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☼ Marko2: Need Advice at Low Dose Paxil


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Hi All, 


I have been reading/lurking a lot here in the last few months but I have decided to finally post. My history is 20mg Paxil for 6 months from 9/18 - 3/19. Then tried to cold turkey and lasted a few days so reinstated 10mg which sucked for about 11 weeks but became stable. Then started cutting 10-15% a month for 8 moths doing fine until about 3-4mg. Then the bottom fell out at around 3.5mg and it has been pretty hardcore for the last 2 months (anxiety, panic, intrusive thoughts, feeling insane, poor sleep, loss of motivation, anhedonia, other indescribable feelings in the body) but managing with mindfulness, floating through the symptoms, reading this forum, trying to distract myself, staying social and busy etc. 


Vaguely stable again but I have a dilemma. I have been reading some work by Dr Peter Breggin and he suggests minimising exposure to any psy drug as much as possible, even in a taper. He has case study stories taking many of his patients off of the drugs in a year or less, then supporting them with therapy. If I was to cut 10% per month down to 0.5mg (where I want to get off in theory) I would be on Paxil for almost 2 more years. I think my slow cut has already doubled my total exposure to the drug (keeping in mind the SERT occupancy charts https://ils.unc.edu/bmh/neoref/nrschizophrenia/jsp/review/tmp/352.pdf).


So I want to bite the bullet and jump off soon from 2.8mg and just get hit with another few months of crap but get this drug out of my system. In theory I am a 30% SERT occupancy which is still significant so I am afraid I could just make myself terribly worse for a long long time. But I also have this nagging feeling my body wants this drug out of my system and I think a lot of what is manifesting could be managed by talk therapy, CBT, exercising, staying busy. 


What are peoples experiences at this junction? Anyone else take Paxil or other SSRIs for a much shorter time than their taper? Am I falling into a classic trap of thinking I can speed this up or is there merit to reducing my exposure to this drug? 


Any advice is worth its weight in gold here. Thank you all for participating in this important forum 🙏🙏🙏

20mg Paxil 6 months (Sep 2018 - March 2019)
Tapering from March 2019 - April 2021
Currently on 0mg

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  • Altostrata changed the title to Marko2 Need Advice at Low Dose Paxil
  • Administrator

Welcome, Marko.


Paroxetine is an exceptionally difficult drug to taper. We have had many people who got stuck at a low dosage, such as Paroxetina here.


I am well aware of Dr. Breggin's theory about "behavioral toxicity" from staying on the drug. Having seen way too much withdrawal syndrome -- and experienced for 11 years -- myself, I wonder what he thinks is going on in post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) other than an equally bad type of "behavioral toxicity."


I would never tell someone to "jump off" 2.8mg paroxetine to avoid "behavioral toxicity" from taking the drug but risk dealing with PAWS for years. I disagree with Dr. Breggin that PAWS may be alleviated with therapy.


Generally, adverse effects of drugs are dosage-related. The lower the dosage, the less adverse effect on the body.


Here is our topic about tapering paroxetine Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)


For 2 months, you have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms from tapering too fast, but we have seen that updosing paroxetine often doesn't make going off any easier. In your situation, as I suggested to Paroxetina, you might consider a switch to fluoxetine (Prozac) by cross-taper, see The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac First, you'd add a little Prozac to see how it affects you.


Please let us know how you're 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

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Hi Alto,


Thank you for your quick reply. I got a Prozac bridging suggestion from a Psychiatrist too. I am just scared of introducing more drugs into my system and I have read many people reacting very badly to Prozac. I think I might play the long game still as I am not horrendous at the moment and I know the Prozac option is there if things get bad. 


What do you think about holding my current dose for a few more months? 


Kind Regards

20mg Paxil 6 months (Sep 2018 - March 2019)
Tapering from March 2019 - April 2021
Currently on 0mg

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  • Administrator

You can hold if you want but if I were you, I'd updose slightly, to 3mg.


To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.


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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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Marko2: Need Advice at Low Dose Paxil
  • 10 months later...

Topic title:  Paroxetine Success Story


The temptation to recover and dash has been extremely high and I can see why people do. I want to put this all behind me and move on with my life but I will drop a success story before I do, to hopefully help others as others have helped me.

I turned to ADs in 2018 to deal with an episode of depression and anxiety that set in after a series of poor lifestyle decisions and a suboptimal elective surgery result. I have had both depression and anxiety before in life but worked through them naturally in the past. This time I was inpatient and I thought medication could be a quick fix. I thought I was being careful by opting for an AD vs a Benzo as I have read and seen first hand what Benzos do to people (I lost a friend to them). In hindsight I am not sure I did myself any favours either way.


I was prescribed Paroxetine in 5 minutes with zero informed consent about the horrific ramp up symptoms and how hard it would be to get off. In fairness the buck always stops with you but it was an unnecessarily brutal lesson in researching and trusting. I was on Paroxetine for only 6 months before I had enough of the zombie like feeling, the loss of sexual function and the constant fatigue. I also started to question what the termination point of such a treatment is. It doesn't seem to 'cure' anything like an antibiotic would, you have to keep taking it and to what end? The AD did work at getting rid of the anxiety the same way a sledgehammer would work at cracking open a peanut...but I digress, I promised myself I won't get into the politics of mental health in this post, it has all been covered well in this forum and several books. 

Before people want to point out that I only succeeded because I was only on ADs for a short time, I strongly believe that ADs create the neuro-plastic changes in weeks or less and after that most people will start on similar footing withdrawing. 

I won't go into detail nor do I want to relive all of the horrific things I thought and felt tapering over the next 2 years but needless to say it was easily the worst period of my life. Minus seizures and a few other symptoms I had everything else to varying degrees on that exhaustive symptom list somebody once posted. I experienced ghoulish sensations, stratospheric fear of everything, I was afraid of my body, my own thoughts, of solid objects. At times I thought I had completely lost my mind and many times I felt like life was not worth the pain, anguish and confusion. I saw several psychiatrists and doctors looking for answers. I ended up in ER fearing I was going to die from a heart attack. I was convinced my libido and a sense of calm would never return to my body. This was all while tapering slowly too so I have no idea how the cold turkey crowd does it.

I am grateful that I found this forum before my taper and that I went slowly. I also have no idea how people survived or made sense of this kind of experience prior to access to this kind of information. I guess many people have gotten trapped in a medication merry-go-round believing their withdrawal symptoms to be some kind of organic problem - this forum saved me from that trap. Although the waves were really bad as mentioned above, tapering made sure it wasn't unrelenting and that I had windows too. Tapering also helped me stay superficially functional (kept my job, people couldn't easily tell etc). I tapered at 10% a month and sped up a little right before the end when I got to below 0.5mgs. All in all it was a 25 month taper with the second year sucking way harder than the first. I think the 3-5mg mark was the metaphoric Rubicon when WD symptoms started to ramp up a lot...it got harder not easier with time before getting easier again. 


My 2c on how to beat this is to read + IMPLEMENT + STICK WITH every golden piece of advice others have kindly shared in their success stories. There is plenty enough there, my success story is hardly original and stands on the shoulders of others that have gone before me. A lot of that advice was wrought in the gates of hell and it will serve everyone well in healthy, post withdrawal living too. You must work at it however, nothing comes without work, this is a unique challenge. You must also give some things like meditation, fish oil etc a bit of time. It's not overnight. READ THE BOOKS recommended by others. They were sooo helpful. As far as what I can add to the list that I have not already seen mentioned:

The Drive Podcast by Peter Attia is a really good listen re: healthy living and improving insulin resistance and sleep habits which will ultimately help with mental health after withdrawal too

The Breathe Easy program (Google Search) and Dr Sanjay Gupta on YouTube will help with ectopic beats/palpitations
The BenzoBuddies forum success stories were also heartwarming to read (has been mentioned before but I will reiterate it)

In the last few months I have been feeling pretty much like my old self. It's not perfect but it's me and I am happy for that. If any wave does hit me going forward I know it will be temporary and I will get through it.


As a I final note I want to add: when I was going through a particularly hard wave my mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer out of the blue. She passed away 3 months later with her hand in mine. I was very close to her, this post is dedicated to her. I realised that WD will not be the last struggle of my life. Every human being will struggle, some will struggle more than others, but in the end we are all defined by how we find meaning in those struggles and not by their quantity and quality. There are hundreds of forums out there for sufferers of MS, ALS, Breast Cancer, Parkinson, Heroin Withdrawal, Paraplegia you name it. We are neither alone in our suffering and, dare I say it, that we also probably don't have it the worst. What is true however is that AD withdrawal and recovery offers a rare chance to be reborn and to come out the other end not only healed but sometimes better than before too. Many afflictions do not have that narrative arc - people can only expect to get worse with their illnesses - and in someways appreciating that this is the nature of your journey can alone accelerate your healing. 


Thank you for the admins running this forum and for all the people openly sharing their experiences. Information is always power. 

Wishing you all the best and all my love.




Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title before merging with Intro

20mg Paxil 6 months (Sep 2018 - March 2019)
Tapering from March 2019 - April 2021
Currently on 0mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Because you're feeling better, I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.


Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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