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I started Paxil in 2009 due to severe panic attacks which caused me to drop out of college twice. I was wary of medication and pushed it off as long as I could, but I was really at my wits end and relented.


For about the first month & a half to two months on Paxil I felt very good, almost euphoric. Slowly after those initial months, as I look back on it now, Paxil started to eat away at the core of me. Access to true emotions started to get harder and harder, sleep was less deeper dreamless even, sexual desire slowly became little to none, my mind became hazy and foggy.


My mind was in such a haze that I completely forgot what it was like to be normal, to have complete clear cognitive function. I was not even aware of the entire affect Paxil was having on me. I started to taper off in the summer of 2011. Insomnia was the biggest reason. I had an inkling Paxil could be the cause and was willing to try anything to sleep again.


I suffered excruciating withdrawals, brain zaps, IBS like my insides were being turned inside out, headaches like none other, and nausea. This lasted for about a month & a half then the withdrawals started to lessen. I know I should have consulted w my psych about wanting to get off Paxil.


But he himself I'm pretty sure was taking the same meds he was prescribing. He was absolutely flat emotionally and I got the feeling he literally lacked the emotional capacity to care. I hope you can understand why I was reticent.


After a yr off of Paxil I was still having the same side effects I had while on the drug. I had no idea it could still effect me. I was looking at any alternatives, was it my diet, was it emotional trauma (my parents got divorced in 2010) just anything other than Paxil, I mean I got off them right? There is no way they can STILL be affecting me?.


Finally in 2013, the summer after my graduation I did a little research, maybe Paxil could still affect me? I found Paxil progress and a couple other sites that answered that question in the affirmative. So here I am today in 2015 feeling a lot better than I once did a few yrs ago.


I still get side effects from time to time burping, bad gas, IBS, nasal drip, haze and some others. My counselor still thinks I need meds and won't believe paxil was the cause of my depression. It feels good to share this w ppl who understand.

Month and a half taper off of Paxil 25 MG cr in 2011 excruciating withdrawal symptoms

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Danny


Welcome to SA.   We can well understand why you were reticent to consult your psych.   You have found a community that can relate to your experience and empathise with the dilemmas of your situation.


There is lots of info on here about managing symptoms.  Have a read and a look around the site.  If you have specific questions come back here to post them.  This is your ongoing thread for you to seek support, record whats happening for you, share the good times and the could be better times.



Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.


DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017


>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi  Danny , I'm so glad you've landed here.   

The fact that you were able to stop paxil and are here to talk about it 3 years later will provide hope for many still in the cycle of on / off / on / off.


Your cns is still sensitive and you'll need to take care choosing ANY meds. or stimulants you take , e.g. , asthma , pain , cold/flu , nausea , coffee , soft drinks.


As dalsaan suggested , the information on managing symptoms may be useful for managing your "left-overs".


Again , welcome , and happy continued healing.


Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Administrator

Welcome, danny.


You might want to look around our Symptoms and Self-Care forum


Can you describe how your recovery has gone? Any recognizable stages? Did anything in particular help you?

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 year later...

I have been off of Paxil for 4 1/2 years now sans any other antidepressant or pharmaceutical. However, I have developed some self medicating habits that have helped me cope since being off of it. I am now becoming consciously aware of what I am doing (if that makes any sense at all). This feels similar to the unconsciousness I felt while on Paxil. Which I only got off of because I was only aware of the fact I couldn't sleep not because my soul was being smothered or any of the other countless damages I was consciously unaware of (this is extremely terrifying to realize how quickly I lost my self and how normal not being alive felt). I believe this is commonly understood as "the fog." Anyways, as time passes so does some of the cobwebs and I am starting to maintain some level of clarity. I feel an intense craving within me for stimulus whether it be from food, porn, or alcohol. I have nixed the alcohol at the present moment of this post, but I include it because it is relevant to the issue. I have tried to understand this self medication from an emotional perspective that I am trying to find some sort of relief from my brokenness, just trying to find something to make me feel happy. Which I definitely feel has some credence, but I think it has a larger focus like my brain is trying to find some sort of replacement some sort of other dependency, a substitute to the Paxil. I have searched around this website for any other members who have posted on a topic like this, but I couldn't find anything that covered this issue exactly (I may be mistaken). These past few years I have been shooting in the dark just trying to find some way out of this hole whether helpful or not. Unlike a torn mcl I can't go to PT to rehab this injury. I can't go to my general practitioner, my psych or counselor because first off they don't think I've suffered any sort of "damage" and secondly they just want to prescribe more pills to treat my condition. I am eternally grateful for a site like this without it I swear I would be lost! 


I would absolutely love it if a member here could explain what exactly my brain is doing. Is it looking for shortcuts to bring more neurotransmitters to the brain? I feel like my behavior and cravings are just my brains way of cheating instead of doing the arduous work of creating new pathways and neurons. At the moment I am aware of my urges which I feel is half of the battle. Before this awareness I would eat to excess, drink to excess (blackouts), and initially post Paxil I had no existing libido to speak of, but within the past two years my sex drive has slowly returned to me and I am constantly try to find ways I can climax harder and harder. The rush has become something of an obsession or addiction. As of right now the urges and cravings are still present, but I know what I am doing now and I don't have any scientific evidence to back up what I am doing, but I know that I am cheating myself from truly healing. If anyone can better explain this phenomenon to me it would be so much of a help I've never been through something like this and I need someone to shed light on it. I am basically lost, thank you!

Edited by JanCarol
topics merged

Month and a half taper off of Paxil 25 MG cr in 2011 excruciating withdrawal symptoms

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Many addictions are dopamine related.



When it comes to climaxing (No pun intended) there is an  upper maximum to climaxing harder. So  yes, eventually the ability to achieve such will be stymied. I've had several instances prior to getting off of my antidepressants where I simply couldn't stop eating. To the point of vomiting. And  yet still unsatisfied. Sex was for me also unrewarding- I was getting heavily into the BDSM scene for the more extreme aspects of pleasure fulfillment. 


Unfortunately the quest for fulfillment through stimulation is also slated for failure. As I too sought it, but in the end all I was doing was using the stimulating as a means of avoiding soul searching. 


There's nothing wrong with seeking happiness. But one thing I discovered- that all of that wild and crazy kinky sex- in the end- didn't make me happy.  


I'd recommend a non-prescribing therapist for you. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with tools to work on to help you achieve an inner peace.


Am I there yet? No. But I'm working on it. It's not physical therapy- more like mental or spiritual therapy.


Look at all of the rich people out there- folks like the Walton Family or the Koch Brothers- they have billions of dollars available. And you know what? They're not happy. Because they want- more.


Ultimately you choose your happiness. It sounds maudlin- but ultmately- you choose to be happy.  Finding the way to that can be hard.

1)Zoloft- 6/99 to 8/04 2)Escitalopram- 8/04 to 8/10 3)Citalopram 8/10 to 4/14 (C/T), 4)Paxil a week or so, 5)Wellbutrin a week or so, 6)Reinstated Citalopram- 9/14 to 7/15

Before Taper- Celexa/20 mg....Taper Start- 04/21/15- 15mg....05/26/15- 10 mg...06/22/15- 5 mg...07/18/15- 0mg. http://tinyurl.com/qjfoqe9 Ativan/Lorazepam use/taper 10/14 to 2/15- http://tinyurl.com/ljebp84

Baclofen- Intermittent use of from 2008 till 2014. Some use of Promethazine. Some use of Zofran. Clobetasol Propionate- for Lichen Planus. Some Flexeril use. 

Ativan- GABA,A receptor Agonist., Baclofen- GABA,B receptor Agonist., Celexa/Lexapro- Serotonin 5-HT1A Receptor Agonist., Zofran- Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Agonist..Promethazine- Histamine H1-Receptor Antagonist. Flexeril- Serotonin 5HT2a Antagonist.


My self imposed Amino Acid Therapy: Tyrosine 500mg 1xday, Theanine 200 mg 1xday, & Taurine 500 mg 2x day. (All neurotransitter pre-cursors)- seems to have helped me immensely. And of course- eating healthy, including Black Beans for the oligosaccharides for gut health.


The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of trick learned while mastering the Art of Living. - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning.




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The search for the 'why' of anything is a trap:



I would absolutely love it if a member here could explain what exactly my brain is doing.


How do you think any of us here would know how to answer that for you? Even if you get an answer you can believe is THE definitive answer you seek, you will still be left with the task of regulating your own behavior. That is the challenge for all here who, from this moment forward, plan on eschewing psychotropic drugs for the rest of their lives. There are others here who aren't so sure they cannot do without chemical regulation of their emotions and behavior. You kind of fit between these 2 poles, as you say you have craved alcohol and the type of release (or more accurately a chemical 'kick') that comes from heady sex and stuffing yourself full of food. Whatever you think 'your brain' is trying to do TO you, it is still, after all, your responsibility to manage YOURSELF. You are the ultimate captain of your ship and you cannot abdicate responsibility to 'your brain'.


While you are welcome here, this forum is for "Peer support for tapering and withdrawal syndrome" and none here are equipped to answer your questions with anything approaching scientific fact. You'll surely get anecdotal experiences of others you can explore, but we here are struggling with the same issues.


Are you still suffering from withdrawal syndrome this far off drugs? If you are, we have resources here to help you deal with that, you can search the rest of this forum for help. But the answer to your question might better come from therapeutic interventions or another type of peer support site.


As this post is all about an issue regarding 'you' and not about a symptom of withdrawal syndrome in a general way, is is better served in your intro topic, which is here:



What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878


July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.


Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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  • 3 months later...

I feel like my personality is fluctuating as my brain is healing itself like I'm different people at different stages of this healing process. Has anyone noticed this too? My cognition, my faculties like memory (short and long), concentration and ability to feel in a spectrum of emotions have all improved significantly. However, characteristics like motivation and depth of emotion are not the same as they were say a year and a half ago. It's almost like me (my brain) has exchanged certain characteristics to heighten others if that makes sense. I have read on here that the brain when it heals itself is like a skyscraper under repair that certain areas have to be shut down (minimized) so others can be worked on because the brain/skyscraper is still in use. I've been really beating myself up lately because I can't get motivated or feel like I used to even just a year and a half ago. Is it just me or is it possible the brain is just healing itself and my personality is just along for the ride if you get what I'm saying. This could also be other factors of course I feel a bit like I've experienced some ptsd from the paxil and I still have this utter terror that my emotions are not going to be there even though I know they are. I hope that this makes sense to someone.

Month and a half taper off of Paxil 25 MG cr in 2011 excruciating withdrawal symptoms

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  • Moderator Emeritus


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Administrator

Good to hear from you, danny, and good to hear of improvement.


Yes, healing can take a long time.


What other symptoms remain? What were the worst, and how did they resolve?

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi! Thank you, I'm glad I can come here and be welcomed. It's such a relief to know I'm not alone and know that many others struggle just like i do and that I'm not going crazy.


The haziness still remains, but not as severe at times it's like I'm floating in reality like I'm just observing it but not actually physically participating in it. Nasal drip is still going it's like my sinuses are leaky faucets. I never had that problem before Paxil. I still get bad gas, burping and such I've developed constipation as well. My libido has improved, but I wouldn't call it fully healthy. I've struggled with some addiction issues that I'm getting better at controlling. Cravings for alcohol, food,sex, porn have been intense at times I don't know how to explain them it's just my body/brain has an intense want for stimulus, medicating myself with substances and processes? Today as I'm writing this though I can sincerely say I'm light years from where I started. My memory is better I can recall the names of people I met a week ago, I can remember what I ate for breakfast even the breakfast before. My focus is better I can plan out the day and see it through. I can smile and actually mean it. A lot of things are looking up I just have to make sure I stay the course.


What has really helped has been my diet. I've been eating and drinking as best and as clean as I can for my liver and kidneys. They went through a lot just trying to get that Paxil out of my system and my drinking that went along with it didn't help much either. The progress has been gradual I can't say I woke up and felt amazing it's just like an inch here an inch there and I've gotten to this point now where I feel like I'm really close.

Month and a half taper off of Paxil 25 MG cr in 2011 excruciating withdrawal symptoms

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