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Grandma6: Paxil recovery


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MOD NOTE:  Moved from Success Forum.


I am not sure if this is the place, on this site, to share my story but here it goes. Seventeen years ago I was put on Paxil after waking up everyday in a panic. Every morning it was like I got the worst news of my life. I went to the doctor and on the third try we hit on Paxil. Within a week my life started to change. No more panicked mornings and I was able to handle my everyday stress of homeschooling three kids and a traveling husband. Thru the years my dose bounced from 20-30 mg and back depending on what was happening in my life. Fast forward to two years ago when I began to have random panic attacks that would come out of know where for no reason. This past November 2017, I ended up in the ER for the first time. It was a panic attack. My doctor put me up to 40mg. I was back in the office in a couple of weeks because I felt so bad. She told me I was pooping out and needed to get off Paxil. She suggested I slowly taper off and start neurofeedback. I found a neurofeedback person in our town and began my journey. Now we live in a pretty small town in Idaho and we don’t really have any “mental health” doctors that I know of, so it was kind of me and the internet. I now know that I tapered way to fast but I was anxious to get this devil out of my body. With neurofeedback sessions twice a week I decreased from 40-10 from January 4 to March 4. I got stable, or what I thought was stable, between each decrease. I DO NOT recommend going this fast but my doctor did say I needed to get off ASAP.  I did not feel that bad durning this time. Maybe a day or two but then I bounced right back. At the beginning of March we took a trip to California with our grandchildren and went to LEGO land and Disneyland. I hate flying and crowds and I still did fine. When we got home from out trip I waited two weeks and then decided to drop the final 10 mg. This drop literally took my breath, and sometimes I feel my life, away. After the realities ease of the first 30 mg I was in NO WAY prepared for what was to come. Every symptom that you can imagine burst onto the scene. Without a praying husband, a supportive family and friends to encourage me I don’t know what I would have done. Articles and websites told me I would be better in a long weekend, nope. I searched more and found two to six weeks, wrong again. Then I decided to start looking for sites that were not medical, that were actual experiences from people that had went thru detox. These sites gave me hope that I wasn’t crazy and it would take time. I would have days of bad and then one good day. Hallelujah.  It was very gradual.  After two months I went back to my doctor because of some really hard days. She asked if I wanted to back on a small dose of Paxil and start tapering again. I refused, maybe a should have. She did give me 5mg if buspirone twice a day. It seemed to help. After a month I went down to once a  day. After 100 days I had 12 good days in a row. Finally I was completely over this crap. NOT.  We had company for a few days and then went on a trip. Right in the middle of the trip it all came back. Too much too soon I guess.  I then began another search and found this site. I now see all the things I did wrong but I also see that it is going to take time. I know about the windows and the waves and that my brain and body have a lot of healing to still do. I believe that the neurofeedback is helping my recovery. I am now 7 months in from my first taper and 4 months in from when I totally quit Paxil. I though Paxil gave me my life back but really it stole my life and continues to. I am now afraid to be alone very much and I have lost my self confidence. It has taken time from my precious family because I really don’t want to interact with anyone right now. I have regained my ability to feel and cry, which I do a lot of. When I went on Paxil all those years ago I don’t question anything. I never once asked my doctor how long I should be on this kind of medication. I did try on two previous occasions to go off, but the Paxil flu had me popping those pills again within a week.  By far the two biggest side affects I have gone thru are loss of weight, no appetite at all, and lack of sleep. I have tried everything you can think of to sleep and it still alludes me. A good night is five hours and I am an eight hour kind of girl. Lack of sleep has played the most on my mood and emotions and has been the hardest thing I have dealt with on this journey.   Thank you for your time. 


Edited by ChessieCat
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Grandma6: Paxil recovery
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Hello, Grandma6.  I'm sorry you've been having a hard time.


Loss of weight, lack of appetite and lack of sleep a very common withdrawal symptoms resulting.  I have them myself.  I have had some success with Melatonin for sleep.  Start with a very low dose, perhaps 1/2mg and see if that helps.  If not, try 1 mg.  I wouldn't go much higher, as it can have have a paradoxical (activating) effect.  Once I took 3 mg and was up all night.  Get the plain Melatonin with the B6 they often add, as B6 can be activating to your system.  I do better with the extended release version.


Regarding diet, I have found a few things that help--eating small meals, being sure to eat breakfast to get your blood sugar level up in the morning, and avoiding sugar, caffeine,

and processed foods. I do well with protein but that may be individual to me.


Many members have also found relief during withdrawal from Omega-3 and magnesium.  Start with one at a time and with a low dose.  These can be very calming to the nervous system.  Otherwise, we don't recommend a lot of supplements because our systems in withdrawal are very sensitized and can react bad to supplements or even foods.



To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.
To help you understand the symptoms you are experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal.  The withdrawal time doesn't necessarily correlate with the time you were on the drug.  These drugs alter the architecture of the brain, and the time necessary to heal the brain and return to homeostasis is, unfortunately, impossible to predict.  


When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
Many members have found the non-drug techniques in the following links helpful in dealing with withdrawal.

This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.  I hope you’ll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation.  I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.



Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Some days I come so close to just giving up and calling the doctor to try a new medication. It seems like the good days make the bad ones so much worse. I just want to feel normal and enjoy life again. The nights of 4-5 hours of sleep are really taking a toll on my body and spirit.  

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