ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Nightmares & Anxiety: Musician: Australia

HE IS LUCKY TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET OFF THE ANTIDEPRESSANTS BEFORE HE ACTED ANY OF THOSE SEROTONIN NIGHTMARES OUT!! THE VERY VIVID NIGHTMARES ARE THE FIRST WARNING SIGN THAT YOU ARE ON THE VERGE OF EXPERIENCING AN ANTIDEPRESSANT-INDUCED REM SLEEP BEHAVIOR DISORDER WHERE YOU ACT OUT THOSE NIGHTMARES. (www.drugawareness.org)

Paragraph 26 reads: “Dempsey was struggling to function and became physically ill. For more than a year he took antidepressants, battling the side-effects of nightmares and anxiety. He eventually weaned himself off them.”

http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/music/the-measured-minstrel/2009/08/20/1250362154591.html

The measured minstrel

August 21, 2009

Paul Dempsey is striking a path as a solo artist, writes Andrew Murfett.

PAUL Dempsey is a closet football tragic. He has spent 2009 mildly obsessed with his beloved Saints breaking their 43-year premiership drought.

”There’s a mixture of happiness and fear there,” he says.

Publicly, at least, Dempsey is perhaps best known as a voracious reader with a fixation on quantum physics. His love of Aussie Rules is one of several little-known anomalies in his public facade.

Over 14 years in his day job fronting local rock trio Something For Kate, he has sold about 500,000 albums and managed to erect a wall between his public and private life. It’s been both a blessing and a curse. Ask those close to him and they confirm Dempsey possesses a wicked sense of humour. He has something of a reputation for retaining information, be it scientific or musical, and this translates to jokes.

One night, for instance, after a Something For Kate show in Bendigo, he exasperated his bandmates by telling jokes non-stop all the way back to Melbourne.

”It drove everybody out of their mind,” he says.

Yet, in his quest for privacy that gregarious humour has been somewhat lost and SFK’s reputation as a morose collective has remained.

It clearly rankles Dempsey.

”It’s still bizarre to me,” he says. ”Humour has always been in my writing. So I have to assume I’m not doing it right. I should accept that before I point the finger at others.”

This week Dempsey releases Everything is True, his debut solo album. And the focus is now squarely on him.

Dempsey sung and played every note on the album – and it’s his most lyrically direct work. Beginning with its sardonic title, the album plays on Dempsey’s pitch-black humour and deft storytelling skills.

In person, his lanky two-metre stature might be imposing were it not offset by his wry persona. He speaks candidly about topics such as his nomadic childhood, being married to a bandmate, his obsession with the metal band Slayer and a penchant for television series Lost.

“I’d put Lost in the same category as St Kilda. It’s been so good up until now, I’d hate for it to be buggered up before the finish.”

Dempsey turned 33 in May. But it has taken him until now, he says, having finished his solo debut, to understand how his brain works.

Dempsey has no memories of his father, Charlie, who died in a car crash when he was just a year old. He was raised by his mother, grandmother and three older sisters.

His family migrated from Dublin a year before Paul’s birth. After his father’s death, his mother remarried, and for a time she ran an Irish pub in South Melbourne.

Music was a constant in a family that was always on the move. Dempsey recalls moving nine times around Victoria and Queensland before he left home in his late teens.

From a young age, Dempsey listened to his sisters and mother singing at all hours and hearing them harmonise helped shape his approach to music.

Having taught himself piano, guitar and drums, he discovered he could hear a song on the radio, pick up an instrument and reproduce it. At age 10, the first song he learned to play was Eagle Rock.

Wife and bandmate Stephanie Ashworth has a theory. ”Paul is the human jukebox,” she says. ”He can play anything he’s heard once. It’s a weird phonographic memory, like a strange autism.”

After leaving home and moving in with his oldest sister, Jill, his sense of place was heightened when he visited Ireland for the first time at 21.

“I definitely felt at home there,” he says. “There’s an instinctive connection and familiarity.”

He was able to meet his father’s brother and twin sister and, for the first time, get a strong, almost visceral, sense of his dad’s personality. Often unnervingly. Several times in Dublin, he was approached by strangers, usually old men in pubs, who said: ”You must be Charlie Dempsey’s boy.”

Dempsey’s past undoubtedly had an impact on his solo record.

In 2004, making Desert Lights, the fifth Something For Kate record, he suffered a debilitating bout of depression. It was only after some convincing from those close to him that he sought treatment.

Dempsey was struggling to function and became physically ill. For more than a year he took antidepressants, battling the side-effects of nightmares and anxiety. He eventually weaned himself off them.

“It’s there on this record,” he says. “Looking back on those two years, it’s like it happened to someone else. It’s like watching a movie. It’s so hard to relate to being in that space now.

“Something changed drastically about my whole brain or person. I’m still getting used to me after that. Something about these songs has more space and breath. It’s brighter, I guess. I feel like the ropes are untied or the anchor’s gone. I feel less afraid. Which is really good but really scary sometimes, too.”

On Everything is True, Dempsey expresses feelings of wonder, confusion and bemusement. In his songs, life is a puzzle nobody really understands. That view clearly informs his writing.

Ashworth and SFK drummer, Clint Hyndman, say they pushed Dempsey to record a solo album.

”Actually, I was a little resistant to being pushed out,” Dempsey jokes.

His bandmates also insist they are comfortable with his new touring band – Shannon Vanderwert, Patrick Bourke and John Hedigan.

“We hope the next Kate record will be received with fresher ears,” Dempsey says.

Dempsey has been playing solo shows away from the band for more than a decade. He believes these have increased his confidence, helped him improvise and strengthened his singing.

But, he admits, his tendency to spend excruciating amounts of time pondering lyrics remains.

During the difficult gestation of Desert Lights, for example, the band arrived in Los Angeles to record the album but were unable to enter the studio because Dempsey was unhappy with the lyrics.

”Clint and I literally pushed Paul out of our car in the middle of Hollywood and told him he can’t come back until he’s finished,” Ashworth recalls.

Again, it took him 18 months to write the 11 songs on Everything is True. Dempsey wishes it was quicker. He writes daily, and wonders if that’s excessive for four-minute pop songs.

What keeps him going is the satisfaction of finishing.

”I’m proud of this album. But I’ve often looked back at a song and said: ‘Why the hell did that take me so long?'”

Dempsey also took plenty of time to publicly reveal his 13-year relationship with Perth expat Ashworth, which began before she joined the band in 1997.

“It was us being private and not wanting to talk about ourselves like that,” he says.

So has he often wished for a separation of work and home life?

“We did sometimes. But we now wouldn’t have it any other way, particularly with the travel. Initially it was a three-piece band with two of the members hooked up, so we thought problems would arise. But they haven’t, really.”

Dempsey and Ashworth have lived in their inner-Melbourne home for five years, the longest he has lived anywhere. This slightly troubles Dempsey, who tends to not become attached to places.

“I’ve never really felt like I had solid roots anywhere,” he says.

The two married almost four years ago in a Las Vegas hotel room (there was no Elvis impersonator). He says the decision to elope was typically pragmatic, based on the liberal marriage licence laws of Nevada.

“It probably keeps to the perception of me,” he says. “It was very easy. And not really that crazy.”

Everything is True is out now through EMI. Dempsey plays The Corner Hotel on September 12 and 13.

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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

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12 drugs in 4 years caused near fatal effects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bani
bani@busmail.org

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Insane Thoughts on Prozac

“It turned me into a junkie, waking up with shocks, nightmares, anxiety, panic…”

 

I am a 36-year old female, who has her own business and was prescribed Prozac by a psychiatrist for an anxiety disorder and obsessive traits. I was not told of the side effects, and was instructed to just take a quarter.

Within a year I was up to taking 3 & 1/2 as I found that if you do not take more and more, the side effects were worse than what I started with.

It turned me into a junkie, waking up with shocks, nightmares, anxiety, panic, and grabbing for the Prozac after eating immediately every morning.

I was an absolute wreck, having criminally insane thoughts and dreams, shaking, nausea, paranoia, anxiety and panic, I felt that it put me at a cross roads.

Do not take more and more, this is horrendous. Take less and taper off.

Its been two months and I’m still reclusive and suffering the described effects, but I have found that a chiropractor/ kinesiology/homeopath /craniologist has greatly assisted with natural alternatives and healing the symptoms.

I was diagnosed with too much adrenalin, as well my spine needed fixing as the nerves connected were also “not right.”

I was prescribed medicines that are slowly working with no side effects. I hope this helps.

K Jamieson
kary.jamieson@optusnet.com.au

 

4/1/2002

This is Survivor Story number 32.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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My horrible 5-day experience with Zoloft

“WE NEED A FULL BAN ON SRRIs BEFORE MORE LIVES ARE DESTROYED!!!”

 

First off, these drugs are absolute poison and should be taken off the market NOW! People’s troubles with anxiety and depression CANNOT be solved with the equivalent of LSD/PCP/Ecstasy! These drugs only inflame the symptoms and make recovery impossible.

I am still coping with a mild case of PPD, brought on by the stress of having two children in two years (my second pregnancy wasn’t planned), and a very troubled stepson that lives with us. I went to my OB/GYN, and while he sent me for a complete physical, including a thyroid/anemia screening, he also handed me three bottles of Zoloft to take for three weeks. He said they would help calm me down, because my anxiety level was awful. I had no idea my anxiety would go from bad to manic.

The first day I took the Zoloft, I felt fine. The next day, I had a vivid, disturbing nightmare and a hypoglycemia-like reaction. Thank God I was able to get down to the refrigerator, even though I was in a near-catatonic state, and consume an ice cream bar. I stabilized, but had no idea what happened to me.

For the next few days, I had severe nightmares, and sometimes when I woke up, I was in a state of anxiety and confusion that I can’t even describe, it was so bizarre. Thought upon thought upon thought, all making no sense.

It was an act of God that I found drugawareness.org and read through these stories. Even though I knew MORE anxiety was a possible reaction to Zoloft, I had no idea it would happen to me!

To make a long story short, I stopped Zoloft after five days, with the encouragement of my OB/GYN. Even he was horrified at my reaction to the drug. I do not blame him for what happened. I don’t think he’s fully aware what this drug can do to people. I would bet most doctors are not aware.

It took another two weeks for the drug to wash completely out of my system. I still had nightmares and severe insomnia for a week after I stopped the drug. Only after two weeks did I start to feel like myself again. Now, I’m back to square one with the PPD. I’m furious that I lost two weeks of recovery because I spent two weeks trying to recover from Zoloft!

I am now taking natural supplements, getting a hormone test (to see if my estrogen/progesterone levels are contributing to this), and eating better. In my opinion, this is the only cure. Don’t rely on a drug. I am fortunate that I stopped using this garbage before I got even further down the road with it! If my reaction after five days was that horrifying, imagine if I continued with this “treatment,” which I now know was no better than pumping my veins full of LSD or PCP!

We can’t cure what’s ailing us with the equivalent of illegal street drugs. Now that I know what these drugs can do, I will do whatever I can to keep people away from them. My life could have been ruined. Many others’ lives ARE ruined. I was lucky. WE NEED A FULL BAN ON SRRIs BEFORE MORE LIVES ARE DESTROYED!!!

Lisa Spinelli
spinman969@aol.com

 

3/25/2002

This is Survivor Story number 34.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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MY NIGHTMARISH EXPERIENCE WHILE TAKING THE ANTIDEPRESSENT DRUG PAXIL

“…the constant nightmares and the stress of what happened to me while on Paxil will never go away.”

 

I have suffered from chronic depression for a number of years, and have tried various antidepressant medications while under the care of psychiatrists, but none of these drugs seemed to have any positive effect on my condition.

However, at the beginning of this year, I thought I would give therapy another try. Unfortunately, my medical insurance would not cover psychiatric visits, so I had to be content with seeing a family practice physician. When I asked for a referral for therapy, he said, “No. How about some pills?” He later confided to me that he didn’t believe that my insurance would cover therapy by a mental healthcare professional.

He first started me on a regimen of Paxil. But after experiencing very uncomfortable side effects, including insomnia, he also prescribed Remeron for sleep. The first time I took Remeron was on a Friday. I slept for at least 12 hours. When I got out of bed and tried to walk, I was wobbly on my feet, and had to brace myself against a wall to prevent falling. I tried calling my doctor, but he was not available that weekend. It took until Sunday evening before the effects of Remeron wore off.

When I finally did get to talk with my doctor, I was ready to quit the Paxil regimen, but he convinced me to stay on the drug, explaining that it takes time for it to build up to a useful level before any benefits could be weighed.

I continued to take the Paxil, but stayed away from Remeron as a sleeping aid. During this time, I experienced bouts of sleep deprivation, increased anxiety, panic attacks, and an unusual level of anger and hostility.

I have been the caretaker of my mother and aunt for about 10 years since the untimely death of my father in 1988. My mother is 81 years old, and suffers from forgetfulness, along with other symptoms associated with her advanced age. We have a rather large piece of property on a dead-end street. It is a full-time job just keeping it neat and clean. The rest of my time is devoted to taking my only two remaining relatives shopping and to medical appointments. I am under a great deal of stress nearly every day.

I have had disputes with neighbors and their children, vandalism, malicious mischief, littering, and very suspicious activity on the dead-end street where we live. I have also found used condoms and parts of hypodermic needles lying on the ground. As I mentioned before, I live on a street with no other houses facing us, so it is very odd to see anyone parking there. I have reported incidences of unusual activity to local police, but they often do not show up to investigate.

On the evening of Easter Sunday, 2001, and just after midnight, I heard unusual noises outside of my home. Since it was not Independence Day or New Year’s Eve, noises on the night of Easter Sunday were not expected –especially after midnight.

By the time I got out of bed to investigate, I saw three cars parked on the street with no one nearby. I went back to bed, but this time heard the screeching of tires. I jumped up and looked out the window just in time to see a car speed away from an accumulation of trash at the end of the street.

I telephone police, but was told that they do not investigate incidents of littering. I hung up, but later called back to report the noise, which was a booming speaker from one of the cars parked outside. The police dispatcher said he would send a patrol car to investigate, but I saw no evidence of any police activity outside of my house.

By this time I, was becoming increasingly agitated. Out of frustration, and the lack of police response, I composed a hand bill on my computer, stating that I did not appreciate anyone disturbing the peace, littering, or any other illegal activity while parked in front of my home, and that I was prepared to make a note of the license plates of any cars that I thought looked suspicious. I then went outside and placed a handbill on the windshield of each of the cars, after which I went back to bed and tried to get some rest.

It wasn’t more than a few minutes later that I once again heard that same booming noise coming from the street in front of the property.. I had a handgun used for home protection in the drawer of my night table, took it out of the drawer and carried it with me to the front door. I opened the door and stood on my front porch. It was very dark outside, and I yelled out, “Would you mind picking up your trash and leaving my street?”

Just then, four people, who I believed to be in their late teens or early 20s, came running at me yelling obscenities. I didn’t have time to retreat into the house, so all I could do was to raise the gun in self-defense.

One of the attackers, who was particularly violent, said that he would come back later and kill me. Three of the individuals backed off, but the fourth one kept antagonizing me. I was finally able to back him down and off of my property. He said, “Go ahead and shoot me. I have nothing to live for anyway.”

One never knows what to expect when picking up a weapon. I could have killed this individual, but fortunately I did have the presence of mind to try to diffuse this very lethal situation before it could become fatal.

When the crowd dispersed, I went back into the house and called 911 to report what had happened. Apparently, some of the others involved in the dispute had called the police and reported that I had a gun. It was at this time that I became panicky. I locked the trigger guard back on the handgun and put it in a drawer. I was very disoriented. The police arrived and wanted me to come outside. I finally persuaded officers that I was not armed and dangerous, and invited them into the house. I was searched and asked to sit down. I told them that I had guns in the house, and described exactly where I kept them. One officer found two guns and confiscated them. They talked with me for a long time, asked me to write out a statement, then left without arresting me.

Four weeks went by before I received a letter from the county district attorney, advising me that I was being charged with California Penal Code Section 417(a), a misdemeanor, stating that I had used a gun in a quarrel or argument. The sentence for this violation is 3 months in jail. I was also told that the “witnesses” identified one of the guns.

During this time, I went from Paxil to Flurazepam, then to Zoloft, then to Effexor, then to Atenolol, and finally to Celexa, along with Klonapin for anxiety. I was prescribed these drugs, one after the other, without any period of detoxification.

I finally made the effort to seek out a therapist (a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D.), who has been very helpful and supportive. I trust her, but unfortunately she believes that I need to be medicated.. And all along, I still could not find a psychiatrist who would be willing to manage my medication. I stopped seeing the original family practitioner, and found a new internist who has been trying to help with these medications..

I would also like to say, for the record, that I have no history of violence or any criminal record. I haven’t even had a traffic ticket in over 3 years. But the prosecution would not let this matter rest. Since I couldn’t afford a high-priced criminal defense attorney, I had to put my trust in a public defender. Unfortunately, they are overworked and understaffed, so the quality of the defense was less than adequate.

My case was postponed for 7 months. When it did finally come to trial, the best deal I could get was to plead “no contest” and the judge would recommend electronic home confinement. A “no contest” plea is essentially a plea of guilty, but I chose to accept it only because I wanted this nightmare to be over.

When I left the courthouse that day, I was under the impression that the electronic home confinement was a sure thing. They give me the wrong paperwork; and since it was late on a Friday, I couldn’t call the probation department until the following Monday. That was when I found out that it up to the discretion of the probation department as to whether or not I will be accepted into the program. The only other alternative is jail.

I did a great deal of my own case preparation. I researched the often-horrible side effects of Paxil and other SSRI drugs using the Internet and the World Wide Web, and found evidence of much worse occurrences connected with the use of these drugs. Dr. Ann Blake Tracy of the International Coalition For Drug Awareness has provided a great service by virtue of her very informative Web page, which is devoted to the horror stories of those of us who were prescribed SSRI medications for depression and anxiety.

In closing, the only comfort I can take from my experience is that no one was fatally injured. But the constant nightmares and the stress of what happened to me while on Paxil will never go away, no matter what method of incarceration I must face.

Comments and inquiries welcome!

Philip Sheridan
addcted2it@msn.com

12/12/2001

This is Survivor Story number 30.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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Prozac Prescribed Immediately

“Within a few weeks (of taking Prozac), I began having nightmares of murdering people.”

Hi, I work shiftwork and I listen to Art Bell (for entertainment purposes only…ha ha) and I heard your interview with Barbara Simpson. I just wanted to write you and tell you my experience with Prozac.

About 8 years ago, I went to see a psychiatrist about my depression, and he immediately put me on Prozac, without saying five words to me. Within a few weeks, I began having nightmares of murdering people. They were so awful, I couldn’t sleep. I immediately went back to the doctor to tell him about my problem, and he said not to worry about it, it was COMPLETELY NORMAL ! !

I immediately stopped taking the drug and went to see a psychologist, instead. I have been depression free ever since, because of the therapy given to me by the psychologist. Oh, and by the way, the nightmares stopped immediately after I stopped taking the Prozac.

I guess the real reason I am writing is in response to the Andrea Yates trial in Houston. I don’t know her, but it was reported on the news that she was on four different anti-depressants at the same time. If this is true, it is no wonder she did what she did. It is her doctor and the drug companies that should be on trial for the murder of her children. Something has to be done about this and I hope you could use your knowledge of the subject to inform everyone about the dangers of these drugs. I have written all the local news agencies in Houston and sent them Links to your website and the drug awareness website.

Thanks, Gary

Gary Johnston gary_johnston@swbell.net

 

12/8/2001

This is Survivor Story number 33.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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A Nurse Speaks out about Prozac, Effexor and Zyban

“I have discovered many, many horrifying things about these drugs.”

 

An online friend recommended Ann Blake-Tracy’s book, which I haven’t gotten or read yet, but definitely will within the next few days. I decided to look for info on Dr. Tracy on the web, and discovered the ICFDA site. I have just read several personal accounts of others’ SSRI nightmares, and now find myself in tears, and in need of sharing my story, which it is very painful to do and probably will be for life.

I and my wife are both registered nurses. In late 1997, I had gone through a bad bout with the flu and decided I should seek help to quit smoking. My doctor at the time prescribed Zyban. I had almost quit (down from 2-3 packs/day to a couple of cigarettes per day) when I developed erosive and infective esophagitis and duodenitis, along with other ulcers. At that time, I stopped taking the Zyban, although I can’t recall for sure why.

A few months later, my wife said that my moods seemed better when I was on the Zyban, so the doc wrote a scrip and put me on Wellbutrin. Unfortunately, he did not suggest, nor did we consider, more conventional treatments, such as therapy or counseling. I regret that he, or we, had considered such, because the esophagitis was the first (physical) problem, and the least of many problems, both physical and psychological, which lay ahead.

After a time, while seeing a new physician, a discussion over the fact that the Wellbutrin did not seem to be helping any more ensued. So, the new physician changed me to Prozac. It wasn’t very long after the Prozac that I woke up one morning, went into the kitchen to fix myself some coffee, and passed out right there in the kitchen for no known reason. Our oldest Daughter, nine years old at the time, came running to the kitchen, where she discovered me trying to climb up the island in the center of our kitchen.. I was totally disoriented for a few moments, had a splitting headache, and had managed to fracture a toe during the fall. Although I managed to get reoriented, I was left with a totally debilitating headache.

Over the next four weeks, during which I was unable to go to work, I was hospitalized twice, underwent some horrendous and totally useless treatments for a diagnosis of “intractable migraines,” and the only thing that relieved the headache at all was Demerol and Phenergan. Of course, this left me just as unable to work as the headache itself. Near the fourth week, my wife noticed a “knot” in my cervical area. She went to the neurologist’s office with me, where I told one of the two doctors treating me for the migraines about the knot. When the doctor seeing me that day told me there was no knot (???), I fired him on the spot and told the nurse I wanted to see his partner. The second physician not only located it, but administered a trigger-point injection that almost totally relieved the now four-week old headache completely within an hour or so.

I returned to work within about a week, feeling relief from the headaches. But a friend suggested I quit the hospital where I had a good paying, although highly stressful job, and I did so, rather impulsively, without realizing the further financial devastation I was about to cause our family. Only part of the four weeks I had been out of work were covered by leave time, which had set into motion a serious financial crisis for our family.

Within months, I was out of a good paying, full-time job, the business proposition my friend had made turned out to be nothing but hollow promises, bill collectors were breathing down our necks, we were in danger of losing the home we had not long before purchased, and I was sinking into a bout of depression that most people could never imagine.

The next serious visit with my regular doctor included a discussion about the fact Prozac was not only not working, but that I was becoming extremely tired in the afternoons. So he suggested switching to Effexor, which he said “gives most patients sort of a boost.” I agreed, again, without any consideration or discussion of therapy or counseling. Looking back, depression was sort of logical. Within the last three years, I had been through a very bitter divorce, remarried, adopted the two stepdaughters that mean the world to me, purchased a house, gone through major health problems, walked away from a good job, had a promise of a great business partnership vanish into thin air, and was approaching total financial ruin. Perhaps I did have one or two reasons in all of that to be just a little depressed? But the story gets worse, much worse.

My sexual activity with my wife had begun to fall off considerably, and the activity we did engage in was plagued with strange problems I had never encountered before. I was having trouble functioning sexually. Ejaculation was becoming more difficult to achieve and I was experiencing painful sensations when aroused. My temper was getting more and more out of control — I developed a very short fuse, to say the least, resulting in all sorts of angry behavior that was totally new to me. Even worse, I began abusing my children. Even though I felt terrible after mistreating them, it was as though there was a second, horrible person inside of me, which I could not control, yet at the same time I kept thinking I could, or would at least be able to when the medications gained control over my depression once and for all. The medications never did. And it almost put an end to my life.

I was already having more frequent bouts of self-destructive behavior following episodes of losing my temper and in other ways losing control with the people I loved, most notably wife and our two daughters. I was oscillating between days of wanting to hide out from the world and days of mania, thinking I could do or achieve anything. Simple, everyday bumps in the road of life became mountains I felt unable to scale. This past December, our oldest daughter revealed to my wife the horrors of what I had become while my wife was away working at night as a nurse. In order to do what any loving mother would probably do, my wife told me the relationship was over and that I was never to return to our home again. Even worse, she told me that I would not see our daughters again until they were both grown and could decide on their own whether or not they wanted to see me again.. This was almost the fatal blow.

I started walking in the rain, with the temperature not much above freezing outside. It was then that I most seriously considered putting an end to my life physically — I was already dead emotionally. All that was left was an empty shell. The real me seemed lost forever, although I really had no idea where I had gone or why. I was walking along a major highway and saw an 18-wheeler coming downhill toward me. “Here is the perfect way to end it all and do it quickly,” I thought to myself. I stepped onto the pavement, into the path of the oncoming rig. He blew his horn and moved into the opposite lane of the highway where there was, fortunately for him, no oncoming traffic. Almost in disgust, I began to step forward a few more steps to once again place myself in the path of the truck. But something else suddenly crossed my mind: I actually had a mental image of our two daughters, screaming “I’m sorry, Daddy,” at my funeral. I knew this was not the way to end it. I began walking along the side of the road again, still hearing the air horn of the 18-wheeler blasting in my ears. I then thought of simply walking into the woods, sitting down by a tree, and actually allowing myself to die of hypothermia, which I was already beginning to experience in the almost freezing rain. My hands and feet had gone almost totally numb, with what had been intense pain now beginning to give way to oncoming frostbite.

A passing logger saw me on the side of the road and pulled over to offer me a ride. Two other vehicles had already done so, but I had waved them on saying “I’m fine, just leave me alone.” But something had changed. Perhaps the cold rain and intense pain I was feeling was jolting me back to reality. Unfortunately, the reality I was experiencing was neither hopeful nor acceptable to me at the time. I climbed into the truck and the driver took me to the nearest store, where I gave the attendant a dollar bill in exchange for dialing the long distance number where I could reach my wife. She agreed to my request to come and meet me. She took me to the home of my parents. Knowing that I did not want to live, yet not totally ready to just curl up and die, I asked them to take me to the hospital, where I had myself admitted for suicidal depression.

The next morning, I met with the psychiatrist and told her everything. I left nothing out. I wound up being transferred to an intensive treatment program for further help once the suicidal crisis was behind me. I was to the point I had nothing to hide any longer. I told her everything, as I did my therapists. This triggered notification of the authorities who immediately ordered me out of the home for good and set into motion an intense legal struggle that is still ongoing.

After being discharged from inpatient treatment, I told my psychiatrist that I did not think the Effexor was working right and might be causing me more problems. She seemed to think that dosage was just too low, so she increased the dosage from 75 mg per day to 150. I had to take it in the mornings because I had long before discovered that if I took Effexor in the evening hours, there was no possibility of getting any sleep. Within a few weeks, I was having daily, afternoon depression and anxiety attacks that were very intense and seemed not to be triggered by any particular thoughts or circumstances. One Friday afternoon, it hit me that my Effexor dose had been doubled. I was also now having panic attacks in public places and was becoming terrified of going anywhere. I called her office immediately and insisted on discontinuing the Effexor and on seeing her. I was told I could see her the following Tuesday afternoon. I agreed to that, and immediately began to taper myself off the Effexor. Since all I had was 150 mg capsules, my only choice, without getting a new prescription, was to space the doses out. I did so by skipping the next morning dose, and taking the following morning’s dose 12 hours late — around 8:30 p.m. An interesting but revealing thing occurred. Instead of severe afternoon panic attacks, the next really bad episode occurred during the early morning hours following that next dose, which I had taken in the evening instead of morning. I needed no further evidence to convince me that Effexor was in fact causing my depression and anxiety attacks.

When I saw the psychiatrist on Tuesday, I told her that the Effexor was worse than the Wellbutrin and Prozac had been. She looked at me and said “Wellbutrin and Prozac? I didn’t know you had ever taken those.” After discussing my history with those drugs, she agreed that I wasn’t tolerating antidepressants at all, and told me to taper myself off the Effexor as I saw fit and was comfortable with. I have not taken another dose of Effexor since that 8:30 PM dose two days prior to seeing her. Just as interesting is the fact that I have also had no need or desire to take Ativan, which she had wound up giving me in order for me to sleep and combat the increasing anxiety.

Despite the legal battle my wife and I are now facing, not only for the possibility of putting our family back together again, but very possibly for my own freedom from being cast into prison and out of society, my love for my wife, children, and life has returned. Once I got my head cleared enough to do so, I decided I wanted to learn more about the three drugs — Wellbutrin, Prozac, and Effexor, to try and figure out why they weren’t working right for me. Instead of just finding out how they were NOT working, I have discovered many, many horrifying things about these drugs. Not only are they all in the same class (SSRI’s), but there is more than significant information that leads me to believe that all of the psychological problems that emerged — none of which I had experienced prior to being started on all these drugs — were very likely triggered by the drugs.

So, in order to stop smoking, which I still have not done, my doctor put me on Zyban… the next 3-1/2 years or so of my life became a living hell for me and my family. What they have been through hurts as bad as thinking about my own plight. I would gladly spend the rest of my days in prison, or in hell, if that were necessary for them to be safe. But I am not a monster. In fact, life has become simpler and clearer to me than it has been in years. Not because of the tragedy, but because I am free of the serious and devastating effects of these drugs.

As I have said to others, with complete honesty, I would not wish what has happened to us on my worst enemy. Mentally, I have a totally new lease on life. But it was not until I took control of it and stopped the SSRI’s that I was able to obtain it. Sadly, there is a chance that the legal system is going to prevent me from ever being with my family again, which I am not totally sure I will survive. They mean everything in world to me. And in a society where marriages and families are routinely thrown out like household garbage, I feel no remorse whatsoever about my family taking precedence over my own individual needs, career needs, or anything else. I would rather die fighting for the chance to be with me family, to simply love them, support them, and share everyday life with them, including the tough parts, than to give up on them. They ARE my life, who, and what I am.

If only one of those doctors had ever said “Before we prescribe this (new) drug, why don’t you talk with a counselor or therapist?” it is very likely none of these tragic events would have ever occurred. Now I am stuck in a legal system that will probably never show any leniency or compassion, not understanding that these drugs can do these sorts of horrible things to ordinary people. Unable to afford a high-profile attorney (having to go with a public defender) who most likely has little real interest in fighting for me or my family, I am likely to lose my freedom, my family, and in turn my life. The latter is more truthful than I can convey, because if I lose my wife and daughters, the most meaningful part of me will be gone. I would never commit suicide — I promised my wife that for her and the girls — but I would die a slow, horrible death, withering away into a dark eternity, having no will live to live. Suicidal ideations and having no will to live are two very different things, yet they both lead to the same thing.

I pray that I will not be cast out of society like a disgusting, horrible, uncontrollable demon. I am not a threat to anyone. But the drugs that caused all of this are a very serious threat.

3/11/2001

This is Survivor Story number 5.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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Falling Apart Withdrawing from Effexor

“I know from now on I will check more into a drug before I begin taking it.”

 

I was more depressed then usual and wanted to go on something. I have used sinequin, Pamolar, amitriptoline, Prozac, Zoloft in the past. Prozac worked for awhile then quit. At the time I went on Effexor I had not been taking anything for a number of years. I had some side effects when I began taking it, I didn’t want to eat and I was hyper, but being over weight I thought that it was great.

After awhile these symptoms stopped but I wasn’t depressed. I felt the best I had in years. After about 3 years and finding out that long term safety had never been established, I decided I wanted to get off of it. The psychiatrist didn’t agree and said I would probably have to be on it the rest of my life. I didn’t like that but said OK. I really wanted to get off it so got them to agree to help me.

I was taking 150 mg daily. so I slowly cut back to 75 mg per day and still felt okay. I did have the electric shocks that go through the body, but I had had them when I was getting off amitriptoline so just was careful about doing this slowly. I finally got down to 37.5mg, and then I really fell apart–nightmares, vivid dreams, unable to sleep well, feeling jittery, depressed.

But these feelings were different then feeling depressed. I went back to my counselor and told her, and they put me back on the Effexor. I really felt that I was having withdrawal from Effexor but they didn’t agree. I now see that the withdrawal was real. I am again (with the help of my internist) attempting to get off of it. I have told friends what is going on and have set up a support group for myself. I am going to do it real slow. I am now taking 150 mg one day and 75 mg the next. I have only had mild electric shock feeling. When I have no side effects I will lower it again.

I just don’t believe that this drug Effexor is on the market and being allowed to be used for long term use. I think even though it helped me if I had known of the trouble getting off, I may not have used it.
I know from now on I will check more into a drug before I begin taking it.

Shirley Wallstrom

12/15/2000

This is Survivor Story number 2.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Staccato Vision, Whiting Out and Brain Shivers on Effexor

“Please, unless you are chronically depressed or have something really, really severe, stay away from this class of drugs.”

 

Dear Friends and Acquaintances,

I realize that this is what most would consider a long letter. However, it is only a brief summation of my own personal experience. Please, especially those of you who are parents or grandparents, teachers or counselors, just take the two minutes it takes to read it, then just put it in the back of your mind. Or pass it on.

Anti-depressants are quite often being cavalierly dispensed to the population in general. Also, they are prescribed to help kids who’ve been on Ritalin for years get through the difficult process of the cessation of that drug. And now the manufacturers of these drugs are planning to produce it in smaller doses for their next target population: pre and elementary school aged children! These drugs have a very high percentage rate of undesirable and sometimes dangerous side effects.
As many of you know, several years ago I broke my wrist, which caused me to develop a rare condition known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. One of the medications I was given to try to control the pain was Effexor. Effexor is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or an SSRI. These drugs are commonly known as anti-depressants. Prozac is probably the most commonly known drug in this class. I was on this drug for less than 6 months when, for reasons of my own, I decided I wanted to get off. That’s when my nightmare began.

One cannot just stop taking these drugs. There is a tapering off process which must be followed. This is because there are very often serious and debilitating withdrawal symptoms. However, I was not told of these symptoms, and I now know that the doctor did not know about them, either. He told me only that nightmares were a common occurrence during this process, and that I might also experience “mild, flu-like” symptoms and “slight confusion.” During this initial, original prescribed tapering off process, which was supposed to take about 2 weeks, I experienced vivid and terrifying nightmares. I could not shake these off for hours after I had wakened. Since I was extremely tired, I napped a lot. Each time I napped, there would be a nightmare, and the process would repeat itself several times daily. I really was unprepared for their intensity and lasting after-images.

Then came the day I was to stop taking it. To make a long story short, these were some of my symptoms: A weird visual thing would happen for about a second, about 4 times a minute. I can only compare it to what it feels like to try to track the arrow of the mouse across the page. But I knew it was not my eyes that were doing this, I could feel it was my brain. (October, 2000: I’ve just found out that the term for this is “staccato vision”). I also experienced what people who have this call a sensation “like electric shocks” or “jolts” to my whole body which also occurred for a split second every 15 seconds or so. When these occurred at night, in the dark, they were accompanied by a flash of white light. It’s as if I were “whiting out” (instead of “blacking out”) for just a split second every 15 seconds or so. These incidents began to increase in intensity and began to be accompanied by panic and/or paranoia flashes. Eventually, just moving caused such dizziness and disorientation that I had to hold onto whatever was around me to walk.
Sometimes it felt as if there were a magnet to one side of me, pulling me that way. The “slight confusion” I experienced is something I can only imagine is what beginning Alzheimer’s patients must feel like during the initial stages of their eventually terminal mental decline during the time when they are still aware that something is really going wrong. Sometimes it felt as if my brain was shuddering in my skull a sensation that has come to be called “Brain Shivers” or “Brain Flips” by many. Numerous other things were happening as well, but I don’t want to get too long-winded here. I just want to give you all some idea of some of the kinds of things that were happening.

So, I made an appointment with the prescribing doctor, and a friend was kind enough to take me there. But the doctor did not believe me! He said that it couldn’t be the Effexor, that I probably had some neurological problems and that if the symptoms persisted, I should see a neurologist. But I KNEW it was the Effexor, so I went home, took another pill, and felt fine within the hour. Then I got on the ‘net. What I found there was astounding! Tons of people, all with the same things happening to them, reaching out to anonymous others and saying, “Help! What is happening to me?” These I found on bulletin boards, NOT on product information sites put up by the people who are selling the stuff.

I tried calling the Drug Company to find out what was happening to me and how to stop it. I never did reach them. Fortunately for me, my primary care physician had heard of these symptoms and knew how to deal with them. She advised a long, slow tapering off process, telling me that it could take one to two months for me to be able to get off. Also fortunately for me, she told me to take as long as I needed. It took me 10 MONTHS! During that time, the symptoms mentioned above continued, although diminished enough for me to be able to function almost normally. But other things began to happen. I saw things out of the corners of my eyes, which were not there. We all do that, but this was pretty constant. One thing I saw which I never told anyone about until it had stopped was a big, hairy rat about 1 foot long, scurrying around corners. Keep in mind that I was not on this drug because I was in any way mentally unbalanced it was merely to help with the pain. I saw, and still see occasionally, a pinpoint of violet shimmering light. Also, things would seem to be moving out of the corners of my eyes. A spot on the wall, for example, I would think was a spider crawling until I looked directly at it, when I would realize it was just a spot on the wall. These things did not scare me, but they were frequent and startling and bothersome.

I took my last little crumbs of Effexor in September of 1999. End of story?

Unfortunately, no. It is now the end of July,2000, and I still experience some of the same symptoms, although they are manageable. I also have experienced monstrous headaches. The first one, back in September, lasted 4 days. I thought I was going to die. I even told my son that I might die. I debated about that for a while, but did not want him to wake up and find me dead one morning. Fortunately, I’m still here. My headaches began to decrease in length, and now they seem to last only 2 hours or so. They go away within one minute. Sometimes I’m just achy all over. I guess that experience is the “mild, flu-like” symptoms I’d been warned about. I still have days I call “my stupid days”, and they usually signal the beginning of episodes lasting several days, involving vertigo, dizziness, short anxiety attacks, some euphoria occasionally, the “brain shivers”, and numerous other weird symptoms, and culminating in a headache. Then I’m fine for however long it lasts. Sometimes I feel whole body tremors not enough to make me twitch, and they are not unpleasant, but they’re there and they shouldn’t be. I am concerned about this. I want to know why, after not taking this drug for so long, I am experiencing this “discontinuation syndrome”, and when will it stop? I have not yet found the answer. I finally did get in touch with the Drug Company to ask them these questions and they took down all my information. They have never explained why, and they have never followed up. They would not talk to me about my symptoms, they would only talk with my doctor. And this was not OK because the doctor did not believe me! (This was not the prescribing doctor who hadn’t believed me when I first tried to get off this was the doctor who’d prescribed the tapering off process.) But I told her to call them and talk to them, and it was pretty easy for them to shine her on, since she didn’t believe me anyway. And they sent her a letter advising a slow tapering off of the drug, which I’d already done, of course, AND a “report” from a closed symposium on SSRIs sponsored by the a drug company ‘way back in 1996! (Which, of course, did not address the issue.)

The more research I’ve done on these things, the angrier I become.
Because the drug companies have known about these things for years. Many people and their families have gone through much, much worse than I have. Some people have never been able to get off the drugs. Now, what would YOU do if you were manufacturing these things? You’d probably say’ “Whoa! We need to stop selling these things until we can find out what’s causing this. We’d better get in touch with each and every one of those people who are having these extreme reactions, do whatever we can to help them, and to identify what it IS about them that makes them react differently than those who have no problems with the medication.” Well, not only are these companies not doing this, they are manufacturing the drugs in smaller doses so that CHILDREN can take them! Yes, Prozac is currently being tested on pre-school aged children! And although these drugs have not YET been approved for use in children, the numbers of children aged 6-12 being prescribed Prozac has risen from 41,000 in 1995 to 203,000 in 1996. Currently, in 2000, 2.3 million children in the U.S. are on anti-depressants. The official literature on these drugs says that they are safe for pregnant women to take! And there are documented cases of newborns being born with the more evident withdrawal symptoms (which the drug companies are ignoring because nobody can prove it. Isn’t that horrible?!). The companies that manufacture these things are re-naming Prozac “Serafem” or something and doctors are prescribing it for PMS! Are these drugs harmful to absolutely anyone who takes them? Of course not. And for many, these drugs have proven to be beneficial. However, they are NOT only being prescribed for major, long-term depressions, but for such things as the Holiday Blues and teenage angst! But the percentage risk for horrible and even deadly side effects is extremely high.

Please, unless you are chronically depressed or have something really, really severe, stay away from this class of drugs. And please, NEVER EVER put a child on these things! I am an intelligent, articulate, resourceful middle-aged woman. When a wave of panic starts to wash over me, or any other of these weird things start to happen, I can tell myself to just hold on, it’s just the after-effects of the drug, it will go away, I should take a deep breath and relax, etc. Do you think a child or a newborn could do the same? I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a child in school and to suffer the kind of confusion I’ve been through and manage to learn anything, let alone be involved in a physical activity or sport! This has been going on for nearly 2 years with me, and I don’t know when it will end!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. This has been a BRIEF synopsis of what my life has been like for the past two years. And it’s nothing compared to what others have been through.
Yours,
Louise Mangan

Update, October, 2000:
In the few months since I wrote this, I found that these continued withdrawal effects after not haven taken the drug for a long time is a phenomena which has not one but two names: PANES (Persistent Adverse Neurological Effects) and “Intractable Withdrawal”. This phenomenon was noted as early as 1996 before I began taking Effexor. How can the pharmaceutical companies deny the existence of something that has occurred enough to even have a name?
Several months ago I was driving with my son on the freeway at night and I felt fine. Out of the blue, a wave of disorientation and that peculiar form of dizziness I associate with my “Effexor Episodes” came upon me. I found myself in the middle of two lanes with no remembrance of which one I had come from. I was too scared to look in the rear view mirror to see what was behind me. I heard my son yell, “What are you doing?” A car was breaking to the left of me. I asked my son which lane I should go into and he told me to go right. Fortunately the freeway was not crowded. I was dizzy and scared and felt as if I was going to pass out. Soon there was an exit and I took that off the freeway and my son continued the drive home. I have not driven at night since.
I am a 50 year old woman with an excellent driving record. I made it. I feel sure that if there had been more cars on the freeway there would’ve been a terrible accident. Children from the ages of 6 up are being prescribed these drugs. They are getting their learners permits and at age 16 are given driver’s licenses after passing very easy tests. Maybe you or a loved one will be in a car next to one someday. Maybe you’ll be in an airplane piloted by a pilot who’s missed a dose, directed by an air traffic controller who’s trying to get off this stuff. Maybe you’ll be next to a taxicab driver or a bus driver or a commuter who is suddenly euphoric or has a momentary panic attack. I won’t drive at night, and am careful about where and when I drive in the daytime. But I really don’t think that many can afford to do that. I think they’ll just drive and hope for the best. And that is really, really scary to me.

Louise Mangan

7/1/2000

This is Survivor Story number 18.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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