Survivor Story 209:27/77 – My life ruined by Prozac “..stubborn but not psychotic.”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 27.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/19/2003

My life ruined by Prozac

 

Antidepressants

“Before these meds she was stubborn but not psychotic.”

Two months after being proscribed Prozac, my exwife was diagnosed as manic depressive before this her diagnosis was mild depression. 2 months later because she had serious mind racing problems she was prescribed Adderall 2 months later she was diagnosed psychotic and was given anti psychotic drugs. Before these meds she was stubborn but not psychotic. After this every side effect Dr. Anne Blake Tracy ID’ed in her book “Prozac panacea or Pandora” was now exhibited.

She began drinking, gambling , taking drugs “cocaine”. She ruined my finances “I am bankrupt”. IN my quest to save her I lost my business. She was my chief financial officer. 2 year later I am still trying to get my life back on track. I believe she is still severely physically affected by the use of these drugs. The terror we experienced few can survive. She still may not and I still have some suicidal ideation.

What Ely Lilly and the FDA has perpetrated on the public pales to almost every other act ever committed.

Robert Nance
xfile@whc.net

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Survivor Story 197:15/77 Cold turkeyed off Effexor and Etrafon.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 15.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/14/2003

Cold turkeyed off Effexor and Etrafon

 

Antidepressants

“I continue to cite your book to all I can reach. I believe in you, and thank you so very much!”

I’ve read “Prozac…” with great interest after your first “Art Bell” show. I was fortunate to be able to tape the second show with B. Simpson.

Thanks to your efforts, I now have all the support I need to warn friends about the pitfalls of these drugs.

My story:

Long term depression. Working physical job at printing outfit. Duties included fork lift driving. I went to the doctor for some relief; he prescribed Effexor, and Etrafon-forte.

My most pronounced side effect became noticeable to my wife; the persona of pure apathy.

Her father was killed in a car accident, and at the funeral, I couldn’t cry- became ultra-spiritual about his role in “the afterlife.” He was a Salvation Army officer and musician in the string band. He was loved by everyone. I miss him, but I do feel his presence even today; four years after my cold turkey episode.

My personal hell came in the form of unwanted thoughts that, without a firm spiritual background, I might have acted upon- as some of the examples presented in your case studies.

I decided that the drugs were the cause of my thoughts, and just stopped taking them one day. Things got worse, and I resorted to a relapse to drinking after a four year sobriety.

My drinking took off to three day binges, and I assaulted my loving wife while in a blackout.

Iwas jailed, and went through treatment. Over a six year period I’ve had three such episodes, but remain free of the SSRI’s. I’ve found relief with Librium, but they tapered me off of it while in the last treatment. I now feel totally lost, and have all the physical problems of stress, including fibro myalgia. I am now self employed making furniture.

I just got on the net at home, and wish to thank you for your insight-full work exposing this problem. I continue to cite your book to all I can reach. I believe in you, and thank you so very much!

Yours in central MN

Jon Allen
hihat02@yahoo.com

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Survivor Story 198:16/77 – 12 drugs in 4 years caused near fatal effects – Paxil: racing thoughts and extremely suicidal.”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 16.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/14/2003

12 drugs in 4 years caused near fatal effects

 

Antidepressants

“Within 4 days of starting Paxil I was experiencing racing thoughts and was extremely suicidal.”

So that some of this makes sense, at the age of 7, I was hospitalized with an unknown virus that attacked my major organs. Although I recovered quite well given the severity of the illness, I was left with minor liver damage and it was noted in my medical records that I was very medication sensitive. I repeatedly told each psychiatrist I saw about the liver damage.

In 1999 at the age of 14 I was admitted to aN adolescent psychiatric unit for depression and suicidal ideation. One day later I was prescribed the antidepressant Prozac and addictive anti-anxiety drug Klonopin by a psychiatrist who I’d never even met. After my first dose of both drugs and for the next few weeks I felt like I was drunk, I could barely walk and was unable to stay awake. I was kept on these drugs for 3 months, in that time I began to self-injure and was kicked out of public high school because of repeatedly falling asleep in class, until I complained to my psychiatrist of severe memory loss, he had me quit both cold turkey and begin Paxil.

Within 4 days of starting Paxil I was experiencing racing thoughts and was extremely suicidal. When my psychiatrist found this out he quickly diagnosed me as bipolar and put me on Tegretol and Risperdal. I was pulled off the Tegretol 2 weeks later due to extreme dizziness. I was told that Risperdal was aN antidepressant and at that time I was one extremely physically ill 15 year old kid and in no position to question my doctor.

After 2 months of continual nightmares caused by Risperdal I began to experience a horrible (for anyone yet alone a teenager) side effect, my body started to act like I was pregnant! My period stopped and I began to lactate. I was taken off the Risperdal and given Effexor, which made me suffer from severe insomnia and agitation and was given Trazadone to help me sleep. At this time my psychiatrist was moving out of state and my mom chose a new one for me, neither she nor I knew he specialized in ADHD. I was then given Ritalin and told my anxiety and drug induced agitation was actually a sign of ADHD.

I took only one pill of Ritalin and spend the rest of the day curled in a ball on my bed unable to move because of extreme stomach pain. When my psychiatrist found out I’d only taken that one dose he admonished me for not giving it time to work and gave me a prescription for Dipresamine. I had a severe allergic reaction, my arms and legs were covered in a rash which then turned into hives and I started having trouble breathing. My mom called the psychiatrist. After a 4 hour wait he returned the call and began to yell at my mom for calling and bothering him, he finally told her to not give me any more Dipresamine and he’d phone the pharmacy with a prescription for Zoloft.

After I recovered from the reaction I started the Zoloft, within an hour of taking it began to throw up and continued to for a few hours, this repeated with each dose of Zoloft I took and I stopped taking it after a week. At this time a therapist I was seeing recommended a certain psychiatrist for me to see. I met with him and he prescribed Depakote. I told him I wouldn’t take medicines that required blood tests and he assured me I didn’t need them on Depakote (I now know that isn’t true).

After 3 weeks I felt like a zombie and began having hallucinations, hand tremors, and had gained a lot of weight. I asked the psychiatrist if Depakote could be causing it all and he told me absolutely not. He went on to say what I was obviously developing schizophrenia and gave me a prescription for Risperdal (yes, he did know of my previous bad reaction) which I never took.

A few days later my cousin who is a nurse’s assistant came to have dinner with me and my parents. We started talking and I told her about the weird problems and the hallucinations. When she’d heard everything, her exact words were “I’m taking you to the emergency room, NOW!” She took me to the hospital that she worked at and had a doctor she knew in the ER examine me. He ordered the first ever lab tests done on me, and told me that my liver enzymes were high and I had a dangerous level of Depakote in my body, and that if I continued to take the Depakote I would likely go into liver failure within a few weeks.

After being told to go to my regular doctor in a few weeks to have liver enzymes checked again, and to return immediately if I got worse, I was sent home and promptly threw the rest of the Depakote in the trash. It took over 3 months for the hallucinations, weight gain, and hand tremors to go away. My liver enzymes went down, but they never returned to what they had been before I’d taken the Depakote. I’ve been told that my liver functions at about 70% of what a healthy liver does, a large part of that damage is from the Depakote.

I’d like to say that was the end of my experience with psychiatric drugs, but I hadn’t quite learned my lesson. Recently another therapist insisted I see a psychiatrist, who gave me Buspar. Buspar is advertised as the only nonaddicting anti-anxiety drug. After taking it for 11 days I felt dulled and slowed so I stopped taking it. I suffered through 3 days of withdrawals including headaches, dizziness, lose of coordination, insomnia, and severe muscle aches. Now, I’ve learned my lesson!

I was told I had ever disorder imaginable, including schizophrenia, and that my future was long term hospitalization. I proved them wrong. I entered an alternative program funded by the public school district where we were considered to be public school students but attended class at a separate location from the public high school. In May 2003, I graduated with a 3.97 GPA, the highest in the alternative program, had a class rank of 13 out of 350 students at the public high school, and was chosen to give a speech at my graduation ceremony.

In August I’m starting college at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and planning to become a special education teacher for children with behavior disorders.

Bani
bani@busmail.org

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Survivor Story 199:17/77 – 16-Year Old Has Violent Nightmares on Paxil and Effexor, Takes Rifle to School.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 17.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/15/2003

16-Year Old Has Violent Nightmares on Paxil and Effexor, Takes Rifle to School

 

Antidepressants

“The first day he took his 300 mgs is also the day he walked into school with a rifle. He fortunately gave up the rifle, before harming himself or others.”

After complaining of anxiety and depression we took him to a Psychologist, who then suggested taking him to our GP and having Corey placed on medication. The medication was Paxil. After 10 months on 20 mgs. of Paxil, Corey said he wasn’t feeling any better. The GP upped his dose to 40 mgs of Paxil. For 2 months, Corey was on 40 mgs of Paxil and then complained that he was still feeling bad. He was taken to the GP, who then abruptly discontinued Paxil and placed Corey on a rising dose of Effexor. The first week, he took 75 mgs, second week 150mgs, third week he went up to 225 mgs and on the beginning of the fourth week he was to reach his highest dose of 300 mgs. The first day he took his 300 mgs is also the day he walked into school with a rifle. He fortunately gave up the rifle, before harming himself or others.

A Forensic Psychiatrist was hired, who had also worked with the Prosecutor. After months of research, the Psychiatrist found Corey in diminished capacity, because of the abrupt discontinuation of Paxil and the significant dose of Effexor. The Doctor also found that the Psychologist had misdiagnosed Corey clinical depression. It was actually situational depression and these drugs should not be give for that. He also mentioned that these drugs were not approved for children under 18. Corey was 16 yrs old at the time of his arrest. After 14 months in detention, a lesser plea of assaults was found and Corey was released on time served and has 5 yrs. probation.

Corey has no memory of getting the rifle, driving to school, being in the classroom or being arrested and taken to Detention. His next memory is someone coming to his cell and asking him a question.

Because of the community outcry and no contact order, we had to move to another part of the state of Washington.

We found that Corey had been afraid to tell us about the abnormally violent nightmares of going to school with a rifle, which took place a year before the incident.

Corey had also experienced visual and audio hallucination, depersonalization, aggressive behavior and amnesia. Corey had never used illegal drugs or alcohol. He told us, “he was afraid to tell us, because he thought he was going crazy”. It was these drugs that drove him crazy. Before this happened, Corey was always our sensitive, loving and huggy kid and he is still loving and huggy.

Jbaadsk@aol.com

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Survivor Story 200:18/77 – CNS Damage While on Paxil “I experienced explosive anger, rage, uncontrolled weeping”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 18.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/16/2003

CNS Damage While on Paxil

 

Antidepressants

“In trying to get off Paxil, I experienced explosive anger, rage, uncontrolled weeping…”

The following is a synopsis of the symptoms experienced while using Paxil followed by symptoms while trying to get off Paxil.

Physician Consultation

I sought counsel with my physician for pharmaceutical help in dealing with agoraphobia but wanted a medication with few side effects.

My doctor read the advertisements, believed every word and prescribed Paxil.

Symptoms

Inability to concentrate. Inability to care much about anything, i.e., numbed emotionally and physically. Not caring about life at all. Wanted to be left alone. Strong tendencies to isolate.

Getting off Paxil

My physician told me there were few side effects. Nothing was ever discussed about getting off Paxil, nor was the half life explained to me.

In trying to get off Paxil, I experienced explosive anger, rage, uncontrolled weeping, severe panic episodes, undergoing what felt might be similar to shock treatments, loss of short term memory, loss of good judgment.

It took almost a year to recover from the extensive damage done to my central nervous system and in recovering my short term memory ability.

Summary

Subsequent research has indicated that the majority of people taking Paxil experience radical symptoms while taking it and are put in serious, even life threatening states of mind while getting off it.

Pharmaceutical companies are in the business to make money. The advertising and administration of this medication are deadly as evidence continues to mount regarding side effects.

It is my hope the Senate Subcommittee thoroughly investigate the use of advertisements including misprescribed medications by general practitioners who do not special in psycho tropic medications.

Thank you.

Jacqueline Sterling
4010-15th Avenue South #16D
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Jackie Sterling
sterl005@umn.edu

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Survivor Story 201:19/77 – A 16-Year Old Tells of Suicidal Attempts on SSRIs.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 19.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/3/2003

A 16-Year Old Tells of Suicidal Attempts on SSRIs

 

Antidepressants

“I have thoughts of wanting to hurt people, and I have never been a violent person.”

My name is Jason Atwood. I am sixteen years old and have been on several different medications since I was thirteen years old. When I was about twelve years old I started to get signs of Depression. At the time there was reason for it and I didn’t‚t do much about it. I figured that present circumstances, it was okay to feel sad. Well, things brightened up for everyone around the home, except myself. So, I started to go to therapy. By this time I was thirteen years old. I was told that I should be on medication so, I went to my family doctor and he proscribed me Paxil. I took it for about a week. Then, the side effects became too strong, I couldn’tvsleep, my mouth was constantly dry and I couldn’t concentrate in school. So after the week I came off of Paxil. There was nothing the doctor said concerning how to taper off. So I just stopped taking the pills.

A meaningless argument between me and my sister left me in a panic. I ran down the stairs into my basement, picked up a piece of glass and cut myself for the first time. After that I switched therapists and talked to my therapist about cutting. He didn’t care. Later that year, I was convinced I needed medication. So, in frenzy I stole my cousins‚ medication, Zoloft®. I started taking it in November, and stopped taking it in January. That Quarter of school I failed every class because I stopped caring about my grades. The thing I worried about most, making sure they were all up to date.

July 9, 2002 I tried to take my life, the one thing that I had held precious in my sight. Upon being committed into a psych. Ward, I was put on Celexa. I had been taking it for three months when my suicidal thoughts returned. I was scared to tell my parents in fear that I would be sent back to a psychiatric ward. So, I continued to hurt myself. I would take large amounts of pills, and I would cut my arms, legs, chest, and anywhere I wanted to.

April 19, 2003. I tried to take my life again, and I was hospitalized. I went into primary children‚s hospital. I continued taking my normal medication or so I thought.

Without my permission or my knowledge, they had switched my medication. I was now taking Remeron®. Ever since I have been on Remeron® I have had thoughts of wanting to gouge my eyes out, strange dreams, and fatigue . I have thoughts of wanting to hurt people, and I have never been a violent person.

With the help of a doctor who knows a lot about medication I have been coming down off the Remeron. The side-effect, still apply, and I still feel urges to commit suicide but, I am better at fighting them. I would like to state my feelings of medication, they are not necessary and don‚t feel that people need them to survive thank you for you time!

Jason Lloyd Atwood

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Survivor Story 202:20/77 Victimized, tortured and abused in Psychiatric Care.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 20.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/5/2003

Victimized, tortured and abused in Psychiatric Care

 

Antidepressants

“To all those who read my story, there is hope, and don’t give up until you’ve won.”

My name is Julie and I would like to share my story with your site.

It all began shortly after graduating high school, at the top of my class in 1996. At the time, I was renting my own apartment, which is rare for a 19 year old high school senior.

I was waitressing nights, making great tips and had recently graduated modeling school.

I sculpted nightly, had a terrific group of artistic friends which involved musicians, artists, dancers, writers and others. In high school, I was loved by everyone, especially my teachers who prompted me to enter some state and city wide writing contests.

I won best poet across my state for a poem entitled Chirchen, or “church” in German, and also won runner up in a Reebok essay contest. I regularly attended art shows with by boyfriend and dressed up in gorgeous dresses, and had a bold smile ready to shake the hands of professional artists who would be presented at these shows.

Then, I got pregnant and had to terminate the pregnancy due to complications. I moved out of my apartment, had to change jobs and tried my best to cope with every day living. I had a lot of emotional problems which surfaced heavily after the abortion and was recalling all the trauma from my past which made it difficult to face relationship issues with my boyfriend.

I moved out of his place and moved in with some roommates but still worked at my job which was managing a busy craft shop. Then my adoptive father started to call me suddenly quite regularly out of the blue. He was insistent on taking me to a mental health clinic to be evaluated. He told me in order for me to claim Social Security because he couldn’t afford to pay for me anymore that it would be good to be seen in order to receive benefits. He didn’t tell me at the time he was convinced I was mentally ill.

We went to the doctors and when he left the room, I was surrounded by a team of “professionals” who asked me questions and I felt like the spotlight was on me. I voiced I always felt self-conscious and felt uncomfortable around other women who shared similarities to me physically.

I didn’t want to compete anymore and I wanted girlfriends who didn’t feel envious of me or felt competitive. I think I went into that office thinking a little talk therapy and my hopes of having a supportive friend would come to surface.

I told them I didn’t want “that doctor” and pointed to the most attractive woman in the room. A few days later, they had me set up with that doctor and I went back to her office feeling very uncomfortable and had a sort of euphoric hopefulness speaking to her.

She tipped her head and asked the most typical every day questions I would be asked by an acquaintance at a local cafe. There was no apparent interest or deep therapeutic assistance happening. She was not a doctor. She was a hired “friend” who was not half as bright as I was. She sent me to the psychiatrist, he told me I had no clue and handed me a prescription for Depakote.

A week or so later, I had my first psychotic episode and was driven by my father to the clinic. The therapist handed me a daffodil and she told me to hold onto it as tight as I could. I could barely grip my hand around its stem. They brought me to the hospital across the street where I was admitted and soon diagnosed schizophrenic. In the morning, I was in the shower, and a male nurse molested me.

Later, they put me on Haldol and I had a bad reaction, closing my teeth so hard, I almost broke them all out just from biting down. Then they put me on Prolixin and while I was adjusting to the drugs, I kept busy by trying to write coherent poetry and drawing pictures of flowers with crayons to hang all around my room. I suddenly found myself looking into the foggy hospital mirrors and barely being able to decipher my own face.

I began to look like the life was being literally sucked out of me. I could barely lift the corners of my lips to smile. My therapist from the clinic came into the hospital and had dyed her hair my color to make me feel closer to her somehow. When I told her it made me feel uncomfortable, when she thought I would love it, as I felt she was stealing my fragile identity, she dyed it back we grew distant as patient and therapist.

One nurse who I grew fond of would see me, burst into tears and hide behind other nurses. I remember vividly, her face red from tears feeling so bad for me. Little did I know it was only the beginning of hell. When they let me out of the hospital, I had some tardive dyskinesia and could not move my arms coordinated like I did before while walking.

I moved to my father’s for a few weeks and on one particular trip to visit my boyfriend in the city, while walking through the mall, my right leg became paralytic and I would have to drag it to each mall bench just to get about 20 more steps to the next bench. When I saw my old friends at our old apartment, they had to turn and cry when they took one look at me. The before vivacious, lively, happy Julie was suddenly, as they later told me, looking through them instead of at them.

My boyfriend made me get off Prolixin and took me out dark at night to teach me how to walk while swinging my arms again on the runner’s path under the trees. I got most of my stride back and began to feel a little better but not long after, I was admitted to other hospitals numerous times more and became a guinea pig for a plethora of various drugs which made me forget who I was and I eventually lost all drive to work, sculpt or a lot of times, venture outside to be with friends. I moved back in with my boyfriend and we would try to taper off the drugs but I would always cycle and end up back in the hospital. In a matter of 4 years, I was diagnosed borderline, schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar affective and finally bipolar.

n the later hospital stays, I was victimized, abused, tortured and had my dignity destroyed. I learned to manipulate the doctors and orderlies to let me out based on I was in agreement with them I would stay on the drugs and lead a “functional” life. Eventually, I gained 100 pounds, had nerve damage in my hands, vision problems, lost all my former athletic ability and became engrossed in a psychiatric stigma where I became afraid of my own shadow- literally.

Now I am on 10mg of Zyprexa once a night and hope to be medication free so I can be at my best when attending college to earn a degree in English Literature. Even though my life is not where I believe I am capable of bringing it to be, I know they haven’t gotten my soul and I will fight until she is fully on the surface again. I still have my pride as far as my talents and fount of undying forgiveness lie but its hard to face the days when those people who seemed, most of them for that matter, cruel and almost evil.

I hope that in my future, I can regain the inner effort to pick up the pieces and tell my story in a book one day of the inhumane practices that those doctors placed on me. To all those who read my story, there is hope, and don’t give up until you’ve won.

Julie
LittleDickens3@aol.com

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ICFDA Survivor Story

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 15.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/14/2003

Cold turkeyed off Effexor and Etrafon

Antidepressants

“I continue to cite your book to all I can reach. I believe in you, and thank you so very much!”

I’ve read “Prozac…” with great interest after your first “Art Bell” show. I was fortunate to be able to tape the second show with B. Simpson.

Thanks to your efforts, I now have all the support I need to warn friends about the pitfalls of these drugs.

My story:

Long term depression. Working physical job at printing outfit. Duties included fork lift driving. I went to the doctor for some relief; he prescribed Effexor, and Etrafon-forte.

My most pronounced side effect became noticeable to my wife; the persona of pure apathy.

Her father was killed in a car accident, and at the funeral, I couldn’t cry- became ultra-spiritual about his role in “the afterlife.” He was a Salvation Army officer and musician in the string band. He was loved by everyone. I miss him, but I do feel his presence even today; four years after my cold turkey episode.

My personal hell came in the form of unwanted thoughts that, without a firm spiritual background, I might have acted upon- as some of the examples presented in your case studies.

I decided that the drugs were the cause of my thoughts, and just stopped taking them one day. Things got worse, and I resorted to a relapse to drinking after a four year sobriety.

My drinking took off to three day binges, and I assaulted my loving wife while in a blackout.

Iwas jailed, and went through treatment. Over a six year period I’ve had three such episodes, but remain free of the SSRI’s. I’ve found relief with Librium, but they tapered me off of it while in the last treatment. I now feel totally lost, and have all the physical problems of stress, including fibro myalgia. I am now self employed making furniture.

I just got on the net at home, and wish to thank you for your insight-full work exposing this problem. I continue to cite your book to all I can reach. I believe in you, and thank you so very much!

Yours in central MN

Jon Allen
hihat02@yahoo.com

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Survivor Story 192:10/77 – For the first time I know I am not nuts!

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

5/29/2003

For the first time I know I am not nuts!

 

Antidepressants

“I’ve been on Zoloft for about a year and a half and I’ve hated every day of it.”

I’ve been reading through the posts on this site and thanking God that I really am not crazy!

I’ve been on Zoloft for about a year and a half and I’ve hated every day of it. The days I hate the most are when I can’t afford to refill it. I’ve told my doctor several times to please get me OFF THIS! When I can’t afford it I have to stop abruptly. THAT IS HELL!

My face goes numb. Then I my heart starts to skip so bad I can’t stop coughing. Sometimes it even throws me into a full fledged asthma attack even worse sometimes MAJOR panic attacks!

I just want to know how to stop. I just need to get off it. I am not glad that I am not the only who has had this happen but at the same time it’s bitter sweet because at least I am not alone.

If anyone has suggestions PLEASE email me.

Tina
MyMagic8Ball@hotmail.com

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Survivor Story 193:11/77 – Seroxat Ex-user Story. “Possibly suppressing results of the trials…”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 11.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

6/13/2003

Seroxat Ex-user Story

 

Antidepressants

“I simply cannot believe that so many people can be struggling to stay alive as a result of this drug without GSK knowing (and possibly suppressing) the results of their trials…”

First of all I would like to say a big thank you to the people reading this email and I hope that the information below will be of some benefit to others.

I used to live in South Africa and during a very intense period of crime (1995-1996) I was involved in 2 separate shooting incidents that I was lucky to survive, the second one occurring whilst I was the responsible adult for two of my nephews. Luckily we were not hurt. However the experience so scared me that I decided to leave South Africa and return to England, where I was born (I am now 32 years old).

I arrived in October 1996, and managed to find a job on the outskirts of London beginning 1997. I worked very well for about 6-7 months, when I noticed that I was finding it increasingly difficult to sleep, I (erringly) put this down to my age. All was relatively well until Christmas 1997, the morning after Christmas Day saw me standing outside in the snow in only my underwear burning up and unable to breathe – my first panic attack. My brother, sister-in-law and my mother not knowing what to do called the ambulance service and there I was in hospital for the first time since I was born. My brother drove me back to my flat after I had recovered and I was ok for a few days and then one morning in the shower – boom – panic attack number two. This time I knew what was happening to me so managed to keep it under control (just). Two weeks later I had another one, this one left me so dizzy that I fell down a flight of steps at a train station, not too serious luckily for me.

I decided that since I had no idea what was going on, and having NEVER ever had an illness in my life other than measles as a child and chickenpox in my early 20’s, I decided to go to a professional i.e. a doctor. This doctor, a delightful, heavily-pregnant lady listened to my story and said “it sounds like an acute anxiety disorder” and told me to register with a doctor near where I lived (I have never, ever needed a doctor in my life, except for sports injuries, cuts from falling off bikes etc.) so I duly did as I was told. I was aware that life for me was holding less and less interest, I had split with my girlfriend, the job was good, but overall things were down and I was becoming more and more easily jumpy at noises. The doctor I ended up visiting spent some time with me and recommended 40mg Seroxat per day (in the USA I am given it’s trade name is Paxil).

The horror, the horror. 2-3 days after starting, stomach problems i.e. involuntary bowel evacuation which I had put down to acute anxiety/PTSD as I was told I had, electric shocks in the head especially when moving the head from side to side or the eyes, still no sleep, breathing more difficult than before (I used to regularly run medium distance competitive runs for which I still have the medals), and so many other little things that made me into a different person, most notably violent tendencies. I got into 4 fights during that time, the fourth one was not so good because I challenged 2 guys and ended up in casualty wing of hospital with a broken nose, much to the horror of my mother who I was visiting at the time, which led to her and I not talking now for close on 4 years.

I finished my holiday and went back to work and found that I was completely unable to function properly. My employer, who was one of the most understanding people I ever had the honour and opportunity to work with, eventually made it clear that if I didn’t jump, I would be pushed. As I believe that dead wood should be cut away I readily agreed to this, even though I had nowhere to go to next. I didn’t really care however, all I was waiting for was to die. Never had I heard of anything like this before.

So I spent the next few months living off my savings and a loan from my bank, and decided that this Seroxat was probably the cause of the mushy head I had but was not sure. I had to work as I was looking after my brother and his family but in order to do that I HAD to work, so I kept on with the drug and looked for work. I had been prescribed some form of beta blocker over and above the Seroxat because the Seroxat seemed to have no real beneficial effect on me, immediately I started with them as well I felt much better simply because respiration and pulse slowed down so much I didn’t feel like I was always on the verge of another panic attack. So, I stopped taking the Seroxat immediately.

OOOPPSSS! what a nightmare! Nowhere in the literature supplied in the packaging of the drug, nor in any conversation with my doctor of the day, was there any indication of the physical pain and mental anguish that followed. I lost the plot completely, never felt anything like it. Constant electric shocks in the head and hands, wanting to die, it was awful. I started drinking to try and alleviate the pain and allow myself to sleep, bad idea I know, but the last thing I wanted to do was to take some other form of terrible chemical into my system. I stopped the beta blockers as I eventually ran out of money, at that stage I really didn’t care much about anything, most especially myself.

I went to stay with the brother, who had stayed with me, for a month or two, his exact words were “Come and stay with me and the family until you are through this” which I thought was fair given he had stayed with me for so long, however within a month his tune had changed “You have to get a job now or you cant stay” were I think his exact words, not what you want to hear when you are going through what I was, but dutifully I found a contract nearby and went back to work for 3 months. It was so difficult, it was a simple job compared to what I was doing, yet I found it so hard to do, and still the electric shocks in the brain. I still couldn’t get back into the things I enjoyed doing, all I could do was get up in the morning, go to work, leave work, go to a bar and have a couple drinks until the zinging sensation in my head was sufficiently dulled for me to try to relax, then go back to my brother’s house. My two nephews there simply could not understand why Uncle Mikey didn’t want to play any more (we always took time to do things together, bike riding etc.)

After 6 months of this I found some more simplistic part time contract work, less hours but better money per hour and I was feeling a lot better about myself and of course the serotonin levels were going up naturally, but still the zaps in the head, not constantly now but whenever there was a sudden noise near me or someone surprised me in some way (even a fork falling on a plate) but I still thought that this was probably something to do with PTSD and my disillusionment with doctors in general (unfair that it is) meant that I never went to get a second opinion.

This fluctuating state of affairs has been the norm ever since, I have been more and more into debt as I am unable now to work to the hours most people expect, yet costs are not going down so debt levels grow. Thus, we come to Monday of this week, and I see the news in England that Seroxat is now not to be given to under 18’s – I follow the link to the Seroxat Users Group website and lo! – there are hundreds of people, and a petition signed by thousands, all feeling the same symptoms, either while withdrawing from the drug or like me, up to 5 years later (I am the worst I have identified so far but believe me I am still researching) – The horror the horror! What has this drug done to us? It did nothing to me but ruin my personal life, leave me in no position to work so in serious debt.

I was so relieved to find the website I was in tears (another new trait of mine since Seroxat) and I have been actively involved with the website and others ever since.

IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT that people around the world are made aware of the side effects and withdrawal effects of Seroxat(Paxil) as experienced and independently reported by so many of us. I am deeply afraid that I have been permanently affected by using this drug, if I had any idea that what has happened to me could have happened I would have stayed in South Africa and taken my chances with a quick round to the head rather than the (feared permanent) affects I am now suffering with. I am also wishing to pursue a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, I simply cannot believe that so many people can be struggling to stay alive as a result of this drug without GSK knowing (and possibly suppressing) the results of their trials, surely the trials must have shown a strangely disproportionate amount of symptoms against their placebo tests, surely?

I wish anyone who reads this story the best of luck if they are on Seroxat/Paxil, if anyone has been advised to use it I would say “NO! find an alternative treatment” without hesitation, and if anyone can tell me the name of a lawyer in England that can help me try to recoup some of the tremendous financial losses of using Seroxat, I would be deeply and eternally grateful to that person.

I am so glad it was not me, everyone told me it was, very hurtful when it comes from your own family members, I feel so vindicated as a result of this week, let’s all work together to ensure that no more harm is done and reparation is made by GSK.

Yours Faithfully,
(more healed in the last 5 days than ever with Seroxat or the 5 years that followed)

Mike Rushworth
mikeyrush@hotmail.com

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