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Delia1559: Paxil Withdrawal


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I had been on paxil 10 mg for approx 12 years. In December my Dr. thought I should switch to Zoloft....I started 25 mg of zoloft on Dec. 18. After a couple weeks I started with anxiety and nausea....I was told I probably was having a bad reaction to the zoloft and to wean off....after a month. I cut the zoloft in half for two weeks and then in quarters for two more weeks and then stopped. Had Anxiety and horrible nausea could not eat at all....Dr. gave me Xanax .25 to help with the anxiety and said it would be fine. I was able to manage for a couple weeks but now its getting really bad and along with horrible anxiety, nausea I can't sleep and severe hot flushes then cold.Never suffered from depression but the way I feel is making me depressed. I stopped the Paxil Dec. 18....I stopped the Zoloft around Feb. 8 I think.

I'm am on beta blockers for high blood pressure (Coreg) and Thyroid Armor for 
hypo thyroid. 
Dr. said I wouldn't have a problem switching from Paxil to Zoloft.... I didn't know about tapering and I'm told these symptoms will subside on their own. I'm feeling horrible and can't work or hardly function. 
I'm so afraid to start up taking any meds again but after reading on line it looks like I may have to....I welcome any suggestions. Was originally put on Paxil 10 mg for menopasal symptoms and never taken off. I think over the years it probably did help my anxiety as I lived a happy normal life. I've always had some anxiety but never like this. I could benefit from your knowledge and if I knew this would leave in a week I could handle it but not knowing is just so hard. I know you've heard this story many times but its totally overwhelming to me right now. Help.
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I just wanted to drop in and say welcome too SA, I'm sorry you are going through such a hard time, iam in that spot too, you have found a great forum that will help you, you are not alone. I'm sure one of the mods will be by shortly to give you guidence. Hope you feel better soon. Ali

10 years citalopram 30mg- tapered down in December 15/2015- Jan 15/2016 to 20mg for two weeks, ten for one week and five for another week, then stopped, less then two weeks later, sheer hell broke lose with debilitating withdrawal symptoms.


Update-- reinstated 5mg of celexa on feb 5-- within hours noticed immediate difference in WD symptoms-- Holding holding and more holding.


Updose- March 23/16 too 10mg- relieved the harsher head symptoms- current symptoms headaches, dizzy, numbness and tingling in my head.


Benzos- 2015-Ativan on and off for 6 months 2mg- switched to clonazepam nov 2015- 2mg till Jan 2016 Zopiclone 7.5mg nov-dec 2015- was tapered off over 4weeks- Currently in protracted withdrawal. ????????????????????????????????


Update- ended up in the hospital April 18/16 major suicidal ( never had that before) was admitted/ been there ever since, put me back to full dose celexa 30mg no drugs added, IAM FINALLY STABLE AFTER 3 months of tortuous hell. Got a great physiatrist that new all about WD, he will help me taper properly in a couple of months at 5% deductions holding 8 weeks. I never want to relive that hell again.


Udate- stable and holding, doing things slowly is key.

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Hi and welcome ! Sorry you are going through that.

Did you cold turkey paxil when you switched,or tapered off?

2011~ lexapro 40-60 mg (mom,why didn't you stop me I was 15..)

2013~ prozac 40mg ,seroquel 25mg (here we go poop-out and merry-go-round!

2014~ paxil 40mg, seroquel 100mg (thanks psych ward for the benzo trial and WD too)

2015~ (worst year of my life):

- basically CT'd from paxil (40 to 20mg in one day,then 10 then 0 in one month total)

and seroquel (cold turkey) in May, horrible withdrawals with every decrease. I said " well Imma ride this out", yeah right.. Two weeks off I couldn't take it anymore.

- Drs. Lab rat( they tried prozac,lexapro,also for a few days cymbalta,venlafaxine,and for anxiety olanzapine and different doses seroquel)

- started wellbutrin (which "cured" my by then 1/2 year withdrawal in a few days,what?)

2016~zoloft 100mg,wellbutrin 300mg,seroquel 50mg

I hope to be med-free one day,I started at such a young age so, Who am I? No idea. :)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

"Dr. said I wouldn't have a problem switching from Paxil to Zoloft.... I didn't know about tapering and I'm told these symptoms will subside on their own. I'm feeling horrible and can't work or hardly function."



Hi Della and I'm glad you found your way here. It is a safe and encouraging place. 


Good God, my doctor said I "wouldn't have a problem" switching out Paxil and Zoloft, either.  :angry:


Like Romina, I would like to know if you tapered off of Paxil. It is quite a nasty drug to come off of slowly, let alone cold turkey. Most of us don't know that, and that's what led most of us to this (wonderful) forum. 


Can you put your history in your signature? That will help people help you, and you'll only have to write it out once. To do this, go to your profile ("My Profile"), click "Edit my profile" and on the left side, "Signature." 





2020: After 18+ years (entire adult life) on Paxil, a dangerous doctor-led "taper" in 2015, and four years tapering off the last 1 mg thanks to SA and the Brassmonkey slide, 

I AM COMPLETELY FREE OF PAXIL! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Forever.


2021: Began conservative, proper, CNS-respecting taper of Zoloft, led by the only expert on me -- me. Making own liquid. 5-10% plus holds.

2022: Holding on Zoloft for now. Current dose 47 mg. Hanging in, hanging on. Severe protracted PAWS, windows and waves. While I may not be doing "a lot" by outside standards, things are graaaaadually getting better


Yoga (gentle to medium); walks; daily breath practice; nutrition, fruits/veg; nature; water; EastEnders (lol); practicing self-compassion, self-care; boundaries; connection; allowing feelings; t r u s t ing that I, too, will heal. (--> may need to be reminded of this.)

"You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story." - Baylissa

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Hello Della,


I'm a benzo person, so I wouldn't venture to offer any advice about Paxil. I would like to point out you got three informative, caring, immediately helpful (do the signature/history;-)) responses on your first day — and none of them were from moderators, just regular taper folks, trying to get back to where they once belonged.


Welcome home. :D 




72 years old, no history of AD meds. Single dose of Ativan ramped up to 6-8 mg/day (!) for 7 years, initial Rx for insomnia. Summer of 2012 I learned about IW sx and began the change to 3X day dosing, finishing in October. Big improvement in sx. I also take opiate pain meds.

Finally got under way with a hybrid [wet/dry] daily cut taper in Dec. 2012, at 0.0125 mg/day reduction. I was able to taper down from 8 mg/d to 4 mg/d in 2 years at that rate, interrupted by several medical adventures (heart block, wrist fracture, endocrine problem). I'm currently [9/2021] stable at 4 mg/d and plan to start a micro-taper at an initial reduction rate of 0.035 mg/d. Now (10/2023) at 1.75 mg/day, I'm getting what I think are some w/d sx. so maybe hold for a while.


My taper method, which has gone through several iterations, is linked here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5037-jeromes-wetdry-taper-revised/?hl=jerome. At the moment, I'm not using a solution, but rather dealing with dry 0.5 mg tablets.

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If they cold turkey ed you....sounds like classic paxil withdrawal.

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

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  • Moderator

Hi Delia-- welcome to the group. I'm so sorry to heat that your doctor has caused you so much pain.  Unfortunately it's a pretty common story here.  The switch from paxil to zoloft pretty much counted as a cold turkey, which is what is causing the majority of your symptoms.  The subsequent start up and stopping of the zoloft didn't help matters either. The xanax has it's own set or problems.  This should help you understand what is happening a little better:


What is withdrawal syndrome? 


The first thing we need to do is get your central nervous system stabilized.  Although you don't like the idea, going back on a small amount of the paxil will go a long ways to making you feel better.  Having been off for so long it would not be a good idea to go back on a full dose, as that could cause even more trouble.  I would suggest starting with 2mgs of the paxil every day.  It will take at least four days for the drug to become steady state in your blood, during that time you might experience a variety of changing symptoms.  Once the drug is steady state it will take some additional time for your body to settle down.  For most people this can be several weeks to several months.  It can be a frustrating time to wait, but things will get better.  Once we get you stable again, then we can think about a slow taper to finally get you off.


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)


If you would please fill in a signature block with the details of you drug history, it will really help us to help you.


Please put your withdrawal history in your signature


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017


"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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