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Resilience struggling with Paxil


Resilience

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Hi there!

 

I am so, so, SO happy I found this website and this forum!

 

I have desperately wanted to connect with other people who have been on and have gone off, or at least tried to go off, Paxil. I've been on Paxil since June 2015 after getting awful anxiety/panic attacks nuanced with bouts of depression. I was having an extremely stressful family situation (brother going through a crisis) for months and what I thought I could handle, I found out I couldn't. I guess my body had just had enough. I once read somewhere that depression is the body's way of saying it needs a break.. Wonder how much of that is true! 

 

Anyway, I was going on a trip and I couldn't rail against it anymore.. Getting out of bed, staring at the wall for minute at a times, sad, full of dread (this is anxiety at the core), you all know what I'm talking about I'm sure. I tried to avoid medication like the plague but ended up going to the doctor 2 weeks before my trip, who gave my Paxil. 2 weeks I felt much better but in 5? I felt myself again! It really can be effective stuff! Anyway, I've stayed on it and told myself that when I'm ready to try to go off of it, I will. Well, now I feel ready. I called my doctor who said the usual, "Cut it in half, take that for a month, then go down again for another month.." so I did. And it was awful. I'll spare the icky details but long story short that's how I ended up here. I also should note that I called my doctor to ask about a compound pharmacy for an easier taper (this was before I actually cut my pill in half) and all she said was "That's really expensive" so I just kicked the idea aside. Now I am here and after reading Mapleleafgirl's story, I went back up to my original 20mg dose and planning on doing the compound taper. My biggest question is:

 

How do you know if you need to be on Paxil or not? How do you know when you taper down, it's withdrawal symptoms or real anxiety that needs treatment? 

 

Thank you so much everyone for sharing your thoughts, feelings, stories, and knowledge!

 

 

Paxil 20mg for 7 months.

Attempted to wean down by cutting in half to 10mg, now back up to 20mg. 

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Hi Resilience, welcome to the forum! I am stopping by quicky as i'm stuck in a docs office for some health issues and realized tomorrow is my 2 year anniversary. Yay me!! Im much improved but still have to wait to write a success story as i had to go thru a subsequent benzo withdrawal which derailed my recovery.

 

To answer one of your last questions, this is what i learned over the years. Those who feel they don't need the pills anymore usually don't have an underlying anxiety issue. It may have been situational. When in withdrawals many mistaken those symptoms for some other anxiety illness. While some can have underlying health issues that cause the anxiety, ie. Adrenals, thyroid, infections, most feel better after the cessation period of the medication. If all labs come back normal then you usually just ride the waves out till you get windows. Hope this helps.

<p>10 years of ssri and finally tapered off in 2 years. Off Celexa by jan/28/2014 and off benzos by March/6th/2014 after only two months use and still experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

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Welcome, Resilience.

 

I moved your post here to start your Introductions topic, where we can discuss your individual situation and you can track your progress. Please bookmark or follow this topic so you can easily find it again.

 

Very good questions, ones many people have asked. Please see What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

Tootsieroll, good to hear from you. Please update your Intro topic, how are you doing?

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Resilience, welcome to the forum! I am stopping by quicky as i'm stuck in a docs office for some health issues and realized tomorrow is my 2 year anniversary. Yay me!! Im much improved but still have to wait to write a success story as i had to go thru a subsequent benzo withdrawal which derailed my recovery.

 

To answer one of your last questions, this is what i learned over the years. Those who feel they don't need the pills anymore usually don't have an underlying anxiety issue. It may have been situational. When in withdrawals many mistaken those symptoms for some other anxiety illness. While some can have underlying health issues that cause the anxiety, ie. Adrenals, thyroid, infections, most feel better after the cessation period of the medication. If all labs come back normal then you usually just ride the waves out till you get windows. Hope this helps.

 

 

Hello Tootsieroll!

 

Thank you so much for your response! That makes me feel better. I want to congratulate you on your 2 year anniversary from being off Paxil (that is correct isn't it?)! That is such a huge accomplishment and I would love to hear your success story as soon as you write it- please let me know when you do!

 

I wonder often about what going off of it will be like. I am now back up to my normal dose and going to be going to a compound pharmacy in a couple of weeks to start titrating down very slowly. I will be on here actively but until then, all the advice in the world will do! Thank you so much again

Paxil 20mg for 7 months.

Attempted to wean down by cutting in half to 10mg, now back up to 20mg. 

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Welcome Resilience (great screen name btw),

 

I think another question you may like to ask is 'Does anyone need to be on Paxil at all?  There are good answers in the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whittaker. 

 

You sound fairly organised - working out to updose in order to stabilise again.  How long ago did you updose, and are things improving?  You'll want to take things slowly, give your central nervous system time to settle before you consider tapering.

 

I'm sure that with the right information you will be able to make a much smoother transition off Paxil, when the time is right.  Tips for Tapering Paxil.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose each month to allow your CNS time to adjust as you go.  Stability is vital for healing. 

 

To your second question, both w/d anxiety and 'real' anxiety can be dealt with using the same tools.  Understanding neuro-emotions will help a lot.  And you can also look at Non-drug Techniques for coping with emotional symptoms.  That's my favourite page on this site.  I remember being quite concerned, before I started tapering, about whether I'd be alright or not without drugs.  But it's turned out that I am okay - I have gone from 150mg Effexor to 133mg.  Not a huge amount, but my aim is lasting healing via a slow and steady path. 

 

I think depression is indeed our body telling us we need a break or some change in our life.  I've had a long struggle with depression, but I'm winning.  My story is both in my blog (link in my sig.) and in my intro thread on this site. 

 

Well, have a read of those links and then you can come back to this thread to ask any questions or discuss things.  This can be your journal to record your healing and tapering progress.  It's good to have you here.

 

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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I've been on Paxil since June 2015 after getting awful anxiety/panic attacks nuanced with bouts of depression. I was having an extremely stressful family situation (brother going through a crisis) for months and what I thought I could handle, I found out I couldn't. I guess my body had just had enough. I once read somewhere that depression is the body's way of saying it needs a break.. Wonder how much of that is true!

I think it is very true.  The body has a certain amount of "resilience" to stress, but with severe or prolonged stress it can use up its reserves and hit a wall.  At this point the system is out of balance and so we experience symptoms such as panic attacks, feelings of doom and so on.  There can be many different causes and contributing factors to this situation, so I believe "depression" is not really one disease, and certainly there is not one "cure" for all.

 

How do you know if you need to be on Paxil or not? How do you know when you taper down, it's withdrawal symptoms or real anxiety that needs treatment?

 

Personally I think the only people who really need to be on an AD are those with extremely severe depression who haven't improved with non-med treatments, i.e. ADs should be a last resort for extreme cases only.  Of course, that isn't the way our medical system works.

 

"Real anxiety that needs treatment" can be treated without meds.  There are many other options.  It might take some research, and perhaps some trial and error, to figure out which options are useful in each individual case.  Since most people are not offered these other options by medical professionals, it is up to the individual to take more responsibility for their own health and make their own decisions.

 

During a taper, w/d symptoms such as anxiety that are similar to the original condition may appear.  It can be impossible to distinguish between what is w/d and what is "real" anxiety as they can be closely related.  In any case, many of the non-med treatments for anxiety can be helpful in w/d.  You can build up a kind of "tool kit" of techniques that you can use at any time in the future if anxiety ever returns - much more empowering than rushing for pills that really don't cure, only temporarily suppress symptoms.

 

Anyway, welcome to SA - I like your member name!

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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Edit:  post moved from someday's thread , so that all your information is in one place Resilience.

 

 

Nitty girl,

You are not alone! I have been and am at this moment experiencing this incredible fun sensation! So uncomfortable mixed with numbness and deep pain and deedling pain all over my scalp, face, neck, shoulder, back. It also is companiied by brain shiever and nonfunctional, really disturbing and disabling.


I lost count if it's from too much or too less or change of dose.

I thought this is unique for lexapro  :(

Do you find any association of it with anything, and any other idea as how you handle it?

 

 

Hi!

 

So weird because I searched "crawling sensation" and your guys' convo came up and when I checked the date, it said May 2015 which is the month that the sensation started for me!!

 

I wanted to connect with some people who've experienced it because I don't anyone who has! I started getting it with anxiety and depression, although there was never an association with it and anything else. I had it throughout the entire summer and then it got better and pretty much completely away in october/november, with a return after I did a recreational drug (bad move on my part, I know). I then decided to try to go off of my medication (Paxil), and when I cut the dose in half, leg crawling sensation returned. It's hell. I've googled it a thousand times and every time it makes me feel crazy. I had it with anxiety, without, good days, bad days. I honestly am convinced it just goes with some kind of brain chemistry thing and the brain just needs to heal itself. I'm currently adjusting to going back up to my normal does and my face has been itchy (like the bug feel or even as if there's a hair on your face, but there's not), so I'm hoping it subsides soon. I know from experience it goes away, it's just hell in the mean time.

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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Resilience.  Great name .  You will get through this.  Stay strong.  You have support here.  :)    You're probably overwhelmed, but you are not alone . Please stay in  touch .

Hugs , Ali .

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Resilience.  Great name .  You will get through this.  Stay strong.  You have support here.  :)    You're probably overwhelmed, but you are not alone . Please stay in  touch .

Hugs , Ali .

 

 

Goldstar I love your signature quote; very beautiful. Thank you for the love and support. 

Paxil 20mg for 7 months.

Attempted to wean down by cutting in half to 10mg, now back up to 20mg. 

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Welcome Resilience (great screen name btw),

 

I think another question you may like to ask is 'Does anyone need to be on Paxil at all?  There are good answers in the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whittaker. 

 

You sound fairly organised - working out to updose in order to stabilise again.  How long ago did you updose, and are things improving?  You'll want to take things slowly, give your central nervous system time to settle before you consider tapering.

 

I'm sure that with the right information you will be able to make a much smoother transition off Paxil, when the time is right.  Tips for Tapering Paxil.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose each month to allow your CNS time to adjust as you go.  Stability is vital for healing. 

 

To your second question, both w/d anxiety and 'real' anxiety can be dealt with using the same tools.  Understanding neuro-emotions will help a lot.  And you can also look at Non-drug Techniques for coping with emotional symptoms.  That's my favourite page on this site.  I remember being quite concerned, before I started tapering, about whether I'd be alright or not without drugs.  But it's turned out that I am okay - I have gone from 150mg Effexor to 133mg.  Not a huge amount, but my aim is lasting healing via a slow and steady path. 

 

I think depression is indeed our body telling us we need a break or some change in our life.  I've had a long struggle with depression, but I'm winning.  My story is both in my blog (link in my sig.) and in my intro thread on this site. 

 

Well, have a read of those links and then you can come back to this thread to ask any questions or discuss things.  This can be your journal to record your healing and tapering progress.  It's good to have you here.

 

Karen

 

Hi Karen! 

 

I updosed Jan. 21st, so 2 weeks ago! Things are much better, no crying spells, irritability, etc., but I do get a mild crawling sensation every once in a while, my face has been itchy and burning feeling (could be weather? Not sure since one of the symptoms on my taper down was itchy, burning skin) but other than that I feel leveled-out and pretty steady. I've kind of decided I'm going to stay on 20mg for probably 2-3 more months before I start doing the compound pharmacy, as I have learned the brain's chemistry needs time to adjust and figure itself out. What do you recommend? 

 

I am definitely going to take a look at that book Anatomy of an Epidemic because I hold to the truth that not everyone needs to be on medication. It's bittersweet that the medical world can't give us all the info or directions we could take when it comes to recovery and healing but also great because it brings people like us together! 

 

I never know how long symptoms last, what's a symptom of the medication, what's not, what's normal, etc. but I guess that's just what everyone here is trying to figure out! 

 

Thank you to you for your words and support. They make all the difference in the world. 

Paxil 20mg for 7 months.

Attempted to wean down by cutting in half to 10mg, now back up to 20mg. 

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I've been on Paxil since June 2015 after getting awful anxiety/panic attacks nuanced with bouts of depression. I was having an extremely stressful family situation (brother going through a crisis) for months and what I thought I could handle, I found out I couldn't. I guess my body had just had enough. I once read somewhere that depression is the body's way of saying it needs a break.. Wonder how much of that is true!

I think it is very true.  The body has a certain amount of "resilience" to stress, but with severe or prolonged stress it can use up its reserves and hit a wall.  At this point the system is out of balance and so we experience symptoms such as panic attacks, feelings of doom and so on.  There can be many different causes and contributing factors to this situation, so I believe "depression" is not really one disease, and certainly there is not one "cure" for all.

 

How do you know if you need to be on Paxil or not? How do you know when you taper down, it's withdrawal symptoms or real anxiety that needs treatment?

 

Personally I think the only people who really need to be on an AD are those with extremely severe depression who haven't improved with non-med treatments, i.e. ADs should be a last resort for extreme cases only.  Of course, that isn't the way our medical system works.

 

"Real anxiety that needs treatment" can be treated without meds.  There are many other options.  It might take some research, and perhaps some trial and error, to figure out which options are useful in each individual case.  Since most people are not offered these other options by medical professionals, it is up to the individual to take more responsibility for their own health and make their own decisions.

 

During a taper, w/d symptoms such as anxiety that are similar to the original condition may appear.  It can be impossible to distinguish between what is w/d and what is "real" anxiety as they can be closely related.  In any case, many of the non-med treatments for anxiety can be helpful in w/d.  You can build up a kind of "tool kit" of techniques that you can use at any time in the future if anxiety ever returns - much more empowering than rushing for pills that really don't cure, only temporarily suppress symptoms.

 

Anyway, welcome to SA - I like your member name!

 

 

 

Thank you so much for your support! I just wanted to respond and say that I agree, it's difficult to know the difference between "real anxiety" and withdrawl. One thing I have learned from just my short time on SA is that slow and steady is the best way to go about it. Does anybody know why titrating down 10% is recommended? My guess is this has to do with it being so small the body barely notices but also how long is a person recommended to be on each 10% decreased dose? What do we know about brain chemistry and titrating down? Sorry if none of these questions make sense I'm super tired and need to hit the hay but wanted to respond to all of you lovely people!

Paxil 20mg for 7 months.

Attempted to wean down by cutting in half to 10mg, now back up to 20mg. 

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Try reading this link Resilience  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6036-why-taper-paper-demonstrates-importance-of-gradual-change-in-plasma-concentration/

 

 

"What these fellows did here, was attempt to measure serotonin transporter occupancy at various doses for 5 different drugs. (Zoloft, celexa  paxil, effxor and Prozac, not in that order). They fit curves for both the oral doses and blood concentrations.

 
Long story short for anyone who doesn't know, SSRI’s ‘work’ by binding to the serotonin transporter protein (SERT) and stopping it doing it’s normal thing (reuptake of post-synaptic serotonin), resulting in serotonin hanging around for longer."
 
You're right , we want to trick the brain by taking away small amounts at a time.

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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We recommend staying at each new dose for at least a month.  Making symptom notes will help you work out more specifically when your brain is ready for another change.  In fact, keeping those notes can help you work out lots of things. 

 

I like to wait till my symptoms have reached minimal levels, and then have a month of feeling good before I make another reduction.  It's different for each person, and I am quite sensitive. 

 

After your recent updose, I think you are sensible to think of holding 2-3 months before considering tapering again.  Get yourself really stable so your body can better handle further changes.  It's also a good time for building up self-care, putting some meals in the freezer etc, and particularly for practicing handling anxiety/depression.  You can be ahead of the game!

 

Awesome that many of your w/d symptoms have improved.  Burning/tingling/itching are all common w/d.   

 

Happy stabilising :)

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

The small dose drops are because the body finds it easier to adjust to small changes than to large ones. 

 

The holds afterwards need to be several weeks at least, because most of the effect of these drugs doesn't happen immediately.  Nobody knows exactly how they "work", but it seems to happen indirectly, by the body making changes in response to the drug over several weeks, and so when a dose reduction occurs, it can take several weeks for the effects of that change to show up (usually as w/d symptoms).

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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