once a major depression hits to not have a relapse. Articles about anti-depressants state going on meds is your best way to not have a relapse. Articles denying that state that anti-depressants will more than likely bring about a relapse.

    So for some meds are great but for those it isn’t so great for, what is the path? I am in agreement with the general sense of the article, I am just not sure for the depressed where it leaves them if they want hope for a future without depression. What alternatives are there? Of course counselling, exercise, nutrition but major depression is some pretty bad chemicals – so I guess I think that articles such as this should give some ideas of how to deal with something this terrible so that readers who feel an affinity with your message can also feel hope and not just a dark idea that because I’ve taken these drugs, I have committed my self to future of more problems than if I hadn’t.

    Also, I think that there should be guidance with counselors to not just promote anti-depressants. Maybe there should be some guides out there that help you through a depression through a series of different methods – like nutrition, like encouraging a little exercise, like vitamins or even herbal remedies before going to the strong stuff. All the first items are, are trials to see if there are good opportunities to get well without taking something that clearly states that it is common for those taking it to become more depressed in the beginning, can be prone to suicide…these are not good for someone who is anxious and depressed.

    So for those in the health field, please read about how a patient might want to be treated and take that into account. Secondly, for the author of this article…I agree with your sentiments that medicine might not work but don’t give the message to depressed people that all venues and roads offered by doctors or ‘the professional medical members’ won’t work without proposing some hopeful and helpful alternatives. Spouting resonating feelings peppered with doom and gloom will not help depressed members reading this.

    Basically a message to all – everyone is so quick to jump on a wagon, ‘it helps me so it is perfect!’ to ‘it is sooooo damaging and may permanently damage your brain and body!’ With two fairly distinct camps, how is a depressed person supposed to sort out what is good information and what is bad? How are they supposed to seek help from polar opposites with such scary possible results? Affecting their very lives on an everyday basis! I kind of feel like there needs to be a lot more meeting in the middle to actually help this group of individuals…to acknowledge that anti-depressants do help some people – people who clearly from the comments above would have died without them. BUT also to educate medical professionals that it doesn’t work for everyone. It can sometimes make things worse. Patients with depression aren’t necessarily mentally incapable – they were capable, confident people the day before, don’t treat them otherwise. Be their advocate and guide, which may mean not going the ‘traditional’ route.

    So get out of the camps and come up with plans and solutions that help a group of individuals who need help, who need an advocate and someone who can guide them through options, pros and cons and actually listen.

  80. is it harmful to take antidepressants in small doses even when you aren’t sick(my folks sort of misdiagnosed me with depression..long story)since i’m taking lamitor 100mg,imipramine 25mg,aripiprazole 15mg(1*1 per day each).What are the side-effects mostly and are they that bad?

    • Yes of course, it is always harmful to take medication you do not need. You should wean off of them slowly. Taking all that medication is not good for your liver at the very least, who knows how it will affect you long term.

      • do the risks outweigh the benefits in my case,since i read on the net that some people were tested on using antidepressants in small dosages and were found to have some benefits on them.

  81. If only it were as easy as clean diet, exercise, good sleep, and therapy. For those of us with complex, chronic mental illness, being told that taking better care of ourselves will fix our problems is insulting at best. To all the “drugs are bad” people — what would you say to someone who has been eating paleo for three years (gluten free for seven), in therapy for three years, has had extensive medical workups with qualified integrative doctors, works out regularly, and STILL suffers from debilitating panic attacks and OCD?

    I’m considering medications because a healthy lifestyle, frankly, is not enough for me. I need a better quality of life. Period.

    Sorry if this comes across as angry, but it’s frustrating to hear people carrying on about how a clean diet etc cures mental illness. It doesn’t. I wish it did, but it doesn’t.

    • I really feel for you – there are 2 types of depression, life style/short term and clinical – there is such a lot more understanding these days however it is still such a complex issue and the old ideas are still prominent. Pull yourself together – other sufferers are really the only people who can truly understand . I understand your anger and frustration about attitudes I just wanted you to know that not everyone is judging you some of us are extremely sympathetic and I hope that you can find a way to ease or more hopefully settle your symptoms so that you can enjoy your life

    • celexa saved my life. On it for one year and weaned off in two weeks. no problems getting on or off. If i did not have celexa i would have probably died . I was in terrible shape. Could not sleep a wink for months.Depressed and paranoid from the lack of sleep…Finally went to the doctor.. celexa sloved the sleeping problem and i was well in a month. Please don’t listen to what you read on the net. While on celexa I was calm , happy and excited about life and my interests. I did gain 14 pounds and sex drive was not like it was before i started. But it cured me and thankful i had it.

      • If we shouldn’t listen to people’s experiences on the internet then I guess we should not listen to yours either.

        You have no right to discredit everyone else’s real experiences because yours was different.

    • @Lo This is exactly what is missing from this entire discussion and article. I hope you were able to find a medication to help. My daughter has severe OCD and GAD and takes Celexa, she says she feels like a normal child for the first time in her life. We eat clean, do yoga, practice mindfullness, she has hours of therapy a week (someone comes into our home), but nothing budged until the right dose and medication was found. The gold standard for treatment for OCD is medication along with CBT/ERP therapy. You can try to wean medication after therapy but there is no guarantee. Sometimes the alternative of living without medication is much worse then any medication will be. If you don’t realize that then you’ve never seen what mental illness can do and how without medication there is no life.

  82. Hey, is the link for this section correct:

    “Research performed by a different team of investigators demonstrated a reduction in dendritic length and dendritic spine density, and in contrast to the previous study, these changes did not reverse even after a prolonged recovery period. The results were interpreted to suggest that chronic exposure to SSRIs may arrest the normal development of neurons.”

    It takes me to this: which doesn’t seem to be the paper you are talking about.

  83. I’ve been going through some very difficult times and also have an auto immune disorder (sarcoidosis). I’ve been frustrated and it appears that I’ve been difficult to work with. I’ve just been trying to figure out what is going on. It almost seems as though the symptoms I’ve been having are ‘made up’ I’ve been asking for someone to look at my medications but it never occured to me that after reading the side affects I seem to fall into the serious adverse affects and its been going on for awhile. When I mentioned extreme fatique I was offered an rx to keep me awake, I’m already on trazadone. When I mentioned something to my pcp, she said talk to my psychiatist. I already feel stereotyped as being mental. It seems to have advanved to affecting my ability to swallow (dyspagia) which my pulminogist referred me to an ENT for my chronic cough. That led to a whole different path of testing, and neurologist. If this is all due to serious side effects that have been going long term I’m not sure how to get out of this nightmare. I’m not making this stuff up, one neurologist pretty much said my multi symptons are pretty much my own doing, or made up. I can’t just stop taking medications because I know the effects of that are not good. Should I follow throgh with a lumbar puncture to rule out neuro sarcoids or wait to see how to get out of the whole I’m in if its rx related?

  84. Have you ever been so depressed you could barley get out of bed. I assure you would have a different view if you got a taste.

    I know two young adults with a bi-polar diagnosis. They followed alternative treatment for several years. Unfortunately they both took there on life. They got the idea to stop there medications from people like.

    Tell me the numbers on anti-biotics. How many people have died from them since 1950. I almost did from penicillin in 1960. Every doctor I know thinks they are over prescribed yet they keep writing scripts. Should people stop taking anti-botic?

  85. I can attest to the dangers of these drugs. I had a bad reaction to antibiotics last year, which made me feel suicidal for the first time ever. I started to recover but made the mistake of going to the doctor who prescribed citalopram. My life is now ruined. I became 24/7 suicidal, couldn’t sleep, cowered under the duvet in terror, had sweats, jerks, twitches, got adrenaline rushes, bruises, jaw locking, nausea, couldn’t keep still. I didn’t know what was happening. I spoke to a doctor who said the drugs could make people more anxious on start up. So I carried on taking them, waiting for them to kick in, which they never did. Things got worse. I night I was almost delirious. I started to develop cognitive impairment and parts of my body were numb. I was on them a total of eight weeks, including 3 weeks titrating off. I was then put on zoloft and seroquel and got worse. My heart was beating out my chest, I got a severe tremor and I was a mess. I attempted suicide. Ended up in hospital where my doses were upped and I got even worse. No one was picking up on my adverse reaction and the psychiatrists said I had severe anxiety. I got out of hospital where I did my own research and discovered I had severe akathisia. I had been completely unable to sit or lie still EVER since starting citalopram and akathisia comes with high suicidal ideation and is a major cause of suicide. I came off the drugs. I was on them for 1-2 months before titrating off. Early march, I was off the zoloft and withdrawal hit me hard. As well as the ongoing suicidal ideation and akathisia which I STILL have, I have frequent brain zaps, severe exhaustion, major crying spells (never had these before), blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, sweats, trouble focusing my eyes, trouble moving my eyes, memory issues, cognitive impairment, loss of feelings and inability to function. I’m mostly bedbound. I tried going back on the zoloft at a low dose to mop up withdrawal which helped a little but made the severe side effects worse so I came off again and got even worse withdrawal. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I hadn’t gone to the doctor. I know I would have recovered by now without the drugs because I was recovering. This is all because I reacted to antibiotics. Before this, I was really happy and had a great life. Now every minute of every day is complete torture. Every day I wish I was dead. I never wanted to die before. I don’t get any relief at all, EVER, from these feelings. I’ve tried everything to help myself and nothing has worked because my brain is broken. Sorry this is such a strong post but I wanted to highlight the dangers of these mind destroying drugs in sensitive people. Think twice before taking pills and see if there is another way to work through things.

  86. Thank you for this article, dr. Cresser. I would be interested to know your views on how to come off an antidepressant that you have used for over 20 years and how to boost you brain function with natural alternatives.

  87. I believe that communing with God for a wonderful spiritual experience every morning can heal so much. God is so good.

  88. ​I’m miserable, and it’s all because I took the drug Celexa; I believe that it did permanent damage to me. After only three days of taking the drug, I was thrown into a panicked crisis that felt like a stroke. I’ve read online that SSRIs can cause brain bleeds and/or permanent brain damage. I immediately lost perception of things, I was thrown off balance as if my equilibrium was damaged because I couldn’t even walk straight for a long time (and still can’t to a point), I had slurred speech, I lost short and long term memory right away (I couldn’t even remember my own phone number), It’s like I had (and still have) amnesia, because I don’t recognize the world as I used to. It’s like I forgot everything that I was ever taught and lost the memory of everything I’ve ever experienced.

    Every day is horrible, I’m suicidally depressed to say the least, but I sure as hell don’t function normally, mentally or physically. I don’t have any kind of emotional responses to anything or anyone anymore; in other words I cannot feel emotion of any kind; if I feel anything at all, it’s obsessive misery and paranoia; I can’t feel any kind of good emotion, nothing ever feels good anymore; and it’s been this way ever since I took Celexa.​ ​ ​​When I try to move my body or exercise, it’s like lifting a three hundred​ ​ pound gorilla; I can’t walk up stairs or even walk around the block without my legs getting extremely tired and painful.

    ​​I’ve had therapy and been on every kind of medication available with no relief. I’ve been deteriorating ever since I took Celexa, and haven’t made any progress naturally or chemically since, so I don’t see myself ever making any kind of progress in the future. Nothing seems to work, and I just can’t take it anymore

    • Hey CG how’s it going dawg? I was reading your comments and I thought I had written them myself? Any progresses ma man?

  89. Hi there
    This is a very interesting topic and one that drug companies will not be happy with. Side effects of anti-depressants are not being researched. Why? Who funds research? Hmmmmm…. the ones who make money on drugs perhaps? Don’t get me started. 🙂
    Anyway, 12 years ago, I was put on an anti-depressant which I came to know afterwards was nicknamed “The suicide drug” by some friends in Ireland. I persevered through 9 months on this medication feeling a lot more suicidal than the depression was offering and also struggling with continuous sweating… perspiration is not a strong enough word so forgive my direct speech. Being an avid gardener and never having issues with really bad sweating in cooler Ireland, after I started these drugs, I began to have perspiration soaking my head and even dripping off my nose with the lightest of tasks. I was feeling so low at one point that I made my way to casualty to have an African psychiatrist tell me “Pick yourself up, you have a Masters degree. A lot of people are worse off than you.” My doctor at the time suggested I come off this medication but refused to acknowledge that loss of so much fluid in the body was a side effect. It was not in his MIMS so therefore not possible. I decided to check the pamphlet in the package (more detailed than the doctor’s MIMS I discovered) and there it was listed as a possible side effect. Coming off was hard and I could hardly make it down the stairs with dizziness. I phoned my doctor who told me the dizziness was all “in my head” and that “if you think you will be dizzy, you will feel dizzy.” This was BS and the last thing a doctor should say to a depressed person. Especially a doctor who didn’t know me and who had only seen me twice in one year. I boldly stood up to this “drug company pimp” and told him “Doctor, I am not anticipating this dizziness, I AM DIZZY and nearly falling down the stairs.” He then told me about an inner ear infection that was going around. Where? 150km away from where I was living and I told him so. That was the last encounter with that doctor and I decided to push through.
    A friend recommended a fantastic doctor to me and on our first consultancy he kept me in the office for an hour.. not a quick 5 minutes for €50. He listened and heard me. He realised I was closer than ever to ending things and got me started on another anti-depressant. This helped pull me back from the edge but also too having a member of the medical profession treat me with respect and dignity, giving me his mobile number in case the drug initially heightened suicidal ideation, was immense. The drug did help at that time but within a few months, I could hardly drive or walk with knee pain. I did not read the leaflet inside the box as there are so many side effects, to me, ignorance was bliss. I persevered through this medication for a year but noticing a sharpness in my personality and a lessening anger filter than what was naturally me. I was noticing a change in my personality that I didn’t like and said things to people that I deeply regretted after, which then heightened self-loathing and depression. I didn’t link the joint pain with the meds at the time but now, 7 years on, I am almost debilitated with arthritic pain in knees, hands, ankle and back. This has probably not been researched as it would affect the colossal sale of SSRIs but I am almost sure that this early onset of arthritis is linked with a number of years of too little moisture in my body, which when you think about it affects synovial fluid in the joints, cartilage, and joint health??? I am not a medical person but does this not make sense?? Anyone out there understand what I am going through. 35 years old and too young to have the body of a 70 year old. None of my siblings, my twin sister included have this problem.
    Really seeking help for this. Reluctant to consult a doctor and would rather try natural, nutritional remedies. Dee

    • It’s all in your head, right? I hate it when they say that. No it’s not purely psychological, it’s a real problem that is actually happening. Of course, no doctor can actually know what you’re experiencing unless they went through the same thing… there’s a major lack of doctors who can actually help people with these kinds of problems, we just don’t have the technology or know-how to deal with this shit, It’s fucking sad.

    • I was just browsing the site and saw your comment. Ive been on various meds on and off for over 10 years. I have endured many different side effects including the emense disgusting sweating that you mentioned. I also have early onset otsteoarthritis in my knees and have never put the two together – I am only 27 and have had to go on disability because it is so bad. This is something that I am going to look into more now because of your comment.

  90. I want to jump in here. 2 stories. First, my now ex wife’s. June 19, 2012 she started taking 20mg of Citalopram for CHEST PAINS! Dr. didn’t even order any tests, she said “I think it’s work anxiety, take these for a few months and see if it subsides” Wife of 11 years, best friend, lover, mother of my 2 yo daughter. Most beautiful, kind and sincere person in the world…. changed inside of 3 months of this medication. She was now lying, cheating, drinking and doing the “party life”. Midlife crisis? No, don’t think so. Drinking and partying came after her personality changed. Before the divorce she tells me “Baby, I’m so sorry, I don’t know why I’ve done these things or why I continue to do them. It’s like I have a split personality… I’m so scared, baby. I don’t want to lose you or my family” .. literally 5 min’s later, she retracted that conversation and was back to being a cold hearted monster. I literally saw the brain struggling with the personality.

    You nay-sayer’s will NEVER.. and I mean NEVER convince me that it wasn’t the medicine!

    During my divorce. I was struggling hard to deal with this sudden change in my wife / life… I’d started taking Citalopram myself, unaware at this time it was the meds. one night, I decided to drive my boss’ truck into a guard railing and into a ditch, trying to “end my suffering” I remembered feeling immediately afterwards “WTF am I doing?” I had a 2yo daughter at the time, and I’d never have considered suicide before, even during this mess.

    So please, spare me all your b/s some of you are spewing about the AD’s being great. It’s called medication spellbinding. And they work differently on each person. So many people THINK they’re doing so much better but if you were to ask their friends and family, they’d say otherwise! No, not on all cases, but too many for it to still be in use!!

    • Hay dewayne.
      Im bob i read your story and mine is the same, we where 2geter 12 years and are only seperated about a month now, 2years ago the luv of my life and mother to my 2 sons was put on 20mgs of citalopram i hate them tablets so much for wat they hav dun nearly overnite they turned a kind luving caring woman and great mother into cold shadow of herself, im not gonna get into details its all still to raw and painfull, but everything u said above was like you were talkin about my ex identicle i swear, i hate them tabs with a passion they came and destroyed everyting, but at least i no exactly how u feel and what ur talkn about, and that helpped me so much i really thought i was losin it till i stmbled ur message
      thanks bro
      Keep ur head up man like me we just got ripped off for no reason but lifes goes on man

  91. I’ve been reading the article AND the comments. Every person is different! Chemicals affect different people in different ways. Some of us benefit from the use of drugs. I believe we would all be better off without them, IF that were possible. Who wants to take a med if they don’t need it, except a drug addict? I think drugs are over prescribed, especially anti-depressants. It seems to be the “cure all,” even prescribed for pain treatment. WOW! I’ve been taking anti-depressants most of my life, every kind out there. That’s a long time. I know I now have MANY side affects from using them!!! IF you feel they are helping you, that’s great. IF you are not sure, that’s another story. Proceed with caution and TRY to keep informed. AND REMEMBER-drug companies, hospitals, and even doctors are in business to make $$$. In life, there are NO INSTANT FIXES. Be careful what you put in your body, you can’t get in there and walk around to see what it’s doing to you.

  92. I am a long, long term user of psych meds – mostly antidepressants and I am sure one of the reasons I ended up on SSDI was not due to depression, but the longer term effects of being shuffled off of one drug and on to the next, being led to believe I needed this treatment for the rest of my life. At age 46, I finally hit the end of the road with it all. None of them worked and ones I had tried before now caused raging mania and suicidal feelings that were intensified beyond the usual. I had a very stupid psychiatrist who had me on Cymbalta, Adderall, Tramadol (because I have a chronic pain condition), and filled out the form so I could be legal medical marijuana user. My life went from bad to worse about three years after the cymbalta and adderall especially. I took a year to get off all of these things, except for a low dose of Tramadol for chronic pain and I know I have a long way to go, but I am already starting to feel like I can handle the depression better now. I am still having some bad days where my brain just goes numb and I can’t take in anymore input or think through anything. I also developed more severe depression and more severe SAD as a result of the meds especially. The cannabis came later, but that was another bad idea looking back on it all and I began overusing it to make up for the lack of mental energy I had on these medications. I don’t know if I will ever be the same, but I am working on a good yoga and meditation program and supplements such as Niacin, in particular. I don’t know if I will ever be a fully functioning adult, but I am doing my best and it’s still not good enough after a year of getting off these things, but I have heard from others that it often took two full years before some neruplacticity really kicked in.

  93. Its amazing to know that 1 out of 10 above the age of 12 in the US is on some anti-depressants. goes to show how pharmas are ruling. how can you vote them down when they are part of you?

  94. Never ever ever take sertraline. It is a dangerous medication that nearly cost me my life. In me, it induced a psychotic episode that cost thousands in losses to college. It cost me family, friends, and nearly my freedom. After patiently suffering through the consequences of my poor decision to seek help from quacks, I’m doing well. Everyday things get a little better. Some days I even feel like the strong confident person that I’ve known most of my life.

    If you feel like garbage for whatever reason, do yourself a favor and take a break from whatever is causing you grief. Say no to ZOLOFT……. IT S-U-C-K-S

  95. Hi everyone,

    I was put on 75 mg of Dothiepin 5 years ago for migraines, I never had depression. Before Xmas I decided to come off the medication because of the weight I have gained and I had started a new epilepsy drug for migraines which seemed to be doing more than the Dothep. I am also on tamoxifen which does help with losing weight, so I told my Neurologist this who did not seemed pleased or even understand but he gave me a script for the 25mg so I could taper the medication. Well I thought I was doing really well with the tapering started at Xmas got to this last of two 37.5 and rest 25mg and then it started last weekend. At first I was happy because I could feel the sugar kick need had gone, and then it was down hill. I’ve had terrible crying sessions, insomnia, lack of appetite, agitation and am always having paranoid thoughts. My family are worried, I’ve scared my best friend off who’s got her emotional stresses and can’t deal with me. I’ve upped my dosage the last 2 days back to 75 because I’m can’t cope with being like this, I will try see my GP but by time I get an appointment I will be fixed. I am a Nurse and this has scared the s#⃣#⃣#⃣ out of me, I truly do have a new empathy for people who have depression now which I never understood before.

  96. I was on Celexa (Citalopram) for about 4 years then was switched to Cipralex (Escitalopram) for about 3 more years. I think this drug caused me to be less motivated over-all, and blunted out a lot of emotions. I found that I craved sweets a lot, and it was very hard not to overeat at mealtime. As a male, sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction was a problem, and the worse it got the more I tried to overcome it. This lead to me having sex more frequently with more partners while using condoms less often because of the perceived lack of sensitivity and sexual response. Thankfully, I did not get any STDs or get anyone pregnant.

    When I quit, I had a pretty significant withdrawal but it was managable because I tapered over a period of MONTHS (not weeks) and I gradually reduced the dosage. First thing I noticed is weight fell off (about 25 pounds without diet changes or exercise). I got my sex performance back – hooray! I also regained the ability to feel full after a reasonable amount of food was ingested. I think this, combined with restoration of my metabolic rate, was the reason for the weight loss.

    I got off this drug on the advice of a psychiatrist, who then diagnosed me as not “clinically depressed” per se, but cyclothymic with an underlying anxiety disorder (and some OCD/OCPD stuff going on too…). He gave me lamotrigine as a mood stabilizer and imipramine for anxiety. I am on a much more even keel on these medications and my anxiety attacks rarely, if ever, happen and when they do happen they are not the end of the world.

    I wonder sometimes: how many people who go on anti-depressants are doing the basics first? Basics like eating right, getting enough rest, exercising regularly and abstaining from street drugs and/or alcohol? Add to that talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy or support groups?

    How many times do people go to a family MD and he says “Check, check, check, check” down the depression checklist and then hand out a prescription without any additional knowledge of the patients history or lifestyle?

    Someone who abuses drugs/alcohol, smokes, stays inside with the curtains drawn, has no sleep schedule, has a bad diet… this person WILL become depressed. Someone who is going through a divorce, or a major loss, or job change or relationships change or change in health… this too can cause “depression”.

    The first person needs a major lifestyle change and possibly therapy to figure out what is motivating such poor self treatment. The second person needs support in the form of reaching out to friends and groups and mental health professionals.

    Until these methods are tried, why put either person on a drug that will cause lethargy, restlnessness/anxiety, weight gain, metabolic changes, cholesterol increase, sexual dysfunction… the list goes on.

    Poison was the cure?

    Let’s rethink this.

    • No offense dude but all you did was swap medications…and diagnoses…the point is that the drugs are not good for you period. Any of them.

  97. On the surface of it this is an interesting article. However… lots of problems and a lack of evidence underpinning it.

    1) Many of the side effects you mention (akathisia, increased anxiety) are known short term commencement effects which typically diminish after around 3 weeks of treatment. You imply they are common permanent side-effects.

    2) You mention that people who have been treated with antidepressant medications have poorer prognoses long-term. What is your control group?? Of course people with depression have poorer prognoses than people without depression. Did it not occur to you that people with the most severe depression (and poorer prognoses on account of their illness) are the most likely to have been prescribed antidepressants? Correlation is not causation.

    3) you say that antidepressants can cause rapid swings between depressed and manic states. It is true that SSRIs can worsen bipolar or cause rapid cycling. Consequently they are not usually recommended for bipolar patients. Mood stabilisers are usually used instead.

    5) What evidence do you have of mass, long-term concurrent prescribing of benzodiazepines with antidepressants? Short-term to help people over the initial commencement effects, maybe, but not long-term. Certainly not in the UK in any case.

    6) Increased suicidality. It is true that drug companies acted criminally when they hid the increased risk of suicidality in the early weeks of taking SSRI and other antidepressant drugs. However, please show us the evidence that long-term treatment with antidepressants actively causes more suicidality. Surely long-term treatment is more likely in cases that were initially severe to start with and inherently carried a higher risk of suicidal behaviour? Again, there is a massive failure to differentiate in your article between correlation and causality. And poor outcomes for those treated in inpatient settings you say? Well, is that really a surprise?! How can you imply this is anything necessarily to do with the drugs? It could just as well be because they are the most severely ill cohort.

    • You really have no idea what you’re talking about. The problem is that doctors like you don’t listen to patients when we’re telling you the drugs are causing us issues. I got Effexor prescribed for a mild depression caused by workplace stress. Let’s see : I got an adverse reaction, stopped after a couple days. Then withdrawal symptoms: Got almost psychotic, violent thoughts, self harming, akathisia for weeks, suicidal, stopped sleeping, muscle twitching and involuntary movements, brain zaps that still haven’t disappeared after three months, depression aggravated from mild to severe, life ruined, job lost, running out of money. And of course, I needed to change doctors several times because every doctor kept telling me what you say : This is all your depression, drugs can’t cause this.

      Nonsense, of course they can cause this. It’s even written in the leaflet.

      I was a functioning professional in a good job doing lots of sports. Now I’m a wreck, courtesy of Effexor.

      If you just drop your ignorance, open your mind and read some patient stories on the internet, you’ll know. People don’t go to the web in masses and invent the same type of story over and over again. It’s just ignorant doctors not believing patients.

  98. I type this from my bed on a day when I feel like I can go on no more. Having been put on paroxetine in 98 at the age of 24 (diagnosed panic attacks/disorder) I thought it was a wonder drug, purely benevolent, that would simply end my panic and let me get on with me life. To a certain extent it did. I started on a new career and for a while things went well. However after a period of time I started to notice the bad sides. Weight gain, apathy, lack of interest in sex. These issues started to affect my already battered and bruised self esteem and so I tried to come off the drugs and see if I was “better”. Obviously the tapered withdrawal each time was hellish. I did it all on my home with no help or guidance from docs and suffered in silence whilst my friends and family most probably thought I was just moody and anti social. Every time however the panic symptoms would return and I’d accept defeat and go back on. I should point out my dose was 20mg a day, reduced to 10mg over the long term. In 2004, after 10 year on the drug I was offered Citalopram as it was supposed to be easier to come off. I switched over and things were pretty similar with no huge differences. However, after around 6 months on the drug I started to notice a need to twitch my fingers and toes. It wasn’t much at first but it soon became quite uncomfortable and awkward. It also started to hit my self confidence even more. I went to see the doctor about this and the first thing she suggested was Tardive Dyskenisia from being on SSRIs for so long. She suggested I try a different one again. I did and it made me feel even worse so back to citalopram I went. I saw a Neurologist and he seemed to think, despite my protestations, that it was “just me'” and I should deal with it. I knew it wasn’t “just me”. The tics slowly became worse and now are all over my body including my shoulders, face, tongue and eyes. I spend my life trying to hide them and am in constant distress and pain. I have spent a small fortune (talking thousands of pounds) on supplements and alternative treatments as well as other psychiatrists and psychologists. I suffer from severe headaches and crippling muscle aches. I am now off the ssris and drug free (apart from constant pain killers) and have been for 18 months now but the symptoms are as bad as ever and show no sign of easing. I went to see the same neuro that I saw all those years ago recently and he said with a jolly face “oh yes I remember you “. I reminded him about the tics that were “just me” and how they had now ravaged my entire body. He rather nonchalantly said they were in all likelihood down to the Ssri use. So now I’m stuck. Doctors can’t help, I also seem to have developed OCD symptoms where I worry I will harm others ( I wouldn’t have a flea!) so it feels like my life is in freefall. My wife doesn’t want to know, my family don’t know, my friends don’t know and obviously I shield my two young daughters from it. In fact if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d still be here. The pain and distress is just too much and has been for far too long. I don’t know what to expect from writing this but I honestly don’t think I can get up today and go to work as normal, it feels like I’ve reached the end, so for some reason I thought it might help to write it down.

    • JH,
      I don’t know if you profess any faith, but I’m glad you wrote what you did. I don’t know what my prayers for you are worth to you, but I have to believe they’ll make a difference somehow. Only God knows perfectly all that you’ve been going through, and I know from my own experience that doctors (including neurologists) are little or no help when it comes to withdrawing from and recovering from SSRIs. I’ve never had to deal with tardive dyskinesia, though I did have akathisia, especially during the tapering periods that were even just a little too fast-paced. I took Celexa (citalopram) only for a few weeks, before my doctor switched me to Lexapro (escitalopram), because the former made me nauseated all the time. Before Celexa, I had tried Effexor XR (venlafaxine; first) and Zoloft (sertraline; second). I took Lexapro for only two and a half years, though, and while I thought at first it was helping some, the side-effects nullified any perceived benefit to taking them.
      I wish I could say with certainty that your physical symptoms will fade with time, but I don’t know that they will. All I can say is that my heart aches for you and for your family, and I’ll be praying for you. I have four kids here at home, and while under the influence of Lexapro, I actually attacked my oldest, who remembers and understandably resents me for it. He also remembers knocking on our bedroom door and calling for me but only hearing my screams. I don’t remember that, though it was probably during one of my unsuccessful tapering periods.
      Please don’t give up. I remember finding it easy to believe that my husband and my kids would be better off with me dead. I didn’t really want to die, though, and I didn’t want to leave my kids without their mom.
      The only One who helped me out of that hell, and Who continues to help me one day at a time even now, is Jesus. I hope you will draw nearer to Him and entrust yourself to Him. No guarantees that life will get easier, but He won’t allow you to suffer more than He can help you handle. May God help, bless and protect you, your wife and your precious kids.
      May God help us all.

    • JH
      I’m praying for you in this difficult time. Know that you have a Creator/Higher Power that loves you immensely and only wants the best for you ultimately in life. I’ve learned that when I came to points when I said “Okay, that’s it! Are you kidding me God! I’m out of here.”. The response to me (from God through many means/methods if one is really “listening”) was “your life is not your own, but a gift for learning and growing”. So, I reconciled that I would not go where I was not invited yet, if you know what I mean. If you can hold on through the pain and be comforted knowing that God/HigherPower/Universe/Your Creator is all loving and loves you deeply, like no earthly being can. Praying for you, CSC

      • Zoe, Sarah

        Thanks so much for your response. It means a lot to know other people are somewhere out there thinking of me. I don’t have any faith but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sentiment and maybe somehow it will help keep me strong. Happy to share personal emails, if there is a secure way of doing this on this site, if anybody would like a personal email confidante that both parties can lean on for support. I made it through today in the end so will keep going….

        • Hang in there, JH. It’s a one-day-at-a-time thing, and I’ll keep praying for you–soul, mind and body–and for all your family. God bless and help you today and each day after.

        • Hi JH, Ditto Sarah’s comment and I’ll keep you in my prayers for God to bring extra blessings into your life and peace of mind. Understood as to having “no faith” as I was there at one time as well..but just to share my experience (as I have in earlier posts), my spiritual journey was the key that unlocked the door to healing my mental pain. Years of psychology/therapy were helpful but at the end I thought, okay is that it…because that is NOT enough for me….eventually starting on a spiritual quest. Once I started investigating spiritual paths and actually experimenting with prayer I was amazed to see unbelievable “coincidences” and serendipitous events and as my faith in a Higher Power increased I have seen more amazing “signs” over the years. When we cannot love ourselves and can find no human help I discovered that God/Universe/Source/Higher Power is there if you seek to find. My motto now is Pain equals Spiritual Gain(or Knowledge). I’ve learned that Love is the most important thing in this life: love of self/others/Higher Power. Keep striving and focus on positive thoughts as others are praying for you. CSC

    • I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression most of my adult life… and I’ve been down the road a few times with the wrong drugs. Here are some harmless lifestyle things you can try that will definately not hurt and probably only help.

      1. Drink more water. Sounds silly because it’s so easy, but my brain does seem to get quirky when I am dehydrated. Carry a water bottle to work and when you go out.
      2. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants, including drugs containing pseudoephedrine.
      3. Exercise as often and as regularly as you can. Brisk walks are great – if you can add some weight training even better.
      4. Cut back as much as you can on salt. Watch all package labels for sodium content. Prepared soups, instant noodles – anything that is processed – can have insane amounts of salt.
      5. Increase intake of fresh vegetables – especially green leafy stuff. If you like spinach, have a spinach salad with every meal.
      6. Eat less fatty food, burgers, fried foods, and red meat. Eat more chicken, fish and pork. Steamed or broiled fish is the healthiest protein source for me that I also happen to love.
      7. Sleep as consistently as you can. Get to know your circadian rhythm. My best sleep (for me) is when I sleep in 90 minute chunks – so 6, 7.5 or 9 hours. Not 7 or 8. If I get up in the wrong part of my cleep cycle, I am wrecked for the whole day.
      8. Snore? Get a sleep study done. If you have sleep apnea it’s a big stressor on your mind and body.
      9. Find something that you enjoy doing that is soothing or relaxing and set a time to do that once or twice per week. Reading something inspiring or light hearted, meditation, listen to music, journalling – anything that helps you get a sense of peace or wellbeing.
      10. Reach out as much as you can. Play with your kids, be playful with your spouse… try as much as you can to not brood and make a decision to say something funny, or ask for a hug, or start a sentence with “Hey, why don’t we all…..” (get in the car and go for iced cream, go to that great pizza place, go watch the fireworks display…) A big part of the battle is you get depressed which makes you want to do less which makes you more depressed. Then you depress the people around you and they can start avoiding you. (They might be ‘giving you your space’ or they’re avoiding you for their own self preservation!)

      There. Ten things that are simple. They won’t hurt, but they might make you feel better. They may not alleviate all of your symptoms – maybe some. In any case, if you do all that you WILL be stronger and feel better and that will also change how you are able to deal with (and tolerate) any remaining symptoms.

      Sometimes if we can’t “fix” what the main culprit is, we have to strengthen ourselves in other areas. We need to treat “the entire human” better and not just try and find “medicine for a sickness”.

      That’s my current view – taking a more wholistic approach to life and health.

  99. Finding this blog post has been so helpful for me – and the comments as well – thank you. I have been on Luvox for about a month and have severe stomach pain, muscle rigidity, insomnia, headaches, and nausea. Most side affects i can live with, but i feel awful and the pain in my stomach and esophagus is so bad that I can hardly get through the day and the nights are worse. I think physicians and psychiatrists prescribe ssri’s too quickly, without enough evidence. I need to get off of these and get my life back. Wait- my life was covered by a dark veil of depression….crap. Can we say “rock and a hard place”? I don’t know what to do anymore and feel like I’m losing my sanity. 🙁

    • Doctors and psychiatrists definitely prescribe SSRIs (among other psycho-active drugs) too quickly, but then most of them are paid to do so. And most of them really have no clue what it’s like to live under the influence of these drugs.
      I hope your doctor will at least help you taper off Luvox as slowly as necessary. These drugs take hold even when you’ve only been taking them for a few weeks, though many doctors seem surprised by that.
      It sounds as though your life would be better without Luvox or any drug that supposedly deals with a “chemical imbalance”–but that actually causes one, instead.
      I wish I could say withdrawal will be easy and that you’ll feel better afterward, but I honestly don’t know what you’re dealing with on top of what the drug has been doing to your body. I’ve never been suicidal, but the psychiatrist I was talking to told me, after a few vague questionnaires, that my depression and anxiety were “off the charts” and needed to be dealt with.
      But they really had no clue what was going on in my head or in my heart, and the drugs only made it harder to get to the bottom of what was bothering me. It made it harder to care about what was the real reason for my anxiety and social withdrawal. It made it hard to care about anything–other than my growing fears about being a danger to my kids when I was alone with them.
      I hope you can be free of Luvox before anything worse happens and before it lands you in the hospital with damage to your stomach and esophagus. May God bless and help you and your family. You are in my prayers.

    • Hi Pam. Just wanted to say I completely empathise with your “rock and a hard place”. It’s just unbearable. I hope you find the strength and support that you need and deserve.


  100. Chris, et al.,
    I thought this was interesting in light of the subject of this article. Did you know that in 2010 the FAA changed their long-held policy of banning commercial airline pilots who take antidepressants from flying? Pilots suffering from depression are allowed to fly commercial jets if they take one of only four antidepressants; Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac (the most activating/stimulating of this drug class as opposed to the more tranquilizing). This is an accident in the making in my opinion. See article below

  101. Hi,

    I identify with so much of what has been said.

    I wondered if anyone could offer any hope, or advice for me. I went on Strattera for a mere year but the effects since coming off it have been devastating. I stopped taking it 5 months ago, suddenly on the psychiatrist’s advice after I suffered memory impairment akin to Alzheimer’s (very severe- couldn’t remember best friends name or would see a film and an hour later not have a clue what I’d seen). It has been 5 months since then. Some problems have ameliorated to an extent while others painfully persist.

    What I want to know, is if other people have experienced this and got better. People often post on sites like this when things are terrible and don’t return with good news when things heal. Has anyone been on these terrible medicines, had terrible cognitive problems which the brain has amazingly managed to heal?

    Where I am-

    -Word Recall: initially expressing myself was almost impossible but I’d say, though I often forget words, I’m about 80% normal now.

    -Names and short term memory- terrible. About 40% what it was. Possibly seen a 5% improvement in 5 months.

    – Logic and general cognitive function- extremely bad. I make many mistakes at work because I’m so illogical and chaotic in my thinking. I also forget crucial elements of a task or events that have happened. I’ll be holding something and have no idea of how I got it for example. I’m functioning generally at half the level I used to.
    Decision making- terrible because I’m only ever furnished with half the facts by my brain. I struggle to cognitively prioritise information in an ordinary way.

    In some ways I would honestly say I’m mentally retarded. It’s terrifying as I was a straight A, Oxbridge student and now, in my 30s, as a result of a year on a medication, I’m almost retarded in areas of my thinking and function.

    I have had an MRI and the Neurologist suggested I had neurotoxicity (again something which the internet provides conflicting information as to the potential outcome) but had no experience of the medicine and they didn’t know if it would be permanent or not. Big Pharma are at such pains to conceal and hide all this sort of thing that unless the causal link is unavoidable, I feel alone and without access to anything but anecdotal stories found online. I want to do anything I can to get better. I’m getting plenty of sleep, meditating, have radically changed my diet and am trying to be positive. Is there anything more I can do that has helped other people? Is there any hope/or just some one’s story of their battle with this that can help. Even if some one else is in the same situation and we could ‘buddy-up’ a bit. I just feel utterly at sea and devastated by this.

    Chris, I would very much appreciate some advice but I know how busy you are.

    Thank you for reading all this.

    • Hi Jane,
      At the expense of over-posting on this website, I would like to offer my encouragement to you. I have a lot of extra time on my hands right now and this is an issue with which I am intimately familiar and it breaks my heart to hear of other people who are experiencing what I have lived through, so the following would be my response to your query (see my other posts above under Zoe/csczoe). I too work in an extremely demanding profession which requires full mental functioning/cognition/memory (architecture). My story is extreme and in my naivety I remained on SSRI’s (Paxil mostly) at very high doses for 16-17 years before realizing that when I reduced the dose, my cognition seemed to return to my pre-medicated state, which greatly improved my performance at work (and in multitude other areas of my life). I am not as familiar with Strattera (an SNRI, which targets norepinephrine rather than serotonin), but it seems that the effects on cognition may be similiar if not the same? I learned (by experience) that cold turkey withdrawal is NOT the best way to proceed when coming off of these drugs, however you are now at 5 months “clean” and seem to be at least functional in your job (?). When I started weaning I learned that it took months if not years for the brain to heal. 5 months is still early, so perhaps you should be patient but determined, but don’t exhaust yourself…only you know your limits. Also, I have heard of many people who were on these meds for far less than the amount of time I was on them and they seem to be able to recover fully. I think the extent of recovery depends on how long you ingested the drugs and at what dose (i.e very high, average, or low doses) as well as your physiological sensitivity to the drug. You were only on meds for one year so to my mind, you have an excellent chance of full recovery, however that does not diminish the fact that the initial months of weaning is absolutely horrible/painful/surreal. Perhaps you could see how you feel(along with cognition improvements) in a few more months and then make a judgement if you will go a few more months, etc., but there is no shame in going back on the med and trying the wean more slowly (using pill-cutters/liquid version/compounding pharmacy). I hope that my “two-cents” is helpful to you. I would be happy to communicate further with you, if interested. Prayers and positive energy/thoughts I send to you for a full recovery! CSC

      • Zoe,
        Thank you so so much. That is so kind of you. I am extremely grateful. I read your above posts and so know a bit of what you’ve gone through. Are you fully recovered now, it seems cognitively you are. That’s amazing. They are such bad medicines and as you say, consumers/patients aren’t given the facts so they can’t make an informed decision about taking them. I wouldn’t have touched them for my ADHD if I’d had any idea of the long term effects. Like you, I also pushed on regardless of the side effects, not trusting what my body and heart was saying, and listening to pressure from people who didn’t, in hindsight, always have my best interests at heart, or did, but didn’t know all the facts. I wish I’d listened to myself. I’d say to anyone reading this website and still on the medicines- if you’ve had enough doubts to seek out this site, listen to them and come off the drugs. There are so many better ways to deal with mental illness than drugs. I wish I’d believed that before.
        Thank you for the positive encouragement. 5 months feels like an eternity, especially as it’s been so extreme and painful, but in brain/body healing terms, it’s probably a blink of an eye. I’ll be patient. I just wanted to know that for some people who’d gone through this, it wasn’t permanent and I’m very relieved to know that that is the case. Thank you so SO much.
        Take care, Janex

        • Jane
          I’m so glad my experience can benefit someone else- it makes it more meaningful for me to have had to go through it- to help others. I have recovered a great deal by weaning from years of very high dosages of Paxil to a very low dose of Paxil/Prozac mix. I did go below this dose for almost two years and it turned out to be weaning too fast- during that time I did see incredible cognitive improvements (that part was wonderful!) but emotionally; i.e. serotonin levels did not return to my pre-med. state. I found that my body was not able to produce serotonin naturally- definitely NOT my pre-medicated self-i.e. quick-thinking, good-natured, highly sensitive. At the current dose I have a “sustainable” brain for my work and life, but still vastly lacking in the areas of cognition/memory/emotions compared to the “original” me. I have to work extremely hard to compensate for my “handicaps”, but I have been determined not to lose my livelihood. I’ve learned that “bad things (can) happen to good people” and you should learn from them, press on to higher insights and “profit” from you losses…make the best of it ALWAYS. It seems that my story is pretty extreme in comparison to most, so you definitely should know about all the testimonies of people who HAVE fully recovered and no longer take ANY of these meds. As I said, IMO you have a great chance for full recovery and I wish you the very best! I pray for your perseverence/positive energy and thoughts and continued healing! CSC

          • Zoe,
            I was just wondering how you realized–when you dropped to a lower dose for two years–that you were tapering too quickly. I’m asking because, while it’s been five years since I stopped taking Lexapro (after finally stumbling upon a tapering schedule that was slow enough to avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms), some of the weirdness remains. I still get weird lightning sensations in my head, followed by an intense need to cry for no apparent reason. I still get weird neurological symptoms that flare up especially after a mild fever (even from a piddly head cold). Just wondering if you’ve experienced the same.
            I only took Lexapro for two and a half years, and I took Effexor XR, Zoloft and Celexa before that, but I only took those drugs for a few weeks each because of horrible side-effects or, in the case of the Effexor XR, I became pregnant and was told I should get off the drug–especially before the 3rd trimester. The nurse then told me it would be perfectly safe to just quit cold-turkey, since I’d only taken it for a little over two weeks. Turned out, she was wrong. Worst first trimester ever! My husband practically begged me to try something that would make me less of a nightmare to live with (my words, not his).
            So, I guess I’m wondering if it sounds to you like I still tapered too quickly, or if there’s just some permanent brain damage, which, at this point, I have no problem believing.
            Thanks for your time, and God bless you.

            • Hi Sarah,
              First of all congratulations on successfully tapering! The speed of the taper, from what I’ve experienced, should be based upon your tolerance for the withdrawal symptoms but has no bearing on any potential permanent phsyiological damage. Any permanent damage would come from the amount of time on the offending drug, the dose, and one’s sensitiviy/tolerance physiologically (metabolism, etc.) for the drug (which varies per person). Sounds like you were on them for a relatively short amount of time and have been off for 5 years now so it would seem to me that your brain/body would be well on it’s way to being fully recovered- in my opinion. I recently read an article which stated, and this is line with my experience, that those people who seem to have permanent injuries and do not fully recover are those who’ve been medicated for over 15 years- of course there’s no hard science yet for this number. But I would say it is unique to the individual’s physiology as to how/if they fully recover. I did experience the symptoms you mentioned during my taper(s) but now I’ve been at this low dose (about 12mgs) for 3 years and do not have the “brain zaps” anymore- things seem to have normalized mostly as far as that symptom goes. I hope this is helpful…again this is MY experience. I found that if I wanted to live drug-free (or come close to it), I would not be forever grieved about permanent damage because frankly, this will not be psychologically helpful to me in living a happy, productive life. No matter what I now go by the mantra that I WILL “profit”(not financially) from my loss and learn from this and tell others because I believe this is what is expected of me (from above) and this is for my best. To my mind it sounds like you’ve dodged a bullet and found out early enough to recover. Hope this helps and prayers for total healing go out to you. CSC

              • Thanks, Zoe, for your quick and thoughtful reply. I would agree that it’s counterproductive to grieve over what I may see as possible permanent damage from SSRIs. I’m not losing sleep over the idea, really, but I think if someone can suffer long-term or even permanent brain damage from taking these drugs even as (comparatively) briefly as I did, then more people (those thinking of starting these drugs, especially) need to know that.
                On the other hand, when I was starting Effexor XR and then Zoloft and then Celexa and even by the time I started Lexapro, I wasn’t looking for personal testimonies on the internet from people who’d taken those drugs. So, even if lurid stories about what people have suffered as a result of these drugs had been abundant on the internet when I started (and I’m sure they were by 2006), I probably would never have read any of them unless a friend or family member had e-mailed me a link with “Please read this!”
                I also agree that, for God’s reasons (which I’ll know someday), I did dodge a bullet and haven’t suffered nearly as much as many others have. I’m grateful for that, and my heart goes out to those who’ve suffered worse.
                Life is good, in spite of the weirdness that lingers–whether because of the SSRIs or because of something that was in my make-up beforehand.
                Thank you again for your response, and may God bless you and your continued efforts to help others.

                • Hi Sarah,
                  Agreed…to all of your points. I don’t want to diminish others experiences but I also want to point out that “at the end of the day” we need to balance our activism/grief/anger with “moving on”. Sounds like you’re doing that and that you are also reaching out to others to educate. I think that is all that is expected of us…to make the best of the stupid things that happen in this life, knowing that a higher power grieves with us and wishes only for our health! Prayers/blessings to you! CSC

  102. Oops sorry. My 3sons where developed on antidepressants.their birthing doctors said it will not harm any of my children. That I KNOW that’s a crock.all I’m wanting to say is these articles are true.. and does having a higher power cure like Christianity..compassionate love??

    • Hi Teilor,
      I am so sorry to hear you are struggling. My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you should for sure be seeking counseling/therapy and do not make any sudden moves regarding medication. I went through years of therapy/study and eventually came to a faith community (Christianity) and started on a spiritual journey that has evolved/changed over the years. This was definitely helpful for me-focusing on the Love of God. To be clear, I advocate against these medications, however I was on them so long that I found that it was impossible to wean off of them totally (and I tried for a couple of years) and return to my “original” self, so I felt that I had no choice but to keep taking a very small dose after taking a very high dose for around 16 years. Every person has a different journey and is unique. It sounds like you need to stabilize your emotions and only then think about weaning off of meds if that is your goal. It takes hard work and determination and, for me, faith in a higher power. It is my belief, actually I know this now, that God is real and God has an immense love for you and wants for you to grow and learn and love in this life. And I feel compelled to tell you that God loves YOU. It sounds so simple but Love cures a multitude of ills in this life. At the end of the day, it’s all about love…for yourself, for others, for God. Please be safe and if you need to take meds for a while do not feel ashamed to do so, above all remember you are loved. Slow and steady wins the race.
      Love and Prayers for you,

  103. Physical pain wrist,ankles,legs,back hurt as if it was on fire.I forget things about thirty 30 after children suffer from childhood illnesses,making me feel like I’m not a good parent.these alone are mentally harmful.and staying in therapy for the rest of my life..who really can you trust?I think about suicide much can a human mind take..oh and we are all in therapy. Tired and hopeful…wanting peace.however,I have also been forcing myself to ignore imagined my voices”borderline personality disorders”…shadows as if there is someone there.light sensitivity..lost.


  104. I have suffered from severe bouts of depressions since having my twins and have been on Sertraline and although I am now only on a very low dosage I have been on them for nearly 9 years now on and off. I have extremely short-term memory loss and am 3 stone heavier than I should be. If I stop taking the tablets what can I do to help repair my memory loss not to mention will my weight gain reduce? Should I seek some other medication. I have been told that if I were to go on the pill it would be better than keep taking Sertraline?

    • I had the same issues with memory and with weight gain, and I still have problems with my memory. There are things I should remember–that my husband remembers clearly–but of which I have no memory. That’s part of the whole feeling about being erased by the drug–remade into someone or something else. I hated it. The weight gain was just an added insult. After finally tapering off Lexapro (successfully after many failed attempts; the doctor really didn’t know how to help with that, but he agreed to prescribe progressively lower doses, and my husband bought me a pill-cutter), I managed to lose weight pretty easily, and life began to improve after those years spent in a numbing fog.
      I wish I could help with the physical pain you’re going through. I’ll keep you in my prayers–that you can safely be rid of Sertraline and begin to heal. I tried Zoloft (sertraline) but was switched because it made my heart race/pound (worse than it usually does; I inherited a heart that is easily agitated). Then I was switched to Celexa, which caused unremitting nausea. Then to Lexapro, which I took for two and a half years, though that last six months were for my successful tapering period.
      I know a lot of people (including myself) had to taper very slowly with these drugs. When I tried tapering off just a bit too quickly, the worst withdrawal symptoms would hit with the same force they hit me when I first quit cold-turkey.
      Most doctors truly have no clue. All they’re told about are the “flu-like” symptoms that “might” hit some people during withdrawal.
      There’s hope, though. And there’s a reason you’ve gone through all that you’ve suffered. If anyone can turn it all to good, somehow, God can. Trust Him, and take it one day at a time.

    • Oops. I’m getting comments mixed up. I meant to respond to another commenter about the physical symptoms she’s been suffering. Sorry for any confusion.

  105. It has been two years since I stopped taking SSRIs/SNRIs. I still have not had a full night sleep in all that time, average five hours. As a result in the past year I have now developed a dependency on benzos and the withdrawal is hell, and it will take me one full year to go off them if i even can. As a result of going off antidepressants I had a manic episode and was wrongly diagnosed bipolar. I’ve been suicidal for over a year now because of the torture my body and mind has been under thanks to psychiatrists tossing me around on different meds. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. I can’t feel happiness anymore, everything is just flat. My body is in shambles. Here is the kicker. I was prescribed them in middle school because I was having trouble making new friends.

    Antidepressants do not fix chemical imbalances, they cause chemical imbalances.

    • I would agree that anti-depressants cause chemical imbalances. I won’t go into all the details of my own history with them, but I ended with Lexapro, which I took for two and a half years, though the last six months I spent tapering off slowly, once I’d found a tapering schedule slow enough to avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.
      That was a little over five years ago. In December of 2008, I thought I was finally free of Lexapro and of all the antidepressants I’d taken (however briefly), which include Effexor XR, Zoloft and Celexa, as well as the aforementioned Lexapro.
      Five years later, though, I still get strange sensations in my head followed by an intense and overwhelming need to cry–about nothing, or at least nothing specific. Strange neurological symptoms come and go every time I come down with a fever.
      My husband thinks I’m depressed, and the neurologist chalked everything up to that, too, though I’m not suicidal and never have been. I don’t want to die. What helped me to get off anti-depressants for good was anger, which, for me, was stronger than the apathy caused by the Lexapro.
      I can understand why some get suicidal, though, while taking these drugs. They made it a lot easier to believe things that might have pushed me over the edge, if I hadn’t been angry enough to fight back.
      Anger has a dark side, too, of course. But not one that any drug can treat. I believe the same is true of genuine depression and anxiety. Drugs only make it hard to get to the bottom of what’s causing the depression. It’s like a fireman who goes into a burning building with people trapped in it, turns off the fire alarm and then walks away, saying, “Problem solved.”
      I don’t know if you experienced the same thing while taking anti-depressants, but I felt as though I were being slowly erased, and that the drug itself was saying, “What I’m erasing–what I’m taking away from you–isn’t worth saving, anyway. You aren’t worth saving.” Maybe I’m just projecting messages from other sources, but those words were never easier to believe than when I was taking Lexapro.
      I knew even then, though, that it was a lie. Someone knows we’re worth saving.

  106. SSRI medicine is trouble. Before you take it get a written guarantee from the Doctor you won’t do anything stupid.
    These bloody things are trouble.

  107. Momster and Defiaz,

    I can completely empathize with both of your stories as my experience has been much the same. Im a 51 year old American male, long-time, happily married father of two wonderful, healthy teens (boy and girl). Was first prescribed anti D’s 30 years ago to help remedy a paralyzing, incapacitating depression resulting from the ending of a long-term (6 years) relationship, my first “real” love, although as I subsequently have realized, a deeply dependent, ultimately quite unhealthy encounter. Alas, I was very young; we live, grow, and learn, and hopefully actualize and improve with age and experience.

    Unfortunately today, after 30 years on and off numerous psych meds (anti D’s, mostly Effexor and some SSRIs, several “mood stabilizers”, stimulants, and some others), I find myself cognitively very diminished, disabled from working, with horrifically poor recall memory spanning the entire three decades I was “medicated” for what has been a rather chronic, recurring series of depressions, brief recoveries and relapses. I feel I was duped by the largely uninformed psych MD community. I’m neither bitter nor angry, just extraordinarily challenged simply trying to function somewhat productively in my current role as father and house husband. I too was once a very sharp, highly educated, motivated and articulate professional (banking and finance) with a rewarding career where I felt valuable, productive, and was a caring colleague and mentor to many. Sadly, over the past eight years, my mental abilities, judgement, reliable motivation and energy, and recall memory have all rather steadily and sharply diminished leaving me frustrated, increasingly apathetic, definitely un-employable, with a virtual inability to experience or feel any real joy.

    Finally awakening to the developing truth that it has been the drugs, and not some underlying illness or “chemical imbalance” that perpetuated and worsened my mood instability and cognitive decline, I began slowly weaning myself from all psychotropic agents about six months ago (four drugs at the time), and am now only taking a small (25 mg) dose of Effexor. I desperately hope to be off this last remnant within a couple of weeks. As everyone here who has withdrawn from these chemicals can attest, my withdrawal over the preceding six months or so has been horrific: wild mood swings, extreme lethargy, periods of irrational anger, debilitating depression, chronic insomnia and/or sleep interruptions, apathy, days spent unshowered, incapacitated in bed, occasional suicidal ruminations, etc. Essentially, symptoms that resemble extreme depression, yet this time, I finally understand, this isnt the re-emergence of illness – it’s simply my brain and body’s trying to recover and heal itself from the damage brought on by chronic administration of virtually toxic chemicals over many years.

    As we are all “seekers” and pursuers of knowlege regarding our mental health, I now spend time researching what, if anything, I might do to try to heal my brain and salvage what remains or enhance what I might restore.

    Best to everyone who has taken time to post here.

    • Thanks for your comment, Craig. I hope you can recover your former self. I am continuing my quest to understand and resist the effects of sugar and I am finding some interesting things. I suspect yeast overgrowth has played a role in all of the things I’ve experienced. You might find it interesting to read about this — there are lots of useful websites that summarize the medical literature pretty well and Chris K has some other posts on it too. If the pharmacological industry has something to answer for, it seems likely it’ll be minor in comparison to what the food industry has known — and suppressed — for 40 years. I see more and more in the mainstream media about the effects on human physiology of increasing sugar consumption in a single generation by 3 or 4 fold and these effects were foretold in 1971 to industry insiders! CBC did a great mini-documetary on this that you can find on the web. It’s shocking, but also inspiring. It’s heartening how quickly one’s body responds to reduced sugar consumption. I don’t think it’s too late to turn things around even with years of ‘abuse,’ and it’s certainly not too late to help our kids. Good luck!

    • Craig, and all others,
      I could hug you if I could reach you. This is my story almost exactly. I was a highly trained medical professional who absolutely loved my job. Several years of ER and ICU work led me to being trained as a medevac helicopter flight nurse with field surgeon skills. As you can imagine, we were constantly practicing and maintaining our medical skills as we never knew what we would be called to respond to. I loved, loved, loved my job and felt like my life was accomplishing something meaningful. I also have 3 wonderful intelligent, and loving adult children and a whole passel of grand kids. My life has not been all peaches and cream and I have had my full share of bumps in the road. About 8 yrs ago in my early 50s, the job, the bumps, menopause and a few medical problems all caught up with me and I had a “breakdown”. One of my daughters found me curled up on the sofa after 3 days of not sleeping, eating, or drinking. I was tachycardic, dehydrated etc. They took me for help and I ended up on meds. After rotating through the system, and a number of drugs, for several years, I ended up on Lexapro and Klonopin. I was better in some ways, and was functional and could work, so I thought all was well. Began having increasing pain in joints and felt all foggy and weepy. For the first time I thought of ending it all but couldn’t do that to my family. Got worse and worse, and my co workers covered for my short comings. I was having cognitive issues and my balance and agility were failing. I finally gave up the battle 2 years ago, thinking that I was too old, and retired early before I lost what was left of my dignity. Scared to death to try another job as I didn’t trust myself physically or mentally. Always in a fog. Couldn’t remember even the most mundane things. After 1 yr of getting worse, ( Anger, weeping, scared of riding in a car, anxiety over everything, burning in my throat and chest, mad, mad, mad at God, and many others) I started to try to figure all this out. Being the highly educated medical professional that I am you would think that I would have thought of this before. Duh. This stuff screws with your most basic instincts. None of my docs helped. I had one ortho doc tell me that I was a walkie/ talkie and should get back to work. I forgot to mention that my unsteady gate led me to fall down a stairway and I had some orthopedic injuries that I neglected to get treated for a few weeks. My back mostly. I had a pain management doc write in my chart that I was faking my discomfort. Well I showed them. I just up and grew a tumor in my L/S spine. Thank God it is benign, but getting worse. Prob surgery soon. But any way, this affirmation that I did have something wrong with me gave me the courage to decide that I could come off these drugs. It has been 2+ months of SSRI free after 5 month taper. Taper wasn”t too bad but wowsie after the last pill fragment. I am now over the worst of all that, but I, like others have what I call leftover stuff. Like you, my intelligence quotient has declined by a mile. I remain timid, angry, weepy, and somewhat agoraphobic. My sleep sucks without chemical help. I carry the diagnostic labels of A/D and PTSD because of the horrific things I saw and did during my 35 yr history of nursing. I guess you can only see so many hundred people die before it kicks your ass. Any way, this all relates to your story because I am very resentful of the fact that I still have all this knowledge and experience inside me to help people with and a few more years in which to do it and this poison has robbed me of that ability. I am proud of the fact that I got off the Lexapro finally, and now I am working on the Klonopin. I am now 61 yrs old and some days I feel like 100. I honestly don’t know how young folks with family and jobs and kids are able to overcome this. My most humble praise to those that are in that position. Even though I am still mad at God, I still talk to him and ask for his help daily and I will include all of you in my prayers. One day, no, one minute at a time.

  108. Hello, I very much enjoyed this post. What was the date it was posted? I would like to quote you in research assignment I am doing but I cannot find the date this was posted.

  109. I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for the past six years. My first experience came out of nowhere in the middle of an April, but now it occurs every time I go back to work after summer and winter break. (I am a teacher). It first starts with anxiety which causes me to wake up early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep. It soon gets so frustrating that it turns into full on depression/helplessness. I was orginally on citalopram and it kept reoccurring s then I switched to venlafaxine. I was on 75mg and now I’m on 150mg. Currently the anxiety/depression after returning from winter break is worse than it has ever been and I don’t know what to do. I have done counseling and all that, but it keeps coming back year after year. I have even considered changing careers, but I really don’t want to do that. Any advice would be great! Thanks!!

    • Hi Matt,
      I try to be cautious about offering specific advice other than telling my personal story, however I would offer this to you to consider for yourself. In my weaning off Paxil/Prozac, after very long-term use I found that high doses of fish oil is very helpful in alleviating anxiety symptoms. There are also many more natural supplements/herbs that you could try: melatonin and others. Some people try 5-HTP when trying to wean off SSRI’s and seems to help them somewhat. I also found out through much therapy and study of psychology that the human psyche is immensely complex and perhaps the depression is your deeper psyche trying to tell you something related to your deepest thoughts; i.e. needs, fears, often related to childhood experiences. Personally, I have had to radically rethink many choices I’ve made in my life that led up to my depression. Additionally, and I know this is foreign to many western minds, for me by far the greatest impact (for the positive) on my mental health has been my spiritual pursuit and coming to an understanding/knowledge of a “higher power” and the great love available to me if I seek it; a journey which I would not have endeavored upon but for my struggle with depression/anxiety. Prayers and positive thoughts for you and your journey friend. CSC

      • A word of warning. It is dangerous to mix 5-HTP with any residual SSRI in your system. I accidentally sent myself into a (thankfully mild) case of serotonin syndrome, which if more powerful can be deadly.

  110. Hi Chris, I would love your thoughts on this…
    I developed hypothyroidism a few months post partum and since have never had relief from symptoms. I believe I was becoming toxic on levothyroxine and now cant even seem to take 1/2 grain nature thyroid or 5mcg T3 on its own! I am now wondering if sertraline caused my thyroid disease!? I started Sertraline in March 2012 and was on it for around 8 weeks. This is when my thryoid tests showed I had SHOT into hypothyroidism. I think there is a connection!? 20/12/11 results – TSH 0.2 and FT4 18, 06/03/13 – TSH 1.2 FT4 20.9, 10/05/12 – TSH 123, FT4 5.0, I hadn’t started any thryoid medication prior to these blood tests! Please tell me your thoughts. Many Thanks, LA

    • Lee-Anne, or anyone else in this situation…Low-thyroid function (hypothyroidism) can and does definitely induce depression. It slows down all of the body’s biochemical activities, including the production and release of serotonin. If a small dose of T3 or of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT, of which your Nature-Throid is an example) doesn’t help but rather, makes things worse, try checking your ferritin level, your vitamin D level, and your cortisol level. Any or all of these, if low in the range, can hamper the effectiveness of even the best thyrod medications. Alhough I’m not wild about the attitude of the website, “Stop the Thyroid Madness” website (and book, avail. through Amazon or the website) offers a great deal of useful and true information on thyroid diagnosis and treatment, including for what to do if it’s not working. Make sure to check your adrenal glands, which often “tank” along with the thyroid especially with a stressful situation. There is info there on adrenals.

      All the best to you!

  111. I was on a variety of anti depressents and anti psychotics for about six years, in hindsight I realise now that I probably never needed them to begin with.. they’ve pretty much ruined my life. They were all heavily sedating as I suffer from anxiety, they would knock me out at night… and my body seemed to rely on them to put me to sleep instead of sleeping naturally.. because now I’ve lost the ability to sleep naturally, my sleep when off drugs is all over the place and has remained that way for the three years since I stopped my meds, I’m so tired all the time I can’t function properly. I’ve also lost most of my emotions, it’s like my serotonin receptors were fried (much like someone who abuses ecstasy) and they no longer absorb the chemical, I’ve seemingly lost the ability to feel happiness.. I don’t bother going out or doing much anymore because I simply don’t get anything from doing much anymore.. It’s also had a horrible effect on my stomach & bowels, (ibs type symptoms)… the worst part about all of it is it did NOTHING to change or help my anxiety.

    I’m hoping some of the damage can be undone in time but it’s looking less and less likely. I don’t doubt that there are people who genuinely need these drugs, people with legit chemical imbalances in the brain.. as I’ve seen some people get a lot better with them but I do think they are WAY over prescribed.. medication was the very first thing given to me when I sought treatment for my anxiety, really it should’ve been the LAST thing they gave to me if everything else didn’t work, it should be the LAST resort not the FIRST… ahh well :(.

  112. It’s very thought-provoking to read the entire series of posts here and it seems to me that all of the perspectives offered could be correct simultaneously. For some people, particularly with heritable bipolar disorder, psychoactive drugs offer their only opportunity for a fulfilling life. But for many others who were prescribed with SSRI’s to cope with what might have been short-term and adaptive depression following life stressors, it seems they actually risked –or are now risking — long-term damage by taking these drugs.

    I believe I am on the cusp of that effect myself. I was prescribed with Zoloft following the end of my first marriage. If I had pushed through that era with therapy, more careful attention to di