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Toulouse

☼ Toulouse: My Paxil Withdrawal Journey

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ChessieCat

I've just seen your benzo post and thought these might be helpful too:

 

http://www.drmartinseif.com/self-help.html

 

There are links on the left - one in particular I think is good is anticipatory anxiety.

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Toulouse

Thank you.  I found all the articles and clips very helpful.  I will stay the course and try to plow through the anxiety issues head on.  I know this will pass. This has got to get better eventually. I have made it this far, and went through lots of other worrying symptoms that have improved.

1) no more aches and pains

2) no more uncontrollable anger

3) hives cleared up

4) insomnia went away

5)muscle tremors/twitches (90% gone) no more shaking/trembling like I'm cold

6) numbness in hands cleared up finally,

7) digestive issues/heartburn - recently cleared up

 

Edit: Bruxism is gone, Floaters not as bad as last month. Facial tics gone.

 

There's a few more I'm sure. But other than this recent bout of anxiety/panic, I have to say I have no other symptoms and am feeling pretty close to healthy.

 

If I go and reinstate now, I will ruin all of this and possibly make myself much worse (not to mention having to go through all of this again with the possibility of a worse taper/withdrawal syndrome.)  I am nine months out.  This is such a long time off, and my belief is that I will be more healed in the not too distant future.

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brassmonkey

Hi Toulouse-- that's an excellent list of things that have gotten better.  There are plenty of nondrug methods for working with anxiety like CC has been pointing out.  Keep up the good recovery.

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Toulouse

So I met with my Integrative doctor today and he told me to never even say the word Paxil again. I should never reinstate that drug, and never should have been put on it. He never prescribes it to his patients.  To help me deal with the recent anxiety issues (none today, thankfully) he recommends two supplements, HPA adapt and Lavela lavender gel caps. I am willing to try the supplements. He is the same doctor who cured my chronic hives, so hopefully his advice will help me. I am also seeing a therapist to help me with the anxiety too, so hopefully together, this can put me on the right track.

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Fresh

That all sounds very positive Toulouse , good for you.

 

A word of caution: with any new supplements , try just one at a time for a couple of weeks. That way if you do have

an adverse reaction , you'll know which was causing it.

 

:)

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Toulouse

That all sounds very positive Toulouse , good for you.

 

A word of caution: with any new supplements , try just one at a time for a couple of weeks. That way if you do have

an adverse reaction , you'll know which was causing it.

 

:)

Thank you Fresh. Yes, that is smart. I will do one at a time, and take half the dosage to begin with.

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KarenB

Glad you found a way to feel you are on the right track Toulouse.  You've made so much progress already - love that list you made.  Do keep us updated with how things are going for you.

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Toulouse

Still suffering debilitating anxiety levels and unfortunately am thinking of my doctors suggestion to get on Lexapro. He knows I've taken Paxil for 14 yrs and started to have bad reactions whichled me to get off it (confusion, anger, primarily). He says Lexapro is very different from Paxil, and agrees Paxil is a bad drug and never prescribes it. I am thinking that I might be near the point of having to get back on an SSRI. Anyone here ever switch from Paxil to Lexapro?

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LexAnger

So sorry Toulouse for the horrible suffering!

 

I don't know about weather or not to reinstate and which other ssir is a good one to pick.

Personally I am strongly against Lexapro as it gives me and many others tons of unique physical (pain, heart etc) and mental (brain function) problems. They are very hard to kick.

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Altostrata

Toulouse, Lexapro is a very strong, activating SSRI.

 

There is no way to determine how it would affect you. If you must try something and are adverse to a reinstatement of a tiny amount of Paxil, I would try a tiny amount of Prozac rather than Lexapro.

 

It is Prozac, rather than Lexapro, that is commonly used (with varying success) as a bridge to go off Paxil.

 

Again, there is no way to predict how it will affect you, but it is a less arbitrary choice than Lexapro.

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Toulouse

Toulouse, Lexapro is a very strong, activating SSRI.

 

There is no way to determine how it would affect you. If you must try something and are adverse to a reinstatement of a tiny amount of Paxil, I would try a tiny amount of Prozac rather than Lexapro.

 

It is Prozac, rather than Lexapro, that is commonly used (with varying success) as a bridge to go off Paxil.

 

Again, there is no way to predict how it will affect you, but it is a less arbitrary choice than Lexapro.

I had my dr switch the Rx from Lexapro to Prozac 10mg. I feel better taking that from all the info I've read here over the last year.

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Toulouse

So sorry Toulouse for the horrible suffering!

I don't know about weather or not to reinstate and which other ssir is a good one to pick.

Personally I am strongly against Lexapro as it gives me and many others tons of unique physical (pain, heart etc) and mental (brain function) problems. They are very hard to kick.

Thanks for the info. I notified my doctor about my Lexapro concerns. If I go through with it, it will be Prozak instead. My hope would be to stabilize on that for at least 6 months and then perhaps wean from the Prozak.

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Altostrata

I would not take 10mg Prozac. It might be too much for you. I would start with 1mg, and use the liquid.

 

Still, results are unpredictable.

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Toulouse

I would not take 10mg Prozac. It might be too much for you. I would start with 1mg, and use the liquid.

 

Still, results are unpredictable.

Ah, too late now, I just picked up the 10 mg from the pharmacy. I could probably only cut these into quarters at best, with a pill cutter.

 

If I were to try to reinstate Paxil, what dose would I begin at?

 

My other option is to just take Xanax to stop the anxiety and hope this wave leaves me soon.

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Toulouse

Honestly I am chickening out for fear I will make matters worse. Maybe resorting to Xanax to use as needed in these tough times would be better than another ride on the SSRI train. It is so frustrating with these new acute anxiety symptoms. They're debilitating but only seem to come once every other week for a few days. I have no idea what to do. My gut says just do the Xanax and weather the storm. It's just that when the storm is at its hardest I lose hope and want that magic pill to make it go away.

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peggy

hi Toulouse - i can understand your concerns about getting back on the SSRI train - i too have thought that if it happened again would i try judicial use of a benzo instead?  

 

i have reinstated effexor many times and it has always worked, i would definitely NOT try a different AD - but the main problem with reinstating is that it takes so long to stabilise - and even then it's hit and miss. but at the same time being in w/d is bad for the brain - such a dilemma!

 

if you are only getting acute symptoms once every couple of weeks maybe try the benzo -BUT - you need to really limit how you take them - getting off benzos is no walk in the park either!

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Altostrata

You can make your own liquid. This would be desirable. See Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

I would absolutely not take 10mg at this point if I were you. It could be too strong.

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SquirrellyGirl

I would agree that it's a 50/50 situation since the anxiety spells last a few days (not weeks and months!) every couple of weeks.  We tend to not encourage the benzo use because yet again you are monkeying with neurotransmitters, and what you need is stability.  Only you can decide whether your level of suffering justifies their use or reinstatement.

 

What have you tried for self-care?  Are you on fish oil and magnesium?  Some find inositol powder helpful. http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/05/inositol-nervous-systems-pony-express.html

 

The more we worry over the anxiety, the worse it gets, and secondary fear takes over.  So, anything you can do to be at peace with your anxiety will help.  Acknowledge that you are having anxiety, Accept it rather than fight it (I am feeling so anxious, but it's ok) and Float - let it move on by.  Those who finally come to acceptance tend to feel better much sooner.

 

If you reinstate, it would be at a teeny-tiny dose, like 0.5 to 1.0 mg.  So, not far to come off if it does the trick.  Four days to get to a steady state in the blood, plus extra time, a week to 10 days, to see if it is actually helping.  If it immediately makes you feel worse, stop.  It will be such a small amount as to not be a big fall to stop it.  If 10 days gives you nothing, you can increase by another 0.5 mg.  Please review the topic About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal

 

SG

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Toulouse

I would agree that it's a 50/50 situation since the anxiety spells last a few days (not weeks and months!) every couple of weeks. We tend to not encourage the benzo use because yet again you are monkeying with neurotransmitters, and what you need is stability. Only you can decide whether your level of suffering justifies their use or reinstatement.

 

What have you tried for self-care? Are you on fish oil and magnesium? Some find inositol powder helpful. http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/05/inositol-nervous-systems-pony-express.html

 

The more we worry over the anxiety, the worse it gets, and secondary fear takes over. So, anything you can do to be at peace with your anxiety will help. Acknowledge that you are having anxiety, Accept it rather than fight it (I am feeling so anxious, but it's ok) and Float - let it move on by. Those who finally come to acceptance tend to feel better much sooner.

 

If you reinstate, it would be at a teeny-tiny dose, like 0.5 to 1.0 mg. So, not far to come off if it does the trick. Four days to get to a steady state in the blood, plus extra time, a week to 10 days, to see if it is actually helping. If it immediately makes you feel worse, stop. It will be such a small amount as to not be a big fall to stop it. If 10 days gives you nothing, you can increase by another 0.5 mg. Please review the topic About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal

 

SG

Thank you SG. I have been taking fish oil and magnesium, though not daily. I will start today back on those two and make it a daily thing.

I will do the reinstatement as a last resort. I am still conflicted as to whether it be Paxil or Prozac. Being 9 months off Paxil would make me think I almost have a clean slate it if was another SSRI. I think I would rather taper off of Prozac if I have a choice between the two, seeing how difficult the Paxil WD has been.

My HOPE is this anxiety is just another wave that will pass like all my other waves, hence my reluctance to start all over again. But I will have no choice if I keep having these episodes. I have a wife, kids, a job, like many others, and have to function any way possible. If that means reinstating, then I will, but hopefully I can have another hoorah and see if can come out the other end.

In the mean time, I have to research Paxil vs Prozac if I do the reinstatement, so I dont make a rash decision while in the throes of a bad wave.

PS I have a therapist who is trying to help me deal with the anxiety naturally, but it's easier said than done for me so far.

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Toulouse

You can make your own liquid. This would be desirable. See Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

I would absolutely not take 10mg at this point if I were you. It could be too strong.

Thank you Alto. I will make sure I don't do 10mg. If I choose to go this route instead of riding it out, I will try to do this method. I'm assuming there's more to it and I would titrate up to a certain point and stabilize there for a while

(Before attempting a new taper).

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Toulouse

I am really having a tough time deciding what to do. If I do Prozac (doc gave me 10mg pills) and try to turn them into 1 mg drops - i've never attempted anything like this before. I am very afraid I am going to mess it up.  (and mess myself up). 

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ChessieCat

Hi Toulouse,

 

I'm sorry that you are in this situation.  It must be a very difficult decision to make.  I just wanted to help you understand the way to work out your liquid.

 

If you dissolve a 10 mg tablet in 10 ml of water, each 1 ml of liquid will have 1 mg of tablet (10 ml / 10 mg = 1 mg per 1 ml).

 

If you dissolve a 10 mg tablet in 50 ml of water, each 5 ml of liquid will have 1 mg of tablet (50 ml / 10 mg = 1 mg per 5 ml).

 

The amount of liquid you start with will depend on what you are going to use to measure out your dose.  Obviously accuracy/consistency in measuring is necessary.  I hope that helps you.  If you aren't feeling too confident about doing it, try and have your wife there with you to double check what you are doing.  And don't forget to use the same things for measuring each time.

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Toulouse

So a Update - I've held tight and decided not to reinstate. (and certainly not on Paxil).  Talked to a new psychiatrist and have an appointment to discuss where I'm at in about a week.  He told me Paxil is horrible and hasn't prescribed it in 20 years.  Also told me NOT to do the Prozac, which my other doc told me I should start 10mgs!  At the very least, wait til I see him, which I most definitely will.
Going to try to beat the anxiety wave I'm having and let it pass without drugs (or as little as possible).  Overall, I'm feeling okay, with a little anxiety daily. With spikes it seems on the weekends for some reason. (where I feel like I'm having a panic attack).  Sporadic moments where I feel as though I'm getting a brain zap (I think it's panic, but it goes away after several seconds - or at least, because of my mindfulness, maybe I'm keeping it at bay) - but it's still with me. Last night I had anxiety pretty good before bed for some reason. 

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Toulouse

I came across this thread today, and it seemed just right when I read your post now:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5220-yoga-for-calming-very-simple-poses-can-help-greatly/

 

Karen

x

Thank you Karen, I will read this. Actually my wife has convinced me to do yoga with her this Wednesday.  I always thought I could use Yoga or meditation, but the procrastinator in my always seemed to get his way.  Thanks for the link. I think I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Cheers

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Toulouse

Saw a new P-doc today and thought he was really interesting. He had disdain for how antidepressants as well as the pharmaceutical companies that make them.  However, in regards to my recent bout of anxiety, he thought that Gabapentin would help me.  He told me it acts like a benzo but is much safer and non-addictive and no need to taper off when I quit.

He also said I could take it forever and will be fine. In fact, I'll probably live longer by taking this. (sounds a lot like what my 1st doctor said about Paxil).

ANYWAY - I got home and did some research and this doesn't seem to be the case at all.  Seems it causes just as many issues as a benzo. Also the list of possible side effects like feeling suicidal, dizzy, anxiety - all things I don't need in my life obviously.

 

I'm not going to try it.  I will just keep coping with my anxiety levels (they seem to be improving) the way I have been. (which means CBT and saving that xanax for an emergency).

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KarenB

Nice work Toulouse!  You're really taking back your power, doing that research and making your decisions.  It's heart-warming to read :).

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bspa

Hello Toulouse, I have read your entries with great interest as I am having very similar experiences.  I took a very low dosage of paxil for 10-15 years (5mils), largely for insomnia, and stopped (without much of a taper) last November. For the first 4-5 months, I had (and still have) horrendous insomnia, sleeping no more than 1-2 hours at a time, but had no other symptoms.

 

Last month, I started to have the same kind of palpitations, body tremors and flutters that you have described, in addition to serious anxiety attacks.   These symptoms are incredibly debilitating, especially with the lack of sleep, and have essentially derailed my life.  Every so often, I think that the symptoms are moderating but then they come back with a vengeance for no reason that I can discern.

 

I have seen various mds and have been told to take either zoloft or prozac (but to STAY AWAY FROM Paxil). I am now debating whether to try a very low dose of either or to just stick it out for as long as I can. I know that you have received comparable advice and grappled with similar issues. I understand that withdrawal from Prozac is much easier than paxil or Lexapro, but it is more stimulating and so could make the tremors and anxiety worse.

 

Am eager to hear what you have decided to do and what you have heard about these issues. Unfortunately, I know you have been grappling with issues similar to mine and so would love to hear from you.

 

Also, meant to mention from one psychiatrist suggested taurine and wonder if you have tried that.

 

 

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Toulouse

Hello Toulouse, I have read your entries with great interest as I am having very similar experiences.  I took a very low dosage of paxil for 10-15 years (5mils), largely for insomnia, and stopped (without much of a taper) last November. For the first 4-5 months, I had (and still have) horrendous insomnia, sleeping no more than 1-2 hours at a time, but had no other symptoms.

 

Last month, I started to have the same kind of palpitations, body tremors and flutters that you have described, in addition to serious anxiety attacks.   These symptoms are incredibly debilitating, especially with the lack of sleep, and have essentially derailed my life.  Every so often, I think that the symptoms are moderating but then they come back with a vengeance for no reason that I can discern.

 

I have seen various mds and have been told to take either zoloft or prozac (but to STAY AWAY FROM Paxil). I am now debating whether to try a very low dose of either or to just stick it out for as long as I can. I know that you have received comparable advice and grappled with similar issues. I understand that withdrawal from Prozac is much easier than paxil or Lexapro, but it is more stimulating and so could make the tremors and anxiety worse.

 

Am eager to hear what you have decided to do and what you have heard about these issues. Unfortunately, I know you have been grappling with issues similar to mine and so would love to hear from you.

 

Also, meant to mention from one psychiatrist suggested taurine and wonder if you have tried that.

Thanks for reaching out to me.  Sorry to hear you're in a similar boat to mine.  I've been reluctant to use another SSRI, but am keeping the option open if I worsen and feel like I have no choice. I won't ride it out if I feel like I'm in a downward spiral, but I will cross that bridge if I find it. Like you, my docs (3 of them now) told me stay off the Paxil.   Seeing that the most horrifying symptom for me is the sudden anxiety bouts, I am trying to handle that issue as a stand-alone,  even if it is cause by the WD.  My big regret when I got off Paxil the first time, about 8 or 10 years ago (I can't remember exactly), was that after I started getting heart palps and agitation, I went straight back on the Paxil ( i had no idea at the time I was having WD and not a relapse).  Looking back at that moment, I always wished that I had toughed it out and did therapy and taking a xanax in the bad moments. I would not be in the situation I am in today had I went that route. 

So now I'm in the same situation, where the anxiety or heart palps is scaring me and making me think of retreating back to an SSRI.  But this time I'm going to do what I wished I had earlier and just try to deal with the current issues without taking such a drastic action (SSRI).

I'm getting a bit better at dealing with the anxiety now that I've been reading up on it, and learning about CBT (and therapy). I still need to pop a xanax here and there but it's down to about 1x a week these last few weeks, so I think that's an improvement.  I'm also not getting full blown panic attacks, though still some moments of strong anxiety - but now it seems I can control it to a decent level where I'm back in control of it in a few moments.   I think this is the smartest and most prudent way for me to proceed.

As for supplements, I have to say that right now I'm going to hold off. I've not had good reactions to many.  I thought I reacted good to Omega 3 and Magnesium, but now I'm not sure.  Beginning today I will start journaling how I feel this week and if there's a difference when I take the Omega 3. Then if I improve or get worse, I'll take note, then start the Magnesium and do the same with that.  

 

Good luck with your recovery.  Let me know your progress too. 

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Toulouse

Thank you, Alto. I have read it, maybe 2 or 3 times so far. Lots of information there.  Though I'm not sure what to do with this information.

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Altostrata

You may note that it is based on a theory very similar to your doctor's, except the epilepsy drug was lamotrigine rather than gabapentin.

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Toulouse

You may note that it is based on a theory very similar to your doctor's, except the epilepsy drug was lamotrigine rather than gabapentin.

That's interesting that it is a similar theory.  I am afraid to try the gabapentin however. Partly due to the doctor telling me it is not addictive, and there's no need to ever taper it. I could just quit when I feel.  He said he has some patients that play with their dosages depending on how they feel. Sometimes 100mg, sometimes 200, 300, up and down.  After researching the drug, I found this is not the case. So my confidence dropped in him.   He said things like I can take the drug forever. (not sure about that either) But reading online,  I see the possible side effects (feeling suicidal, anxiety, etc) and knowing that I am sensitive to certain foods and supplements, I'm fearing I'd be one of the unlucky ones with the bad reactions. I would love to talk to others who have taken Gabapentin for anxiety and their reactions to it.

 

Right now I think my anxiety is lessening over the last few weeks (gradually).  And I'm taking less xanax as the weeks go on too (from 3x weekly to 2x, and last two weeks 1x per week). My last full on anxiety attack was a little over a month ago. The devil I know, is my current strategy.

Are you still taking the Lamotrigine?

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coldturkmama

Did you taper off or go cold turkey?

I went CT (uninformed ) so I was on for 15 yrs and off CT which hasn't been easy.

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Toulouse

Did you taper off or go cold turkey?

I went CT (uninformed ) so I was on for 15 yrs and off CT which hasn't been easy.

I tapered off from 20mg around 4 months or so.

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Toulouse

Lately i've been getting a strange head-rush feeling in my head. Like my brain is moving.  For a few seconds i feel like i'm going crazy and then it goes away.  Is this another WD symptom? 

My anxiety has improved over the last couple weeks.  But this strange head sensation is bothering me. Can anyone relate?

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