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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.

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.

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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.


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. 

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Join the conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Good luck and love to all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So. So. Angry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            • You are so right about getting better without those medications!!!! Good for you & I agree 100%….DON’T GIVE UP!!!!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • I’m sorry Diane, I was referring to Kuldeep, not your comment, because their comment was a bit odd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Hi Govind,

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

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

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

        Thanks for listening. I hope you respond.

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

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

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

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

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

    7th–22nd day – Full Pill, 50mg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Please ask your doctor if he can help.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  14. Hi,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hi Angie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      I’m wishing you better days ahead.

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

  18. Hello,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings and Peace to You All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Best wishes to you and all who read this. Nina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hey Mimi 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Hi Mimi, hello Evie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Hi Mimi

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

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

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

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

          Keep well Mimi, thinking of you xxxx Evie

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