PROZAC: Worsening Depression & Panic Attacks: England

Paragraph twelve reads: “The next day was a Friday and I started taking
the Prozac extremely reluctantly. The side effects listed on the pack
included headaches, dizziness, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, dry
mouth, loss of appetite, anxiety, sleeplessness, nervousness. If I am
anxious now, I thought, how anxious will I be on Prozac? If I wake at four each
morning now, and toss and turn for many of the hours that follow, will I get
any sleep on Prozac?”

Paragraph fourteen reads: “By Monday I could not move. I felt sick, heavy
as a rock, everything ached, and my head swam. I had the pains and sort of
breathlessness associated with heart attacks and I was, of course, crying.
I rang work to say I had some sort of bug and that I hoped to be right the
next day. Speaking was an effort. It was hard convincing myself that the
advantages to leaving the house and seeing the doctor outweighed those of
staying inside where I wanted, desperately, to be, but I knew I needed to
seek advice. Dr Fahey offered, again, to sign me off work; my response, again,
was an adamant no. I was going into work as soon as I could.”

Paragraph 20 reads: “After the second visit to Dr Fahey everything
changed. She made me realise that whatever self-deceptions I had entered into,
the reality was that I had not been into work for several days, nor was I
currently fit to go in. She signed me off for two weeks and gave me
tranquillisers to moderate the increasingly severe panic attacks. She advised me
strongly to leave London. The idea of being on my own without work for two weeks
was unthinkable, unbearable. Amanda was off to visit our parents in the
country and taking the children with her. My brother-in-law Neil was staying
at home an extra night then would join her there. Amanda’s suggestion was
that I drive to be with Neil and then the following day he would drive us
both to Suffolk to be with the whole family.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/18/depression-and-recovery-c
amilla-nicholls

Woman on the verge
She was a media executive at the top of her game. But a debilitating
midlife crisis forced Camilla Nicholls to hit rock bottom. In a searingly honest
account, she details her nervous breakdown – and her tentative steps back
to recovery

It all started slipping away from me in July 2000. Depression had been
part of my life for a long time, but that summer it ceased to be under
control. It was shortly after a married friend’s party that I had the first
significant “What is the point?” conversation.

Every guest had brought with them a child, or a swelling stomach. Hardly a
conversation was had at head height; we were all dipping and bending or
squatting to catch half a sentence with someone too heavy to stand for long.
There was no chance of eating as little hands pawed at the snacks, and
pregnant women, picking through the non-pasteurised, took precedence around the
table. Sentences were left hanging in the air as parents attended to
toddlers’ or babies’ urgent needs.

My friends will bear testimony that I am very fond of children. But I was
bitter because, aged 39, I had no partner, no prospect of a partner and,
more significantly, no prospect of motherhood. Maybe the party felt harder to
cope with that day because my hopes had just taken a severe knock. I had
been told by an unsentimental doctor’s receptionist that I was
peri-menopausal (ie approaching the menopause) and the possibility of my bearing
children was lodged somewhere between zero and infinitesimal.

The “what is the point?” conversation is the one for friends and family to
look out for as a first clue to depression. This is not the “what is the
point?” response of a child to doing homework or cleaning a bedroom; it is,
rather, “what is the point of my being alive?” For depressives the feeling
is often heightened when the reasons for depression are not obvious to
themselves or, more importantly, to others. This leads to the cajoling (or
worse, hectoring) question: “What have you got to be depressed about – you have
a great job/partner/house/body?”

I come from a small, loving, middle-class family. I was not brought up to
follow a particular religion, although as a child my grandmothers took me,
and my only sister Amanda, to Sunday services at the local church in the
Surrey town where we spent all our youth. What my parents did adhere to with
near religious fervour was the observation of good manners. A framework of
politeness in all situations was my firmest mould. Now, grown up,
approaching a milestone of middle age, it was safe to say on paper I had more than
most: a well-paid, challenging job in the media, to which I was virtually
married, a lovely house without an enormous mortgage, often exciting
relationships, great friends and I remained close to my stable family. And yet by
August 2000 my predominant talent was for crying.

I wish when I had first asked “What is the point?” I had been advised to
seek medical help urgently. I was talking to my friend Amy, who was no
stranger to depression herself, so I may have acted had she done so. Instead,
Amy told me a story of finding love herself, unexpectedly, and how it could
happen to me. She may even have taken the phrase “You often find someone
when you are not looking” for another turn. What I do vividly remember is
putting my feet up against the cool marble side of my fireplace, saying “I just
cannot see the point any more”, and crying.

A strong feeling of sadness about my childlessness had persuaded me to
seek the help of a psychotherapist, Judy, in the autumn of 1999 and I had been
visiting her regularly since. Judy, like the majority of therapists, took
the month of August as holiday, leaving me and a whole host of other therapy
regulars in a limbo land of summer anxiety. I looked to herbal drugs – St
John’s wort and others – to boost my spirits and, as ever, I threw myself
into the full responsibilities of my job.

What I was far from realising was that none of these tactics were enough.
Therapy alone cannot conquer a depressive illness, and neither can herbal
drugs. Making work the focus of your life is certainly not the answer. I
felt under-appreciated in my job, believed that my contribution counted for
nothing. I felt my body had let me down, and that I was useless physically as
well as professionally. The feeling was exacerbated when the last person
with whom I had had a physical relationship (and with whom I was still
involved) took up with someone more than 10 years younger. I found out,
painfully, through a third party. This was when my emotional strength started to
give out.

The crying got worse. At work, tears would inconveniently start to fall
down my face in the middle of writing an email or at the point of making a
phone call. In the past many had taken refuge in my office seeking privacy, a
shoulder, advice, a place to scream, and now the adjustable blinds became
an essential masking tool for my own distress. I frequently took time out to
weep in a neighbouring colleague’s office. She began to beg me to seek
help, but because I was in professional mode, I assured her I was really
working hard in therapy and a day didn’t go by without my taking the St John’s
wort. All would be fine.

Finally, I began to realise that taking pride in hiding the fact that I
was on the emotional skids was not a good end in itself. I rang my GP, Dr
Fahey, a plain-speaking, wise Irish woman. I was brave, then sniffled, then
howled, and she said there would be a prescription for me at the surgery that
night for Prozac. She assured me I could ring if I felt I needed to talk
before our appointment in a week’s time, and then she asked if I wanted time
off work. My response was an emphatic no. “I have to keep going into work.
Work is what I do.”

The next day was a Friday and I started taking the Prozac extremely
reluctantly. The side effects listed on the pack included headaches, dizziness,
diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, dry mouth, loss of appetite,
anxiety, sleeplessness, nervousness. If I am anxious now, I thought, how
anxious will I be on Prozac? If I wake at four each morning now, and toss and
turn for many of the hours that follow, will I get any sleep on Prozac?

The first night, I was lucky – friends invited me to stay, friends who
understood. But on Saturday, as I prepared to leave, I began to sink at the
thought of being alone. My friend was pregnant and to make more demands on
her and her partner felt wrong. We stood on her doorstep and she held me
close, hugging me and asking if I would be OK. “Yes,” I lied, then, more
truthfully: “I have to be.” But I cried all weekend.

By Monday I could not move. I felt sick, heavy as a rock, everything
ached, and my head swam. I had the pains and sort of breathlessness associated
with heart attacks and I was, of course, crying. I rang work to say I had
some sort of bug and that I hoped to be right the next day. Speaking was an
effort. It was hard convincing myself that the advantages to leaving the
house and seeing the doctor outweighed those of staying inside where I wanted,
desperately, to be, but I knew I needed to seek advice. Dr Fahey offered,
again, to sign me off work; my response, again, was an adamant no. I was
going into work as soon as I could.

Everyone has different experiences of how they interact with family while
in the grip of a depressive illness: some gain no support, some seek no
support, some have in mind that individual members of their family are largely
or totally responsible for their illness. Despite our lifestyles being
completely different, my sister, Amanda, was the one I could turn to at any
time.

I was struck by an inability to talk to my parents. I simply could not
pick up the phone, or see them. I keenly felt the weight of their love, and
therefore the weight of their disappointment that I was childless,
partnerless. I saw my own confusion and grief reflected back at me. Eventually I
began emailing them messages telling them a little – oh, such a little – of
what I was experiencing. I am sure it was partly a result of the good manners
they themselves had instilled in me that I made this faint but direct
contact. My preferred position was really to remain silent. What child wants to
tell the parents that gave them life that they want it ended?

By the time I returned to Dr Fahey three days later Amanda knew that
something was really wrong. I had told her that I found eating difficult and
that I was afraid to leave the house. I was ringing work each day to say I
still had not improved enough to go in. Mornings are the worst time for
depression and I was piling on the agony by setting myself the unrealistic target
of going to work and then feeling a failure when I was unable to meet it.
Dr Fahey advised that I cancel the regular appointment with Judy, my
therapist, for that week. At first I suspected professional competitiveness
(“I’ll save you” – “No, I’ll save you!”), but she was trying to prevent any
further introspection on my part. I could not see how I was going to get the
few miles across north London that the visit required anyway.

So for three days my sister and Judy coaxed me, by telephone, out of the
house. A 20-yard trip to the newsagent was fine, a trip to M&S was less
successful. I made it to the shop, but halfway round I froze. All that food,
all those people. I loaded up a basket then had to leave it mid-store and
struggle out of the shop to lean against the wall and gasp. I clutched at my
chest, I thought something might rupture.

All this time I kept thinking I would be back at work any minute. That I
had to be back at work. It was essential that people did not know there was
anything wrong. And, really, there was not anything wrong. I was barely
eating, I could barely leave the house, but I was surely fit for work. Surely.

After the second visit to Dr Fahey everything changed. She made me realise
that whatever self-deceptions I had entered into, the reality was that I
had not been into work for several days, nor was I currently fit to go in.
She signed me off for two weeks and gave me tranquillisers to moderate the
increasingly severe panic attacks. She advised me strongly to leave London.
The idea of being on my own without work for two weeks was unthinkable,
unbearable. Amanda was off to visit our parents in the country and taking the
children with her. My brother-in-law Neil was staying at home an extra
night then would join her there. Amanda’s suggestion was that I drive to be
with Neil and then the following day he would drive us both to Suffolk to be
with the whole family.

At their house that evening I crept into my nephew’s room, in his narrow
bunk bed and under his Star Wars duvet. I gasped and sweated through the
night. In the morning, Neil appeared with some tea and suggested we have
breakfast. Fine, I said, yes. Then I realised I might split in two if he left
the room. I gestured that I could do with a hug – and then I started the real
drop to the bottom. It was as if my chest was going to be rent in two.

As Neil pulled gently away I kept up appearances and said I would be down
for breakfast in a minute. I got as far as the bottom of the stairs and
realised I could not breathe, was going to faint, and sat there bleating for
Neil like some injured animal. You need to eat, he asserted. You need some
sugar, something. It had been so long since I had eaten properly my throat
was constricted; my head, heart, lungs felt squeezed. And the panic was
rising: what if I never eat again? What if I have to stay in this state? What
if? What if? I began to hyperventilate. Neil collected me up and calmly set
me on the sofa. He found some dextrose tablets and crammed them into my
mouth, he lifted my feet above my head and he repeated over and over again that
this was the worst, it would get better. But when I could speak I just
begged him tearfully to ring my doctor, to get me to hospital, to put me out
of my misery. To stop everything, to make it stop.

When Neil felt the panic attack had subsided enough he did go to the
phone. He did not ring my doctor, nor the hospital, but Amanda, who got in the
car and came back to be with me. In the following days I frequently asked if
I could be taken to hospital. I wanted, demanded, a lobotomy. I wanted
something to stop the pain, the panic, the screaming, the crying, the
darkness. I wanted some peace.

Amanda and Neil withstood my pleas and I am glad they did. I am not sure I
would have survived hospital. And I could not give up with my niece,
Jessica, and her brother, Alexander, around. “What is actually wrong with you?”
12-year-old Alexander asked repeatedly in the first few days, until my
sister took him to one side and gave him an explanation in her determined and
straightforward way. I was relieved. I did not know how to answer him, I did
not want to scare him and I did not want to lie. But apart from this one
small challenge the children were nothing but help to me. They would appear
in the morning and scramble on or into my bed and tell me what lay ahead
for them that day. And when there is someone so trusting asking you questions
as if your opinion still mattered and telling you stories as if it was
still important to impress you it is hard to plot and plan death, or much
harder anyway.

Amanda brought me breakfast in bed before she left for her teaching job.
Breakfast was a small glass of orange juice placed in the centre of a plate
with toast fingers arranged around the glass to look like a flower or a sun
– something hopeful. I did not feel worthy of such treatment and it would
make me cry. Neil worked from home so I was never alone, and Amanda would
ring me when she got to work, in her break and at lunchtime.

If my illness put a strain on Amanda and Neil’s marriage or their family
life as a whole they did not say. To help the days pass I did my best to
read carefully selected books – nothing with relationships in, nothing about
family love. I met Neil for lunch in the kitchen. I had become, as my mother
was to remark unforgettably, “a vegetable”. Most evenings were spent
inert, watching the family life go on around me. I listened to the children’s
music practice and I made occasional attempts to help with homework. I should
have known that a night of fractions with Jessica was unlikely to be good
for either of us. I had to leave her with her homework book pages rubbed raw
and almost transparent to howl in the bathroom. She clearly felt this was
a topsy-turvy world of role reversal. Wasn’t the child supposed to be in
tears of frustration not the adult?

While the family watched TV I tended to lie behind it as it continued to
induce a state of panic. I tried to hold on to vestiges of my own lifestyle.
Neil recorded The Sopranos for me, but I managed no more than a few
minutes. It did not induce panic, but anguish. Mine was no longer the life of a
sharp, media-savvy woman with sophisticated tastes – after all Amanda had to
gently chivvy me to wash my hair. I found that Alan Titchmarsh and other
toilers on the land and in the kitchen posed no threat. Being so far removed
from my former life made them oddly bearable to view.

Outside scared me. I felt flimsy and exposed. I did not want to be seen or
heard. When Amanda was home I followed her round like a shadow, always
keen to be in the same room, always keen to be held. I ate a little more food
and gained some substance, I had a few more hours’ sleep a night. Armed
with a mobile phone and a huge send off from Neil one day I left the house to
buy a paper. It is several hundred yards to the paper shop from their home,
but it felt like a major adventure, and as I paid for the paper I felt a
surge of spirit, a lightheartedness I had not experienced for some time.

And then my mobile rang. It was one of my friends, and I was able to share
my achievement with her: I had made it to the paper shop on my own. She
was so delighted she asked if I had planted a flag there. It was great. But
the next day I wept over our celebration. How pathetic. I was a 39-year-old
woman, a senior executive at a national newspaper, someone who at the
office made hundreds of decisions a day, a woman with a reputation for being
scary, and the biggest achievement of that week was leaving the house and
handing over loose change to buy the newspaper for which I was still officially
the spokesperson.

When the next visit to Dr Fahey loomed I decided I should venture back to
London a day or so earlier, the logic being that if I could not be on my
own in the house then I should not be going back to work. And going back to
work was my goal, and what I expected my doctor to be helping me to do. It
was a disaster. The appetite which had been coaxed into some sort of life in
the bosom of my sister’s family disappeared. There was no room in the
house that I could settle in. I could not sleep. I used the time to make my
will to plan which friends of mine struggling with infertility I would endow
with financial gifts when I was gone.

Dr Fahey was prepared to give me a very, very limited supply of sleeping
tablets but “not enough to kill yourself with”. I think I smiled at that.
“Do you ever think of killing yourself?” she asked quickly. “I rarely think
of anything else,” was my response. “And how would you feel about seeing a
psychiatrist?” Fine, I said, fine. They would make a home visit. Fine. On
returning home I panicked. Was I going to be sectioned?

I immediately rang my friend Roger who had had a hand in sectioning
someone in the past. His advice was that it takes two to section. If I saw two
through the fish-eye in the door then I should not let them in.

A short time later my doctor rang and told me that there would probably be
two people who would visit me, a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst. Two? I
started to shake. “Will they take me anywhere?” I asked coyly. “I do not
know,” my doctor replied. “Only if they think it is necessary.” As soon as I
put down the receiver there was an incoming call from Siobhain, a lawyer as
well as a friend, who, alerted by Roger, was offering to come and be in
loco parentis to prevent a sectioning. And then Martin, the psychiatrist,
rang. “I will be with you in half an hour.”

Perhaps I could convince them that I was not mad. The lethargy which
almost permanently overwhelmed me was temporarily thrown off as I set about
making my house look sane. I made piles of paper, I cleaned the tea mugs, I
folded the rug under which I spent most time. Then I had an inspiration.
Recycling. If I put some paper in the recycling bin it would look as if I was
investing in the future.

When Martin arrived on the doorstep he appeared to be on his own. I made
tea for us in a scene straight from a badly acted kitchen drama; the spoons
and china clattered as I tried, unsuccessfully, to keep the shaking under
control. We sat in my living room. I questioned him. “Are you really on your
own?” and “Are you going to take me anywhere?” He stated reassuringly that
there was no one waiting outside.

Things got better after that. He gave a name to what I was suffering – a
serious depressive illness – which at its worst was a killer. He identified
a singular problem and spoke it out loud. “So you feel you are incapable of
doing anything, of being good at your job, of holding down a relationship,
of being a mother, and now you cannot even kill yourself, is that right?”
So right, so right, I could not speak. This was a jam I could not see my
way out of – and I was not at all sure that Martin, or any other well meaning
person, could help me out of it either.

It was months into my illness before any of the professionals ventured to
use the term breakdown. It was several more before I learnt that this was
not a cause to feel ashamed.

 2,164 total views

SSRIs: Withdrawal is Sometimes More Severe Than the Original Problem.

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

Although this article at least acknowledges the problem with
rebound where the initial problem seems like nothing compared to the withdrawal

effects and rebound effects, it does not address the seriousness of withdrawal.
What is described here sounds like a piece of cake compared to what so many go
through in antidepressant withdrawal!

The FDA warns that abrupt withdrawal can possibly lead to
suicide, hostility or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis. Those are hardly

the milder withdrawal effects mentioned below! ALWAYS withdraw very, very
gradually so that you only have to deal with these milder withdrawal
effects.

________________________________
Paragraph two reads:  “It seems hard to imagine that

stopping a medicine could trigger the same symptoms it was
supposed to treat.
Sometimes the reaction is actually
more severe than the original problem.

Paragraph nine
reads:  “Another class of medications that can trigger withdrawal

includes antidepressants such as Celexa, Effexor, Paxil and
Pristiq.
Many people who quit these drugs experience  ‘brain
zaps,’  dizziness or the sensation of having their  ‘head in a
blender,’ along with shivers, high blood pressure or rapid heart rate.”

http://www.sgvtribune.com/living/ci_13913666

Rebound symptoms may keep many on drugs

Posted: 12/02/2009 10:46:51 PM PST

When people take
certain drugs for anxiety, insomnia, heartburn or headache, they are trying to
ease their discomfort. They surely don’t intend to make things worse, yet
sometimes that is what happens when they go off the medication.

It seems
hard to imagine that stopping a medicine could trigger the same symptoms it was
supposed to treat. Sometimes the reaction is actually more severe than the

original problem.

Doctors occasionally have difficulty recognizing this
rebound effect, because they may assume that the patients’ difficulties are
simply the return of the original symptoms.

During the 1970s, Valium and
Librium were two of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America. These popular
tranquilizers eased anxiety and helped people sleep.

When they were
stopped abruptly, however, some people developed withdrawal symptoms that
included severe anxiety, agitation, poor concentration, nightmares and insomnia.
Many doctors just couldn’t imagine that such symptoms might persist for weeks,
since these drugs are gone from the body within several days. Nowadays, the

withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines like Ativan (lorazepam), Valium
(diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) is well-recognized.

Other drugs also
may cause unexpected withdrawal problems. Quite a few people have trouble
stopping certain heartburn drugs. Here’s an example from one reader: “I have
been taking Protonix for heartburn for about six months. After learning of

potential ill effects from long-term use, I tried to stop taking it. After
about a week, I had to start taking it again due to severe heartburn – the
rebound effect, I suppose. I asked my provider how I should go about
discontinuing its use, but she did not know.”

Many physicians assumed
that severe heartburn upon discontinuation was the reappearance of the

underlying digestive problem. In the case of medications such as Aciphex,
Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix, however, an innovative study
demonstrated that perfectly healthy people suffer significant heartburn symptoms
they’d never had before when they go off one of these drugs after two months of
taking them (Gastroenterology, July 2009).

In addition to
benzodiazepines and heartburn medicines, other drugs can cause this type of
rebound phenomenon. Decongestant nasal sprays are notorious for causing rebound
congestion if used longer than three or four days. We have heard from people who
got hooked and used them several times a day for years.

Another class of
medications that can trigger withdrawal includes antidepressants such as Celexa,
Effexor, Paxil and Pristiq. Many people who quit these drugs experience “brain
zaps,” dizziness or the sensation of having their “head in a blender,” along
with shivers, high blood pressure or rapid heart rate.

All these
medications have two things in common: Stopping suddenly triggers a rebound with
symptoms similar to those of the original problem, and providers have very
little information on how to ease their patients’ withdrawal difficulties.

Patients deserve a warning before starting a drug that may be difficult
to stop. Providers should learn how to help patients stop a medication when they
no longer need it.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist. Teresa Graedon holds
a doctorate in medical anthropology and is a nutrition expert. Write to them in
care of their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com

 2,501 total views

Matt’s Story

“On July 18, 2003, I lost my son to suicide after 10 weeks of being on the antidepressant Lexapro.”

Matt was a healthy and happy child who grew up in a loving home, the youngest of six. He was athletic and outgoing, well liked by his peers and adults as well. Matt was a good student, with a strong sense of right and wrong, a kind heart, and a sound faith in God. He loved sports and music, and was always joking around with his family and friends. Oh, he could be stubborn when he thought he had a point, and he was known to procrastinate with the best of them. He was a joy to us always. Then, during his senior year in high school, things started to change.

He became withdrawn and was having trouble sleeping. He lost interest in his friends, school, his job, his college plans, and basketball (the thing he loved most). Matt turned 18 on April 25, 2003. A week later he began treatment for “clinical depression” (his first episode). There were several things that could have contributed to his depression, though most were normal “growing up” situations. One thing we do know is that Matt was suffering from post traumatic stress. At the age of 13, he was hit by a car on his bike. He suffered a frontal lobe head injury, but every indication was that he recovered well from that accident. Still, five years later, he began reliving the accident as though it had just happened. He was having nightmares and panic attacks, but Matt was NOT suicidal.

The counselor that he was seeing was shocked and visibly shaken by Matt’s death. He said that he never saw any indication that Matt would do such a thing. The medication was prescribed ( by a family practice doctor) to help correct a “chemical imbalance” which we were told is at the root of depression. He began taking Lexapro during the second week of May. We were told the side effects could be nausea, insomnia, headaches, dizziness. Did anyone say “and suicidal behavior”? NO!!!

I am devastated to think that something we were giving my son to help him could have literally taken him from us. At the very least, we should have been warned to be on the look out for certain signs. Signs I have since learned are danger signs, such as anxiety and akathisia. I had never heard that word before, but I now believe that Matt was experiencing it. I realize that I have gone on at length, and still there is so much more I could say. Our lives have been ripped apart, and I’ll always wonder “What If”” he hadn’t been taking that medicine? Would he still be here?

Nothing can bring my son back. I would just like to share our story with other parents who may be helped before it’s too late.

I would also like to hear what others have to say about Lexapro. My e-mail address is csteub@visuallink.com. I welcome hearing from anyone who has an interest in this look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Celeste

Celeste Steubing
csteub@visuallink.com

 1,443 total views

Impossible Withdrawal from Doxepin

“I know I am but one of MANY who are suffering because of these drugs.”

I have been taking a tricyclic (Doxepin or Amitriptyline) for 13 years FOR MIGRAINE HEADACHES. Now the headaches are gone…but I can not get off these evil drugs and it is very clear the medical professionals don’t want me to either. I consulted my FP and a Neuro pre my decision to go off these meds. I knew I should taper…I just didn’t know how and apparently neither did they. I started at 50mg and had gone down to 30mg over time no problem. I hovered at 30 for years because each time I went to 20mg the headaches would come back. (did not know at the time that was part of the withdrawal).

This time being determined and motivated by the risk of those long term side effects. I stayed at the 20mg through the headache which lasted 10 days then went away…but I had a new symptom…surges of dizziness. At this point I tried to find a medical professional to help me through. I consulted a Neuro who actually got furious with me at the suggestion I was having some kind of withdrawal symptoms and that I was going off the drug. His advice started me on a downward spiral to a place I never want to visit again. He asked me what mg I was down to and when I said 20 he says and I quote “WELL YOU ARE ALREADY OFF THE DRUG” proceeded to tell me I was depressed and gave me a sample of Lexapro and wanted to add to that an anticonvulsive. HE HAD NOT LISTENED…I WANTED OFF DRUGS… as I no longer needed to be on them. I left there so mad and upset…unfortunately what stuck with me was the comment that I was already off the drug….So in my uninformed mind, since I was already having what I knew had to be withdrawals I decided to just stop. Fortunately I had the good since to go visit my sister who is an RN and her husband a Dr. just in case. For 2 weeks I was great the dizziness was there but I felt my mind start to clear. Then with no warning I went down… I thought I was passing out, but then it turned into a seizure, but I was totally coherent just out of control of my jerking body. My sister took my pulse and blood pressure…normal. Then it passed and we decided I was just dehydrated. Then all hell broke lose in the next few days. I had all the flu like, dizziness, electric shock waves from the back of my scull to front, couldn’t eat and if I did it just came right out with the intermittent seizures and now we add anxiety…the kind that grips your very being…makes you grit your teeth and doubt every fiber of your being. At this point I am scared.

BUT… this is the part that blew my mind… even though it was understood why I was there (incase any thing happened while withdrawing) neither my sister nor brother in law believed what they were witnessing was due to quitting the drug.

At this point I am scared and alone. I intuitively knew it was withdrawal but didn’t know what to do. So I would drag myself shaking hands and unfocused eyes to the internet for days searching withdrawal…I finally stumbled on to a list of “discontinuation syndrome” symptoms and printed them out. When my sister read them she started to believe me. Brother in law did not however…so I had an MRI…(clean)..and other unnecessary tests. I kept printing out articles I found…he’s in denial .I told him I could not be the only person in the area of Dallas/Ft Worth that had ever withdrawn form this drug…find me a Dr. who deals with this. AT SEVEN WEEKS OF THIS… off I went to the Psychiatrist. What a joke .. I kept having to remind him I wasn’t put on this drug because of depression, psychosis, anxiety etc….none of that happened until I went off this drug. He asked me all kinds of stupid questions like did I ever think about killing someone…and my mind wanted to say; not until just now. I finally asked him if he had indeed ever treated patients with withdrawal symptoms…he says yes but they don’t ever last over 2 weeks and encourages me to go back on the drugs… No other help and it was clear he did not believe the things I told him I was going through were due to any withdrawal…he thought I was crazy… and I felt like I was.

I finally found your web site and ordered your book and CD set. They may very well have saved my life. I felt validated and had some solid advice which I trusted. You clearly explained I had gone off the drug too fast…(none of the Dr. knew this) and you had proven advice on what to do. In my case I had to go back on the drug and get well and sane again and do it right this time. It has been 4 months since I am back on the 30mgs and I am still not 100%.

My husband had to fly in to Dallas and drive me and my car back to Denver. I had to take an anti-anxiety drug just to hold it together to make the trip. The anxiety was the worst. Now after all this I went to my FP (who has been kept in the loop all this time)… and he wants me to take Paxil on top of the Elavil…. I couldn’t believe my ears…. and when I said NO he asks me WHY?… I just said you haven’t listen to me …. I don’t want any drugs … then he decides he wants me tested to see if I am getting enough oxygen in my sleep… AGAIN.. he’s not believing what I am saying. He is believing the drug companies.

I am going to give him a copy of your book… it has to start somewhere.

I am doing research to see if a compounding pharmacy can come up with a liquid form of this med or a powder form measured down to my specifications so I can begin my year long taper. It is becoming clear I am going to be alone in this next journey as I can not find any medical professional to support me… my brother in law still is not convinced and he lived it with me.

My pharmacist does believe….she tells me every week multiple people tell her they have been to the ER when they tried to quit these meds… and she shakes her head at the fact the Dr. are in denial. She tells me she just tried to talk a pregnant customer out of filling her prescription and the woman says her OB is putting all her PG patients on this to keep them calm.

I know I am but one of MANY who are suffering because of these drugs… there has to be something we can do to inform our Drs. How do we make them believe us???????

SC in Denver
stdntmscd@msn.com

 2,759 total views,  1 views today

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Mass. group sues Paxil drugmaker

By Ellen Barry
Globe Staff

A group of Massachusetts plaintiffs filed a class-action suit earlier this month against the maker of the blockbuster antidepressant Paxil, alleging that withdrawal from the drug brought on such ill effects as nausea, sweating, agitation, tremors, insomnia, dizziness, and the sensation of electric ”zaps” in the brain.

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

10/26/2002

Mass. group sues Paxil drugmaker

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/299/nation/Mass_group_sues_Paxil_drugmaker+.shtml

By Ellen Barry
Globe Staff

To learn more, go to http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com.

A group of Massachusetts plaintiffs filed a class-action suit earlier this month against the maker of the blockbuster antidepressant Paxil, alleging that withdrawal from the drug brought on such ill effects as nausea, sweating, agitation, tremors, insomnia, dizziness, and the sensation of electric ”zaps” in the brain.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 9 in Suffolk Superior Court, is part of a multipronged legal challenge to Paxil, taken by millions of people in the United States alone. It joins a nationwide class-action suit and nine other statewide lawsuits in asserting that GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures Paxil, intentionally misled physicians and consumers about the drug’s ”addictive” qualities – an allegation that was denied yesterday by the company and the physicians who recommend it.

Paxil is one of a multibillion-dollar class of drugs – including Prozac and Zoloft – that relieve depression by building up levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin around nerve endings in the brain. Called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, the drugs have succeeded in large part because they lack the serious side effects of earlier treatments for depression and anxiety, including habituation. And although previous lawsuits have alleged that SSRIs can spur violence, they have had little effect on the drugs’ enormous popularity.

Sales of Paxil, which received FDA approval in 1992, lagged for years behind competitors Prozac and Zoloft, but have benefited from the expiration of Prozac’s patent and by its increasing use for anxiety disorders. Last year it was GlaxoSmithKline’s top-selling drug, netting the company $2.7 billion, a spokesman said.

The company acknowledges that there are side effects to the ”discontinuation” of Paxil, including dizziness and occasionally abnormal dreaming and the sensation of electric shocks, but most last no longer than two weeks, said spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne. Rhyne added that ”any claims that Paxil is addictive are without foundation.”

But Janelle Leonard, a Bradford schoolteacher, said neither she nor her doctor were prepared for what happened when she decided to stop taking Paxil. Only when she accessed Internet chatrooms – where dozens of people compared their experiences upon going off Paxil – did she realize where her disabling symptoms were coming from.

”Nobody had told me it was habit-forming,” said Leonard, who is 30. ”I ended up really ill … I was bedridden, sick. I had insomnia. I was paranoid, and I was still sick to my stomach. I had diarrhea. I couldn’t leave the house.”
So far, 6,000 would-be plaintiffs have contacted the Los Angeles law firm that filed the nationwide lawsuit, and 1,000 have been confirmed as plaintiffs, said Karen Barth, lead counsel for Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo. The nationwide lawsuit will reach the certification phase on Nov. 18, and attorneys plan to file lawsuits in all 50 states in case the nationwide suit does not go forward, she said.

The suit had resulted in an injuction against GlaxoSmithKline not to advertise Paxil as ”nonhabit-forming.” The judge rescinded her order Oct. 11, after the Food and Drug Adminsitration determined that the ads were not misleading.
Barth’s law firm has brought previous class-action suits on behalf of the families of patients who committed suicide while taking Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft – but the suicides have been so rare that they have had little ripple effect on the public, she said.

A lawsuit based on the effects of withdrawal may have more traction, because the experience is far more widespread, said Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard University psychiatrist and author of ”Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and other Antidepressants with Safe, Effective Alternatives. ”

”You have countless individuals who have terrible experiences. Too many doctors have seen this, it’s too undeniable. Too many patients are very, very upset by it,” Glenmullen said.

But several psychopharmacologists interviewed said they rejected offhand the idea that SSRIs are addictive. Although the brain does adapt to SSRIs, the term ”addiction” suggests craving, intoxication, or an increased tolerance that requires ever-higher doses, none of which have been documented with Paxil, said Dr. Alexander Bodkin, a research psychiatrist at McLean Hospital.

”Insulin is habit-forming. Digitalis is habit-forming,” said Dr. William Appleton of Harvard University. ”Exercise is habit-forming, but no one ever brings a class-action suit against that.”

But perhaps, Appleton said, the lawsuit is just part of a predictable backlash against SSRIs, which were greeted as wonder drugs a decade ago.
”One of the interesting things about drugs is they’re a little bit like shopping centers,” said Appleton, author of ”Prozac and the New Antidepressants. ” ”They come in clean and brand-new and full of hope,” he said. ”They go out old and tired and dirty.”

This story ran on page A3 of the Boston Globe on 10/26/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

 2,191 total views

Luvox withdrawal

“About a week or two after I had quit, I finally cried again. I knew then I was on the right track–I could feel again! “

 

After being on Luvox for two years, I took myself off of it “cold turkey.” (I had read that either way you go, “cold turkey,” or gradually reducing the dosage didn’t matter that much). Why did I decide to quit taking it? Because I just could not stand the side effects any longer. The side effects were terrible nightmares, severe constipation, and sleepiness, inability to think clearly, discomfort and discharge from my eyes, and an overall feeling of ill-health, plus I couldn’t cry. The drug was not “buying” me enough relief from depression to justify taking it. The only “good” things it did for me was allow me to sleep, and provide the initial relief from depression (may have been more related to the “placebo” effect of finally addressing the problem!). I think my problems could have been addressed more intelligently through counseling, group therapy, and a sleep aid, exercise, etc.

I have been off of Luvox for about two months. The withdrawal symptoms were/are frightening. The scariest symptom was dizziness. I thought I was going to have a stroke, or than I had a brain tumor. I went to see my doctor because I was so frightened by the dizziness, and a weird sensation in my head. He didn’t attribute that to going off of the Luvox, but thought my neck arteries may have been clogged, so he listened to those with a stethoscope.
About a week or two after I had quit, I finally cried again. I knew then I was on the right track–I could feel again! And I notice that although I still have the weird dreams, they are getting more “normal” now. (By the way, the nurse practitioner had told me that it was my psyche that was causing the “bad” dreams, and she also added that these SSRI’s don’t have significant side effects!).

I still have some dizziness, but it is getting better. Oh I forgot to mention the awful muscle pain I had the first few weeks I was off of the drug. It was frightening also. I thought I had some terrible muscle disease.

I am sharing this to help others. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I found out about this web site! Today, is the first day I have known that this dizziness was a part of the withdrawal! Imagine how worried I have been!

Please share my e-address; I would be happy to e-mail with another Luvox survivor, and hear from anyone who wants to talk about that drug.
Thank you so much!

Dorothy Wilson
dotwilson@attbi.com

 

9/29/2002

This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

 1,748 total views

A Stockbroker’s Story on Zoloft

“I’m so stressed out over nothing I feel like I’m going crazy.”

 

I can not begin to tell you how sorry I am to read about your terrible tragedy. (“He Never Said Goodbye”–posted here) I am a 30-year-old man with a son and family of my own. When I read your story it brought real tears to my eyes. What you’’ve done to tell your story, as hard as it is to do, is for the best. It needs to be told more and more.

I will do my part to educate as many people as I can about the effects of this terrible drug myself.

In late August of last year as I was driving home from work when I began to have severe chest pains. So bad I had to pull over to the side of the road, call my wife to “say goodbye”, then call 911. When the ambulance arrived I was already feeling better, but they took me to the hospital anyway. They did all the tests and it wasn’’t a heart attack. So 2 nights later I get the same thing again (chest pains). This time no Hospital visit. Anyway, my regular Dr. sends me for every test that can be performed on a heart. When they come back negative, she sends me for every test that can be performed on every other organ that is housed within my chest, gall bladder, liver, gastro etc. All come back negative.

Because I’ve been a Stockbroker for some time, I manage more than $100m in client assets, and have witnessed a “great deal” of wealth lost by my clients over the last couple of years, which I took personally. My Dr. said my condition was a Panic/ Anxiety disorder and put me on 50mg Zoloft.

I, not knowing anything about it, and completely trusting my Dr. took it religiously every day until early Feb. Things were starting to get better in the market, and at home etc… no more chest pains etc… Decided I didn’t need it anymore. After 3 days of not having it I was forced to get back on it to avoid the dizziness from the withdrawal. I tapered like I was told. Doesn’t work. I’m so stressed out over nothing I feel like I’m going crazy. The dizziness is unbearable. –Almost killed one of my colleagues over a comment I would have laughed about 2 months ago. When I bought a bad Go-Kart for my kid for $1500, and was forced to take it back after 1 day the guy charged me $200 to take it back. I began to “egg” his store window religiously every Sat. night (including the last one) for 6 weeks straight now. I’m a model citizen. Pillar in the community, handling senior citizens entire retirement portfolios and I’m egging a business over $200 bucks. I find myself in a lot of situations asking myself what would Vito Corleone (Godfather) do in these different situations. I hope I can get back to my old self again soon. Because I’ve never been clinically depressed a day in my life. But seem to be heading that way fast.

Anyway, enough about me. I wanted to take the time, and drop this to you, because I know your son is with God. I know you will be with him again someday. I haven’t had a tear swell up in my eyes in probably years. But when I read your post, I thought about my son, and could just imagine the pain. The unbearable pain that you must feel. I don’t even know you, and I’m dealing with my own thing right now, but I swear to God if there is anything I can do for you people, “anything” at all, let me know.

God bless you, and your family!

Ronald

 

3/27/2002

This is Survivor Story number 33.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

 2,057 total views,  1 views today

A Nurse's Nightmare on Xanax and Paxil

“In just 3 days I began going crazy.”

 

I’m a 31 year old female (and a registered nurse) I have 2 young children, recently I went through a lot of loss in my life. My mother in law battling her second brain tumor, and I cared for my grand father in his home until his death. During this time I became very anxious and started having some neurological symptoms of twitching and fatigue. My physician suggested I get to see a neurologist to rule out MS. That was the day I had my first panic attack (seems mild to me now.)

I then realized I could not see a neurologist for over 2 months. The anxiety intensified, my MD prescribed Xanax and Paxil. The first day I only required a 1/2 of a .25mg of Xanax. but by day 3 on Paxil I was taking 2 whole tabs of Xanax with no relief. In just 3 days I began going crazy. I had my husband take me to the hospital. I was not sleeping, eating, I was very dizzy. I had tingling, burning, numbness all over my body, headaches, and strange tremors and electrical sensations. Many of these symptoms mimic the symptoms of MS.

I went through the whole battery of tests, all negative. It was not until day 7 of Paxil that I realized that the majority of my symptoms were directly related to the Paxil. I weaned myself over 3 days, (only on it for 7 days before) It has only been 8 days now, I am feeling about 50% better. Every morning I wake up and go for my morning walk (3 miles) It takes so much out of me, but I know it is important. When I come home I have to prepare myself for the long day of taking care of my children. I am trying to stay busy and surround myself with a lot of very supportive people. At this point my three biggest complaints are dizziness, extreme fatigue, and inability to sleep. I just wanted to know if my story sounds familiar, (I had no mental health history before 3 weeks ago!) I just have to keep thinking that I will be better someday. Thanks for your support. My love and prayers to all of you suffering.

Jenny
nikdelicious@hotmail.com

8/6/2001

This is Survivor Story number 27.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

 1,639 total views

Zoloft Withdrawal-The Darkest Period of my Life

“I had all the classic symptoms of a junkie coming off of heroine.”

 

My name is Virginia and I just finished seeing a segment on 2020 regarding withdrawal symptoms after getting off of an antidepressant. THANK GOD!!! There are other people out there that have experienced the same symptoms I have experienced!

Every doctor in the past, (3), I have told about my withdrawal symptoms have told me that it’s not possible or that they’ve never heard of anyone having these symptoms months after attempting to get off Zoloft. I even got very upset at one of the doctor’s and told him that the symptoms I was experiencing were “real” and that I was not crazy!
To make a long story short–

The six months I was off the Zoloft was the darkest period of my life. I had all the classic symptoms of a junkie coming off of heroine. For three weeks straight, I had dry heaves, nausea, dizziness, panic attacks so severe I thought I was having a heart attack, cold sweats, a weird sound in my head, like breaking glass every time I’d blink my eyes, the disconnection of your brains ability to catch up with your vision when you look sharply to the left or right (almost like the old slide projectors that take a second and then click to the next picture), severe paranoia, and continual suicidal thoughts.

If it were not for my husband taking time of from work to watch over me, I would not be here today! Unfortunately, I lost my job, and ended up having to get back on the Zoloft in order to live a so-called “normal life”. And I can honestly say, it was like a miracle how quickly my nausea and dry heaves went away.

I only wish that the first doctor I saw would have informed me about the possibility of becoming addicted to this drug, and given me the choice of alternative treatment or a life long commitment to Zoloft. Now the only symptoms I have are dry mouth and a stiff jaw…Oh, and paranoia about ever losing my health insurance.

Virginia

10/12/2000

This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

 1,365 total views

Paxil Nightmare.

“Paxil should be yanked from the market immediately.”

 

In July of last year, I was coerced by my therapist to try a low dose of Paxil for depression caused by chronic pain. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by the injuries I had suffered in an automobile accident 4 years earlier and the fight with my insurance company was turning into a nightmare of gigantic proportions. My therapist convinced me that Paxil was the answer.

I started out on 5 mgs and worked my way up to 10 mgs within three weeks. After one week on 10 mgs, I became suicidal and completely out of control and wound up in a 72-hour lockdown at the local State psychiatric hospital. Instead of taking me off Paxil, they increased the dose and continued to increase the dose at regular intervals until I felt completely brain dead. When I hit 40 mgs a day, I was nothing but a zombie going through the motions of life.

They didn’t seem concerned and even suggested once again that I should up the dose. Unbeknownst to my doctors, I began to slowly wean myself off the drug. That is when my real nightmare began. I felt as if I was in a mental straitjacket — then the head spins, nausea, dizziness, visual lag, and blackouts began. My doctor told me these were caused by depression not the drug. Thank God I didn’t believe her and continued to withdraw slowly.

It took me 8 weeks to finally get off Paxil, but it is now 8 months later and I still have terrible side effects, some of which I am afraid are going to be permanent. My memory is shot, my cognitive and organizational skills are hampered, I feel as if I have had a chemical lobotomy — which I am now finding out is just what this drug does.

The propaganda issued by SmithKline Beecham about this drug in no way indicates how serious the side effects are or how devastating the withdrawal can be. Paxil is the drug they want to use in “cosmetic psychopharmacology” — they want to put everyone on it because it makes you compliant, sociable and open to suggestion. Welcome the New World Order.

I believe that Paxil should be yanked from the market immediately. I have never met anyone who had a good experience with this drug and my experience is one that I will never forget. I have filed an Adverse Reaction Report with the FDA and SmithKline and I have no ruled out a product liability suit. There is nothing innocuous about this drug and everyone should be warned.

Trisha Spinelli

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 89.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 1,364 total views,  1 views today