Cushing’s Syndrome on Prozac–A Nurse’s Story

” (I) thought it was saving my life, while all the time it was insidiously and slowly killing me.”

 

I started having bad reactions in Oct. ’96. I found Prozac to be causing joint and muscle pain itself. I also became concerned that I was developing signs of Cushing’s Syndrome. I was very pro-Prozac until last October and wouldn’t have listened to anything said against it until I got problems (thought it was saving my life, while all the time it was insidiously and slowly killing me!) When I first heard about your book (Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?) on the Internet I was interested but quite skeptical. However, since reading it and having suffered so many problems with Prozac, I have come to the conclusion that the book is brilliant, and a life-line as far as I am concerned. I tried to fault the research and reasoning, but could not and still can’t. I would like to extend my thanks to you for your heroic stance on this enormously important issue. I have tremendous respect and admiration for your hard work, determination and courage in pursuing this subject so vigorously, against so much powerful opposition for the benefit of people like me. Your integrity puts many, if not most doctors and psychiatrists to shame. It is reassuring to find that there are a few people in the world who are prepared to fight for the truth for the benefit of mankind.

A.S., A British Nurse

 

9/1/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 37.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

451 total views, 1 views today

Heart Problems from Four Years on Prozac

“I was a very well person prior to taking the Prozac and am now exhausted all the time.”

 

I caught the last part of your presentation on Radio Station KEX, Portland, while flipping through the dial last night. I was flabbergasted to hear you speak of the horrible potential side effects from Prozac , which I have been taking for approximately four years, particularly since I have been diagnosed recently with cardiomyalgia, severe artery disease, congestive heart failure and also Fibromyalgia.

I don’t know if there could be a correlation, however, it is certainly worth investigation. (I was a very well person prior to taking the Prozac and am now exhausted all the time, with horrible aching joints and considerable pain and a massive heart problem. Did you mention that a class action lawsuit was underway against the Prozac manufacturers? If you have additional info in this regard,

I’d be deeply appreciative if you could let me know.

J

 

8/25/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 38.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

366 total views, no views today

All Hell Broke Loose When I Quit Cold Turkey

‘I began thinking and doing things that I normally would abhor. I became unable to feel spiritual feelings.’

Dear Ann,

I just bought your book the other day and I will have to tell you that I am impressed. There aren’t that many people out there who have the guts to go out and defy popular thinking and to research and speak out against these legalized drug pushers. I know your book is true and the personal experiences by your patients and colleagues is true because I have been there. I just can’t understand how people who are supposed to be helping us get healed are thrusting these poisons upon us the way they do.

Let me briefly summarize what has happened to me—
I am active duty Air Force. Around July of ’97 I went into the clinic because I just hadn’t been “feeling well” for a long time. (By the way, I have learned just recently that I have severe allergies, which can mock depression symptoms.) I am not one to just run to the doctor’s office every time I have a symptom, but I just couldn’t cope anymore on my own.

When I went there, within a few minutes the PA who I was visiting had written me out a prescription for Zoloft. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he thought he would run a few blood tests and put me on Zoloft as a clinical experiment to see if it was depression.

Well I was on Zoloft for 7 weeks and every time I went back I dreaded talking to him because he just wouldn’t listen to my symptoms – which according to their handout, didn’t fit depression.
I took the drug blindly, not knowing what it was or what it did. I guess I just thought that if I had an adverse reaction, I could just quit taking it and it would subside.

Zoloft didn’t work, in fact it actually caused me to become depressed. That’s when I was referred to Mental Health, where the psychiatrist prescribed me Prozac the very first visit. He didn’t think it was depression I was dealing with, however he prescribed it anyway saying, “this drug works wonders for a lot of people!” I was off Zoloft and on Prozac that very day.

At first I felt like it might be working — for a few days. Then I felt my personality vanish. Before I knew what happened I had become the type of bland person that I despised. I began thinking and doing things that I normally would abhor. Although I am very religious and active in my church, I became unable to feel spiritual feelings.
Within a couple of weeks I started having tremors, mild at first, but then more pronounced. The psychiatrist first denied that Prozac could cause those and dismissed it as “psychosomatic” and told me to stop shaking like that.

I went to another doctor for the pains in my neck and I told him about the tremors and he said that Prozac causes them and recommended that I quit the drug.

I ended up in the emergency room for major tremors before I could get back to my psychiatrist. I had a phone consultation with him and he said he had done some research and found that it was an adverse reaction and he told me to quit taking it because it was a failed attempt anyway.
So I quit — cold turkey, just like he said. That’s when all hell broke loose. I went into what they called “pseudo-seizures”(because the EEG was “normal” and I didn’t lose full consciousness) and I had major cognitive dysfunction.

At work I was forced to take an evaluation and was decertified from my job and put on permanent “training” status (they couldn’t come up with anything better than “training deficiency”).

Well, to make a long story short, it’s been about a year of hell for me and my family (and we have a big one). Things have not significantly improved. I don’t have anymore “pseudo-seizures” now and I can drive sometimes and I am slowly picking up some of the things I used to do before Prozac or Zoloft, but I still have tremors and slowed cognitive functioning and difficulty learning.

The major problem is that these doctors here on base have been bought and paid for by the big drug companies and they are denying all along that Prozac or Zoloft had any lasting effects upon me. I went to the Inspector General about the mishandling of my medical case and they allowed me to go off-base for treatment, but it’s still slow in coming.
Thanks to your book and information at your website I was able to amass the tangible evidence needed to prove my case. Just knowing that there are other people out there who had almost the same exact reactions is evidence enough, but you really brought a lot of other important things to light.

D.D.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 41.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

562 total views, no views today

The Macula’s Story

“We need to let people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.”

 

I credit reading Ann Blake-Tracy’s book with saving my husband’s life. I have talked to her by phone and by e-mail. Here is my story and what happened to us in the past two years: In December of 1995 our house burned down. For the next 4 months we fought with the town to get it rebuilt (it was a duplex owned and lived in by two separate families). The Zoning laws changed and the town would not let us rebuild it as a two family home. We subsequently had to buy the other owner’s interest. Then we had to go through the battle with our insurance company to get the money needed to rebuild the home.

It was a very stressful time in our lives, we were living in a trailer on our property during all this. It was hard but we were doing okay and helping our kids get through it as well. In April 1996 my husband went to his Primary Care Doctor for a refill of his Blood Pressure Medication. While he was there his doctor asked, “How are you doing?” My husband said “.. A little down over all of this.” The Doctor said “I have just the thing for you.” My husband came home with free samples of Prozac and a prescription for more. I recall looking at him and saying that people kill people and go nuts on that stuff. And then I laughed it off. Little did I know how true we were about to discover that to be in a short four months!

In August of 1996, I started seeing a change in my husband of 20 years. He had always been the type of person who liked to work in his yard and home and keep everything neat and manicured. Now I began finding him in front of the TV just staring at it. I would be yelling at one of the children about something and I would get no reaction at all from him. By September there were other signs, like not sleeping at night and not eating. Although it did not register with me at the time, I can look back now and recall noticing them.

On Oct. 4, 1996, I got a call from his work. They told me that he had passed out and been sent to the hospital by ambulance. When I got to the hospital they told me they would keep him there overnight for observation. When I picked him up the next day and he was in total confusion, having anxiety and panic attacks, and admitted he had been having severe nightmares about dying during the past few weeks. He went out for a walk on the third day after being released from the hospital and my brother found him walking on a busy street in a total daze. He couldn’t remember where he had been.

Over the next few weeks he went down hill rapidly. He tried to return to work but he couldn’t focus–he would just get up and leave, not telling anyone where he was going. I kept calling his doctor for help telling him there was something wrong. So of course the doctor continued to add more and more drugs. Klonopin, Buspar, and more.

He became like a zombie. He couldn’t function at all. Finally we took him off all meds except for the Prozac. In the next months he stared consuming large amounts of alcohol. He started suicide attempts, (walking in the middle of a busy road, walking on railroad tracks waiting for the train to run him down, slitting his wrists, electrocuting himself and overdosing on the prescription drugs, and also mixing them with alcohol.

He was now complaining of electric shocks running through his body and a rapid heartbeat. All he knew was that he wanted to die, even though loved his family and me very much. He was a wonderful person and we had always enjoyed each others company and had a good life with our kids. We were looking forward to moving into the new house and having it all to ourselves.

At this point the Doctor sent him to a neurologist who did a complete work up and ordered a MRI. He found nothing out of the ordinary and told him to up his Prozac to 40 mgs. Finally I convinced my husband to go to a psychiatrist. Of course, you have to use a doctor that belongs to your insurance group, and there wasn’t a Psychiatrist in our area at this time. So he ended up at a psychologist. Well he went to this Doctor and tried to explain what was wrong and that he thought it might be the Prozac. But the psychologist just said, ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that!’ and gave him a relaxation tape that taught him to squeeze his butt cheeks as one of the exercises. He also told us to contact our primary care physician and add Xanax and something else.

We did not go back to him for treatment. By this time my husband was totally out of control he was starting to see a girl after work, leaving work to meet her, leaving home to meet her, and still attempting suicide. He would look fine one minute and the next minute his eyes would glaze over and his pupils would start flicking back and forth and he would start having something like little seizures. In the meantime I was still calling the doctor asking him what I should do. Finally my husband said, “I have to get off this Prozac or I am going to die.”

By January he was totally manic. He was having an affair with the woman he had been meeting. Still not sleeping at night, he would spend all night sitting in a chair staring into space and then go to work in the morning. I was terrified of him and for him. Finally I had to call the police to have him committed to the Psych ward at the hospital.

About this time his sister in doing some research on Prozac on the Internet, came up with some excerpts from Dr. Tracy’s book. We showed them to the hospital psychiatrist who said ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that.’ So the hospital psychiatrist added more drugs: Effexor (SSRI anti-depressant), Serentil (anti-psychotic) and Anafranil (anti-obsessive). Four days later he came home and had to go to suicide and depression classes at the hospital for two weeks. Ten days after coming out of the hospital he tried to kill himself again and he went back to the Psych ward. This time he was there for 11 days. All of his meds were increased. He came home like a zombie again. His anxiety or panic attacks were gone, but he still had the sensation of electric shocks, and body seizures where he would jump and swing his arms in his sleep. He was also screaming out in his sleep and sweating badly. He was still unable to work or focus.

This continued on all Spring and Summer of 1997. By now he was seeing a psychiatrist (insurance company finally had one in our area). The Doctor kept increasing the doses of the meds. He also would add meds and change meds. By August he was a basket case! He was crying about what he had done to his family and that he just couldn’t go on after what he’d done.

August 31, 1997 I woke up at 3:00 am to find him gone! I found him in his car with a hose from his tailpipe to his car window. He said the pain was too much. So it was back to the hospital again. Pamelor (anti-depressant) was added to his daily regimen, Effexor was stopped, Melarill (an anti psychotic) was added, and Serentil was stopped. By that time he was on the maximum dosage allowed for Anafranil. He came home a Zombie again. He was unable to work for a month.

Finally I decided to order Ann Blake-Tracy’s book. In reading it, I found it described my husband and his ordeal to a “T.” Other people on Prozac and other SSRI anti-depressants were going through the same exact adverse reactions. It made me cry to think those doctors for the past 1 1/2 years were killing my husband with these drugs. They turned a normal human being into a manic-depressive, psychotic, basket case that almost destroyed his family and himself.

On October 31, against Ann Blake-Tracy’s warnings, he took himself off all meds. He went through horrific withdrawals: pain, crying spells, rebound depression. He wanted to lay down and sleep forever. Finally about 3 weeks later I saw a change. I saw my old husband starting to return. He had energy, he was happy, all suicidal thoughts were out of his head. He couldn’t believe that he had tried to kill himself.

It has now been four months off meds and he is working full time again. He is talking to people at work about the dangers of these drugs. We have been on the Geraldo show. And we have begun to find many others who have gone through this same “Hell” we have. We have found that we are surrounded by others having similar experiences and are trying to help them in every way we can. We need to let the people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.

Thanks for reading my story,

(Patty and her Husband recently taped an episode of the Geraldo Show. We will notify of the airdate on our Public Appearances page when it is scheduled to be broadcast.)

Patty

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 61.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

415 total views, no views today

A Doctor’s Life Destroyed

“…Prozac destroyed my life.”

I am (was) a physician and a Prozac survivor, although it is only recently that I have become convinced that it (Prozac) destroyed my life, and even now continues to affect my ability to regain and restore my “sanity”. I am still its victim even though I have not taken it since 1990/1991.

In 1984-89 I was a successful family physician with my own private practice. I had one of the most prestigious practices and a new beautiful building. In 1989 I paid taxes on an income of $l60, 000 and a gross of over $400,000. I owned a country estate worth over $350,000 on the most beautiful lake in the county and had accumulated a business inventory of over $500,000 including equity in my medical office building. I had a family including three lovely children. I enjoyed hobbies of game, fishing, hunting, travel, and antique acquisitions.

In 1989 I became extremely depressed due to job burn out, marital discord, mid-life crisis, and identity crisis. I sought professional “help” and in the course of counseling and treatment was prescribed Prozac. Everything in my life dissolved within the next 9 months. I ended up abusing alcohol, then drugs (I had been vehemently against drugs all my life until then).

The Prozac led me to the quest of suicide and drug addiction, and I lost my sanity and all my self-discipline in a binge of irrational behaviors I never dreamed I might be capable of. Consequently my life has been a nightmare of psychiatric and alcohol-drug treatment centers, various (incorrect?) diagnoses of chronic depression vs. obsessive-compulsive disorder vs. manic-depression vs. mid-life crisis and professional burnout vs. alcoholism- drug abuse etc. etc. I have been to AA, NA, SSA, groups, half-way houses, physician recovery houses, various physician self-help plans and on many different medications including more Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin (Zyban), Desyril, Lithium and other antidepressants in my search to regain what was taken from me by Prozac. I have battled to regain my self dignity and professional esteem with little (limited) permanent success since 1990.

At present I have lost my family, my house, my practice my office building, my medical reputation and all my financial resources including retirement plans cashed out to pay medical expenses. I have intermittently practiced my profession, punctuated by periods of relapse into melancholy, suicide ideations, deep depression and manic or hypomanic behavior leading to alcohol and drug abuse. I have spent a large fortune to save myself from this other irrational “being” that was “born” when I was placed on Prozac in 1989-1990 –this “Mr. Hyde”: who refuses to even now completely go away.

After my last relapse in Feb. 96 I have been unable to work and, if not for a few close friends, I would be homeless. I am presently near the end of my ability to cope with all that has happened and have minimal hope that the future will bring any permanent relief from the mental afflictions which Prozac unleashed on me 6 years or so ago. Parts of my life are just Blanks, spaces of horror I loathe to even remember.

I was discarding my medical papers when I came across your letter of July 1995 detailing the Lilly cover-up [in the Wesbecker case in Louisville, KY]. I never pursued my plans to sue Eli Lilly in 1991-92 after the FDA and the courts gave Prozac the legal “cover” they needed to discourage any future lawsuits. I approached lawyers who refused any contingency fee legal actions after the FDA came to their [Eli Lilly’s] rescue and the civil suits were “dismissed”. (They estimated $50,000 to start action.).

Your letter and accompanying information in Judge Potter’s petition to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and Lilly’s secret settlements are indeed an “eye opener” for me as a former practicing physician and myself a victim of Prozac. I still consider suicide as an escape from this pain and anguish, this mental and physical hell I’ve gone through, but maybe “revenge” (legal) would be more appropriate. Is there any hope??

I would be happy to share my story with any other victims or to the public, TV. Or press if it might keep anyone else from suffering this horrible fate and oblivion that Prozac has caused in my life; (what’s left of it). Maybe one day the truth will be known and there will be some justice for all of us.

Hoping for a better future, and for truth and justice–

Thank you for listening,

(name withheld by request)

 

1/10/1996

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 39.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

555 total views, 1 views today

Zyban (Wellbutrin) “No Way”

“I think at this point the only thing that will save us is knowing about any medications before we take them.”

 

My husband’s horror story about Prozac and other SSRI anti depressants is posted in your web site– The Macula’s Story. We have been lucky because my husband is still alive. But we have been through a living hell, because our Primary Care Physician prescribed Prozac for my husband because he was a little down after our house burned. Who wouldn’t be?

Well last week I took my 17 year old son to our primary care physician for nasal congestion and a cough. While we were there I complained to our new Primary Care Physician, who we have been using for about 2 years now, that my son was smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. And that this was ridiculous at his age. The Doctor asked him why he was smoking and my son said, “school and work stress”. So The Doctor said to him, “I have something that will take the edge off the stress and the need to smoke”. Well I looked at the doctor and asked, “what that might be”. He said, “a new drug Zyban (Wellbutrin)”. I almost fell off the stool I was sitting on. This Doctor knew all about the adverse reaction that my husband had to Prozac and other SSRI anti-depressant drugs. We have explained it to him many times over the past 2 years.

I said, ” You forget I am the person who almost lost her husband to Prozac adverse reaction 2 years earlier, I couldn’t believe he wanted to prescribe this anti-depressant to my son. Knowing full well what had happened to my husband on anti-depressants”. He got somewhat defensive at this point and said, “this is not an SSRI anti-depressant like the others. This doesn’t work on the serotonin levels in the brain, this one works on the brain chemical dopamine”. I said, “after the hell we went through with my husband, my son will not take any medication that would alter any of his brain chemicals”.

Then I just told him, “no”. “There was no way my son was going on Zyban (Wellbutrin). I would not take the chance”. He then looked at my son, who will be 18 years old in 6 months. He laughingly told him, “come back to see me in 6 months”. I was very upset by this point. I felt like he was saying come back in 6 months so I can legally drug you without your mothers permission. Does he not think that my children went through hell also. Watching their father turn into a manic depressive, psychotic, suicidal wreck from a completely normal human being. Prozac and other anti-depressants took away their father for 1 12 years of their lives. Through my research and my finding Dr. Tracy, we helped him return to his normal self. But not without the pain and trauma it has caused all of us.

I have explained to this man over and over the hell and the trauma my husband and I and our children went through. Because some Doctor prescribed Prozac for a very stupid reason. Now I keep thinking, “I need to change Doctors”. But then I think “why”. They are all the same. They prescribe these drugs that they know nothing about. Have any of them stopped to read the adverse reactions or side effects these and any drugs can cause on the insert that come with the drugs. No, all they know is what the pharmaceutical salesperson tells them. And we know that the pharmaceutical sales person is not going to bad mouth their own medications. I think at this point the only thing that will save us is knowing about any medications before we take them. Know the adverse reactions and side effect they can cause. If you or someone you know has personality changes or things that seem different about them while on a medication, research it.

With my husband it took 1 1/2 years to realize what was going on, because we saw 5 or 6 different Doctors. I showed them the research I had done and what these drugs can do and I thought this was the cause of what he was going through. And they all said, “Prozac and these other SSRI drugs don’t do that”. Well my husband is living proof that they do. He didn’t get better until we took matters into our own hands and pulled him off all the medications they had him on. And about three weeks latter my husbands old personality started returning. But it took another 7 to 8 months for him to get to about 85% of his old self. He is still not 100% and we wonder if he ever will be. It is very frightening just going to the Doctors for my family and friends who saw what we went through anymore.

Patty Macula

 

1995

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 94.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

352 total views, no views today

A Nurse’s Panic Attacks on Prozac and Paxil.

“I am terrified of these meds, and hope I can be emotionally healthy again.”

 

I’m writing because I am looking for information that may assist me to understand some bizarre symptoms that happened to me while taking SSRI’s. I was taking 40 mg of Prozac from Sept. 1995 until July 1996 then my MD added phentermine so I could lose weight. By the time Nov. 1996 came around I was completely out of control, my husband said he didn’t know me anymore, luckily for us we became pregnant with twins and I immediately stopped both meds. Don’t recall having any side effects. After my twins were born I started having major sleep deprivation and intrusive thoughts about harming my babies.

I called my MD office and told the receptionist I thought I might be suffering from PPD and could I go back on Prozac, my MD never spoke to me directly and started me back on 40 mg. q day. I immediately started to feel some relief and was contented that I was headed in the right direction, when after 7 days I had the scariest experience of my life. I was lying on the sofa singing to my now 7 mo. old baby when suddenly my whole body felt as though I numb ( sort of like when I got the epidural ) I couldn’t breathe I was sure I was about to die. I called the paramedics , went to the ER to be told there is nothing wrong with me. They gave me 2 mg of Ativan and sent me on my way. I saw my MD 3 days later who said it was not a reaction to the Prozac and I needed a MRI to r/o MS (although he said MS doesn’t present like this) a bronchogram to r/o asthma and a 24 hr halter monitor to r/o arrhythmia’s. Well needless to say I quit the Prozac and didn’t return. I have had major anxiety disorder ( I’ve not had that Prozac severe panic attack except one other time…. when they put me on Paxil 10 mg. again 7 days of treatment and whamoo the same symptoms) My MD said its because I have such high anxiety that I reacted to the Paxil. meaning it wasn’t the drug it was my anxiety. So now I’m going through cognitive behavioral therapy, I am terrified of the meds, and I hope I can be emotionally healthy again.

So my question is this: Have you heard of this type of reaction and is there anywhere that this information is published? I’m a registered nurse and a human being that wants some validation so please help if you can.

Years 2000

This is Survivor Story number 71.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

744 total views, 1 views today

Descent into Hell on Prozac

“But how do I live with the fact drugs took away five years of my life???”

 

Thanks for your e-mail on 5-31-95. I ordered your book and read it. The book was a real eye opener, and it perfectly described my own descent into hell from 1989 to 1994 due to meds (in particular Prozac). Initially, I was put on Prozac in Oct.1988 due to clinical depression. I was definitely depressed at the time and responded fairly well to the Prozac at first. Prior to Prozac, I had urges to hurt myself, but never really did. By January 1989, I was cutting myself up with everything I could find. This all consuming hurting binge resulted in frequent trips to ER, hospitalizations, etc. The thoughts would not stop and I would prowl around the house for hours looking for just the “right” thing to hurt myself with. I spent one whole year with my hemoglobin around 6-7 (my usual is 14) because of blood loss. Once I almost died. The frightening part is my psychiatrist just kept upping the Prozac, finally to 80mg and then added Anafranil, Melleril, Tegretol, klonopin, on and on. I wish I could fully describe this nightmare. I was labeled Borderline–Psychotic—OCD—Bi-polar. I was convinced by the doc that I was crazy and it was just taking time to find the right meds. NO ONE questioned that maybe the meds were the problem. As for me questioning it, I did and was told “no way.”

And I guess when someone is doing such bizarre stuff they start believing they are crazy, especially since I was so driven to do this stuff. Once I had a idea in my head, I had to do it. I have scars and skin grafts where I injected Drano into my body and skin grafts where I burned my hand to the bone with cigarettes. I was afraid I would hurt my kids…I had urges to shoot them with our rifle (we disposed of the rifle real quick) and I was afraid for them to come in the kitchen for fear I’d stab them. Your book brought back this nightmare. I just kept thinking as I read it “Oh, my God!”

In January 1994, my doc added Cytomel to boost the Prozac (and everything else I was on.) Then he added the Fastin and Pondimum (diet pills) because I had gained 50 pounds in a year (no wonder). Then I really did flip out. Think my brain finally said “enough is enough.” So the new doc took me off everything, slowly added low doses of Depakote and that was 14 months ago. I have been fine. No obsessive thoughts, no urges to hurt myself, no urges to kill my kids….I’m just about as “normal” as normal can be. I have a very successful private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Ann, after reading your book, I felt relieved to realize my “crazy” episode has little chance of returning since I’m convinced the reaction was med related. On the other hand, I feel really angry that my family and I went through hell for five years possibly due to medication. I also feel a little stupid since I’m in the mental health field and maybe should have caught on faster to the problem (I was to busy reading up on the DSM-III-R to check out each new diagnosis they gave me.) Not too long ago I tried to find an attorney who would help me recover the financial costs from that last hospitalization, because that I KNEW was not me, but rather mismanagement of meds and too many meds from the doc. But after I talked to three, I quit. Seems they are a little reluctant to take psych cases. But how do I live with the fact drugs took away five years of my life??? How do I explain this “Miraculous” recovery from obsessive thoughts of hurting, killing, etc.?? I don’t think someone comes out of that kind of 5 year hell, and be instantly cured by a low dose of Depakote. You did me a real favor…..a giant boost to my self-esteem.

So…you’ve heard my story…I realize probably just one in hundreds. Sorry this is so long. Sort of felt good to tell my story at last to someone other than a doc who will “label” me.

Thanks!! I will recommend your book to any clients I have who are on SSRI’s.

 

6/12/1995

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 40.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

488 total views, 1 views today

My Side Effects from Prozac (Prescribed for Unipolor Depression)

“… more than 10 minutes passed and she whipped out her prescription pad…”

 

Hello,

I’ve just visited your website and have taken advantage of the “email me with your story” area. Thought I should, anyway.

I was on Prozac for unipolar depression in 1994. I stayed on it only for 6 months and weaned myself off it. My brother-in-law is a pharmacist and so I was able to understand the correct way to get off this drug.

I went off it because of what I perceive to be side-effects. Granted, it did perhaps obscure my depression. It didn’t disappear but, it enabled me to stand back and re-evaluate how to tackle it. So in that light, not having a mind that was very negative, I was able to opt for alternative help and a different approach to my depression. Presently, it is very well under control and I’m more cognitive about it than I ever was pre-Prozac.

Having said that, I must report my perceived side-effects. After about 2 weeks on 20 milligrams once a day, I began to feel awfully hyper. I talked a blue streak at work and remember people getting up and sitting elsewhere during breaks. Also, I would just say whatever came into my mind without really evaluating it before speaking as most people do.. (or some, anyhow 🙂 Also, my eyes were weird. I had episodes when my eyes would kind of shake, if you will. Like it does when one watches a home movie and the video shakes. Except they were faster. This happened frequently. I would also salivate a lot, having to swallow often.

To my credit, I realized this was the drug. Also, what made me quite suspicious was the fact that after struggling with depression – rather realizing that was what was wrong with me for about 20 years of my life, I swallowed hard and sought help, insisting to my MD that I WAS actually depressed and that I NEED to see a shrink. I waited for that appointment for approximately 2 months. I went to see her. Upon arriving in her office and giving her a brief profile of myself – no more than 10 minutes passed and she whipped out her prescription pad and wrote me an order for Prozac. I was terribly suspicious. She wasn’t the slightest bit interested in listening to what I had to say or why I felt I should talk to her. That was my red flag.

There you have it.

Kathy Garner

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 90.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Klonopin…The Nightmare That Never Ends

“My fantasy is that there is a cure. I want my brain and my life back.”

Stage 1-Prozac

My introduction to the world of psychiatric medications came in 1993. I was experiencing difficulty with anxiety in social situations and went to see a psychiatrist for help with my problem. After about half an hour with the psychiatrist, I was handed a prescription for Prozac. This drug in conjunction with therapy was supposed to help me with my anxiety. The doctor was right. After a few weeks on the drug I was no longer terrified of social situations. I no longer felt the fear that had been there before. The problem was I didn’t FEEL much of anything else either. The drug made me fearless, emotionless and numb. After a few months on the drug I became anorexic and started drinking alcohol to enhance the effects of the drug. This behavior was not typical of me at all. I felt out of touch and kind of crazy. I couldn’t see straight or think straight. I started to not care about anything at all…especially my life. After several months on the drug, completely emaciated and out of touch I had a sudden urge to end my life. And it was that matter of fact. I went home, had a brief conversation with my roommate and then went into the bedroom and overdosed on painkillers. As crazy as this sounds…the Prozac told me to do it. I wasn’t hearing voices literally…but there was just this urge to take all those pills and my mind kept saying, “just do it, just do it.” I don’t think I really wanted to die, I just didn’t care if I lived. For me, Prozac just lowered my inhibitions TOO much.

Stage 2-Paxil

I recovered from this ordeal and also got some help with my eating disorder, but I still had the social anxiety. I desperately wanted to go back to college, but feared the classroom setting. I was then switched to Paxil. I was on and off Paxil for a few years. It did help with the anxiety, but much like the Prozac it caused me to lose feelings and become numb (both physically and emotionally). Sex was out of the question because I couldn’t feel anything. The dose had to be increased every few months because the drug would start to lose it effectiveness and my anxiety would increase. It was like riding a roller coaster. The drug also made me feel spaced out and out of focus. The world had a haze around it. I hated being on this medication and I especially hated having to take it every day (as you must to maintain the drug level in your blood). The problem was if I skipped a couple of days, I would go into drug withdrawal so I had to stay on it or pay the price. I withdrew from Paxil several times. It was not fun and usually lasted a few weeks. Mostly it was a feeling of being out of my body, an inability to focus, incredible itching and feeling like I was in a dream. It was frightening, but always went away eventually. I finally had it with this drug and asked my psychiatrist to give me a medication I could “take as needed.” Enter Klonopin.

Stage 3- Klonopin…The Nightmare That Never Ends

My doctor did as I requested and prescribed the benzodiazepine/tranquilizer/anti-convulsant drug Klonopin. To this day I cannot believe I was on an ANTI-CONVULSANT!!! I went on .5 mg of Klonopin in September of 1996. By March of 1997, I was having difficulty with speech, could not focus my eyes, felt crazy inside, overly emotional, frequent urination and completely out of it. I knew it was the drugs and I knew this could not go any longer. It was time for me to put an end to all of this. I tapered off the Klonopin over a one or two week period and immediately went into severe withdrawal within days of stopping the drug. My body became completely numb…I couldn’t even feel myself going to the bathroom. My ears were ringing like there was a loud tea kettle constantly going off in my head. I could not focus my eyes at all. It was impossible to read or even watch TV. I was itching like crazy and it felt like bugs were crawling all over my body. I could not tolerate light or noise. I could not taste my food. I felt exhausted, but had terrible insomnia. It was the most frightening, horrific experience of my life and it lasted one month. Then I thought it was getting better, but my anxiety had turned to paranoia. I still had a lot of symptoms and now it was topped with a feeling that everybody knew and I was not even comfortable walking down the street. So the doc gave me Paxil again. This really did not help so a month later I took myself off of that. What I did not know at the time was that I had protracted withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines. The increased anxiety and paranoia was a symptom of this. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending to this story. I got myself off the Klonopin, but never got better from the physical symptoms the drug caused. Today (2 and a half years later) I live with ringing in my ears, muscle pain and weakness, burning feet, sensitivity to light, noise, and scents, inability to focus my eyes, clogged feeling in my ears, extreme fatigue, memory loss, tingling in my hands and arms, weakness in my left arm and more. The sad thing is I could deal with all of this if my worst symptom would go away. My worst symptom is a loss of cognitive abilities. I feel drugged all the time. It’s like I am in a dream 24 hours a day. I do not perceive my environment clearly. I can barely read or drive. I cannot think logically/organized. People say I “seem” fine, but I feel the loss in my abilities and it is devastating to me. I long for the day when I get to have ME back. I can’t wait until I can enjoy going for a drive again or going to a movie and being able to see the screen clearly and understand what is going on. I can’t wait until I can have a sharp mind again and remember events clearly again. I have missed so much this past two and a half years. I’m only 26 and I have wished to die so many times rather than go through another day in fog. I have been unable to get any help from doctors. I’ve been tested for everything under the sun…from MS to Lyme Disease. All tests are negative. The doctor who gave me the drug long since abandoned me and there are no doctors who know anything about long term withdrawal from benzodiazepines. My only help has come from others who were affected the same way by this class of drugs. They too have seen many doctors and have the found out too that they know nothing about this and cannot help. Most say it’s impossible to be affected so long after discontinuing the drug, but for those of us who have gone through it, we know it IS a reality. These drugs can have miserable consequences for a percentage of people who take them. I hope there is someone out there that can help. My fantasy is that there is a cure…something that will reverse the damage the drug caused…an antidote. For now, I wait and hope it isn’t permanent. I want my brain and my life BACK.

Pixie, the contributor of the “Klonopin…The Nightmare That Never Ends” story suggests reading this additional information on: Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome.

Pixie
Pixie99105@aol.com

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 55.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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