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Ian1234: 41yo male - was on Paxil for 13 years age 27 until 40


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First time posting.


I was prescribed Paxil for anxiety when I was 27 and I was on it until I was 40.  I started having seizures at age 27 and at the same time I started to develop anxiety.  I was taking 4-5 meds at the time for my epilepsy that I didn't think anything about the Paxil.


Fast forward 13 years.  I no longer have seizures and Paxil was the only med that I was still on.  I tried to get off it multiple times and failed.  Then I started a slower taper (1-2mg per drop).  I was able to get off of the Paxil after 18 months of tapering.  I suffered pretty bad withdrawal from every single taper.  The traditional brain zaps, came immediately but also cleared up fairly quickly.  After each taper I also went through about a 3-4 week period of really bad anxiety followed by depression.  However, after about 2 months I always felt pretty good.  Better than I had felt ever on the Paxil.  Every time I reached this point in my taper I would then drop down again and wait for me to feel "ok" before I dropped anymore. 


18 months passed and I'm off Paxil completely.  I've been off now for about 3-4 months.  My mental health is actually pretty good.  I have less ups and downs than I've ever had I would say 80% of my days are pretty good.  The only symptom that I have that is remaining is that I seem to have really bad IBS.  It's like really bad stomach cramps, gas pains, bloating, etc.  It seems to get better and worse at times but it's never really cleared up.  It seems to be the worst at night after eating.  Just feel really uncomfortable. 


Has anyone had a similar experience like this?  Did anything help the IBS?  I've been taking an over the counter probiotic that seems to help (I just seem to stop talking it once things improve, my mistake).  

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  • Moderator


Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  Congratulations for getting off the psych meds!  This is a huge accomplishment.  Have you had this checked out by a doctor to see if there is another cause besides psych med withdrawal? 


First of all, can you please give us specific information about your drug history for all drugs you are on and have been on, especially for the past 18-24 months?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your drugs in a concise list (no symptoms), only specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease or increase.  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  


How to List Drug History in Signature


Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  


How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain


This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 


What is Withdrawal Syndrome?


Also, as we are recovering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. 


Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable


Because our nervous systems are so complex, and they control everything in our bodies, it is not surprising that you have IBS.  Yes, stomach issues are common in withdrawal from psych meds. It actually can take months to years for your system to fully recover from being on these drugs.  Here is a thread that talks about the factors that affect the length of time it takes to heal. 


How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take


Here is a thread where people talk about their GI issues as it relates to withdrawal: 


Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gut Bacteria


Digestive Problems


We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 




Omega 3 Fish Oil


Hang in there.  With time and patience, these drug withdrawal related issues will sort themselves out.  

Please do not private message me or tag me.


***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.


Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg


Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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  • getofflex changed the title to Ian1234: 41yo male - was on Paxil for 13 years age 27 until 40

I have not been to the doctor about my withdrawals.  My PCP's reaction has always been basically that if I had anxiety I should be on the med and I never really felt like my concerns were listened to. 


I have not had a seizure in over 7-8 years and all of my meds came about because I was having the seizures.   I never had anxiety until I had the seizures.  


  • I was on 30mg of Paxil for 13 years. 
  • I was on Klonopin .25mg per day for anxiety & anti epileptic  for 7-8 years
  • I am still on Klonopin as needed but not daily (which I maybe take .5mg once or twice a week now.)  I've found that being off the Paxil makes me need the Klonopin much less.
  • No other drugs.
  • I attempted to taper off and quit Paxil many times in the past and always gave up.  Mostly due to the head zaps & mental health side effects.  I never tried a very slow taper until much later.
  • My Dr. tried to get me off Paxil and to do some type of taper + switch to Prozac and I had extreme SSRI withdrawal symptom and had to go back on the meds
  • I talked to my doctor about tapering off and I was always told to do it over a period of just 3-4 weeks.  He seem to discredit my suggestion at longer tapers.
  • About 18 months ago I started tapering off Paxil by very small drops.  Every drop I suffered similar withdrawal symptoms and eventually reached what I felt was a baseline.  When I reached the baseline I would drop again.  It typically took about 5-10 days after each drop before I really started to feel the side effects and 2-3 months before I reached the baseline and dropped again. 
  • I had the same IBS issue with each of my drops but it seemed to clear up eventually.
  • I have been completely off the med now for approximately 2-3 months.
  • I feel like my mental health has improved 10 fold.  Every day might not be the best but I find that I'm actually "happy" now some times.  

The IBS is really the only symptom that I think has continued to be fairly persistent.  I notice it's definitely worse after I eat and at night and is completely fine when I wake up in the morning.  


Thank you for the resources!  I will definitely review them all.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @Ian1234


Congratulations on tapering carefully off Paxil. It can be a very difficult drug to go off.


You might want to keep a food diary and see if any foods are triggering your gut sensitivity. You may wish to go on a non-irritating diet for a while to let your digestive system settle down. See


Eating as an activating factor


Elimination or exclusion diets for reactions to food (food intolerance)


Histamine intolerance


SCD/GAPS/Paleo Diets


Probiotics and gut health

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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I've started taking a probiotic and actually focus on what I'm eating.  I've never had any issues and I must admit that I was not always the most healthy eater.  I would not eat breakfast or lunch and would only eat dinner.  I'm trying to force myself to eat breakfast every day and it seems to be helping.  Just a few days and I'm already notice thing improving.  It's not gone completely but definitely improved.  

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