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  1. Hi i just thought I’d pop in and give an update about how things are now. i was talking with a friend the other day about what all id gone through with Paxil and I realized, I’m so far from where I was and how much I’d relied on this site as well as npanth’s articles during the very worst of everything. i remember reading success stories and wondering if the mental anguish would ever end for me. I can say, it has and it does. Here is my topic: So, basically I was on Paxil for about 14-15 years. I’m 40 now and have been off Paxil for 6 years. While I was on the drug I still had many symptoms of anxiety, gained a ton of weight and also felt like I was living a sort of half life. I wasn’t fully engaged in my life. Every time I tried getting off Paxil over the years, I’d have terrible symptoms and think that it was just me and I needed Paxil to make me “normal”...! My Dr never ever told me I should taper slowly and over time; I was literally given no advice EVER. When I was about 13 years in to taking the drug I was suddenly beset with a whole new host of symptoms and some quite strong and strange to me. I felt terrible on the inside of myself, something I couldn’t hardly explain. I told my Dr. And he said that Paxil might be no longer working as well and so he upped me from 20mgs to 40 msg. I felt a little better for a bit but still NOT good. I decided to stop the drug cold turkey. i had no idea of how dangerous that was or what would lie ahead. If I’d known, I would have tapered slowly. At first I felt really really good, better than I had in a longgg time, but at about 6 weeks off the drug alllll hell broke loose. I had all the usual symptoms, shaking, flu like symptoms , couldn’t sit still, no motivation, exhausted but major insomnia, heart racing and palpitations, so much pain In my legs, throbbing pain. A tight band around my head that felt like someone was tightening it. I had intrusive thoughts, racing thoughts, panic attacks, jolting awake from when I did sleep, bladder problems, and many more that I’m forgetting I’m sure. Oh! Brain zaps! I had lots of those. forgetfulness and not being able to put in to words what I wanted etc- that was also a thing. 😑 i started googling why I felt like this after stopping Paxil and I found a site called Paxil progress. After that shut down I found this site. at the time it was all I could do to lay in bed and read the stories of others and know that what I was going through would eventually get better. I couldn’t figure out how, or when. I prayed a lot. I had three kids to take care of, so I managed to do what I had to do but often felt very irritated and exhausted, I didn’t know how much longer I could deal with it. Symptoms began breaking up in to a pattern that was called windows and waves. Sometimes a window would be super short and I’d wonder how I could feel so normal for a while only to have it all crash back down around me. Sleep was such an escape when I could get it, but for 2-3 years I had terrible insomnia that lasted hours throughout the night. Those were very frustrating times. I saw bigger improvements when I began sleeping better. Slowly the symptoms dropped off one by one. leg pain was probably one of the first to go i still didn’t know much about how to deal with anxiety and was still fighting that battle when I came across Dr. Claire Weekes book, “hope and help for your nerves” That book was awesome and I highly recommend it and anything else you can read by her. I still have occasional bladder flares (acts like a bladder infection but it isn’t actually) but other than that I don’t think I have one problem that I can say is from Paxil anymore (I don’t think??) lol i think I am finally ready to say, I’m recovered from what Paxil put me through. im still learning how best to cope with anxiety, but I’m doing a pretty good job of it with noooo drugs 😁😁😁 BTW when I was in the process of trying to heal from it all, I used high quality fish oil and B12. I also used trace minerals. I wish you all well. Xo 😘
  2. 33-year-old woman with a family and a 16-year-old child, a family practically destroyedp, nobody understands this here in Spain, much less they can't help me. I need urgent help with withdrawal symptoms for 6 months. I should have come much earlier if I had done it in summer. Perhaps it would have saved me from all this, I know that reincorporation will not be possible since I stopped taking the medication very quickly, not just one but a cocktail that they sent me. 2 months without being informed by the doctor antidepressants for a few months paroxetine 9 years with a reduction of 9 months dividing the rivotril for 9 months reduction in 3 months they took me to my health center but they did not help me detoxify myself from it pill into quarters and I had to return due to withdrawal syndrome now I have the same problem but it is aggravated by having stopped fluoxetine from 10 to 5 mg in 2 months and I stopped without realizing it and without knowing how dangerous it could be, I killed myself and now I'm very scared I want to know if there is any possibility possibility of saving myself from this since I can practically eat nothing or live with all the serious symptoms. I had adverse symptoms with fluoxetine that I took for 3 years and it is with which I have the problem, such as food allergies, liver disorders, since I did liver tests and it came out. altered but I left it for 6 months and then came back last time they sent me brintellix 5 mg two months ago but without realizing the months passed and I already had the withdrawal syndrome and it was hurting me. Is there any possibility of reintroducing that medication in liquid form if I Fluoxetine will no longer work please I need to save myself from this in some way and get ahead help my case is the most extreme from what I see since it is very serious and people who are serious and end up saving themselves from all this poison I know that the adverse effects can be serious, but I don't care. I would get the fluid from an emergency psychiatrist. If this psychiatrist prescribed it, it would take longer.
  3. Thank god for a site like this, I feel like I have been going crazy for the last few years . I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet. I was put on Paxil when I was a teenager as my doctor thought it would help me get through some difficult years, counseling would of been a much better approach. I was sexually abused as a child but never told anybody so when I was a teenager I dealt with this by using recreational drugs to ease the pain . My parents thought it would be a quick fix being on an antidepressant to help me out. I used Paxil for years upping and lowering my dose from 20mg to 50mg as needed , thinking that I had to take them because I had a chemical imbalance . I never thought once coming of them or did I know the bad effects they can do to you. Only up until I had my last child three years ago everything changed. I was taking only 30mg of Paxil which my psychiatrist told me it would be fine for the baby . I had to have an emergency cesarean and had complications. I got a servers infection and that brought on my first panic attack and severe aniexty. My baby was going withdrawal from Paxil shaking and wouldn't sleep . The nurses was giving me strong painkillers that I think was making me worse , after 2 weeks in the maternity hospital I was then put in a mothers and baby unit at mental hospital . I only lasted a day as didn't won't to harm myself or my child , I just wanted this aniexty to stop ,I was constantly worrying and looking at it now my hormones would have been all over the place. I upped my medication to highest dose under my psychiatrist advice. I felt better in a few weeks. A year later I thought I was doing fine and lowered my dose and I crashed, couldn't eat waves of aniexty , agitation, dizziness, insomnia ,derealization and night sweats the list goes on. My psychiatrist then put me on Seraquel at night which seemed to work, but I was getting up in the middle of the night eating like crazy and then couldn't get up in the morning. So I stopped taking the 25mg of Seraquel. Back to my psychiatrist I went and he told me that he thought it would be a good idea to change to another antidepressant, his chose was Cymbalta and he wanted me to tapper my Paxil in 5 days and 3 days with nothing then start with 30mg of Cymbalta for 1 week 60mg for two weeks then 90mg for 2 weeks. I crashed very bad into my 2nd week in Cymbalta and went to see my psychiatrist again, who told me its my aniexty and depression coming back, which now I know is bullsh*t. I think I was having withdrawals from the Paxil . I went to a new psychiatrist who told me it was Cymbalta that was doing it to me and tapered me off Cymbalta again in a week and started me at 50mg of Zoloft for 3 days 75mg 3 days and now 100mg as well as still taking my 50mg of Seraquel. I feel like I won't to come off all of this and I know my family and friends aren't going to support me, as they don't understand. I halved my dose of Seraquel to 25mg 4 nights ago and my waves of aniexty are getting worse . I would love meet people on this site who can help me out with this. I have two beautiful children that are my life and I just want to be normal again and I think I would be better if a gave my brain a chance to heal itself but I'm very scared.
  4. Should I reinstate , my husband is most affected by my withdrawal symptoms ! Hello Members I have read many posts , still when someone address your concern it gives you confidence . Based on my signature you can see I am surviving my complete taper off from September’22 onwards . I am suffering anger spirals once a week or once in 2 weeks . As per my partner , it’s almost every other day . He feels like my withdrawal symptoms are too heavy for him to handle . I am almost 2.5 months into this . Is reinstating my only option ? To bring harmony in my house hold ? This sounds like a. private matter , so I am sorry if it sounds like I am washing dirty linen in public . But I really need someone to show me some light on this . Love and light S
  5. damaged astrocytes by paroxetine causing those symptoms, need some insights and discussion Hello people, I came to some insights that i want to discuss. I hope this thread doesn't gets to be deleted. I know here is everything called withdrawal and you will heal (i don't blame that) I just want to dive deeper into the topic. Because it's not as simple as 'withdrawal' there is an underlying pathology. I took Paroxetine for <year but i'm severe disabled by the reinstatement. I'm left with severe crippling symptoms. - i can't barely walk from the neuropathy (burning/stinging/biting/freezing lower legs, feet --> got very worse when walking or standing - heavy pains (like fibro) 8-10 level - heavy nerve pains all over 8-10 level - sometimes feel poured over with gasoline and lit on fire - housebound / bedridden 70% / 30% - can't stand cold/wind/breeze, it feels like 'pain' on the skin - no quality of life left, it's only pain and suffering, i can't even vacuum my house and have trouble preparing food to eat. Luckily my family helps me - obsessive suicidal thoughts chemically induced i couldn't relative them, it was very hard to not give in but finally it dissapeared after 14 months, Thank God. So mentally i'm okay now but i'm left with a disabled body. (but now i understand why the manufacturer had to pay 8billion in lawsuits for suicides) - I feel completely toxic with a burning body when i wake up every morning and stays throughout the day, like there is flowing acid trough my veins. Like many people describe on this website caused by their antidepressant and i have no quality of life left, like many on this website. - lost my job, social contacts, my marriage, hobby's etc. over time because i can't do anything. Of course i have doubted about 'somatic symptoms' caused by anxiety etc. in the past But i have no doubt that it's not a mental health problem, impossible. I also did a pharmacogenetic test that stated my body can't properly metabolise psych drugs and pain meds. (later more about that). + the biggest pharmaceutical lawsuit in the US history was against the manufacturer GSK because of the drug Paroxetine, they paid 8 billion$ in fines (biggest fine ever) for fraudulently marketing this drug, withholding safety data and manipulating safety tests. This drug has made many many victims and i found them all around the web and a lot are not even alive anymore. Many people are completely damaged and crippled like me. Young and old. Many took their own lives because of the suffering. Simple google searches will acknowledge this. Mental health problems can cause a variety of heavy symptoms but this suffering, severity and strange behaviour of these symptoms is indescribable and unbearable as many on this website will acknowledge. Impossible. So now my story: I'm 20 months out and my walking only got worse over the months. My neuropathy is the most disabling problem so i was convinced i had Small Fiber Neuropathy because of the biting/stinging/burning/freezing/heavy pains caused by Paroxetine. I did the tests but they where negative - EMG - Small Fiber Skin biopsy I couldn't believe it because i feel so damaged and everything 'physically' looks perfectly fine. (test-wise) Both where ok... So i researched further and further and stumbled upon a scientific article at the scientific and legit NCBI database with the title: 'Antidepressants, sertraline and paroxetine, increase calcium influx and induce mitochondrial damage-mediated apoptosis of astrocytes' https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5777788/?fbclid=IwAR1avrYNU1ESE86V9_UZHCHSMl4C8C7LRFwqz894GhWXoK_9Ni71avGkr2k It's a difficult read for a simple person, but doctors don't have the time or don't want to read into things i bring with me so i researched myself. The first alinea of the article states: After screening 11 different antidepressants, we found that sertraline and paroxetine induced astrocyte apoptosis. We also revealed that sertraline and paroxetine induced mitochondrial damage, ROS generation (reactive oxygen species), and astrocyte apoptosis with elevation of cleaved-caspase 3 and cleaved-PARP levels. Ultimately, we validated these mechanisms in primary cultured astrocytes and neuron cells and obtained consistent results. These results suggest that sertraline and paroxetine cause astrocyte dysfunction, and this impairment may be involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. So what the heck are astrocytes then? ASTROCYTES: The most common cell type in the brain is a special type known as the astrocyte. These star-shaped cells play an important role in the survival of nerve tissue as they are among the few nerve cells that can proliferate. Cell-to-cell communication is achieved through neurotransmitters, and the function of neurotransmitters is highly dependent on the proper functioning of astrocytes ASTROCYTE APOPTOSIS: The process of cell death We found that sertraline and paroxetine, two SSRIs, reduced CTX TNA2 astrocyte viability but not the other nine commonly used antidepressants, which include three SSRIs, one SNRI, two TCAs, one TeCA, one MAOI, and one SARI. Sertraline and paroxetine initiated a complex response of astrocyte apoptosis. It is shown that calcium overload induced mitochondrial dysfunction, which eventually leads to the activation of an intrinsic apoptotic pathway Consistent results of sertraline- and paroxetine-induced cell death and mitochondrial dysfunction were also observed in primary astrocytes. In addition, our results showed that sertraline and paroxetine caused mitochondrial hyperpolarization at 3 h. Two peaks respectively represent populations of hyperpolarization and hypopolarization of the MMP. This phenomenon indicated that astrocyte mitochondria were damaged after mitochondrial hyperpolarization, and this may possibly due to calcium overload. other source: Healthy astrocytes have neuroprotective properties, but in order to function, these cells must be able to properly produce and process the neurotransmitter glutamate. But when cells have a toxic amount of glutamate, which kills neural cells, it leads to a condition called excitotoxicity. In excitotoxicity, nerve cells suffer damage or death when the levels of otherwise necessary and safe neurotransmitters such as glutamate, which activate neurons, over-stimulate receptors. This can burn the connected cells and damage the brain. So if i understand the article well, this drug caused a major calcium wave in my system (i did a re-instatement too, that completely crippled me). This calcium rise caused the trouble. An intracellular calcium rise is thought to play a primary role in initiating programmed cel death of neurons and astrocytes. SO WHAT IS CAUSING MY PROBLEM THEN... I always thought i had severe neuropathy, it must be tissue damage because i can't walk and i'm so disabled by it. But the tests didn't acknowledge it. Now this article makes clear that simply said: The drug caused a calcium wave that damaged Astrocytes in the brain, the star formed cells that are necessary for the proper working of my neurotransmitters. The astrocyte removes the neurotransmitter glutamate from the synapse through high-affinity surface transporters, So without these proper working astrocytes my neurotransmitters don't do what they have to do. So my neuropathy, pain etc is most likely caused by a neurotransmitter problem. Same with other symptoms that people have like insomnia, depression, anxiety it's all caused by neurotransmitter disruption. (In this case i can only say this for Paroxetine and Sertraline, because the study checked all 11 and it only showed these mechanisms in these 2 AD's the rest works different). The neuropathy is so hellish, but it's no tissue neuropathy but brain (damage) neuropathy... that explains a lot, problem is, i can't do anything with it. I also can't get a proper diagnosis... They can't measure neurotransmitters, astrocytes etc. So the only thing i hear from specialists is 'you are fine Mr no neuropathy' I don't know a doctor that wants to read or is specialised in this. Basic neurologists wont acknowledge this. What i don't understand because these NCBI articles are written 'for doctors by doctors'... But yes i can imagine it's difficult for them if they can't find anything wrong to believe such story, especially 'when this person was on an antidepressant' and a bit anxious in the past. So that makes it a lonely road, suffering unacceptably every single second of the day without help or acknowledgement. Just biting trough the indescribable pains. My pain levels are always 8-10. another sourch: Abnormal neuronal calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis has been implicated in numerous diseases of the nervous system. The pathogenesis of two increasingly common disorders of the peripheral nervous system, namely neuropathic pain and diabetic polyneuropathy, has been associated with aberrant Ca2+ channel expression and function. Neuropathic pain has a huge impact on quality of life and aberrant Ca2+ channel physiology and expression has been implicated in a number of pain states. If i look on google 'can astrocytes heal': Astrocytes are able to regenerate in response to CNS injury, and glial regeneration and repair are essential for long-term homeostasis and for complete recovery of intgerated functions. So yeah, sounds promising but i'm not that convinced if i see my physical state and neuropathy intensity. It's also a simple 'google' search and not based on (neuro)toxictity. It's also a problem no doctor wants to read into this subject at all. Time will tell. Just interested to discuss this with more people instead of ruminating about it on my own. Tips, Ideas, insights, all welcome. Best wishes. *I also have to state that i did a pharmacogenetic test where they test how your genes respond on pharmaceutical drugs DNA-testing. Outcome was, CYP2D6 gene is not properly metabolising, this gene is the most important gene to metabolise these drugs (SSRI, antipsychotics, pain meds) they control that the body can get rid of it. So that didn't happen in my case and i reached toxic levels i guess... Also GSTM1 gene is 'Poor Metabolising NULL/NULL' This gene is 'glutathion S-transferase (GST) which play a role in the detoxification of foreign body-substances'. i wish i could find a doctor educated in this subject.... I wish they read into it and connected the dots, so they give me at least a diagnosis for disability pay etc. It's not always as easy as 'not visible, so it's not'
  6. Link to BrassMonkey's Intro topic Brassmonkey- A Success Story To some people six and a half years is a very long time to take to accomplish a goal. For me it’s been one tenth of a lifetime, one third of the time I was actively taking psych drugs and one quarter of the total time I was on Paxil. Given where I started six and a half years ago and where I am now I would gladly do it all over again if it meant regaining my life in the manner that I have. Six and a half years seems like a long time, but I can so clearly remember the night I made the decision to “do something about it” I can relive it moment by moment. At the time I couldn’t remember anything for more than a couple of seconds which makes this even more amazing. It’s been 24 some years now since I started taking Paxil. At the time I was in what I though of as a very rough place. I was in an incredibly stressful job, suffering constant pain as the result of several medical procedures and had developed some really bad anger issues. Anger was a learned response I acquired growing up, but this was getting out of hand. Counseling and learning coping techniques would have been the better course of action, but there was this new “wonder drug” on the market that would cure the ”chemical imbalance” that was causing me to lash out in such a destructive manner. And it was indeed a wonder drug. I could feel the difference just a few hours after taking the first dose. My life calmed down and things were much better for many, many years. Then one day I noticed that it wasn’t as effective as it once had been. Talking it over with my doctor we decided to up my dose. Things went back to being fine, almost. During that time there were some big changes that took place in my life. My wife and I had made some good investments and savings and were able to retire early. We went traveling and such and enjoyed life. Until one day the stock marked crashed and we lost pretty much everything. Having to come out of retirement and find a job was a very upsetting experience to say the least. Making it through the next decade plus some was quite a challenge. At first, I was very glad for the numbness that the Paxil was causing. After a while I again noticed that it was not working as well as it should, and we again upped the dose. This put me at 40mgai. It didn’t do much good. The anhedonia was taking over big time, short term memory was going away, and I hurt constantly. I’ve always enjoyed my alcohol and I started enjoying it more and more. In my mind it was helping with the physical pain and it did help distract from the day to day survival conditions we were facing. But it also was getting out of control and I started to spiral down on every front. Yes, you have to hit rock bottom before you decide to do anything about it, and I did. It finally sunk in one night just how bad I had let things become and I knew I had to do something about it. Next stop AA. But there was much more involved than the alcohol. I knew that the Paxil was not working anymore and was very sure that my doctors recommendation to “just stop taking it” was wrong. It took several weeks of researching to learn that “the drug was my problem” and I had to get off it. There was a lot of conflicting information on line and it was quite a slog getting through it. One day I happened on a site called PaxilProgress and my life changed. PaxilProgress or as I often refer to it now “Prior Place” seemed to know what they were talking about. They had reference material and a taper protocol that made sense and would work with you and give support as you worked your way off of the drug. The stories of what some of the people were going through scared the heck out of me though. I envisioned myself sitting in a chair rocking back and forth for months chanting “it’s only withdrawal, it’s only withdrawal”. My lovely wife told me, “if that’s the way it’s going to be, then we will make it through it”. I liked their idea of doing a 10% taper every four to six weeks, but it seemed to me that everyone that was trying it got hit hard with symptoms after each drop. I was struck with the idea of spreading the drop over four successive weeks and rounding it out with a hold to try and lessen the symptoms. I decided to sneak up on each 10% over several weeks and see what happened. This was later dubbed the Brassmonkey Slide Method by one of the other members. Not a whole lot happened. It was almost two and a half years of steady tapering before I noticed that things were starting to change. A year and a half after that, around the four-year mark I knew I was making progress, and the final year and a half was marked with steady improvements. Five and a half years after I started I was able to make the final taper to “0”. In the middle of all this my Prior Place life line was suddenly pulled out of my hands. I had found another site, SurvivingAntidepressants,org during a previous closure of Prior Place and renewed my account. The atmosphere was a bit different, but much more like home. The knowledge and support here has been a major key to my successful taper and recovery. The recovery story doesn’t stop at reaching “0”. In fact, it’s only beginning. Once the drugs have totally left the body it can actually start the real job of recovery. That’s why we like to wait a year before declaring a success story, and that year is up as of April 15, 2018. I’ve glossed over the meat of the taper because there is just too much to write about. The things that happened, what I learned, coping strategies and much more. Most fo which is already in my introduction thread. This post is to declare that I have succeeded in my quest to get off Paxil. I am going to start a new journal thread to talk about the details. For those who have been with me since the beginning, I want to thank you for your support and companionship during a long hard journey. Some of you have long since finished and have moved on, while others are close on my heels and will be writing your Success Stories soon. There are too many of you to name names, but each and every one of you are very dear to my heart. Those of you who have joined along the path; even though it will be rough and bumpy along the way the end destination is so worth it. Keep at it and you will make it. Your company has been invaluable. For all new ones who are joining each day: it’s very scary, rough, and painful journey but it is the only path there is to follow. In just a few short years you will all be writing your own Success Stories too, and I can’t wait to read them. I have worked with many thousands of members over the time I’ve been tapering and have yet to find one who did not have the strength, once they truly set their mind to the task, to be able to see it through to a successful conclusion. (((((((((((((((((((((HUGS TO ALL))))))))))))))))))))))) Brassmonkey
  7. Hello Everyone, Let me introduce myself. You can call me Sebas (38), i'm from Amsterdam. Hope my English is okay. I was diagnosed with anxiety issues around 2004 and then started using Seroxat, I believe it's called Paxil in the US. I'm aware by now of all the problems this medicine is causing. In other words, i've read a lot, and i mean A LOT about it. I can almost graduate about the subject After several attempts to stop, I found out in 2015 or 2016 about the 5-10% reduction rule. That helped me from 20 mg (10 ml) tot 12 mg (6 ml) in about 1,5 years (estimated). I'm using the fluid suspension and some squirts for accurate dosage. From 6 ml down to 5,8 took me 5 weeks to feel allright, then i stabilized for a week and went back down from 5,8 tot 5,6. All the usual withdrawal symptoms occur during tapering periods such as illness, nerve system problems, visual, fatigue, stomache cramps and also i'm countering eye circles. Since the last dosage (from 5,8 tot 5,6) i've been feeling bad for 9 weeks already. Especially my stomache and my energy. So i'm now wondering what to do, wait (and wait...), go back to 5,8, go back to 6,0 of try to switch to another AD. Cause this one is really @#$%&* mainly cause of the fast half-life period. I've read about a cross tapering method. I asked my doktor for a psychiatric consult about it. Or...could it be my body (and mind) is telling me this dose is beneath the minimum that i just need for my personal wellbeing. I'm familiair with magnesium, omega 3/fish oil and multi vitamin for support. I'm looking forward fto exchanging some knowledge. Bye Sebas
  8. Hi all. I’m thankful I came across this group. Wow - where to begin... well, at age 7 I was given Paxil and 20 years later I am still on it. Throughout the 20 years I have tried ever SSRI and SNRI on the planet. I was given Valium and after five years by the grace of God somehow tapered off it myself. In the past 2 years I was put on effexor, pristiq, viibryd, lexapro, celexa, prozac, and landed back on 20mg Paxil. Four months ago I lowered by dosage to 15mg and it has been pure hell. Suicidal thoughts which I have never had, super strange thoughts, terror like I cannot explain. Reading your success stories on here gives me hope. How long should I hold at 15mg before continuing to do a 5-10% taper? How did you all manage to work during this time? With being put on these drugs at such a young age — is it possible to heal, or am I permanently damaged? How do you let go of your anger regarding this situation. I didn’t choose to take these meds. Much love, Sunflower414
  9. Took a lot of antidepressants during 2015 for anxiety. The last one was paroxetine, which induced a hypomania, according to doc (was more like an extreme irritability).After that, I started my treatment for "bipolar 2" with lots of medication failures due to extreme side effects (I'm too sensitive to this kind of drug) . The only drug my body kind of "accepted" was quetiapine xr 50 mg.In april 2021 doc made a mistake and gave me the wrong pills with a dosage of 300mg! Started having adrenaline rushes and heart issues. The pills (at least in my country) look the same! I realized only after 17 days, went back to 50 mg but developed what I recently discovered was a severe 3 months withdrawal. The doctor, to "manage" the withdrawal (although he never said was withdrawal, he said it was anxiety and panic), put me on 25mg of amisulpride, 1.25mg of olanzapine and 1mg of clonazepam (couldn't tolerate more than these). After 1 month of clonazepam, doc started a "taper" reducing 1 drop per week (in my country, clonazepam has this liquid formulation). After I completely stopped the clonazepam I entered on a terrible withdrawal, the doctor said it was normal and suggested increasing olanzapine to 2.5 mg. Took only one week and went down to 1.25mg again.Found another doc who said I'm not bipolar and probably have some anger issues and general anxiety, but manageable through therapy. He said the meds made all the bad stuff I've been feeling during the last 6 years. Proposed to taper all meds during a long time, but since I'm too bad (feeling very tired) and the last drug was olanzapine (which he told me is a terrible and dangerous drug) and is in the same class as the others, he proposed try to be a "little" fast (not so little cuts every 4 weeks) because he thought my tiredness was from that. Went from 1.25mg (1/2 a pill) to 0.9325mg (3/8th a pill) and it was good. Then went from 0.9325mg to 0.625mg (1/4th a pill) and had only some tremors during 3 hours on two days. When I went from 0.625mg to 0.3125mg(1/8th a pill) I felt very bad for two days with extreme anxiety, insomnia and nausea, then I started slowly improving. Now it's one and a half weeks past and I feel a bit tired and have some chest pressure. Doc said to wait two months to make any changes in medications. So, what's next? Since I'm at this low dosage should I taper more? At what dosage should I jump off from olanzapine? I bought a digital scale and the 1/8th a pill weighs 12mg. So I can do the 10% rule for 3 months until I hit the 9 mg of pill weight (0,2344 a dosage). After that the decrements will be 1mg, more than 10%. In this extreme case is it acceptable?
  10. Hello, I am 24 years old, male and have suffered from anxiety disorder since childhood. The slightest excitement makes me nauseous, causing me to vomit. Over time it got worse and worse until I decided at 18 that I would start therapy. I did this for 3 years, unfortunately without success. At 23 (late 2019) I started taking Paroxetine (20 mg) because I had extreme university stress and was about to graduate. Within a few weeks I was feeling fabulous. The anxiety and nausea were just gone. I found my first job, my first girlfriend, and was able to do things I had never done before. I also had no side effects whatsoever. Anyway, I didn't really notice any changes. The side effects that occurred when I started paroxetine are gone (numb penis). However, I decided to stop paroxetine again and was hoping that I could go on without medication. Within 2-3 weeks, I stopped paroxetine. That was December 2020, however, within a few days I started to suffer of premature ejaculation. But after a few weeks, this side effect was gone. I was then perfectly fine without the drug for the next 6 months. Until I panicked again. So I took paroxetine again. But this time 10 mg. I took this for 2 months and slowly stopped. From 10 mg to 5 mg and then completely stopped after 2 weeks. The reason I didn't want to take paroxetine anymore was that I couldn't have sex. It would have been my first time, however, I had problems to get and hold an erection. Before taking this med, I was kind of hypersexual and aroused easily. I didn't have this problem when I took paroxetine from 2019-2020. The last time I took paroxetine was 08-28-2021. As the last withdrawal, I suffer from premature ejaculation. But it is still difficult to get and hold an erection. I also have the feeling that it actually got worse when I stopped. Also the desire to cuddle is not there. I feel very little love. Something like anhedonia? To me it sounds like PSSD. I don't know what to do. I took paroxetine for 1 year and did not have such problems. And these 2 months have destroyed my brain. I should have never taken the drug a second time. Unfortunately, I was never aware of the side effects. I didn't know that side effects could continue after stopping.
  11. Firstly hi, i wish someone can guide me, may 2021 i started on paxil 10 mg then 20 mg to the end of mars then i switched to zolof 50 mg then 25 mg but it gave me insomnia and lost my appetite so i switched to lexapro 5mg after 7 weeks on zoloft.. Lexapro always made me lose my appetite so i just stopped then i got into withdrawal so i used prozac to get rid of them after one week like this : one week 5 mg prozac One week 2.5 mg One week 1.25 It got rid off dizziness and zaps but nauaea it still there after i finished prozac ( when i was on it i didnt have much appetite too ) Its 10 days ago So what should i do now plz help me Tough it out ? For how long ? Or reinstate lex 2.5 mg but it will make me lose my appetite anyways Can i taper if i wasnt stable on it and still give me side effects ? Plz help and opinions and thanks..
  12. I recently got pregnant and went from 10mg paxil to 5mg in one week and then completely stopped. I then had a miscarriage (about 2 months ago) and am having severe withdrawal symptoms. Would it be safe to go back on a low dose of paxil and try to taper off properly, or is it too late? I am miserable! Thanks in advance. Update as of March 29, 2017: Link to post below
  13. Been on and off antidepressants for the last ten years. Prescribed amiltriptalian 2012 to relief arthritis pain. CT as requested by surgeon pre operation 2013.. PTSD diagnosed by dr after surgery prescribed Dosulapin 2013. Was swapped to another antidepressant after a couple of years think it was duloxetine. CT. Cant remember year swapped to gaberpectin to help with OA!!! CTed. Eventually another antidepressant after a couple of years think it was fluroxetine?? No taper. Tried to come of but didn't understand taper diagnosed paroxetine 2019 30mg also given amiltriptalian to help with sleep again but luckily didn't use it. Been reducing current meds since 2021. Now doing ten percent taper every 4 weeks. Ups and downs!!!! use breathing teckniques, mindfullness,graditude diary,crafting , nature, essential oils, baths, books,support services such as berevement phone line, samartians, therapy of NHS for free or cheep charity counsellors but essentially do it all alone, no support from family limited support from friends
  14. hi,all been on &off antidepressants for 20 yrs but never felt this crummy.since stopping Paroxetine have had flu-like symptoms ,then fatigue loss of appetite,taste changes,eye problems(excessive blinking actually started while on it,that's why I quit).depression,anxiety,just miserable,wondering if I should reinstate or just try & hang in there.I was on it about 6 mos.stopped May 4 after about 7 wk taper.thanks for any suggestions
  15. Hi everyone! First of all, English is not my native tongue and this is the first post I have ever written on a forum, so please bear with me. Writing this success story and sharing it with you have been a dream of mine for a long time. I never thought I would reach this milestone. I have mixed feelings posting this, as I know some of you might find it discouraging. If you are new to withdrawal, please stop reading here. This is a post for those of you who have been suffering badly for years and need proof that it's possible to recover even after a very long time. There is a brief summary in the end of this post if you can't or don't want to read the whole story. I also listed my withdrawal symptoms. Background I was on Paxil for 8,5 years (15-30 mg) and I made several quick tapers and CTs from low doses during the years. I took my last dose 11 years ago after a fairly slow taper (15 months) I started Paxil when I was 19 after having struggled with anxiety/emotional crisis for a few months. I was very skeptical of psychiatric drugs but my parents wanted me to try and I eventually got desperate enough to give in. I could just quit if it didn't help, couldn't I? I'm not going to describe in detail the long, sad and all too familiar story of what happened next. I tried to quit after five months, developed a delayed wd with intrusive thoughts and severe anxiety, and was told I was close to becoming psychotic. I gave up after half a year of the worst suffering I had ever experienced, and reinstated. I didn't believe in the broken brain-myth but I assumed my emotional problems must be far worse than I first thought and that I needed to solve those problems before coming off. A few years later I tried and failed again, same story but this time I also had severe physical symptoms. And then, after I had lost hope about myself and thinking I would be dead by now without the pills, I raised the dose from 20 mg to 30 mg, became euphoric and saw myself change into a new, much ”happier” person. I deteriorated quickly the following years, and spent more and more of my time in bed with muscle weakness and pain. I started having internal bleedings in my hands that no one could explain. I was somehow too drugged to really understand how serious my symptoms were. By now I had a decent list of ”psychiatric disorders” and had been on disability for years. I was considered a chronic case that should medicate for life, something I refused to accept. I would probably have kept deteriorating and died if I hadn't come across a forum for people struggling to quit prescription drugs. I finally understood what had happened to me. I was in the middle of my third serious attempt to quit, so I just continued to taper. I thought I would be ok if I just did a slow enough taper. I wasn't. Withdrawal hell I can go on and on and list my symptoms (see end of post) but as you all know, these lists don't do justice to the suffering. At 5 mg I started vomiting and it didn't stop. My main struggle during the following 16 months was to keep myself alive, physically. I was underweight and dehydrated, more or less completely bedridden, so nauseous and anxious that I lived minute by minute. Me and my fiancée had no support except the forum I found. I was too ill to write myself, but my fiancée did. (Mixter, if you are reading this: I honestly don't know if I would have made it without your knowledge and support. I am forever grateful.) Some people say that it's terrifying not knowing when the wd torture will end, and I agree. But the worst part for me was that I had lost hope that I could live without Paxil. I was afraid that even if I made it through the withdrawal I would still be tormented by my own mind. I wanted to live so badly, and I was afraid that I would eventually have to end my life to end the suffering. I remember sitting in my bed rocking back and forth and vomiting, or crawling around on the floor with an unbearable sense of impending doom, convinced I would have to die. The only reason I didn't raise the dose again when the wd got really bad was that my fiancée threatened to leave me if I did and I didn't want to live without her. The worst symptom I had is difficult to explain, and makes no sense to me today. I developed a severe phobia towards people, also my fiancée. I missed her so much but I couldn't handle being in the same room. I longed for people, but their presence triggered intense feelings of terror, unlike anything I had ever experienced. The intrusive thoughts, "ocd" and my extreme sensory sensitivity made it worse, but cannot completely explain the terror I felt. I was afraid that this was me without the drug and that I would have to live the rest of my life in complete isolation. This is hard for me to write about and I still have very little hope that anyone will understand what it was like to live with this intense terror for years. Then, about 11 months after my last dose, I had a few better weeks. I was still bedridden and the majority of my symptoms had not improved, but I remember being able to listen to music and eating solid food. I felt how reality and my personality was coming back, and I realised the world around me looked and felt completely different off Paxil. I started to feel glimmers of hope. Shortly after, my fiancée left me. I lost the person I loved the most, I lost my dog, I lost my home. I left without my belongings, too ill to pack, and spent the following nightmarish three years in my parents small guest room in the other end of the country, still far too ill to take care of myself. I was no longer in acute withdrawal, but many symptoms had not improved. I had stopped vomiting but the muscle weakness was still so severe that I couldn't sit up at a table and eat. I struggled with extreme sensory sensitivity, especially movements. I had to eat with my eyes closed as it was unbearable to see my hands move. I was nauseous, paranoid and hallucinating. 1,5 years off I estimated that I had about 0,2 % of my normal physical and cognitive abilities, judged from what I could and couldn't do compared to before Paxil. (automatic functions like heartbeats, breathing and so on not included.) Recovery I have to say that I saw only minor improvements the first years. 2,5 years after my last dose I remember thinking that I now had 2% of my physical and cognitive abilities, which after all, I kept telling myself, was an improvement with far more than 100% since the year before. The years went by. I never really had any windows. My improvements were very gradual, so slow that I had to wait at least six month before I felt certain that there had been an improvement at all. There are exceptions to this rule. A few symptoms cleared up rapidly and more or less completely. The symptom I feared the most, the horrible intrusive thoughts that I suffered the first times I tried to quit, was ironically one of the first symptoms to disappear. After about 3 years, I was able to be in the same room as another human being without fear. Most symptoms improved slightly, became worse again, got better, became worse again, until one day they didn't get as bad as before. And so on. The turning point It's hard to say when exactly I reached the point where I felt that I wouldn't have to kill myself even if I didn't continue to improve, but I believe it was in 2014, five years after my last dose. I would say I literally lived minute by minute during the first three of those five years, with few exceptions. I don't understand today how it was possible for me to live through that time but somehow it was. I wish I could say that I was brave and optimistic, but I wasn't. I was scared and alone. The thing I had that saved me was that I really wanted to live, and that I was lucky enough not to experience depression. I'm also a person with a lot of grit and with a somewhat autistic ability to thrive in complete solitude which I believe saved my sanity (well, whatever was left) those years when I was too ill to socialise with anyone. I remember thinking that I wished I could have been sentenced to five or ten years in prison instead, just to know that I would be free one day. I no longer feel that way. Addiction Most people don't experience this, but some of us do and I think it's important to talk about. I spent a lot of my time in recovery longing back to my Paxil-years. My life on Paxil may have been miserable in many ways‚ with self harm (I occasionally cut myself), aggression and lack of judgement, but I enjoyed being euphoric. Coming back to reality and getting used to having normal feelings again was sometimes as hard as managing the physical torture. I felt as if I had lost the beautiful world I had lived in, that I had thought was reality, and now was forced to live in a world that I recognised from growing up but now longer belonged to. Everything looked and felt so different, and I felt like a complete stranger here. I longed ”home” and had strong cravings at times and the cravings triggered some of my withdrawal symptoms, and that continued to be a big and somewhat embarrassing problem for several years. (The cravings are not gone but they are much less frekvent now) I wasn't consciously abusing Paxil, but I had built my whole life as an adult on a drug and created a fantasy-world where I could enjoy things I used to find boring, like socialising, or watching series, or other perfectly normal activities that just isn't my thing. Where I no longer felt alienated and different, where I no longer hated society, where I either was euphoric from increasing the dose, or hypomanic after tapering, and as soon as either the euphoria or hypomania was wearing off I just increased or decreased the dose, fooling myself than I was trying to quit when I was no longer even trying. The hardest part of going through withdrawal was that I knew deep down that my fantasy-world would fall apart, and it turned out I wasn't really ready to let go. I just wanted back, desperately. I had to be dragged out against my will until I was completely off Paxil and could think more clearly. I owe my life to my ex fiancée but it was a very cruel process at times. It’s hard to explain how you can love a drug that you know has ruined your life completely, but that was how I felt. It was like a once wonderful relationship that had turned abusive. When you realise what is happening you are already to weak to leave. It dosen't help that you know your loved one will kill you if you stay. I often felt like two different persons in one during recovery. The memory of Paxil-me that I still felt was the real me, and real me who I had to get to know again. It took about 7 years until I could accept that Paxil-me was gone for good. Looking at photos of Paxil-me today is more like looking at a younger sister, with a very different personality than mine, that tragically and unexpectedly died at age 28. I have stopped crying over her, but I keep a few of her belongings in a box as a memory. It breaks my heart every time people claim SSRI/SNRI can’t cause addiction. It may be rare, but I'm certainly not the only one. I guess those of us that have experienced this need to be more open about it but it's hard. Choosing reality over drugs was a question of life or death for me for a very long time, and the most difficult part of my recovery. It's the loneliest feeling, knowing that I might have to live the rest of my life unable to explain to people what I have been through. I fear that the most difficult time in my life will never be understood for what it was. Some advice regarding muscle weakness To all of you who have been suffering from debilitating muscle weakness for years, with little or no improvement, don't give up. This symptom was one of the most persistent for me and I remember feeling like my arms and legs were literally dead. I felt like I was damaged for life. I had no windows, although I had days that were worse than others. I know how it feels to be bedridden for years, locked up in your own personal prison, unable to participate in anything or do anything, even unable to write on a forum like this. But please don't give up. I finally did recover, and so can you. Try to remember what it was like being able to stand up normally, no matter how painful it is to remember what you have lost. Try to visualise yourself being able to run and jump, help your brain remember what it was like… When you finally start to see improvement, please be aware that you have probably lost most of your muscle mass and it will take time to regain it, and exercise is the only way to do that. It's not fair, but it will probably take a few years of hard work if you have been bedridden for years and developed severe back- and neck problems like I had. Even taking a walk may be very difficult, but don't let that discourage you. Try exercising in water if you have recovered enough to leave your bed. The water will carry your bodyweight and offer you some resistance. I strongly believe that exercise helps to heal brain damage. Today, I am more fit than most people my age, but it has been a very slow and gradual process. On year 4 I was able to increase my walks from five minutes, to ten. The next year from ten to fifteen, and so on …Walking have been especially hard for me and I'm not back to normal, but I have been able to walk 26 000 steps in one single day, which I think is amazing. Exercise made me worse in the beginning but I slowly got used to it and I never experience any bad reactions now days. Keep trying. A few words on diet You can't cure protracted withdrawal with a healthy diet, but it might speed up your recovery. I can't make a double blind study on myself, but I saw improvements in mood, cognitive abilities and speed of recovery after switching to a raw vegan diet in 2014. I do believe it makes my mind clearer and it makes me happier as well. If you want to try this diet, make sure to take natural (not synthetic) b12 and d3 supplements. Also try omega3 from algae instead of fish. My life today I celebrated 11 years off Paxil this spring. I lost 8,5 years of my life to Paxil, and another 10 years to recovery. Was quitting worth all the suffering? Definitely yes. Am I 100% recovered? No, I'm not, but I'm getting closer. I still struggle with some muscle weakness and cognitive problems. Walking still feels weird at times. I have a bad back and muscle twitches. Some sensitivity to light, sound and smell has remained, but it's very mild. The only symptoms that appears to be permanent are a few that resembles HPPS HPPD. My visual perceptions are still slightly distorted, but no where near what I experienced on Paxil. ( mod note- HPPD is an acronym for hallucinogenic- persisting perception disorder) I wondered for a long time if my lingering psychotic symptoms was wd or if the experience simply drove me mad, but I believe it was wd as hallucinations started shortly after my last dose and became more and more rare and ”mild” during the years (from occasional full blown visual hallucinations with eyes wide open, to waking up from sleep realising I'm hallucinating) I stopped panicking over hidden cameras and spys several years ago but I still struggle with interpersonal paranoia at times, which I actually find more difficult to deal with because it's more subtle and harder to keep at an arms length. This has improved a lot the last years though. This may seem depressing but it's not that bad. I would say I'm more than 95 % recovered and I'm staying hopeful that I will regain all of my former cognitive abilities, the only symptom that still makes me sad at times. (My problems are no longer noticeable to others, but I notice them.) I can live with back pain and a dash of madness if I have to. I even miss my visual hallucinations, the only symtom I actually enjoyed as they gave me a much needed break from reality. They were incredible beautiful too. My emotional life My personality came back to a large extent after 4,5 years, but my feelings started coming back much earlier. I regained an ability to feel ”real” emotions after about 1 year, although I can't say for sure whether I am 100% recovered or not as I don't remember what it used to be like. I do feel intense happiness and a wide range of other emotions, but I sometimes feel detached from them and from other people. I have a hard time relating to others, they seem ”overly emotional” and appears to be ”upset over nothing”. I do struggle a lot with empathy because of this. I’m sometimes puzzled over how I function on a social and emotional level now days, but whether this is my personality as an adult, the result of years of isolation/torture or Paxil itself is hard to tell. To be fair, I did have these tendencies before Paxil but these traits are much more pronounced now. Or maybe I just have a hard time taking my armour off. There were not much room for emotional needs during wd. Being a logic-driven observer was the only way I could handle the situation as I couldn’t trust which emotions was real or wd/psychosis. This is an incredible useful strategy while managing wd but I feel that I would like to become ”human” again. Just not sure how to do it as I more and more have come to believe that emotional reactions are a choice. This also means that I don't really know what to feel about everything I went through, or how to process the whole experience on an emotional level, and my attempts to figure it out with logic has failed for very obvious reasons. The happy end is just the beginning A few people I know of who were healthy and happy while I was in wd hell, have now died in cancer or become ill with no hope of recovery. I have learnt that although I have gone through a difficult time, I am also very lucky. I may no longer be gasping in awe during my short walks, crying of joy and gratitude over being alive and being able to see the birds fly, but that gratitude is always with me. The last 4-5 years have also taught me that you don't need to be completely recovered to live a deeply meaningful and happy life. I can't say that life is back to normal, because I was I teenager last time I was here. It was long ago in another life. Things will never be like that again. But I'm reaching a point where I feel like I don't regret what has been. I'm hoping for a long life and it's far too early to tell whether this journey was a bad life experience or a good and useful one. If I could choose a soundtrack for this post, then it would be Ordinary world by Duran Duran: "What has happened to it all? Crazy, some'd say Where is the life that I recognize? Gone away But I won't cry for yesterday There's an ordinary world Somehow I have to find And as I try to make my way To the ordinary world I will learn to survive" You will learn to survive too. No matter how hopeless things may seem right now, just keep going. You only have to go through this once, and your future self will be so, so grateful that you didn't give in. Being free again and being yourself is worth waiting for, even if it takes a decade, or more. One day you will be writing your own success story. I know you will. Thanks for reading this long post. You can ask me anything you want, I'm happy to help. Aurorax --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Summary and milestones: 2001: Starts Paxil at age 19. 2001-2004: Two failed attempts to quit. 2005: Increases dose to 30 mg. Close ones concerned about me being all wired up and lacking judgement. 2006: Life is falling apart: my carrier, my health, my relationships, my cognitive abilities. My plan to taper over two years is not going well, there always seems to be a reason to raise the dose again. 2007: Increases the dose to 30 mg again but it’s no longer ”working”. I consider increasing the dose to 40 mg but that would be like saying I'm worse than ever and that's a frightening thought. 2008: Third attempt to quit. Finally realising that my ”illness” is side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Decides to make a slow taper. 2009, April: Last dose of Paxil. End of 2008 to beginning of 2010: Lost in withdrawal hell, struggling to keep myself alive. Loses my spouse, my dog and my home. 2010-2012: Still minute by minute most of the time. Bedridden. 2013: 4 years off. I have a home of my own again but struggle with household chores. Too ill to go to the grocery store. Too ill to sit up in a chair. Too ill to do anything else than surviving. Bedridden most of the time. Mourns having been gone for so many years, feels like I came back too late. No one remembers who I am off Paxil, not my parents, not my siblings. Longing back to Paxil-land. 2014: Still spend a lot of time resting in bed. Having a home is manageable but feels like running a small business. Nausea is almost gone. I can read books, browse the internet, write in my diary. I realise that I have survived coming off Paxil. Still a lot of physical symtoms but I’m happy for the first time off Paxil. I can live without drugs! 2015: I'm starting to realise the extent of the damage done by Paxil and the wd experience regarding my personality and emotional life. I no longer feel ”human”. I feel disconnected from everyone, empathy nearly gone. I feel like nothing can really bother me as long as my or others life aren't threatened. 2016- 2017: Year 7-8. I continue to improve. 2018: I have recovered enough to return to the town I had to leave, and start my new life. I don't know anyone here but it dosen't matter, I feel no need for friends. No problems taking care of household or go shopping for the things I need. I feel lika an animal released from its cage. I'm really happy. 2019: Celebrates 10 years off. Working part time from home, self employed. I can sit up in a chair without pain. I eat out, I go to the movie theatre, I travel overseas for the first time. I go to gym classes. It stills feels unreal that the person that is running with high knees, doing burpees and lifting heavy barbells is me. 2020: Life is no longer about recovery. There is so much I wan't to do that I don't even know where to start. I sometimes feel like a young adult making plans for the future. I'm less on guard and my ability to feel empathy is improving. Things that happens to me and other people have an emotional impact on me again. I recently decided to end my lone wolf lifestyle and have just found my first friends here. Feels like I'm in the beginning of a big adventure and can't wait to see what will happen next. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Symptoms are 100% resolved unless otherwise stated: Physical: Air hunger Arrhythmia (Improved but not resolved) Blurred vision Brain zaps Burning sensation in skin Chilling sensation in legs Convulsions Diarrea Digestive system ”shutting down”, unable to absorb water for 1-2 days during worst part of wd Difficulty swallowing Difficulty walking (Still feels a bit weird) Dizziness Dry eyes Exhaustion Exuding small, round wounds, mainly on my back but also arms, chest, head, face (Not from self harm or scratching) Fatigue Feeling of electricity running through my body Feels like hands and arms are gone Feels like muscles are melting (Various other painful or unpleasant sensations all over my body that I don't bother to list) Fever Flashing blue lights inside my head Flu like symptoms Fluid running from nose and mouth Freezing Headache Heart palpitations Heart racing when I’m trying to stand up on my feet Internal bleedings Involuntary movements in jaw and feet, usually when falling asleep or waking up from sleep Itching Legs kicking Loss of appetite Muscle cramps Muscle pain Muscles shaking Muscle twitching (Still have this a few times a day) Muscle tension (Greatly improved but still have this. Could be many other reasons for this though) Muscle weakness/low muscle tone (95% resolved, still comes and goes in waves) Not able to eat solid food Not able to eat fluid food Nausea, very intense and relentless for years Numbness (Still a bit numb in my toes) Out of breath Pain in stomach and chest Passing out Poor balance Poor coordination Pressure over head Restless legs Sensitivity to light, sound, motion, smell (not completely resolved but very mild) Sensation of insects crawling over my skin Shaking Shortness of breath Slurred speech Sounds echoing in head Stress intolerance Sweating Temporary hearing loss Tinnitus (Greatly improved but still there) Vomiting Weight loss Weird attacks/blackouts, not sure what this was. Seizures? First one had me crawling on the floor, my visual field was rotating back and forth and I was vomiting. Second I felt like my foot was stuck to the floor while strong electric current was running through my leg, woke up in bed later after blackout. Whole body jerks Whole body suddenly numb, can't walk Zaps in jaw and legs (still have occasional mild leg zaps) Distorted visual perception: These resembles HPPT HPPD and seem to be permanent with no improvement last years. It's very mild, except the halos (I have had my eyes checked) No prior use of hallucinogens/street drugs. Floaters (Improved) Halos (Some improvement) Seeing sparkling lights (Improved) Things moving in the corner of my eyes (Improved) Things moving in weird ways (Resolved) Trails (Improved) Visual snow (Resolved) World stills looks/feels a bit weird in a way that reminds me of ”Paxil-land” but not near as intense. This comes and goes too) Cognitive: Brain fog, it literally took me half a day to write a few sentences on a postcard. (95% resolved) Confusion, like having to think to remember whether its winter or summer right now Difficulty finding words Difficulty speaking Difficulty understanding speech Disorganised and slow speech Exaggerated three-dimensionality (Still experience this when reminded of wd-hell. Not sure this is a wd-symptom, feels more like dissociation related to the trauma) Feeling drunk in an unpleasant way Feeling like I have lost my intelligence (Still not sure if I’m 100% recovered) Impaired memory Phrases repeating themselves in head, random words and images popping up out of nowhere Panic attacks or nausea while trying to read Poor concentration, could take me half an hour to read a page in a book. Used to be a very quick reader (95% resolved) Unable to process information Unable to se TV/watch movies Emotional: Aggression Akathisia (Most likely resolved. Still pacing and moving feet and hands a lot, but the intense inner torment is gone. Maybe I'm just a fidgety person) Anxiety Crying spells Delusions Drug cravings (Still happens if I'm triggered) Feeling of impending doom Hallucinations, mainly visual Hearing ”silent” voices while resting. Not auditory hallucinations, but not ”my own” thoughts. Usually incoherent and absurd phrases. Always different ”people”. Harming self Harming others (hitting, biting) Helplessness Homicidal ideation Hopelessness Hypomania Insomnia Intrusive thoughts Irritability Mood swings Nervousness (95% resolved) Nightmares and dreams about craving drugs ”Ocd” (Improved but not resolved. I had tendencies before Paxil so could be my personality.) Panic Paranoia (Still experience mild paranoia occasionally) Phobia towards people Psychotic break with reality Rage Ruminating Screaming Strange ”panic attacks”, mostly during night Suicidal ideation Terror Waking up crying/screaming/hitting/kicking (Still happens a few times a year) Walls bending
  16. kateinsocal's Introduction topic I've had writing my success story on a to do list for a couple years now. A pandemic hit, and life got busy, but stumbled across this site today so figured it was better late than never. I remember someone on here when I was in the worst of my withdrawal wondering why there weren't too many success stories - so hopefully mine will give a little encouragement to all who are battling. Here is my original intro post. Was on Paxil since age 14, started the withdrawal around age 27. My doctor thought it would take around 2-3 months. I went much slower than that (but still too fast), and everything was great until I crashed at 1.25mg. An adverse fish oil supplement experience led to an urgent care visit and eventually I came across this wonderful forum. After updosing and stabilizing at 2.5mg for around a full year, I did micro tapers using liquid Paxil - 10% every week or two. Eventually hopped off I think at 0.05mg in August 2018 and have never looked back. 2019 was a rough year for me, a lot of personal heartbreak. I was challenged in a lot of ways with anxiety, but was surprised at how strong I was, and was able to push through. I had two blissful months of 2020, then March hit, and that came with a whole new set of pandemic-related challenges for someone who also has health anxiety. But once again, found a heck of a lot of inner strength and somehow made it through. The only thing I would do different looking back now with the benefit of hindsight is go a heck of a lot slower. If only I had known back then what I do now (everything I've learned here, combined with 2 years of therapy and tons of research online and in textbooks). And also a ton of medical professionals (doctors, psychiatrists and pharmacists) know virtually nothing about this and it's infuriating. 95-98% of days I feel pretty good. I still get brain zaps sometimes. I'm a little jumpier, have a harder time focusing and can't sleep nearly as well as I did when I was on Paxil, but I feel like I have my life back and being free of it has been blissful. I'll occasionally still have downward spiral mood days, but they are almost always related to something tangible and I just lean on my faith and my friends and family and make it through. Learning to manage anxiety drug free has been a ton of work, and anxiety will always be a part of my life, but I have the most wonderful support system of people who are patient and understanding and give me lots of space to talk things out. I've been in a relationship for almost a year now, and I was nervous to disclose to him the withdrawal process and mental hell I went through in fear of being judged or having him not believe withdrawal is this severe of a thing, but thankfully he was so open and supportive and I'm incredibly grateful. I always make it a mission now to try to provide guidance or encouragement to anyone I meet who has any mental health struggles of their own. I've also tried to be more open on my social media in hopes to lessen the stigma and let people know they're not alone. I'm eternally grateful to everyone here who offered advice or a line of encouragement when I was in my darkest times. It won't soon be forgotten, and rooting on every single one of you still going through it. YOU GOT THIS. -Kate
  17. Hi all this is my first post. I’ve put all my medical info in my signature as requested but if I’ve missed anything please let me know. Full case history: n.b. I don’t expect anyone to feel they have to read all this, I just want to get it off my chest! I’ve had issues with depression and anxiety since childhood (no particular trauma: suspect a strong genetic component as evident in other family members too). Severe depression around 19/20 due to college stress led to me going to the doctor. Was put on 30mg citalopram which made me suicidal and gave me auditory hallucinations among other symptoms almost immediately. Doctor told me to ‘keep going’ but decided to stop - a million percent the right decision and one I wish I had made later. Was put on a low dose of paroxetine either once or twice (not sure) for short periods in my twenties after going to the doctor with anxiety/depression. No severe side effects I can remember, seemed to see a noticeable improvement, and came off drugs without issue. In my late twenties I went to the doctor again with depression and was prescribed 7.5mg paroxetine. Again no side effects and a noticeable improvement. After a few months I went back to the doctor and told her I was feeling much better and would like to come off the paroxetine. She told me this would be a mistake - that people often thought they should come off and actually got much worse when they did, so I should stay on the drugs. I accepted this, assumed that I was just one of those people who needed this medication to be ‘normal’ (I believed completely in the chemical Imbalance idea) and continued taking the medication. On a personal note this is the part of my medical history that makes me the angriest. There was a window at that time in which I was trying to do what was best for my mental health, and trusted my doctor against my own instincts. I may well have suffered adverse reactions if I had stopped taking paroxetine then, but I personally suspect strongly it would have been less severe due to the low dose, shortness of duration, and the fact I was younger. I may be wrong but I’ll never know. I stayed on paroxetine for the next ten years. Over time I felt the medication was getting less effective, and every time I went back to the doctor I was prescribed an increased dose (to be fair I’m sure at least once I requested an increased dose as I thought it was what I needed). I don’t remember the exact details but I ended up on 40mg. In the last couple of years I’ve had a very difficult time personally and it became clear the medication wasn’t helping me. I talked to the doctor In early 2020 about coming off paroxetine and trying a new medication - they advised me I would need a couple of ‘quiet’ weeks in a secure environment to do so to manage the change. When the pandemic happened and I was able to work from home full time, I felt I had the space to make the change. The doctor gave me a tapering schedule that was approximately as follows: 3 days on 30-40mg, 3 on 30, 3 on 20-30, 3 on 20, 3 on 10-20, 3 on 10 and then nothing. i had no symptoms during the tapering window and naively thought I had been lucky. I decided to hold off on taking the sertraline because I wanted to see how I managed with no drugs in my system, again I was very naive. Three days after my last pill I became profoundly unwell - suicidal, brain fog, brain zaps, diarrhoea, hypothermic temperature, severe weight loss (21 pounds total in a few weeks) I can’t even recall all the symptoms. I tried to ‘stick it out’ for a couple of weeks until a very sensible friend whose mother is a pharmacist told me I couldn’t keep going like this and my taper schedule had been much too quick, I needed to go back on a low dose. I spoke to a different doctor and agreed to go back on 10mg for a month, then 5 mg for a month then nothing. This still felt too steep so I actually added in three weeks of 5 and 0 alternating (I now realise alternating was a mistake too). My symptoms improved slowly but never disappeared and when I tried to stop completely, again severe symptoms reoccured. Went back to a 5/0 alternating dosage but remained quite ill. Spoke to yet another doctor after a couple of weeks who advised as I was now at such a low dose of paroxetine I should stop taking it completely and start taking 50mg of sertraline immediately. I was so desperate at this point that I felt if the sertraline would set me free from paroxetine I was willing to do this. The next four weeks were pure hell. I suspect because my body was dealing with withdrawal from one drug and reacting badly to another all at once (plus my contraceptive pill was changed due to stock shortages but that’s another story). My physical symptoms were bad but not as bad as before, but I was persistently suicidal. I have an amazing family who took care of me during this period. Even with their help I came close to the brink several times. I was referred to the mental health crisis team who said they would get my doctor to prescribe me mirtazapan to help manage the symptoms. They never processed this and I never followed up as I was determined not to add any more drugs to my regimen. I stayed on the sertraline because I felt I had no choice - all I could do was keep going and hope to make it to the other side. The last six weeks have been bad but I’ve seen an improvement. I have suicidal days but also good days and I am more able to manage my own healing. I am back at work after a month of leave. My physical symptoms have lessened but do re-emerge periodically. I am eating all the right foods, taking the proper supplements, exercising, meditating, journaling and doing breathing exercises. I desperately want to come off sertraline but I know I have to get myself in a stronger and more even position before I can do that. The thought that I am trapped on another drug, that coming off it will take literally years, and that I am still so unwell, is profoundly distressing. I feel this experience had almost destroyed me. Forums like this one have been my only comfort at times - seeing other people’s stories has made me feel less alone. so I’m sharing mine in case it chimes with anyone else. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for here. I cannot taper right now even though I want to so badly I want to throw all my drugs away (obviously I won’t!!). I feel this site has given Me the information I need to tackle it when the time is right, which I am grateful for. I guess it’s just been such a personally devastating experience I wanted to share it in a place it would be understood. Basically, I’m very frightened.
  18. Ηello everyone. I have severe anhedonia, emotional anesthesia, severe PSSD, extremelly fatique and dizziness due to cold turkey of paxil(60mg!!). I tοοκ it for 6 weeks and I am free 8 months now. The issue is that I am on benzo (xanax) 3 years(!) in doses 1 - 1,5 mg and now I am on hell in other words :( because I have dependence and tolerance (maybe) to xanax. Ι was never warned that ssri will cause me so terrible side effects such as anhedonia and PSSD. Therefore, I was concentrated to cut the xanax gradually this year. Now I have so many nightmares and nobody doctor believes me, because, as you Know very well, all these situations aren't recognizable. Also I am very confused because I don't Know if it is W/D or adverse reaction. Although I got a huge dose, I Think 6 weeks is a short exposure to develop W/D. I don't have waves and windows. Every day is the same.I keep thinking that is permanent and I have intense suicidal thoughts. It' so unbearable ... I feel so EMPTY. I can't feel love even for my parents and I haven't substantial support because they ALL think that I am simply depressed. Ιt's a sick joce....Do you think that I must taper the xanax now? My brain is in chaos and I am afraid for W/D from xanax now, but maybe I have not other choice. Keep in mind that I had not these effects (anhedonia, emotional blunting,PSSD) 2.5 years while I was ONLY on xanax. Any advise would be highly appreciated! Sorry for my bad English. Greetings
  19. Hi ! I'm 28, I'm French (I live in Paris) and I have been prescribed 20 mg Paroxetine in december 2020 for an anxiety disorder that was getting worse and worse due to a bad break up, and lockdown. I also had PTSD thanks to work harrassment that took place between 2017 and 2019, and despite doing therapy, I still was struggling. After a few hellish weeks of suffering the side effects of starting the medication, the drug actually started working and soon enough, I felt better. In July 2020, I started thinking about going off the medication, since I was doing well and my life felt stable, safe and just generally good. Uninformed, I tried skipping the 20 mg every other day. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work and I abandonned very fast, after getting bad chest pain. The symptoms disappeared as soon as I went back to my regular dosage. My psychiastrist recommanded me to taper by lowering my dosage to 10 mg, and then nothing. But I started questionning this advice, considering my experience starting the drug. That's when I did my research and found this website. Thanks for the amazing work you're doing !! Following the recommandation I found here, I started lowering my dosage my dosage by 10% in January 2022. After two months, I find myself both hopeful and confused. Hopeful because so far, my WS haven't been too bad. They do make my days more stressful, but they don't prevent me from living a normal life. Confused because I have no one to turn to. None of my close friend or family members have dealt with AD. My psychiatrist is night enough, but a bit clueless. For instance, she told me their was no such thing as liquid paroxetine... and I only had to google it to discover she was wrong. Moreover, she seems completely unaware of the existence of WS. For her, any symptom means relapse. But I know I'm doing well in my life right now. The main thing I'm worried about is actually... getting anxious again. Anxiety feels like being trapped in my own head, and it's just... you know. That's why I'm very nervous about tapering, because what if it screws everything up ? But also, I really want to do it. Lowering the dosage, so far I got mainly chest pain, which comes and goes, and bad dreams. I also got night sweats, but I'm not sure if they're due to withdrawal. I did read somewhere that it was a possible side effect from Paxil. For now, it's manageable, but I haven't found a way to relieve the chest pain, which is by far the worst thing. I'm doing yoga quite regularly and have tried meditation and breathing exercise in the past, but I never felt they made much a difference. Advice anyone ? I'm also very tired and sleeping a lot, but I like sleeping so that's okay. Trying to not beat myself up about not being productive enough (I'm working freelance) . I know this is a long shot, but would anyone recommand a good psychiatrist in Paris, France ? Also, I have been wondering : when should you just accept the WS, and when should you up your dosage back to what it was ? I keep wondering if I should just soldier through, since my symptoms are not that bad, or slow the process even more... Thanks for reading my story, and lots of love to everyone who's struggling right now... It gets better (or at least I hope so, haha).
  20. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m at 7.5 mg Paxil, reduced from 10 a week ago. I’ve had some really tough days since reducing and now thinking of going back up to 10 mg for awhile to allow my body more adapting time. I also might try making my own liquid for when I do the next cut. I have time to figure it out. Going to do 10% tapers.
  21. I am an 18 year old male and I suffered from panic attack due to stress from my exams. I also have social anxiety and I also search for diseases related to minor symptoms faced by my body. I was prescribed clonazepam and propranalol for my anxiety and it helped me a lot. Since I have had around 4-5 panic attacks in my last 4 years, I was prescribed paroxetine and after 1 month on parox I was asked to consult the Physchirtist. He said to take it for one more month and again said to visit after the next month. The next month I was asked to continue it for 1 more month with 9.325mg and then the next month drop the dosage to 6.25 mg and continue it for 1 more month and then stop taking it from the next month. I came across this site and now I am afraid to drop to 0 the next month. What should I do? I never had severe withdrawal. I had lightheadedness for like 3 days and then I was back to normal but currently I have cold and I am not well and I am taking paracetamol for my fever. Please guide me
  22. Link to Introduction topic: ☼-dan998-cold-turkey-reinstatement-and-tapering-citalopram I never got around to writing a success story because I never really considered myself a success. Sure, I got off the drugs, but it always felt like I had some residual brain damage. Presumably caused by 14 years of taking SSRIs and then the subsequent traumatic experience of stubbornly trying to force my way through a cold-turkey withdrawal, reluctantly reinstating and then rushing my taper. However, I recently had a realisation that has made me reconsider this point of view. I got a bit bored during the pandemic. Instead of filling the void by getting drunk and watching Netflix in my underpants. I decided to be proactive. I’d learn a new skill. Designing websites was something that looked interesting and would fill the long hours of lockdown. So, I enthusiastically threw myself at this task. Immersing myself to the point of becoming totally obsessed by it. After months and months and months of perseverance, I managed to teach myself how to put together a half decent website. However, the most important thing that I actually learnt was that my mind wasn’t as badly damaged as I’d incorrectly assumed it was. Thinking back to the debilitating cog-fog of those early days of withdrawal, where I couldn’t even process a few simple sentences, I came to realise just how much I have healed and grown over the last 7 years. It’s amazing the extent to which my brain has recovered. It's gone from being a completely useless drug dependent mess to a fully functional wonder of nature that is able to think, reason and learn. Creativity, concentration, logical thinking, problem solving and memory. All these abilities had returned and I didn’t even realise until I pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of achieving. Time has truly worked its magic in slow, imperceptible increments. It feels like I am almost back to how I was before an antidepressant had ever passed my lips. A lot older, fatter and with more grey hair than I’d like. But, finally glimpsing the version of me that I expected to see when I first came here all those years ago. Of course there are scars. There will always be scars. I don’t think it is possible to go through such an extreme experience and not be fundamentally changed by it. I still occasionally have flashbacks and I get anxious sometimes. But, I try to not let it bother me and I get on with my day. Withdrawal no longer defines my identity. It has become just another chapter in the story of my life and, thanks to this forum, there are now many blank pages eagerly waiting to be written. Thank you Alto and all the moderators for your hard work and tireless dedication. My withdrawal journey can be found here - ☼-dan998-cold-turkey-reinstatement-and-tapering-citalopram
  23. Been on/off SSRIs and even a couple antipsychotics for several years. Always had some mild anxiety but major issue and reason for prescription(s) was OCD. None of the meds ever had a huge effectiveness for OCD, but within the last year or so discovered Dr. Michael Greenberg's rumination-focused ERP therapy for OCD and have learned to manage OCD using this therapy (highly recommend for others!). Have been on paxil for over a year and recently tried to taper off. Started at 40mg and went down 10mg per month, although when I got to 10mg I only stayed on for a couple weeks before stopping. Had no idea this med was notorious for withdrawals or what a problem this med is, or wouldn't have even started it. Started having very mild anxiety issues when I was sleeping while I was tapering off, but was able to go back to sleep. Kept getting worse while tapering and still while I was completely off. Symptoms peaked around week 6-7 and was having full blown panic attacks at night and eventually just all day, weird pain in the forehead like a sinus headache but from panic/stress. Had bad hand tremors, dizziness, nausea and had to miss work but eventually just went back on paxil. This time 10mg in the am and 10mg at night according to doc's orders. Now on 30mg paxil. Been back on paxil for about two weeks. Noticed immediately it helped although still have heightened anxiety and twinges of pain like a sinus headache. Feels like no one really knows how long withdrawals from paxil last; have heard 2-3 weeks, 4 months, a year, etc. Don't think its relapsing because never had panic attacks and never had problems like this getting off or switching meds. Really need to get off this med, especially because it makes me so tired which is a big reason I wanted to come off now that I have the OCD under control. Hoping to get stable again and then start tapering slowly, possibly with the liquid form so I taper in smaller increments.
  24. Original title: Tapering off of paroxetine after 24 years of use (started at 10 years old) Hello friends- I'm 18 months into slowly tapering off of 40mg of paroxetine (currently taking 7mg/day). I'm a 34M and I started taking this drug when I was 10 years old. I was originally put on it because I was experiencing panic attacks and was diagnosed "OCD" (a label that I no long identify with). Here's an abridged version of my story: When I was 9, I came down with a horrible case of food poisoning and spent a week vomiting. I eventually healed but what resulted was a fear of germs, vomiting, and a general sense of panic. I started having panic attacks and stomach aches which led to my doctors performing a variety of stomach/digestive tests before ultimately realizing I had developed some sort of "mental illness." I was put on 10mg of paroxetine which soon was raised to 20mg/day. I remained on 20mg/day until I turned 30 years old in 2018. A that time, I was experiencing a lot of life/work stress and so my doctor and I decided it was time to double my dose from 20mg/day to 40mg/day. What resulted was months of manic-like behavior and 4 months of constant suicidal ideation (both of which I had never experienced). Eventually, these symptoms calmed down and I continued at 40mg/day, still convinced that the paroxetine was "medicine balancing out my 'broken brain.'" When COVID hit in 2020, I experienced a new level of panic and uncertainty. After processing the traumatic experience of increasing my dosage to 40mg, I started to become more weary of running to my doctors for solutions. I looked elsewhere for mental health treatment and discovered a powerful meditation/breathing technique class over zoom. For the next year (during quarantine) I started meditating/breathing, journaling, doing yoga, etc. I think this experience started to help me to "reconnect" with myself, seeing how I had become pretty emotionally numb over the years. In April of 2021, I was struck with a powerful thought one night while sitting on the couch: "It's time to come off the pills." I had tried to taper off my paroxetine twice before, once in high school and once in college. I tried twice because the idea of taking brain-altering drugs for the rest of my life never sat quite right with me. However, in both of these experiences, I tapered too quickly (over the course of a month or two) and was devastated by the withdrawal effects. What made the experience worse was that I didn't realize I was experiencing withdrawal. My doctor at the time simply told me that I was experiencing was "me" and that this was proof that the drugs were helping. This experience made me admit defeat and I stopped doing any research about tapering. I resigned to taking paroxetine for the rest of my life. But by 2021, the amount of information we have on tapering off SSRIs is incredible! Due to the wonderful advocating work of you all and many others like you, I started learning everything I could about slowly tapering and the predicable withdrawal symptoms most of us experience. I read "Your Drug May Be Your Problem", the Heather Ashton manual (which I realize is geared a bit more towards benzos), as well as Will Hall's Guide to Harm Reduction. "Medicating Normal" also has a variety of videos with informative conversations with doctors and researchers of psych drugs and the harms they cause. I'm now 18 months into my third (and final) taper off of paroxetine. I wanted to join this forum to share my story and prove to others (like so many of you have done or are doing) that it IS possible to come off these drugs. It IS possible to heal. The journey is long and very difficult, but I am so thankful to have hope back into my life. I'm feeling more, the "good" and the "bad". I still have a ways to go, but I'm a bit more in "the flow" these days. The withdrawal symptoms are predictable and I've been experiencing what seems like a very common pattern of "windows" and "waves." All of this reassures me that nothing has gone wrong, in fact it's all going right. I'm so thankful for my wife for sticking with me through all of this as it has not been easy on her. My love for her has only grown. I've lost some friends due to the pharmaceutical rollercoaster I was on a few years back, but I managed to keep my job and I'm thankful my life didn't completely fall apart. I guess I'll end this here. I am curious to know if there are any people on this forum that have been on their drug since childhood? I often worry that the long-term use of paroxetine during my most developmental years will somehow come back to haunt me years from now. But I think that's simply fear. I like to think that our bodies can heal from these drugs, given enough time and support. I wish you all the best. Thank you.
  25. Hello! Very happy to have found this forum. After years of adamant anti-psychiatric drug ideology, I finally caved in and took the pills. My GP and psychologist jointly recommended a low-dose sequence of Paroxetine (Paxil) in order to get me out of the rut I seemed unable to exit on my own. At beginning of treatment, was a bit hypomanic. Gastrointestinal upset, nausea, flight of ideas, almost felt like prednisone or MDMA. Settled into the dose (10mg). Upon recommendation by my GP, increased dose to 20mg for three days. It was intolerable. Resumed low 10mg dose. The whole time I felt "safe" in that I was on the lowest dose, and understood that I could just stop when I felt like it. Gained a LOT of weight. Felt stabilised. Decided to get off the med. After 4.5 months. This is a few days ago. After two days, withdrawal symptoms began. Major mood swings (hypomanic to deeply disinterested/depressed). Crazy gasto-intestinal disruption. Adrenaline bursts. Extreme irritability. Wooshy, woozy feelings. My circulation feels almost electric. I only feel "fine" when I'm asleep, laying down. MY QUESTION: It's been already five days. Should I just plow through, now that the drug has almost completely exited my system? I genuinely thought, and was reassured by my GP, that a slow-taper was unnecessary on such a low dose. (I also read taper systems from 40mg that indicated complete cessation after going down to 10mg). I just don't know how long these symptoms will last. I have tried to offset withdrawal by using Magnesium, multi-vitamin, exercise, and cannabis. Does not seem to be doing the trick. Does anyone have a similar experience? Many threads are about intense drug cocktails, but I haven't found any specifically about low-dose Paroxetine. Any advice would be super appreciated. Thank you!
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