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musicandlyrics21: 20 years old, stopped Paxil cold turkey & scared


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Hi everyone!


To sum up my history, I have been on Paxil CR 25mg for anxiety since October of 2014. I'm a 20 year old full time college student and the stress of the workload, social life, etc. sort of got to me. It has helped somewhat, but I've gained 20-25 lbs. since I have been on it, and that's countering any good effects this medication has for me (I have some self esteem issues with my weight). So, I decided to wean myself off it. A friend who is a nurse suggested that I do a taper, taking half a pill each day for a couple weeks, then half a pill every other day, every 3rd day, so on and so forth. But, I stupidly got impatient and after four days, decided to stop cold turkey.


Now here comes the TMI, I'm embarassed, and I apologize:

My last half dose was Monday. I've experienced some minor brain zaps, dizziness, but nothing awful until last night, when I slept probably two hours total. I am a good sleeper and usually need about 7-8 hours a night, and last night I just couldn't manage to stop tossing and turning. I also woke from my light sleep at 2am really, really aroused. So much so that I couldn't even sleep on my side with my legs together. This was persistent through the night, and is happening this morning as well. I'm nervous that it won't go away. I tried to help the problem myself, but that doesn't seem to be working. I just took a Paxil because I'm hoping that might help. Needless to say, I'm going to do a slow taper instead of this clearly genius cold turkey idea of mine.


Can anyone please tell me whether this constant arousal is normal? I'm so embarassed about it, and worried because I've been Googling and discovered "persistent genital arousal syndrome"- I know it's been less than 24 hours, but I can't help but think that I now have this. I'm going to call my doctor tomorrow if I'm still having this problem, but I wanted to reach out here.


I'm just feeling really discouraged about getting off of this medicine. I probably could cry right now because of how I'm feeling today. Nobody seems to believe that it's as bad as I'm saying it is. I love my doctor, and know she prescribed it to help me, but the way this withdrawal is going is scaring me. I know it's 100% my fault for quitting cold turkey, but I didn't ever imagine it would be like this. 


Any words of wisdom/guidance/advice would be REALLY appreciated. Thanks! 

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I'm no expert and there are more knowledgeable people here than me, but I'll throw in my 2 cents. Don't blame yourself and don't be so hard on yourself. Everybody makes mistakes, it's only human. It's not important how you got in this situation, but how to fix it and stabilize your nervous system. 


From what I understand you quit on Monday? That means only a couple of days ago. You can reinstate (don't know what doseage though, but I'm guessing close to the original one you were taking) and the reinstatement should work and take care of the symptoms. How much did you take today?


I know how hard it is when no one believe you. No one believes me either. I feel exactly the same way you do, which might not be much comfort to you, but at least you know you're not alone.


Someone more knowledgeable and experienced will come and advise you soon


Hang in there and remember that this is going to get better

I suffer from depression, anxiety, pure-o ocd, and panic attacks since 2004. Been on multiple different psychiatric drugs since 2006. Never had a significant WD problem before, only brain zaps for a month and then I'd be fine...............Been on Cipralex (escitalopram) 15 mg and Fluanxol (flupentixol) 1 mg since Sep 2014. Stopped taking the Cipralex after a fast 20-day taper.Took the last 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 5th, 2015. Then took Seroxat (paroxetine) 10 mg for a week, and stopped it too. Severe WD started suddenly on Feb 16th. RI 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 18th, 2015. RI worked and was relatively stable for a while................April 7 - decreased Fluanxol from 1 mg to 0.5 mg and took it at this dose for a week. - BIG MISTAKE; April 13 - WD starts creeping in; April 14 - RI full dose of Fluanxol 1 mg => severe muscle twitching and jerking when trying to relax and fall asleep, overwhelming sense of doom, dread, terror, and horror, insomnia, hoping to stabilize.
Tried doing a 10% cut off Fluanxol in the end of May for a few days, but quickly updosed to full dose because the twitching returned.
Experiencing waves and windows in the following months.
Unsuccessful brief taper attempt of Fluanxol by 5% on November 1st. Symptoms hit the next day. Too scared to continue tapering, reinstate full dose.
Severe crash in November after stupidly trying a barbiturate on November 9th. Grave mistake. Sense of unshakable inescapable internal torture, like my soul is in hell being tortured, terror/horror/dread/doom (probably akathisia?) that gets especially bad when trying to relax and fall asleep, muscles twitch, jerk and move on their own, shaking, insomnia, can't eat, confusion, disorientation, brain not working normally. Never felt so bad in my entire life. Never experiment with other meds while in WD! Praying to God I stabilize and get back to my baseline.
December - things getting even worse.

January - unbearable suffering

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA musicandlyrics21,


I moved your post from the symptoms section because it was an introduction and related to your own situation specifically. Please add information and updates about your changing circumstances, and ask questions here.


I'm sorry to hear about what has happened since you stopped taking paxil, but please don't blame yourself or think that you caused this.  These effects are caused by the drugs and the unpredictable way they act in the body, no one really knows what they might do, even when taken exactly as prescribed.


Have you found any relief from your PGAD since you reinstated?  Did you reinstate your full dose? 


Please would you put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature. Putting a short version of your drug and tapering history in your signature helps people understand your context, it appears below each of your posts. Here are instructions for how to do it:




The kind of taper your friend suggested was too fast.  We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  (The general philosophy of gradual tapering)


Here are our tips for tapering off paxil:




Here is our PGAD topic:

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

Its unlikely that your doctor will know anything about PGAD being caused by SSRI drugs or withdrawal from them, please let us know how you get on.


Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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  • Administrator

Welcome, MAL.


How much Paxil are you taking? Please be very consistent -- do not skip doses. Take the drug at the same time each day.


How are you feeling now?

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 didnt read your post, just title, if you stopped cold turkey, you better get back on it and tamper slowly, im serious. I stopped CT and wasn't right for years.

trintellix 1 mg and rexulti .5mg


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