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WhyNotZoidBerg: Intro and history (previous long time user of Paxil)


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I just wanted to take a moment to say hello to everyone and give my personal history with antidepressants. I've read a lot of good posts from this site and thought I'd join to see if anyone could give some insight into my situation.


I'm now 25, and at the age of 15 I was taken in to see my GP for what he determined to be generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). I was prescribed 10 mg of Paxil and my doctor decided to keep me at this dosage since I was so young. This worked well for my anxiety (although I experienced some side effects, such as delayed orgasm, somewhat blunted emotions, and minor sleep disturbances) until around 2011. I went through a bad breakup along with some other issues in my life and started having worsening anxiety, which escalated until I ended up in the emergency room. After this incident, my dosage was increased to 20 mg. This seemed to help, but my side effects worsened and I also started to develop heart palpitations as a result. I tapered off of the Paxil over the course of several months before finally stopping entirely. I went through a period of a couple months where I couldn't get any lower than taking it once per week but eventually got off of it. I started to have issues with anxiety and depression at this point (which may have just been prolonged withdrawal now that I think about it) and ended up trying several other SSRI's and SNRI's to deal with it to no avail. I've briefly been on Zoloft, Cirpralex, and Cymbalta.. all of which I had to quit within the first month due to severe side effects. A few months ago, I decided to give Effexor a try and it did seem promising at first, but I recently had to stop taking that as well due to side effects.


At this point, I haven't been on any medications regularly for several weeks and have developed severe insomnia, PSSD, anxiety, and depression. I feel as if I've been on and off so many different medications that I've seriously disrupted my brain chemistry and may have some real issues recovering from this. My insomnia is at the point where I may only sleep a few hours every couple of nights and it's not very restful sleep at that. Last week, I visited my doctor again complaining of this insomnia and he convinced me to take 15 mg of Remeron when I'm having trouble sleeping. I tried this once and am still feeling the effects from it. I slept for about 12 hours after taking it (although in multiple 3 hour bouts) and have since been feeling severely groggy, dizzy, and sedated. I just want to be able to sleep well, recover, and feel normal again.

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I should add that being functional during the day is extremely important as I do work full time at a job I'm fairly new at. I only graduated from university this past April and am still kind of "proving myself" in my new job, which I just got in late August. I'm doing a few things in my life to try to help my situation like making sure I'm still eating enough, staying hydrated, and working out (I lift weights 4 times per week and do a moderate amount of walking).


My main concern right now is just getting to a point where I can fall asleep at a reasonable time, stay asleep, and wake up feeling functional and not overly groggy or sedated. Sleep is going to be a huge factor is helping pull through this situation and get better.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome WhyNotZoidberg,

I'm glad you decided to join and share your story. I think you hit the nail squarely on its head with this:


I feel as if I've been on and off so many different medications that I've seriously disrupted my brain chemistry and may have some real issues recovering from this.


Its impossible to know what's going on with our brain chemistry with any certainty, and the assumption by medicine that we do, is what got most of us into this kind of mess in the first place.


I'm also guessing that your nervous system in general is quite destabilized and this would be contributing to the symptoms you are having now, along with withdrawal.


Before we are able to make some suggestions, we need a bit more information.


A clear timeline of your drug history in your signature would be great. Dates of stopping and starting the various drugs along with dosages and any tapering schedules is what we need. Approximate dates are fine. Here is how you do your signature:




From what I understand so far, it looks like you tapered too fast off Paxil, after having been on it a long time, starting from a young age. Withdrawal syndrome developed shortly after.


We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  (The general philosophy of gradual tapering)


Possibly, reinstatement of a small amount of something, stabilization and then a slow taper might help, but I'm not sure which drug to suggest you reinstate. But its also important that you stop making changes, if you are going to take something, it needs to be taken at the same dose at the same time every day, so that your nervous system is able to stabilize.


Side effects tend to be dose related, often, reinstatement of a small amount of the last drug taken can help reduce withdrawal symptoms without causing side effects. Then this small amount can be safely tapered from at a much slower rate, reducing the risk of further withdrawal symptoms.


See:  About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms


The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.


It sounds like 15mg of Remeron was too much for you, perhaps try half that amount or even a quarter, once you are stabilized, then a slow taper off that would be possible.


Tips for tapering off Remeron (mirtazapine)


It sounds like you have a good lifestyle in place and that will help tremendously. You might also like to consider counseling or some talk therapy to learn better ways of managing anxiety, which is a natural part of all our lives.


Once we have a bit more information, it will be easier to know what to suggest.


You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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Hey WhyNotZoidberg,


I just wanted to say "hello".  i have many of the same problems as you have had although i have been off the drugs for 2 yrs (read my topics page if you like)  Insomnia is the real bugger.  a lot of people on this site suffer from it.  i went 6 days without sleeping when i first stopped taking the meds in feb. 2014.  My sleep has gotten a better lately, but i never really feel rested and am often tired throughout the day.  I don't wake with any vim or vigor in the morning whatsoever.


i used to have minor palpitations when i was on Zoloft and zyprexa, but this past fall,  I had a major minute long heart palpitation.  I went in to see a doctor about it.  took an ekg.  everything normal.  suggested i take remeron for sleep.  i tried it for two days.  didn't get much sleep, maybe 3 1/2 hrs a day, but i felt dizzy all day long on it so i quit taking it.


after two yrs of insomnia my blood pressure has shot up.  it used to be 118/95 now it's 140/95 and two weeks ago i was in the ER because i couldn't sleep and it was 174/94.


I have been going to a bunch of doctors but they just don't seem to care much or have any answers outside of going back on the meds.


i have found long walks of 4 to 6 miles at night helps and when the weather is nicer i do 20 miles a day on my bike.


I hope your sleep is getting better.



Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.


On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 


Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.





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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Whynot , welcome to the site.


Petunia has asked lots of the same questions I have , so I'll wait for your response.


"A few months ago, I decided to give Effexor a try and it did seem promising at first, but I recently had to stop taking that as well due to side effects.


"At this point, I haven't been on any medications regularly for several weeks."


If you tolerated the effexor alright at first , you might want to reinstate that. As per the thread on reinstating , you'd want to start at 1-2 mg and work up slowly as you need to.


I think after being on meds for 10 years , staying off them at this point is not congruent with keeping your job. Withdrawal can last for many many months.

Once you stabilize , you can taper off slowly in a way that lets you avoid debilitating symptoms.


Best wishes , Fresh



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

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

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

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

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

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

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

March 2016 , 21mg

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