Alcohol Cravings and Panic Attacks Just the Beginning

“It is a shame the way “trusted’ medical practioners can be so quick to cram drugs down one’s throat. I feel very betrayed.”

 

I was first prescribed Prozac seven years ago, for depression. I was 23, and suddenly on my own with three young children. The Prozac helped me in some ways, brought me out of my depressed seclusion, I was able to get myself dressed in the mornings and resume a somewhat normal life… but very quickly, the state of energetic happiness turned into an almost overnight tango with alcoholism, I found myself craving alcohol, drinking large amounts…becoming sexually promiscuous, making absurdly disastrous decisions and acting quite impulsively. I also experienced the most SEVERE panic attack in my LIFE!!! I quit Prozac after eight months, I don’t recall much withdrawal, except I was being prescribed Xanax for my now constant panic attacks, and I don’t remember much of that period of time.

So, off the Prozac, starting to get quite dependent on Xanax, my doctor thought perhaps Luvox might help. Well, it made me feel quite tightly strung. Wired. Second week into Luvox, I broke into an odd, hysterical laughter that I couldn’t stop. Nothing was funny, it was very strange. I was terrified, stopped Luvox right then and there…without doctor’s consent.

I went back to seeing a psychiatrist, trying to find a way to get off the Xanax…I was taking too many, and it seemed like the rebound effect of the Xanax was causing panic attacks themselves. Plus, I was still on my own, trying to be fully functional for my three children aged, at the time, two, almost four and eight.

“We” decided on Paxil, seemed safe enough, seemed a better alternative to the Xanax zombie state I was currently in. Started at twenty milligrams. Two years. It was great, although, I was gaining weight…developing some strange skin/vein issues and circulation problems in my hands and feet. Nothing that wasn’t somehow underplayed by my doctor. Then, I was unable to afford my prescription anymore. My maid job I had started disentitled me to any more prescription coverage through the Social Services program. Cold turkey. My goodness, it was so awful. I almost lost my job due to my poor performance during the months that followed. The vertigo was the worst for me…feeling like the floor was rushing to my face…the spinning sensation every time I tilted my head, face numbness, hands/feet numb, nausea, so many times I thought I was having a heart- attack.

The depression was horrible. I eventually became unemployed again, went back on Paxil. I couldn’t help it, I felt like perhaps I would never be normal again without an SSRI coursing through my bloodstream. So, back on Paxil.

After a while though, it was apparent that the 20 mg weren’t enough. Up to 30 mg now. Two years on 30mg. A few months ago, I decided that I have had enough, starting to show many signs of Cushing’s disease. Horrible circulation in my hands and feet, and although I am almost fifty pounds overweight, it is low-blood pressure I suffer from. I decided that if I can start making better decisions in life, and try to live healthier, perhaps I will be able to reduce the panic attacks, that thankfully, other than during p.m.s are quite scarce now. I have been cutting down ever so gradually over the past few months. I don’t know how to do it correctly, as I have not discussed this with my doctor. When I had mentioned to my doctor my many physical complaints…weight gain, bad circulation, etc…. and how after research I felt it may be attributed to the Paxil… she refused to consider it. She has sent me for numerous tests, incl. lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral vascular disease…and others, the cortisol testing is the newest one. Everything else has come up normal. I have insisted that these could be contributed to Paxil, so she said, “Fine, perhaps Wellbutrin” and I said, “No, really, I don’t want anymore SSRI type meds…no meds period’!” we had a big argument. I stormed out. That was a few months ago … I still plan on getting my cortisol level tested.

Unfortunately, where I live has a very low percentage of doctors taking patients,,, many strikes going on, etc. Many people don’t even have family physicians… they are forced to use the walk-in clinics. So I haven’t found a new physician.

No matter what, I am staying off this time. I have to. During the periods of time I have been on SSRIs, my drinking increases…promiscuity….impulsive behaviour… although I must say, with Paxil it is MUCH more subtle than Prozac… it really affects your whole being. I am feeling pretty okay right now. Day to day. The numbness/pain in my hands and feet has much improved over the past few months…although, the vertigo is still annoying… I have simply been taking one every other day, then every two days, now one every four.

It is a shame the way “trusted’ medical practioners can be so quick to cram drugs down one’s throat. I feel very betrayed. Pharmaceutical companies must love depression and mental unhealth. It is what causes their great wealth. Thank you.

Shilo Magee

 

8/6/2002

This is Survivor Story number 15.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

540 total views, 1 views today

My Family's Struggles on Prozac

“Thank you for having your site so that people can have the information to do something about this overmedication going on.”

 

Just about everyone in my family has been on or is still on an antidepressant. My twin sister and I went on Prozac at the same time and I quit taking shortly after she quit. The side effects were not worth the increase in overall happiness. I have found exercise is my miracle. My twin and my little sister have been on Paxil for sometime to control panic attacks, and no matter what they are told, that one can control panic attacks without drugs, they won’t quit taking Paxil. My little sister has this unpleasant trembling as a side effect, I don’t even like looking at her, she can’t stop shaking.

My mother has been wanting to get off the Prozac but can’t, she was once at 90mg, her doctor said it was fine to be on that dosage. She was so forgetful she would go to the store and leave the keys in the ignition. She has since lowered the dosage but has been unable to quit. The only ones in my family, myself and my older sister, who has OCD and several other problems, have successfully not been medicated and are living happily. We both exercise almost everyday, her more so than me (she has OCD, remember!)

My mother agrees she doesn’t like the prospect of being dependent on a pill for the rest of her life, but says she can’t face life without Prozac. I went to the official website for the drug and it is just about impossible to find any information about the long term effects of the drug. I am so worried about my mother, her doctor doesn’t care, she’s now on other drugs to control her blood pressure and who knows what else she’s hiding from me. Thank you for having your site so that people can have the information to do something about this overmedication going on. I will give the information to my mother and my sisters so they can see what their doctors do not tell them.

Lynn Prikkel
lstevenson@ajc.com

 

1/23/2001

This is Survivor Story number 3.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

409 total views, no views today

Mother of Four Suffers Extreme Anxiety on Prozac

“Please God, let people learn about this so that it does not happen to others.”

 

Hi, I am a 32-year-old mother of 4. I have a wonderful husband, and family. When my baby was a couple weeks old, I went to the doctor (nurse practitioner) to have my thyroid checked out. She asked how I was doing, and I said I was doing really good but I was tired and irritable. (Being a mother of 4 and a new baby that is how I was supposed to be.)
She recommended Prozac, so I thought what the heck I will use it. She sent me home with a 5-day supply, and a prescription. I was on it for 15 days when I totally freaked out. I woke up with period-like cramps because I was due to start my period, and then I got a full blown panic attack. My body was on fire the skin burned from head to toe. I broke out into a cold sweat, but was hot. It was awful.

For the next 3 1/2 weeks it continued. I thought I was going crazy. In this time I saw 2 ER doctors, 2 Endocrinologists (to make sure it was not my thyroid) and 3 different family practitioners. They all said I had developed panic attacks, and sent me to a psychologist, who prescribed Ativan and Xanax which made things worse. Then a sleeping pill. Well I did not use these drugs only a couple of times.

On the 15th day of taking Prozac, I stopped taking it because I knew it had to be the Prozac although the doctors did not agree. And I never touched it since. It has been 33 days since I have taken Prozac and I am better. At least I am sleeping better. But the anxiety is awful and I still have panic attacks. I have been told to maybe try another SSRI to help with the panic and anxiety and I say NO WAY!

I will never touch the stuff again, I am so scared I have to get better. I have 4 children to take care of. And it is wearing on my husband. Sometimes I think maybe I just went crazy, and the Prozac had nothing to do with it. But then my family all says it was the Prozac.
Please God, let people learn about this so that it does not happen to others. I was a lucky one who was smart enough to not take anything else. What about those who don’t know better. How will they end up? I would have been dead or in a mental hospital. Who would have taken care of my children? I thank my sister-in-law. She has been my support through this. She talked me through my panic attacks, and I love her very much. She really cared about me, and without hers I am not sure where I would be.

Please post this and pass the word along. and anyone please feel free to contact me I am here for anyone who needs support.

CYNTHIA
valarie30@yahoo.com

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 66.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

425 total views, 1 views today

Prozac, Effexor, Klonopin, Serzone, Zyprexa, Neurontin, and now Celexa-and Hospitalized Seven Times.

“I sometimes am so sorry I started him on this medication journey,”

 

I have had thoughts that maybe my son’s suicide attempts were related to the Prozac and other medications that he had been taking, and now after reading correspondence from others regarding the same behaviors, I am more convinced that there was a relationship between the taking of the drug and his actions.

My son who is now 26 years old has had problems with depression probably since he was l3. He got through high school but did very poorly, and became very depressed when he graduated because he felt he had no future. At that time, I took him to see a psychiatrist who put him on Prozac, but it did not seem to help him that much. I think she tried him on Zoloft also which did not seem to help him either.

He obtained a job at a shoe store working for a very nice family who liked him and who he enjoyed working for. He stopped the drugs and seeing the psychiatrist who said my son was an enigma. He worked at the store for 5 years, but one day abruptly quit. He then worked as a security guard for approximately a year and quit that job also. He decided to go to dog grooming school, and I’ll never forget his face the day he came home from school so proud and happy that he found something to do that he liked.

He did very well at the school, but started to have panic attacks. I took him to a psychiatrist again and she put him on Prozac and Xanax. He seemed to come alive, extremely talkative, and he finally met a girl and fell deeply in love. He then seemed to have problems with his mood lowering and becoming more depressed and anxious, so the psychiatrist increased the Prozac. I noticed at this time that his behavior was worrisome. Well the girl broke up with him and he tried to kill himself.

In the hospital they changed his meds to Effexor and Klonopin, he got out of the hospital and thought the girl might come back, but when he realized two weeks later that she wasn’t, He left in the middle of the night again, and eventually checked himself into the hospital after overdosing. He was sent to another facility after this and they put him back on Prozac. He attempted suicide again by overdosing. Altogether, he was hospitalized approximately 7 different times, with four of those being for suicide attempts. The last one being a year ago. Since then he has been on Serzone, Zyprexa, Neurontin, and within the last few months Celexa was added to this. He does seem to be somewhat better, but very flat, little conversation, rarely smiling. I sometimes am so sorry I started him on this medication journey.

I wonder if he would have been better off trying to cope with his low-grade depression, and maybe just taking an anti-anxiety medication for the panic attacks. I wonder.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 54.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

392 total views, no views today