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Alarming report on persistent side effects of antidepressant drugs


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This is about the study Belaise, 2012 Patient Online Report of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor-Induced Persistent Postwithdrawal Anxiety and Mood Disorders here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3132-belaise-2012-patient-online-report-of-selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitor-induced-persistent-postwithdrawal-anxiety-and-mood-disorders/


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Alarming report on persistent side effects of antidepressant drugs published online

Published on March 21, 2013


An alarming report from patient online websites on persistent side effects of antidepressant drugs has been published in one of the last issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics by investigators from the University of Bologna and North America.


In the present study, a group of investigators analyze online self-reporting from a variety of websites visited by patients who had discontinued selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and were reporting, spontaneously on those internet forums, significant withdrawal symptoms and postwithdrawal psychopathology, that they attributed to discontinuation of their SSRI antidepressants. SSRI withdrawal, like for other classes of CNS depressant type (alcohol, benzodiazepine, barbituric, narcotic, antipsychotic, antidepressant), needs to be divided into two phases: the immediate withdrawal phase consisting of new and rebound symptoms, occurring up to 6 weeks after drug withdrawal, depending on the drug elimination half-life, and the postwithdrawal phase, consisting of tardive receptor supersensitivity disorders, occurring after 6 weeks of drug withdrawal.


Between February 2010 and September 2010, qualitative Google searches of 8 websites including p******.org, ehealthforum.com, depressionforums.org, about.com, medhelp. org, drugLib.com, topix.com and survivingantidepressant.org were carried out in English, using keywords as 'SSRIs withdrawal syndrome', 'Paxil withdrawal', 'SSRIs forums'. Links from the above websites/forums and other related material were also followed. Investigators listed selected online patient self-reporting of physical and psychiatric withdrawal symptoms for each of the 6 SSRIs: paroxetine (n = 3), sertraline (n = 2), citalopram (n = 2), fluoxetine (n = 1), fluvoxamine (n = 1) and escitalopram (n = 3), which they thought reflected best patient self-reporting of SSRI withdrawal symptoms. .... Persistent postwithdrawal disorders, which occur after 6 weeks of drug withdrawal, rarely disappear spontaneously, and are sufficiently severe and disabling to have patients returned to previous drug treatment. When their drug treatment is not restarted, postwithdrawal disorders may last several months to years.


Significant persistent postwithdrawal emergent symptoms noted consist of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety and panic attacks, tardive insomnia, and depressive disorders including major depression and bipolar illness. Anxiety, disturbed mood, depression, mood swings, emotional liability, persistent insomnia, irritability, poor stress tolerance, impaired concentration and impaired memory are the more frequent postwithdrawal symptoms reported online. In accordance with data from controlled trials, online self-reporting shows paroxetine to be the most likely to be associated with withdrawal symptoms, while fluoxetine the least. Online forums also show an association between citalopram withdrawal and a variety of persistent postwithdrawal symptoms, lasting more than 4 months. Fluvoxamine appears to be less prescribed, but still reported online to cause postwithdrawal panic disorder; controlled studies have also found fluvoxamine to be associated with a high frequency of withdrawal symptoms. With regard to minor new SSRI withdrawal symptoms, they are known to occur after drug discontinuation with a variable frequency and duration, from a few hours up to 6 weeks, depending on the SSRI discontinued. Its frequency and severity vary mainly according to the SSRI used. This online study confirms those reported to occur in the literature with the highest frequency: headaches, nausea, loose stools, dizziness, disorientation, inability to concentrate, tinnitus, and unstable gait. Thus, there is concordance between new SSRI withdrawal symptomatology described in scientific papers and those reported online by patients. As already discussed, a recurrent disabling withdrawal symptom described online by patients is 'brain zaps', 'electrical shock sensations', 'shocks and zaps', there were 5 patients included who had these new withdrawal symptoms. Even after a very gradual drug tapering and under careful psychiatrist monitoring, new withdrawal symptoms still occur according to most studies, which is also found in this online patient selfreporting study.


This research found a significantly great number of patients off SSRI, describing the same cluster of withdrawal symptoms for a longer time than expected. Paroxetine withdrawal and postwithdrawal symptoms as reported in the scientific literature were confirmed, as well as most frequent minor new symptoms reported in controlled clinical trials. Reappraisal of tardive persistent postwithdrawal disorders may also provide a better understanding of rebound, recurrence and relapse during long-term antidepressant drug therapy. The leading investigators of the study, Carlotta Belaise, Ph.D, comments: "What impressed me exploring these websites has been that these patients feel deserted from official psychiatry. New research on how to interpret and address this symptomatology is badly needed".


SOURCE Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

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What impressed me exploring these websites has been that these patients feel deserted from official psychiatry. New research on how to interpret and address this symptomatology is badly needed".

Lots of luck with getting research when us crazy internet folks are deemed as not credible. :rolleyes:



Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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That's great that researchers are studying the patient support websites. It's also great that survivingantidepressants.org is one of the primary sources for case hostories.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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I'm glad to see this topic getting more official recognition.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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Are they referring to SSRIs as CNS depressants?


"SSRI withdrawal, like for other classes of CNS depressant type (alcohol, benzodiazepine, barbituric, narcotic, antipsychotic, antidepressant)..."

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • 2 years later...

I think they are saying the serotonin type drugs have a long withdrawal syndrome very much like CNS depressant.  


Just for the heck of it I look at this page 


tho TCA are thought to be CNS depressants SSRI are not.. odd bunch of charts showed driving impairment for some drug but not for serotonin drugs... also not wd for serotonin drugs ... 5-8 day wd it is what it stated... I only wish that were true.  It is old 2004 but this is what came up in the first site on google likely the page most busy people would look at... if searching.

Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 


There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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