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BenH: Took SSRI's for 10 years as a teen/young adult. Others like me?

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Hi All,


I am 32 year-old who just passed ten years of being off SSRI's. While I no longer have any desire to return to them, the past decade has been mixed, with a low-grade depression nearly constant. I've worked with multiple therapists, used supplements, etc., and while I feel stable and am basically functional, I also feel like only a shred of my former self.


I'm wondering if there are any others out there like me:


- I took SSRIs for about 10 years, from around age 12-22. 

- My response was positive for about 7 years, but then I developed depression around age 19. 

- I spent about 3 years from 19-22 on major doses of SSRIs trying to tamp down the depression, but nothing consistently worked. 

- I quit cold turkey in 2007. Feelings were first very acute, but then became really muted. 


Of course I worried then as now about permanent damage. The fact of depression emerging while under treatment, and my condition basically becoming treatment-resistant scares the you know what out of me. (Tardive dysphoria?).


Basically, I've been managing the specter of permanent damage since I got off. While I remain optimistic that things are not completely hopeless, I also have to be honest about the fact that I still feel unwhole.  

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I wasn't on them during my youth, but there are many people who have been.  I would recommend looking at Laura Delano's story on RecoveringFromPsychiatry.com .  She was on many anti-depressants through similar ages, is now off, and is doing well and leading a charge against psychiatry. 

Year 0:      Social anxiety, obsessive thoughts, NO depression, NO suicidal ideations

Years 1-2: Ativan (benzo) <1mg as needed, not abused but developed physical dependence

Years 2-3: Paxil (20mg) augmented with Adderall XR (10-20mg) due to withdrawal from Ativan

Years 3-Present: Severe depression, headaches, psychiatric hospitalization, lost job, etc.


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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Ben, welcome to SA. I am so so sorry that you were medicated at such a young age. The brain is still developing and has had to grow around the drugs. That takes some remodelling when the drugs are taken away. I can imagine that withdrawal must have been a very hard time for you. 

You wouldn't have known what a healthy mature brain feels like, and have nothing to compare it to.  Lots of us here want to get back to how we were before drugs because we can remember how we felt but you were so very young. 



Have you had any tests to see if your blood levels are ok? Often a mineral or vitamin can be deficient and make us feel low. Do you take any medications at all? Some of them have depression listed as side effects.  You could still in the late stages of withdrawal, and your brain still healing from the drugs but it is a very good sign that you are getting on with life.  


We call it 'poop out' when drugs actually cause depression after a time.  The proper term is tachyphylaxis. 

'Treatment-resistant depression'  is actually caused by all the drugs, I had this many years ago after many drugs and ECT but it was actually all the drugs that made me very very sick. Your brain is growing and healing. I will find a link to something Rhi, one of our mods, wrote on growing a new brain.




You might find that fish oil helps, and magnesium. Fish oil is very good for the brain, scientists have proved that now. Magnesium is very calming and most people are deficient because of today's farming methods. 





**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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