What Are the Negative Effects of Antidepressants? | Chris Kresser
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Negative Effects of Antidepressants: Is There a Dark Side?

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Reviewed by Vanessa Wong, MD

Here’s a stunning fact about how common antidepressant drugs are: One in eight Americans, ages 12 and older, take an antidepressant, and the numbers seem to be on the rise. (1) These pharmaceuticals are prescribed not only for depression, but also for anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even for off-label uses. (2)

negative effects of antidepressants
Antidepressants can cause negative side effects, and they may not always be effective at alleviating depression. iStock/kieferpix

Despite the widespread use of these prescription drugs (globally, this is a $14 billion business), antidepressants can have potentially negative effects on your health. (3) While they are life-saving for some, for others these medications can trigger side effects and symptoms that can disrupt normal routines, or they may be ineffective at alleviating depression. Keep reading to find out more about potential issues with antidepressants and learn how the Functional Medicine approach to psychiatry can help.

Antidepressants are life-saving for some; for others, they can cause negative side effects or fail to alleviate symptoms of depression. Check out this article for an updated look at antidepressants. #functionalmedicine #wellness #chriskresser

What Really Causes Depression (and What’s Wrong with the Chemical Imbalance Theory)?

Conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical companies have long maintained that depression is caused by an imbalance in brain chemicals. That’s why antidepressant meds are formulated to manipulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are several classes of these drugs, including:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants

However, depression isn’t adequately characterized by “low serotonin” or “low epinephrine.” In fact, only about 25 percent of people diagnosed with depression have abnormally low levels of these neurotransmitters, while some have very high levels of them. (4) Although these facts don’t rule out chemical imbalance as a factor in depression, they do suggest that it’s not the only one. 

In reality, depression may be a symptom of one or more underlying issues. I discussed in a previous article how inflammation may be at the root of many cases of depression, (5) but other causes of mental health issues can include:

Any treatment plan that fails to address these underlying causes isn’t likely to be effective for someone who is suffering from depression. That’s why it’s so important to move beyond the default chemical imbalance explanation and understand what’s really driving the condition.

Antidepressants May Not Be as Effective as You Might Think

Important disclaimer: If you are currently taking an antidepressant, do not stop abruptly and do not taper off the meds without the guidance and support of your healthcare providers. I’ll discuss more about how to taper off of medication below, but it is crucial that you do not undertake any steps without consulting closely with your doctor.

Given the hype surrounding antidepressants, you may be surprised to learn initial treatment is effective at mitigating symptoms only about half the time. (12) Even after trying several treatments, up to 30 percent of those with depression never achieve remission. (13)

While a large meta-analysis published in 2018 in the prestigious journal, The Lancet, states that all antidepressants perform significantly better than placebo, (14) critics have pointed out that these differences are small and not clinically relevant. (15) The majority of high-quality research studies have shown that SSRIs have no benefit over placebo for mild and moderate depression. (16, 17, 18, 19)

One Problem: Clinical Trial Groups Are Not Representative of Real-World People

One major issue with the research on antidepressant efficacy is the selection process of clinical trial group participants. Because the selection process is not standardized or subject to any federal guidelines, patients with milder forms of depression, chronic depression, or other psychiatric or medical conditions in addition to short-term depression are excluded from studies. (20) In some cases, less than 20 percent of people who apply to be part of an antidepressant efficacy trial do not meet the requirements, meaning that study groups are not representative of a real-world population. (21)

Here is why such exclusions matter: In a normal, clinical setting, many patients with depression have other illnesses, such as diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, or irritable bowel syndrome. It’s not unusual for them to have anxiety and insomnia, as well. In fact, it’s quite possible that a person with depression might be suffering from other conditions that are either contributing to or caused by their illness. 

One study looked at the efficacy of antidepressants in those who did not meet phase III inclusion criteria (phase III clinical trials include and exclude participants based on stringent criteria that would actually exclude the majority of people who take the drugs in real life). Among participants who would not qualify under phase III criteria, researchers found that their outcomes were, unsurprisingly, much worse than those who did qualify for the trials. (22)

It’s important to note the wide variability in individual response to antidepressants. SSRIs and other antidepressants can be game changers for many people, but the reported average response rate in clinical trials won’t shed any light on how one person reacts to a medication versus another individual. However, what’s clear is that these drugs are not a panacea for global mental illness, and that this is a complex topic.

Two Drug-Free Treatments That Can Be as Effective as or More Effective Than Antidepressants

Another important detail to note is that non-pharmaceutical treatments can be as effective or even more effective than antidepressants. Evidence shows promising results for psychotherapy and exercise as effective interventions.

1. Psychotherapy

Substantial evidence demonstrates that psychotherapies, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are just as effective as antidepressants for long-term maintenance, for first-line treatment, and even for treatment-resistant depression. (23, 24, 25, 26, 27) In some cases, psychotherapy has actually outperformed antidepressants or added additional benefit to medication. (28, 29, 30)

CBT also might reduce the risk of depression relapse, which is very common. (31, 32) If you’ve had depression once, your risk of developing depression again is about 50 percent. If you’ve had two episodes, you’re 80 percent likely to relapse. (33, 34)

CBT may offer unique skills for preventing relapse. As one review from 2017 states: (35)

“Residual symptoms and relapse risk would decrease if patients in partial or full remission can learn, first, to be more aware of negative thoughts and feelings at times of potential relapse/recurrence, and, second, to respond to those thoughts and feelings in ways that allow them to disengage from ruminative depressive processing.”

2. Exercise

Exercise may be powerful for preventing and alleviating depression. Exercise has mood-boosting effects and can decrease inflammation, improve vagal tone, and modulate neurotransmitters, all of which can help decrease depressive symptoms. (36, 37)

Although not all studies are in agreement, (38) many clinical trials and meta-analyses have determined that exercise can be helpful as an adjunct to antidepressants, or even by itself. (39, 40, 41, 42) Of note, people who already have depression may not have enough motivation and energy to start an exercise regimen, especially on their own. However, perhaps surprisingly, drop-out rates among those who participate in exercise groups generally aren’t higher than drop-out rates for other types of treatments. (43) As exercise boasts numerous health benefits beyond mood improvement, it’s worth considering.

Negative Side Effects of Antidepressants

Side effects are quite common for people who take antidepressants. More than half of those beginning an antidepressant have one of the more common side effects: (44)

  • Nausea
  • Decreased libido (very common, especially among men: up to 40 percent taking antidepressants experience this side effect)
  • Tiredness and/or insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Sweating

While some of the side effects listed above are manageable and won’t cause serious or long-term health complications, others, such as weight gain or anxiety, may—especially if they persist.

Jitteriness Syndrome, Anxiety, and Akathisia

In the first few months of beginning an antidepressant, “jitteriness syndrome” and anxiety are common side effects. Up to one in four people will experience jitteriness syndrome, and studies have reported a wide range of anxiety incidence related to beginning antidepressants, from 4 to 65 percent. (45) Frequently, those who show anxiety are then prescribed another medication, like a benzodiazepine, with its own risks.

In rare cases, a particular type of severe agitation called akathisia may occur. (46) Akathisia has been shown to increase aggression, violent behavior, and suicide.

Suicide

In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black-box warning that antidepressants may increase suicidal ideation and attempts in children. A couple years later, they extended the warning to include those up to age 25 and also stated that patients of all ages should be monitored for suicidal ideation, plans, and/or attempts. (47)

The studies surrounding suicide and antidepressants are mixed. Some studies have shown higher suicidal behavior in adults and children (48, 49, 50, 51), while others haven’t. (52, 53) Published FDA investigations state that those under age 25 taking antidepressants have about twice the rate of suicidal behavior compared to those taking placebo. (54, 55) SSRI users might be more at risk than users of other classes of antidepressants, and suicide risk seems highest in the first month starting and stopping the meds. (59)

In general, post-2000 studies show lower rates of suicide among antidepressant trials, despite the fact that suicides have increased since then. (60) Some claim that the earlier studies were flawed or that suicidal ideation is better monitored during trials, but others say that the lower rates in recent studies are due to “enhanced screening procedures and effective exclusion of suicidal patients in clinical trials for depression.” (61) To me, that explanation is far from reassuring. The fact remains that individuals who are actually suicidal will be prescribed antidepressants, but robust studies looking at the efficacy of meds in this population just don’t exist.

Other Side Effects

Other side effects can occur with antidepressants, though some still aren’t well-characterized and many are rare: (62, 63, 64, 65)

  • Numbness or anti-motivational syndrome
  • Interactions with other drugs (ibuprofen and SSRIs don’t mix, for example) (66)
  • Depletion of beneficial gut bacteria (antidepressants have antimicrobial properties)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Personality changes
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, gastrointestinal bleeding, and dyspepsia (for which antacids may be prescribed)
  • Birth defects
  • Liver injury (very rare)
As with any medication, adequate risks/benefits must be taken into consideration. Even when experiencing side effects, stopping antidepressants needs to be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Weaning off Antidepressants Is Difficult

Antidepressants were intended for short-term treatment of depression, but in actuality, people are taking them continuously for years on end. Half of American antidepressant users have been on them for more than five years, though long-term data on effectiveness and safety are sparse. (67) A review of 14 studies on long-term depression treatment indicated that patients who were treated with drugs fared no better than those who weren’t treated with drugs long-term. (68) In another study of people with depression and on antidepressants for over two years, the patients who did not take drugs after remission had a lower rate of remission compared to those who did. (69)

A big reason that people stay on antidepressants long-term is simply this: Withdrawal symptoms make it very difficult to stop. In a systematic review of patients trying to wean off antidepressants, 46 percent of the participants described withdrawal effects as “severe.” (70) Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Relapse of depression

Slowly Tapering off Antidepressants Is More Successful Than Current Recommendations

One major problem is that patients are weaning off antidepressants too quickly—often at their doctors’ orders. The prevailing recommendation is to wean off completely in a period of two to four weeks. (71) However, evidence demonstrates that decreasing the dose over a much longer period of time results in much lower rates of side effects and results in more consistent levels of neurotransmitters, as imaged by positron emission tomography scans. (72) Several studies have shown the benefits of tapering more slowly (73, 74, 75) including one study that found that patients who slowly came off an SSRI over an average of 38 weeks had only a 6 percent chance of withdrawal syndrome, compared to a 78 percent chance in the group who stopped quickly. (75)

Tapering slowly may take longer, but it’s much more likely to be effective. (76)

The Functional Psychiatry Solution

Do antidepressants have a place in treating depression? As I said above, for some people, they can be game changers. But they don’t work for everyone, and they will not address any underlying issues that are causing or contributing to depressive symptoms.

A better approach to depression and other mental health issues is the functional psychiatry solution, which treats the root cause of a disorder rather than masking symptoms with prescription drugs.

Using a holistic approach, a functional psychiatry approach to depression may involve interventions such as:

  • Metabolic testing
  • Psychotherapy
  • Dietary interventions
  • Stress management
  • And more

By addressing the true underlying causes of depression, the functional psychiatry approach can improve long-term outcomes for people with depression, giving them relief from their symptoms without the addition of any negative effects of antidepressants. 

666 Comments

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

      • 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

    • Hi Mimi, I wanted to let you know my grandson’s surgery was Wednesday and he is doing great. Thank you for your prayers.

      • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

      Lee

      • 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 Mimi
      It’s been a long time since I regularly posted on this thread but I still keep up with it. What’s up?
      Zoe

      • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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??

    Thanks..
    Brigitte

    • 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 (www.healthnowmedical.com ). 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: http://dominatedepression.com/how-i-got-off-antidepressants/

      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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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 hell.it 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 antidepressants.com. 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 ? ..is 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 me..it 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 bathroom..so 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.

                  Rachel.

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

                  http://drglenmullen.com/?page_id=7

                  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!!!
                  rachel

              • 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 http://www.survivingantidepressants.com 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. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00117/full. 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.
          Mimi

          • 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.
            Mimi

    • 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.

  17. 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.

      Lee

    • 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,
      Pat

      • 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