I’m Taking Myself off this Garbage

“Why are Dr.’s so quick to want to give you some kind of antidepressant?”

 

I have just finished reading the story you wrote about your son, Matthew. (“He Never Said Goodbye”–posted here.) My heart was so saddened. I am 42 years old and have in the past year and a half started experiencing problems of feeling really bad. I have gone to my OBGYN Dr. several times trying to find out what the problem is. She was quick to put me on a medication called Prozac. I cried when she said the word.

I am a person that has never been on medication and this was all foreign to me. I took it for 2 months and then took myself off. I thought…. I do not need this! So, a year later I went back to her for my yearly pap and checkup. I was and had been feeling REALLY bad for a long time at that point. She then put me on Wellbutrin. I have been on it for about 7 weeks. It only makes me feel worse.

So I went back to her last week and now she wants to try me on Effexor. I have been on the net looking for answers and that is where I found your story. I have been trying to talk myself off the Wellbutrin for the past week. It is giving me a really bad headache. I have cut down my pills from 2 a day to 1 a day. I am not taking the Effexor. All I have read has been horror stories about that medication. Why are Dr.’s so quick to want to give you some kind of antidepressant. She had done no blood work on me. Just said…. here, take this. At my last appointment with her she told me that is this last medicine did not work (Effexor), then I needed to see a 2002counselor. What is the deal!!! Is the world going crazy???? I need answers. My life is Really Good. I have a wonderful husband, and 4 wonderful children. We are a Christian family. My life is good. I am confused at this point.

I have another appointment with a General Dr. next week. Hopefully he can do something for me besides pushing anti depressants. Thank you so much for your story. After reading this, I know I am making the right decision of taking myself off this garbage and finding out what’s really wrong with me. Thank you so much!!!!

In God’s Love

Barbara

 

4/11/2002

This is Survivor Story number 29.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

874 total views, no views today

Is Paxil my Friend?

“I was violent, delusional and hostile.”

 

I was on Paxil for over a year, and then quit when I got married. Almost 2 months ago I started taking Paxil again. I have also been taking Flexural and Tylenol #3 for back and neck pain. The reason I am writing is because I had a horrible experience the other day and I am trying to find out if it may be linked to the Paxil.

The other night, I went out with a friend to celebrate the end of the school term and to “tie one on”. I didn’’t take any of my medication that night because I knew that I would be drinking. After a triple espresso I had a couple drinks, I am told that I was slamming them down. I had a good night; I danced, talked, listened to good music, until we left. I do not remember being in the car, talking to my husband on the phone or going to Denny’s. I started having horrible delusions, thinking that my best friend was cheating on her husband, yelling and going off on the phone at my husband and like. My friend told me that I seemed confused, but ok. She had no idea that I wasn’’t aware of any thing. Later, my husband picked me up from Denny’s where I became violent. I hit him, I tried to pull the steering wheel when we were on the free way, and I turned the key off and through it out the window while we were driving, then ran and hopped a ride from a truck driver. Need less to say, I made it home safe, and nearly divorced. My husband met up with me (he followed the truck I was in) and tried to take me home, again I was violent, delusional and hostile, I got out with our dog and ran down the street where I soon passed out and my dog wandered around. My husband found me and took me home.

This is a horrible experience for both of us, and after researching and talking to people, I have learned that others have had similar experiences. When I am not on medication, these sorts of things do not happen. My husband (when I am not drinking) has been telling me I am paranoid and delusional. I get really offended because I am trying to take care of my anxiety disorder. I have also been having a lot of depression. I take 20 mg of Paxil every day. Also, when I quit taking Paxil the last time, I went off of it in about 1 1/2 weeks. I have horrible side effects when I first start taking it, which include severe headaches, confusion, a surreal feeling like I am not really there, anxiety and joint/muscle pain. Could you please help me understand what happened the other night. Over about 5 hours I had about 5-7 drinks. I do not drink often, but needless to say, I will not be doing it again, especially not on my medication.

 

3/23/2002

This is Survivor Story number 35.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

696 total views, 1 views today

Boys Ranch Sees Problem with Antidepressants

“It has been our experience over the past 19 years that not one of the boys NEEDED to be on drugs. I wish we could get this word out to more people.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

AMEN and AMEN!!!

This is what we have also been saying and it is good to hear another professional saying the same things. We have a boys ranch, Lives Under Construction Ranch at Lampe, Missouri and take boys from over 17 different States, most of which have either been on drugs or still are when they come.

We don’t believe in these types of drugs to treat behavior disorders. There MAY BE and exception for a very small amount of the people who take these drugs; however, it has been our experience over the past 19 years that not one of the boys NEEDED to be on drugs. They later thanked us for helping them to ESCAPE the shell they felt like they were in.

I wish we could get this word out to more people. Kids are being introduced to these drugs mainly because when they start school, a teacher does not want to work with them individually and would rather put the potentially high intellectual kids who may be bored with the class under sedation with the drugs to avoid problems in the classroom. At least, this has been why most parents tell us that they get the prescription is because a school recommended that they seek professional help, which refers the kids to drugs.

If only more parents realized that most, if not all of the school violence was done by kids on medication. WHAT A TRAGEDY is right!

Thank you

Sheila Ortman
LUC Boys Ranch
www.lucboys.org

 

9/23/2001

This is Survivor Story number 28.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

815 total views, no views today

Xanax and Paxil—a Life-Altering Combination

“The scary part is that this was considered a legal practice.”

 

Hello,

My name is Barton Mahoney. Thank you for this forum. It represents an opportunity to know that others understand what I experienced with the drug Paxil.

Bad, bad, bad for Bart! It has been a lonely experience in explaining the affects this intrusive drug has had in my life. I am one of those people that this drug was not designed for, doing it only by a doctor’s order. If I only knew what was in store for me, assuredly it would never have happened. It was prescribed not so much for depression as to help with an extreme case of fatigue. Depression and fatigue can appear hand-in-hand when working 80+ hour workweeks in construction. As an energetic and conscientious building contractor this is now my previous occupation.

Paxil, smaxil, serotonin, shmeritonin. I had no idea of what these were or what they would mean, before it was too late. They prescribed it with Xanax, another wonder drug. Within the first week I was complaining to my doctor about the effect it was having on me. I was told my condition was consistent with the early affects of the drug. It was recommended to continue the medication for the 4-6 week incubation period when the Paxil would then become balanced with my system.

This never happened. I stopped the Xanax within months. My personality and character changed so dramatically that I left the construction trades, lost the respect of my family, along with every ounce of self-esteem that I had within a very short time. I can remember it being hard to feel a smile. It was the major contributing factor to the demise of a life once enjoyed, leading to the perils of a drug user. I wish this on no person. The scary part is that this was considered a legal practice.

I was hospitalized on several occasions during the first year. Each time was the result of collapsing on the floor or when lying down and not being able to get up. I would just lay there not able to move or with a feeling of not wanting to move. It is difficult to explain. If helped by a person and moved very slowly they could get me to my feet, only to immediately collapse again. Three times at home, Twice while at hotels, once on an airplane. That time they had to hold the flight I was on from taking off. It took better than a half an hour to retrieve me from the bathroom. Two very helpful Texas police officers saw our way to a hospital. I was treated in the emergency room but they wanted to take blood. With a phobia about shots plus being through this experience before I felt to have a better answer for my treatment. They did not understand that I just wanted to lie there and that I would be fine in a little while. I tried explaining my condition at the hospital and asked if they would please call my doctor. They did not make the call and released me because I refused treatment by not letting them stick needles in me. I took a later flight home and told myself that this was it. I had to get off this drug.

I was in the care of my doctor this entire period from September 1997 until November 1999. What is interesting was how the medical clinic provided me with prescriptions of Paxil even after I had lost my insurance (I lost everything but that’s not the point). My thinking was that they are giving me the medication because they know something may go wrong if I stopped taking it. Something was adrift for them to give me the medication for free. It appears I am discovering that they did know once this drug had taken its place in my system that it was a very long process to wean a person off the drug. Plus there was a possibility that I may not be stable enough for those around me. There was nothing about this on the drug description at the time, only to say do not stop medication without consulting your doctor. I did and was told to very slowly reduce the dosage until I could handle life without it.

It took over a year to free myself from this consummate condition. It has been a year and a half since my final battle with the drug. The final no-more-Paxil period lasted for about three weeks. No different than any other episode during this treatment, if I stopped or slowed down the medication I would lose my motor skills or would lose my will to use them. Slowly perking-up I am happy to say that now without this drug in my system and because of a very supporting family; I am back to my old self and am finding life enjoyable once again. The further life distances itself from the history of this period the better off I will be. Occasionally, I still have strange twinges at the base of my neck and I now shake when doing something tedious with my hands. I had always prided myself in the steadiness of intricate tasks, but this is no more.

My memories of this period are also quite bothersome. I have spoken with three attorneys, one said his legal counsel doctor said I should have been able to stop cold turkey with out having any problems. Right! A second said it appeared to be a class-action suit after a 20-20 television show about the anti-affects of anti-depressant medication. A third attorney said it would cost more than his firm could afford just in getting the case to trial. I left it at that knowing that I was greatly improved and able by nature to fight my way back to a life.

My wife and I were married at age 15 & 16 respectively. We have three wonderful adult children. For 31 years we have been through many tough times and this is now just another experience. I don’t want to think of where my life would be if I hadn’t fought through and separated myself from the clutches of Paxil. Even thinking through this letter helps with the healing process. I was compelled to write because it appears the truth is coming out. Previously, I actually thought I was going crazy and that nobody was listening, nor would they believe me. It was the loneliest feeling in the world.

I am saddened by the actions of those people under the influence of this drug. To have done the things that they have hurts all of us. To an extent I can understand how they felt when performing these horrific acts.

My prayers and thoughts go out to all that are affected. These are all very disturbing conditions that to some extent fall on the shoulders of those that offer these treatments and to those who manufacturer the drugs that they prescribe. It is a dangerous business. These drugs which are administered do have an affect. I can claim adverse reactions if the person is not designed for treatment in such a manner. We all deserve more information, especially when it comes to a drug that effects our central nervous system. For those who have had or are having similar experiences, you are not alone nor are you crazy.

If you are thinking about taking an anti-depressant, discuss all possibilities with your doctor. If the medication is helping you, then you are lucky. I might still be enjoying a life once stable. Hopefully I will continue to overcome and in time will be fully restored. As I get older it will be interesting to see whether I will ever chance taking any medication. Never again do I want to go through this experience no matter what my condition may be. I would rather go natural.

Thank you for hearing my voice. Now that I have written this brief letter about my experience, I hope it will help others understand the dangers of drugs not meant for the masses. Still it hurts to the center of my soul when considering these possibilities. I have experienced Paxil. Communication is our strength and it should be critically applied with matters of health. Manufacturers, doctors and patients must have all possible information before making life-altering decisions.

I signed no waivers in regards to potential side-affects, which excuses my ignorance. Luckily I was strong enough to help myself. Woe to those who are not so lucky, you are at the mercy of questionable practices by those we should be able to trust.

On the Mend

 

8/6/2001

This is Survivor Story number 19.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

692 total views, no views today

I said No to Paxil and Ativan

My doctor said it was clinical depression. It did not occur to me that it could be a real reaction to real things, not just a ‘chemical imbalance’. “

Hello. I have PTSD and recently have become very depressed, despite the fact that my boyfriend and I have been fighting, I got into a car accident, I realized that I did no’t want to study what I was almost ready to graduate in, started a new job and gained weight….

My doctor said it was clinical depression. It did not occur to me that it could be a real reaction to real things, not just a ‘chemical imbalance’. Like she had said.

I know I have PTSD – but mine has n’ot made me sad. But being a trusting person I listened to them when they told me to take medication….

They prescribed Paxil and Ativan. When my doctor was writing the prescription for Ativan – I told her I absolutely did not want to take that because I had read about the different types of medications and that class of drugs was addictive and I did no’t want to take drugs long term. Mind you I am already paranoid of medications. As a survivor of horrendous child abuse, I fear any MIND ALTERING substance. When I told my doctor know, she asked why…she then preceded to tell me to just take it if I get “panicky” and related to the feeling I get when something bad happens and I feel overwhelmed. She said it would be ok. I reluctantly took the prescription and told her repeatedly that I would probably never take it…

I also went into full detail of the stories I had heard about in the Prozac family of people killing themselves out of the blue. She reassured me that is for people that were previously psychotic…and that it only happened when these drugs first came out and that it only happened because some psychiatrist thought since it worked so well on depression it might work on other things…and assured me that it was because they had previously wanted to commit suicide. NEVER mentioning any of the side effects, aside from nausea, dry mouth and “initial anxiety”.

So she gave me the trial month – with no insertions. I took one about 5 hours ago. And then my friends mom called and we were talking, I was telling her about taking Paxil. She said be careful – those make people go nuts. She said her friend hung himself and then I stopped her, I was already scared. I don’t have any suicidal thoughts, let alone, homicidal thoughts. I did no’t want to hear this. Now I feel high and stiff. And I don’t like it. After she told me that I went on the internet and looked up “suicide and Paxil” and came up with so many horror stories of people going crazy. And I even read the drug information on the homepage of the drug company…and it names so many. I learned that it can cause seizures (which I had when I was an infant and my doctor knows) it says most people feel anxiety – which is already a problem I have – I don’t need to feel more – I read that it says you can have nameless amounts of things. Not to mention it said the doctors normally prescribe them with an anti-anxiety so in case the person feels “agitated, homicidal, aggressive or suicidal” they can take those and calm down (a.k.a…pass out). This is not ok. I can’t believe my doctor recommended them to me especially when I told her that I WOULD NOT TAKE THE ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICINE… I told her I would fill it but would not take it out of fear.

I am so freaked out.

I feel for you and I am sorry that happened to your Matthew and hope that in some way you know that you convinced me not to take this anymore. I will go to sleep praying I will be okay through the night. God bless you.

Cena

 

This is Survivor Story number 6.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

11/16/2000

1,073 total views, no views today

Hospitalized on Paxil

“Has psychiatry’s faith in medication become so strong that the last thing they can imagine is that medication might be what is causing a problem?”

 

I was in and out of the hospital 5 times during the 8 month period on the drug in 1996. I suffered delusions, impulsiveness, roadrage (bumped a car ahead of me repeatedly), spent an entire night trying to put a T-shirt on–I had forgotten how to dress myself, and I couldn’t lie still. Eventually (I am told) I began hearing voices, became unconscious, and was in intensive care for ten days on the danger list, writhing around. Only then did they think to take me off the medication! They had actually added other drugs, rather than stop the Paxil!

When I regained consciousness I was in a black mood and let them use ECT on me.

What an assault on me! I’m angry! Shouldn’t my inability to dress myself have been a sign that I should be taken off all medication, rather than adding another drug?

Has psychiatry’s faith in medication become so strong that the last thing they can imagine is that medication might be what is causing a problem?

Ed Robinson
erob@people-link.com

Years 2000

This is Survivor Story number 72.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

801 total views, no views today

My Son’s Experience on Ritalin

“So many times doctors are drugging our children when they could be helped with proper nutrition, discipline and/or counseling.”

 

Your story so touched my heart (Matthew’s Story). I too have a son who by the grace of god is doing fine. He sounds much like your son, animals and kids always love him. He has such a kind and gentle spirit and a really great sense of humor. But unnecessary prescribed drugs almost ruined his life and ours.

He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in the 6th grade. But prior to that starting around 4th grade we were told (by his so called school psychologist) that he was emotionally disturbed and would end up on drugs and in prison if things did not change. We, of course, were devastated and immediately got into family counseling. Two years later he was diagnosed with ADD. The doctor in charge of his case prescribed Ritalin and things changed almost immediately. He became very compliant with not trouble at school. The doctor saw us every three months just to weigh him, see how he was feeling and give us another prescription. As time went on we had to keep increasing the dose to make sure of the proper results. My son’s behavior improved (always temporarily) but he was still failing all subjects. His self esteem was terrible, he was not growing, he hardly ate and had constant stomach cramps. I was always silently worried about suicide. Finally through self curiosity and research found out that they were giving my son medication that the FDA classed with LSD and Cocaine! And that ADD is in many cases successfully treated through the diet. They were drugging him and we were letting them! This was when I immediately took my son off Ritalin cold turkey. Probably not the best way to handle it but I lost all trust in his doctor and just panicked. We started giving him all natural dietary supplements and watched what he was eating. He went through some withdrawals but grew 6 inches in one summer. He is now 18 years old and 6 feet tall. He is doing very well in Job Corp. (couldn’t deal with school because of being so far behind) and will probably be self a sufficient adult.

So many times doctors are drugging our children when they could be helped with proper nutrition, discipline and/or counseling. Since I discovered the nutrition aspect of a lot of this I realize too that our very food is also harming us. So much is processed to the extreme and most of the nutrients are sucked out of them. Even fresh produce is affected. The only way to get everything we need is our diets is to eat as best we can and take supplements.

I am so sorry things turned out the way they did for you and your family. I don’t pretend to understand how god works in these areas. I just know that he is in charge and must know what he is doing. We have to believe that. What else do we have?

My prayers are with you. I really appreciate and share your passion in telling others to be aware of what we are taking and giving to our children. I question every thing now. Even to the point of insulting the so called experts. Who cares! If I don’t question and research than who will.

Again, my prayers are with you and your family. Thank you again for listening to god and sharing your story. I am sure many will be helped and even saved by your heart felt words.

Cala Klapstein, dancala@earthlink.net
Sumner, WA

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 75.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

746 total views, no views today

5-Year Old’s Unusual Reaction to 5-htp

“I read about 5-htp and under the recommendation of a friend.”

I have read about your research and articles about the harmful effects of Prozac, etc., and wonder if you can help me figure out why my 5-yr old son had an unusual reaction to 5-htp –a supposedly safe natural supplement.

My son Alex has is mildly autistic and has sleep problems in that he takes a long time to fall asleep (1-2 hours) and ends up going to sleep around midnight every night. I read about 5-htp and under the recommendation of a friend decided to try it to see if it would help Alex to sleep and to calm down. (At that time, he seemed to have gotten a little immune to melatonin which we used to give him once in a while to help him sleep, which was why we were looking for other means.) On the first night we gave him 100mg at 6:30 p.m. and he resisted going to bed till 9:30p.m., then fell asleep at 10p.m. However, he woke up at 3a.m. that night and stayed awake all night and all of the next day, falling asleep at 10p.m.! We didn’t give him anything that night, but to convince ourselves that his reaction was not a coincidence (he does have the tendency to wake up in the middle of the night once in a while), We gave him another 100mg on the third night at around 8:30p.m. This time he fell asleep at 9:30p.m., but woke up at 11p.m., 2 hours later! He only managed to fall asleep at 5a.m. the next morning, then woke up at 8a.m. During the time that he was awake on the medication, he looked quite disoriented and tired, but didn’t have any aggressive or extreme behaviors just real out-of-sorts.

Do you think Alex has a problem metabolizing the serotonin? Have you come across any other incidences like his?

A Note from Dr. Tracy
As those of you who have read the research in my book (Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?) know, elevated levels of serotonin are found in those who are autistic. This indicates an inability to metabolize serotonin. Therefore, ANYTHING that increases serotonin – whether you are told it is natural or not – should be expected to produce adverse effects in someone who has autistic symptoms.

L. L.

6/20/2000

This is Survivor Story number 21.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

854 total views, no views today

12/1/1999 – Few Patients Satisfied With Antidepressants

Here’s some interesting new information about the efficacy of SSRI
medication as reported by people who really know something about
it–the patients. Mark

Study: Few Patients Satisfied With Antidepressants

12.43 p.m. ET (1743 GMT) November 30, 1999

NEW YORK — Just a third of patients on long-term antidepressant drug
therapy report being very satisfied with their treatment, according to
results of a new survey.

http://www.foxnews.com:80/js_index.sml?content=/health/113099/antidepress.sml

689 total views, no views today

Ph.D. Plans Derailed on Zoloft

“Being “Zoloft free” has allowed me to see the negative side effects not easily seen while on the medication.”

 

I am a 28 years old and currently residing in Michigan. I most recently was studying as a graduate student in Cellular and Clinical Neurobiology Ph.D. program at Wayne State University located in Detroit, Michigan. However, I recently learned I would no longer be allowed to continue the program due to my poor performance in each of my enrolled classes during this, my first semester as a graduate student. Since learning, a month ago, about the termination of my appointment as a graduate student, I have reasons to believe my performance in the courses was influenced greatly by a medication I was taking. Two years prior to my entering the graduate program, I had a rather distressing situation in my life occur. So distressing was this particular situation, I found myself unable to sleep well at night, nor study for upcoming exams in the classes I was attending at my undergraduate institution (Brigham Young University). I chose to see a school physician. After hearing of my condition, he suggested I begin taking a medication called Zoloft (Sertraline) and didn’t hesitate to write me a prescription. I later learned this medication belonged to a family of medications called Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

Another factor, which I’m sure influenced my physician’s decision to prescribe Zoloft, was that I had been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about 10 years prior to this incident. My physician suggested I begin with a 50mgs/day dose and increase the dosage in 50mg increments weekly until reaching a maximum dosage of 200mgs/day. Admittedly, some of my OCD symptoms decreased, however, over the course of time, the side effects would soon greatly outweigh the benefits.

I began taking Zoloft during the last three weeks of my second to last semester at Brigham Young University (BYU). I needed only to finish two courses to graduate, which I took the following semester. During the weeks beginning Zoloft, my physician wanted to visit with me at least once a week to follow-up on the Zoloft’s affects. During these visits I was consistently told what a wonderful medication Zoloft was and how much of a decrease in my OCD symptoms and anxiety I would see after a few weeks. The before mentioned distressing situation, which involved a disheartening ending of a relationship with my girlfriend, would virtually disappear my physician told me. In fact, my physician went so far as to say my OCD was likely the cause of my breakup with my girlfriend and that once the Zoloft helped me gain control of my OCD, I would most likely decide trying our relationship again. Looking back now, nothing is further from the truth. I think because of this positive rhetoric about Zoloft’s acclaimed benefits, I naively began believing I was experiencing a reformed and changed self, freed from the bonds of OCD and able to finally be “normal”. However, after two years of being on the medication, getting C grades in my final two classes at BYU, and most recently, kicked out of my graduate program, I’ve learned the harsh reality that Zoloft has only served to make things worse than before.

I want to make clear that I’m not an irresponsible student nor am I lacking in intelligence. I graduated from BYU with a 3.4 GPA in Pre-Physical Therapy. Some of my classes included Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Medical Physiology, Anatomy, Genetics, and Calculus. The competition for good grades at BYU speaks for itself. The average GPA and ACT scores for the incoming freshman class last year were a 3.7 and 27 respectively. There are very intelligent students at BYU and the competition is fierce. My respectable graduating GPA of 3.4 clearly demonstrates my ability as a student. Remember, only two of my classes at BYU were taken while on Zoloft, both of which I received C grades.

Since my arrival here in Michigan, I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist. Interestingly, she is a member of the department (department of psychiatry) I belonged to as a graduate student. She specializes in mood and anxiety disorders. It is interesting to me that while I was struggling so hard to study, concentrate, and deal with other issues (what I know believe to be the side effects of the Zoloft), she didn’t once suggest I discontinue the Zoloft to see if my condition would improve. In other words, it’s very ironic that psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at Wayne State University (considered a “prominent” research institution) couldn’t help one of the departments own graduate students who was dealing with a condition in which their department claims they specialize in for research. How remarkable that a research scientist in psychiatry, working at a prominent research university, specializing in mood and anxiety disorders did not think to ask the question, “maybe the Zoloft is the reason for this young man’s problems”. This is clear and conclusive evidence that medications such as Zoloft have not been thoroughly studied or tested.

Since discontinuing the Zoloft I’ve noticed some remarkable discoveries. I began tapering by 50-mg increments. I decreased my dosage to 150mg beginning November 2, 1999. I then tapered down to 100mg beginning November 5, 1999. I then went down 50mgs every nine days (November 5-14: 100mgs; November 14-23: 50mgs; November 24: 0mgs). During my first week of tapering (around November 4th or 5th), I had an experience were I was driving down the street I live on after school when I noticed a group of teenagers in the middle of the road. There was about five of them walking side-by-side spanning from one side of road to the other. For some unknown reason, I became extremely mad about this situation. I was mad these teenagers felt they could “hog” the whole street. During this fit of anger I stepped down on the accelerator and speed up. I remember I had a burst of rage, which I would say was uncontrollable, come over me. I thought the teenagers would hear my car accelerate and move out of the way, thus I would scare them good. However, I didn’t slow down in time enough and the teenagers didn’t move fast enough. My anger had impaired my rational judgement. I ended up clipping one of the teenagers with my right front bumper, knocking him to the ground and just about running over a second teenager. I ended up backing up my car and scolding the teenagers for walking in the road. However, during the rest of the drive home, I was dumbfounded about what I had just done. This kind of anger and uncontrollable rage was very unlike me. What was I thinking? I came inches from killing two teenagers. The experience really shook me up. After thinking about what had just occurred I could only attribute this rage and anger to my tapering of the Zoloft. I decided from that time forward, I would pay special attention to controlling my anger until I was completely off the medication.

It is now day 42 since completely discontinuing the Zoloft. Being “Zoloft free” has allowed me to see the negative side effects not easily seen while on the medication. While on the medication I saw a significant decrease in the quality and quantity of my sleep at night. I began to see large dark circles under my eyes. I was also quit lethargic during the day. I remember sitting in my graduate school classes and fighting very hard to stay awake. I remember looking around the lecture room and asking myself why the other students were not as exhausted as I was. Before beginning Zoloft I would exercise about 3-4 times/week. Since beginning the medication I struggled to exercise once or twice a week. I began to develop a rather severe chronic muscle pain in my neck and shoulders. This pain became so great I would avoid studying at times because of the position my neck and shoulders would have to be in for long periods of time. This neck and shoulder pain persisted even after two months of physical therapy. Not long after beginning Zoloft I noticed fungus infections underneath a couple of my fingernails.

However bad the physical side effects were, they couldn’t compare with the mental side effects of Zoloft. After beginning Zoloft, I noticed a significant decrease in my motivation to accomplish goals I had before set. I noticed a significant decrease in my ability and desire to concentrate. I also noticed a significant increase in my forgetting things such as appointments, where I put things, names, and other information people had told me. I noticed a very significant increase in addictive behaviors. I became addicted to the Internet, video games, sugary foods, sex, and highly stimulating activities. All of these behaviors were completely unlike me. So why didn’t I discontinue Zoloft much sooner than I did? Because over the course of several months my physician had coached me about the positive side effects of Zoloft. After listening to his counsel I believed I would never function at complete normalcy throughout life without the medication. Therefore, I attributed any bad effects to my own personality and not to the medication. That conclusion, looking back now, is far from the truth.

The side effects that interfered most with graduate school, were the increase of my addictive behaviors, decreased motivation, and my decreased ability to concentrate. These side effects combined to virtually eliminate my ability to take notes, study from the texts, or study for exams. As stated before, I attributed these side effects to being my own personality. I began to believe my personality had become flawed in some manner and that I needed to learn more self-control or self-discipline. Since being off the medication, I have learned I didn’t develop a inherently flawed personality (comparing how I was in graduate school to how I was during my undergraduate school years). I’ve learned the difference in my personality was due directly to the effect Zoloft was having on my mind. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until just before being terminated as a graduate student.

Since discontinuing the medication, every one of the before mentioned negative side effects has been reversed. My sleep has improved significantly, both quantity and quality. The dark circles under my eyes have virtually disappeared. My neck and back pain have improved greatly. In fact, I often times forget I ever had neck and back pain. The fungus under my fingernails began clearing up immediately after my discontinuing the medication. My energy level during the day has greatly improved. I no longer feel lethargic. I am back to exercising about 3-4 times/week. I’ve seen, at least, a 40% improvement in my motivation to accomplish goals. My ability to concentrate has increased significantly. One of the biggest improvements has been my ability to remember appointments, where I put things, peoples names, and other extraneous information other people tell me. My addictive behaviors have decreased significantly. I no longer crave sweet foods, the thought of playing a video game makes me sick, I rarely spend time on the Internet. I still struggle with some sexual addictions I developed while being on Zoloft, but even those are far more controllable now. Unfortunately, I discovered this information too late to reverse the consequences Zoloft had on me and my ability to retain my graduate student appointment

I am writing this letter to express my frustration and disappointment about a FDA approved medication that has had such a profoundly negative effect on my life. Something needs to be done so others aren’t mistakenly given treatments, which result in negative consequences. Or even worse, treatments that have potentially devastating consequences because of a pharmaceutical company’s agenda to push a particular drug through the “research red-tape” to get it out to market and make a “buck”. During the difficult time I had with my girlfriend, had one of the health care specialists said, “maybe the problem is that the girl you are dating just isn’t the right girl for you” and encouraged me to stick it out, I wouldn’t have to withdraw from my graduate program. Then again, maybe not. Looking back now, it’s easy to see the girl I had been dating was not the right girl for me, I didn’t need medication to have a relationship, and in retrospect, I didn’t need medication to make a decision either, just someone to help me work things out. In fact, the medication only served to make my life, in a more global sense, worse.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 74.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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