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zandro - here's my story


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I'm a young adult from Italy (28). My life has never been "OK" since I had problems growing up and with society all connected to my sexuality and shyness that lead to scarfs I never cured until something really traumatic happened in my life and ultimately put me into deep depression that I really didn't know could be possibile. It was an awful period of my life. My main problem was that I never ever talked about my feeling to anyone until I broke and I decided I needed to do something and I started psychotherapy.


It all gradually started to get better but it wasn't enough to make me stop crying every day and find "a reason to live and do something" so I was suggested to tried a SSRI... I wasn't really for it until I reached another break point and I started taking paroxetine (20mg a day) in March 2015. It took a few months to settle and it felt really OK... of course it was also (or mainly?) thanks to my sessions with my psychologist that went on on regular basis until last months where he told me I don't need it anymore (I feel the same).


I really feel that I fixed all of my major psychological issues and I am able to cope with things since I analyzed and discovered everything about my issues and where they come from. I'm really a different person.


I tried to stop paroxetine in September 2015 but

1) it was too soon for me

2) the tapering was too fast (1/2 the does every  7-10 days)

3) seasonal change didn't help


So I had to restart.


Things have of course now changed again (in the better) since I grew up even more. I decided to stop again but this time I want to make it sure it's for good. I changed doctor. I told him that I'm very sensitive to the dosage and I want to make it slow. Even though I'm not sure, reading about the 10% drop per month advice, he wants to do 15mg per day for 2 weeks and then 10mg for a month and then see how it goes.


I read about the exponential drop thing in the other thread and I must say it really describes my last try, the first drops till 5 mg were "ok" meaning that I had withdrawal symptoms like dizziness, nausea and those AWFUL BRIAN ZAPS but I was mentally stable. The worst part came when I went from 5 mg to zero, in a week I went back to basically being blue all the time. We all assume that drops are linear and if we're ok with stupid dosages then we're fine to stop all together. It's clearly not like that.


Anyway today I start this new chapter of my life and I would like this forum to be my added support :)


Finally I want to say that I strongly feel these drugs should really be illegal, they change your brain way too much... I'm really scared of what is coming because I have no idea how I would react this time.

Edited by scallywag
paragraph breaks and highlight drugs, doses, and dates
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Benvenuto zandro! -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)!
Your experience with paroxetine is common. It is difficult to stop taking these drugs. One has to go slowly and carefully.
It's good that your doctor has a little bit of sense about tapering off these drugs -- but only a little bit of sense. ;)
He might learn more by reading a research paper that shows the effect of paroxetine (and other drugs) on serotonin receptors. The paper is linked in the first post. The research looked at 4 SSRI drugs: Paxil (paroxetine), 3 other SSRIs (fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram), and an SNRI, venlafaxine.
You can download the paper itself from this topic: Why taper paper: dose-occupancy curves
Figure 4 shows the data for paroxetine on page 5 of the PDF, noted as page 830 of the journal.  This scientific research paper shows that when you decrease the dose of paroxetine the effect on serotonin receptor transporter occupancy is not linear.  In fact, above 20 mg, the occupancy decrease is gentle; once the dose starts to go below 20 mg, occupancy decreases rapidly.
It seems as if you've already read several topics on our forums. I'll post links to some that are more relevant to your situation:

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly? Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years. Please put your withdrawal history in signature

A suggestion: You may way want to follow this topic so that you get notifications when someone posts in your thread. Click the gray "Follow this topic" button. A dialog box appears: select one of the notify options, then click follow this topic in the dialog box.
Please read the links I've posted and continue to look around the forums. If you have any questions, please post them here in your introduction topic.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hi, thanks!


I will definitely make it sure that after 15mg i won't drop it that fast. There's no way I'm going back to being sad and fearful. It is not a race so even if it takes years I'm OK with it.


Is this forum available on tapatalk?

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm not sure what tapatalk even is!


Hello Zandro, welcome to SA from me, too!


I am happy to hear that your therapy helped you understand and deal with your issues, so important for coming off the meds.  But as you have already experienced, withdrawal can bring up the old thinking and moods.   I've had it happen as well.


These links may be helpful to you:


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

Why taper?



Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor


My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Zandro, welcome to SA. I am glad that you found this site before trying your doctor's tapering method which would lead to disaster but sadly is the instructions they are given by the drug companies, and they don't want you to stop their drugs! 


My doctor said a  similar thing to me so I just collected my prescriptions and did it myself  ;)  


Another link for you, the 3 KIS, keep it simple, keep it slow and keep it stable. Follow these, cut no more than 10% and you will be fine. :) 



**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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Thanks guys is there any proof if people who's been on AD for one year is less prone to ones for several years? Also just curious if there's been cases of people not experiencing any side effect.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's very different from person to person.  Some people who took only one drug for a short time may get no side-effects (but some get awful ones!).  Generally speaking, the less time you've had them in your system the better off you'll be. 


A great book for gaining some background info and research about psych drugs is Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

2023 December - Now on 5 micro-beads Effexor. Minimal symptoms but much more time needed between drops. Symptoms begin to increase.

2024 April - Updosed to 6 microbeads - immediate increase in symptoms for 4 days. Decreased to 5 microbeads.

 'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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