SSRI’s Almost Cost Me Everything

“I have gone through 4-5 years of hell.”

I am very pleased that I can finally share my story with others who have suffered as I have from what I am certain are SSRI medications.

My story begins in 1998 when I read an article in a major magazine (I don’t remember which one) about the many benefits of SSRI medications. The article hyped the drug up by declaring that CEO’s of corporations where taking it to sharpen their business savvy. The article was provocative, and about a year later I decided to try it. I went to a psychiatrist, and told him that I was depressed and that I suffered from compulsive thoughts, which I new from research were commonly treated with Prozac. The psychiatrist gave me a sample pack and scheduled a follow-up appointment for one week later. One week later, I returned, and was feeling very different, very empowered. I liked it. Little did I know what my new power would yield in the months ahead.

The first stupid mistake I made happened about 2 weeks after starting Prozac; I went to Tijuana with my x-brother in law and hired a Mexican prostitute. Fortunately, I did not think myself so invincible not to use a condom. I practiced “safe sex”. During my next follow-up appointment, when the doctor asked how I was doing, I told him great, and things were looking brighter. I told him the compulsions were gone, and that I was feeling better than ever. I wanted to keep taking the drug so I did not reveal my behavior with the prostitute. In fact, I feared not taking it. I was hooked. About a week after the trip to Mexico, red, itchy, rashes started erupting on my buttock and back. My first thought was that I must have caught something from the prostitute, my second thought was that I was having an allergic response to the Prozac.

I called my doctor and told him and he said that it was very rare to have a reaction after taking the drug for a month. He was surprised, which made me feel almost certain that I caught something from the prostitute. He told me to stop taking the drug immediately (cold turkey!). This was just the beginning of the fall for me. I have gone through 4-5 years of hell since then. It took 2-3 weeks for the huge, red, itchy rashes to subside. During that time, I was terrorized by the thought that I had aids, which was exacerbated by the depression that ensued after stopping Prozac. I was so disturbed, that I confessed to my ex wife (of 8 years) what I had done, having sex with the prostitute. I emotionally collapsed and fell apart, crying since I had had unprotected sex with her less than 5 days after the prostitute. I asked her not to share silverware and toothbrushes with our children (two daughters, ages 3 and 7) just for precautions. I went to a local clinic that did free anonymous HIV screening to get tested; I had insurance through my ex-employer, but was afraid that if I were positive, my employer would be informed. I was in a full blown crisis. The results of the screening came back negative, but I did not believe it.

When I went to my next psychiatric appointment, the doctor prescribed Zoloft for me. Despite all the things that happened while on Prozac, I was eager to feel “undepressed” again. I started Zoloft, but it made me feel worse. After about a month, the doctor upped my dose. Again, I wanted to feel better, so I took it. A couple days after upping the dose, hot flashes consumed me day and night. During the day my body was billowing off heat, and at night I soaked the bed with sweat. I was so delirious that I did not think it was the Zoloft and did not think to take my temperature; I thought it was the HIV virus. I decided after about a week of this, that I would stop taking the Zoloft and stop going to the psychiatrist. The hot flashes diminished and went away after about two days. However, after about 4-5 days neurogentic pain swept across my face, neck, lower abdomen, and arm pits. It was incredibly painful, constant, and burning mostly around my eyes, roof of my mouth, tongue, and gums. I would rate it as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. In addition, my intestines constantly cramped and my bowels rumbled. My stools were loose to diarrhea. My physical deterioration made it nearly impossible to continue working, but I persisted in excruciating pain.

After a few months, I was certain I was dying. I went to a family practitioner, and told him the entire story. He ran a plethora of tests, including HIV since I informed him about the prostitute. Everything came back negative. He told me I was likely depressed, and that the my abdominal distress, and neuropathic pain were symptoms of my depression. He prescribed Paxil. I was so desperate that I took it. Paxil made me feel a lot like Prozac did, and before long I began incurring the hatred of everyone around me, but it did not alleviate my neuropathic pain at all. After several months on Paxil, one day I left work to go to lunch, and did not go back. I called the regional manager and told him that I quit on voice mail. My wife came home from work, and I told her that I quit my job, just walked out. That was the craziest thing that I had ever done in my life. I found another job, doing the same line of work, and was fired (first time ever being fired) after deliberately throwing important document into my trash can, costing the company three thousand dollars. Even worse, when interviewed about it, I admitted doing it and doing it intentionally. My supervisor said “I cant believe you did that”. About that time, I also decided to get a tattoo (never had one before), ran my credit card up to the max (never even used one before), dyed my hair ink black (first time dying my hair), began beating my wife (never did that before), bought a junky car for an outrageous price(out of character), and was behaving violently towards my children. After losing my job and insurance, I never went back to the physician. The doctor never suggested that I was having adverse reactions to the Paxil.

I found another job, and was fired after a week (second time being fired in 3 weeks). I was in a tailspin. I was so physically weak and mentally disarrayed that I could not get out of bed. My ex wife said something that provoked me, and I pushed her to the floor in front of my daughters. She bumped her head on the floor and lost consciousness. My girls were screaming and crying. Their once calm and collective father had become a monster. I will never forget their crying faces and voices saying “mommmmmmy, mommmmmmy”. When my ex wife awakened she called the police, and stormed out of the house. After the police came and inspected the house, I packed up a suitcase and left the state to reside with my parents in another state. I dread to think of what I might have done if I stayed. I know now that I was capable of doing great harm because the SSRI medications eroded my conscience away to nothing. I have not taken any SSRI’s since the day that I drove out of Los Angeles on that terrible day.

I successfully got off of the drugs by seeking professional counseling (6 months once a week), exercise, nutrition, and persistence. I found medical help for my neuralgia at the VA hospital in Portland, Oregon; I am an air force veteran of six years. I currently take 50mg of amitryptelene per day to alleviate the constant burning sensation on the roof of my mouth and face that I still bear . Since coming to Portland and getting off SSRI’s, I finished my Bachelors of Science degree at Portland State University, and am a senior, going to graduate in June, from Walla Walla school of nursing. I choose nursing because of my own experience with illness and aim to help others in crisis. I will be an RN soon and will be practicing. My long term goal is to be a nurse practitioner. Heaven willing I won’t be fooled by advertisers or anyone else into buying and taking anything so harmful for me again. SSRI’s almost cost me everything.

I hope this testimony will be of some consolation to others who have shared in similar experience.

Scott Ferguson
jms22@teleport.com

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An Answer to Our Nightmare on Paxil

“I feel like I am on a crusade to help prevent another family and child from going through this experience.”

 

Finding this web sight was such a revelation to us. After reading through all of the experiences, we knew that we finally had the answer to the nightmare that we experienced. I immediately wrote the following letter to all of the doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and special education teachers that had worked with my son. I feel like I am on a crusade to help prevent another family and child from going through this experience.

Our son began experiencing anxiety and panic attacks upon our move to a new home in the country. They became frequent enough for us to seek help. We found a therapist and upon his recommendation, we took him to our family doctor. The doctor prescribed 5 mg. of Paxil. Almost immediately, there was a change in his personality. He became much more anxious, angry, and aggressive. Our son had never exhibited this behavior before. A phone call to the doctor resulted in raising the level to 10 mg. At this time, he began having horrible rages and out of control behavior. He destroyed the interior of our vehicle, and kept threatening to jump out of the moving vehicle. At that point, in desperation, I called a psychiatrist. He raised the dosage of Paxil to 20 mg. and added 15 mg. of Buspar! This caused us to visit hell with our son. At therapy, I voiced my concern that his behavior and personality were so strange. The therapist approach was to discuss his behavior as though he were deliberately misbehaving. Following that session, our son become enraged and proceeded to rage at me, his father, destroyed his bedroom, verbally and physically abused us for approximately 3-4 hours that evening. We finally got through to the doctor who immediately told us to not give him any more of the drugs. We stopped the drugs cold turkey. He had been on the Paxil for less than a month.

This was the beginning of a least a 3-year journey into hell, which we now believe was generated by the Paxil, and later on the Serzone. He continued to have rages, severe “fight or flight’ responses where he would run away from anything he thought might threaten him . He was unable to function in school and we had to place him in special education as an emotionally disturbed child. A special “one on one” aide was given to him to help keep him from running away. He repeatedly abused us verbally and often physically. He would lie in bed at night sobbing at how he felt. At different times he would threaten to hurt himself as well as others. Any little thing would set him off and he would go into another “rage” that could last for hours.

At that time, we visited with another psychiatrist and began seeing another therapist. Our son was put on Serzone and we were told to increase his dosage until 350 mg. He continued to fall apart, and twice we ended up at the Crisis Center. The second time, we were told to raise his Serzone to 600 mg. and keep him at home. Our lives had been devastated. And still no one could give us a real reason for his bizarre, out of control, so totally out of character, behavior, other than to tell us he had Panic and Anxiety disorder. Bi-polar and other disorders were discussed. In therapy, Bi-Polar disorder was discussed, possible abuse was insinuated. We now believe that the real problem was personality changes brought on by the medication and yet no one addressed this possibility. Our psychiatrist left it to our discretion to raise and lower our sons medications as we saw the need. We knew that we wanted him off and once he seemed calmer, we took it upon ourselves to gradually, very slowly remove him from the meds completely. It took us over a year, and now our son has been drug free since March of 2002. His personality has come back. He is doing well in school. He has not had a rage in a year. He is a loving, happy kid and we are looking at a happy life again.

We are angry and disgusted. We are terrified when we think about all that has happened. All because of a lack of knowledge on the part of professionals who should have realized that the problems we were having were not because of family life, or mental illness or abuse or “being angry with your mother”. Drug companies are experimenting on our children and doctors are taking the word of these people and dispensing drugs without fully knowing or appreciating the consequences.

Please, when a desperate parent comes to you for help, before you write out that prescription, make sure that you inform the patient and parents about all the potential problems. Research the drug fully so that when you dispense it you can do so with good conscience. Think, before you attribute the problem to “family problems” that maybe a child is experiencing a reaction to one of these drugs and treat the problem immediately. Pharmaceutical drugs save lives, but also destroy lives.

Our lives will never be the same, but we are recovering. We were lucky. Our son is still alive and the future looks bright. My goal is to make sure that as many people know about what happened so that others may avoid the hell we went through.

Doris and Brian Petro
314 Co. Rd. F45
Penrose, CO 8124
petro@amigo.net

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A Concerned Parent Story

“Video Used to Justify Putting my Daughter on Five Different Drugs”

 

As a concerned parent, I would like to share my story.

Last year my daughter was having a rough time coping–she lost her three-year-old cousin in a house fire on New Year’s Day and her voice listen teacher passed away suddenly one month later. She turned 18 in February and graduated in June. The same week she graduated, she admitted herself to a psych unit at a local hospital while I was out-of-town for a work conference.

As she was 18, I felt completely helpless in her treatment.

A psychiatrist, who certainly did not know my daughter, put her on five different medications–three of which were Depakote, Serzone, and Zoloft. (They would not tell me what all she was on and she hid most of them from me.) The hospital and psychiatrist brainwashed her to believe that she was Manic-Depressive–she may have been depressed, but I have never once seen her in a manic phase in her life. They showed her a video, which was obviously produced by a pharmaceutical company, telling her she would need to live on these drugs for the rest of her life.

As a nutritionist, I turned to the social worker and asked, ” Not once in this video did it say anything about nutrition–the number one reason why so many are depressed–lacking in some very important vitamins and minerals.” My daughter smoked, was on birth control, was a vegetarian, and did not eat right– of which the smoking and birth control deplete the B vitamins and folic acid. I asked the hospital, ” If you are a state-of -the-art facility, why don’t you ultimately order a multivitamin with minerals and teach patients how to improve their diets to reduce depression naturally?” No, their first course of action is all the drugs–my daughter walked around like a zombie. Within two weeks of going home, my daughter tried to commit suicide–so I took her off the Zoloft and called her psychiatrist, who never returned my calls or spoke to me about my daughter because she was 18.

I lived with my daughter for 18 years, I certainly know her better than some psychiatrist who has only dealt with her for maybe 1-2 hours max. I did not care about what my daughter said to her in confidence, but why wouldn’t this psychiatrist at least talk with me to get a whole picture of what was going on to better treat her. The psychiatrist also did not do any follow-ups on my daughter to see how she was doing on all these meds.

My daughter moved out on her own two months later, which really scared me, as she was still on all these medications. She started classes at the local university the end of August and while we were camping Labor Day Weekend, she admitted herself in the psych unit again, as she nearly passed out at work. I was never contacted. On Labor Day, we received a call from her work, “We have not seen your daughter since Thursday evening and she has not called us. Do you know where she is?” Immediately, we went to her apartment fearing for the worst–that perhaps she had committed suicide as she did not answer the phone. The maintenance opened her apartment, she was not there. We found out later that she was taken to the local hospital by a friend. I called the hospital and they stated no such patient is here. I called the psych unit–no such patient here.

Why couldn’t they at least tell a parent that their 18 yr-old child is safe? I paged her psychiatrist, who again never called me back. My daughter finally called me to let me know she was safe. I don’t know why she was admitted to the psych unit when she nearly passed out at work–why wasn’t she put on a general floor for testing–it was found that she was hypoglycemic. Because their was an issue with her health insurance and no further psych treatments would be covered, I told her if she wanted to continue any kind of treatment and she wanted me to pay for it, she would have to change to a psychiatrist that I found who does not believe in medication as a first response. I am happy to say, this new psychiatrist took her off all medications and she is doing better. She is taking multivitamins.

P.S. My husband and I have been doing Young Living oils for the past five years. I would like my daughter to use them, but she believes we are “witch doctors” and very rarely will use them. I would diffuse ‘Joy’ oil in the air when she was a little moody and she would turn happy, but then she caught on to what I was doing.

I strongly believe a parent should have a right to know and have a say in their child’s treatment when they are 21 years-old or less–especially when they are so doped up on all the anti-depressive drugs. They certainly are not in their right mind!

Diane Miller, Michigan
hw4all@buckeye-express.com

 

12/31/2002

This is Survivor Story number 1.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

582 total views, 2 views today

Married to Zoloft and I Want a Divorce

“I quit cold turkey. Big mistake! Five days later I ended up in the hospital emergency.

I knew something was really wrong.”

 

On September 1997, I went to see my doctor to complain, for the fifth time, (I had seen my doctor five times that month) of nausea and that I had very little energy. She got upset with me and told me that I was in denial, and that my problem was really depression. She prescribed me Zoloft.

At that time, I had just began my first semester in university. My illness did not go away. I felt sick and run down. Six weeks went by, and one day I got violently sick and ended up in the hospital. As it turns out, the reason I had been ill was not because of a depression I knew I had, but because I had a viral infection that had gone untreated for months.

After I was treated for this infection, I continued taking Zoloft, as I thought it my help me cope with my final exams. I continued taking Zoloft or a few months and finally decided to come off the drug. I quit cold turkey. Big mistake! Five days later I ended up in the hospital emergency.
I knew something was really wrong. The psychiatrist re-ordered Zoloft, and the withdrawal effects quickly disappeared.

After that experience, I knew that I could not quit this drug abruptly, so, a year later, I tried the tapering off method. I went from 150 mg to 50 mg in a matter of four months. The withdrawals became progressively worst, to the point that I could no longer function normally. I had difficulty putting words together; my short term memory was greatly disturbed and I felt like I as losing all mental capacity. I could not read anymore; a pass time I really enjoyed. I could no longer write; and writing was one of my favorite hobbies. To make a long story short, I had to start taking Zoloft again at a dose of 100 ml, just to be able to function.

I have been on Zoloft since 1997.Zoloft ruined my life. Sure, I was depressed before 1997, but at least, then, I was in control of my life. I had some good days. Now the good days are few and far between.(I can’t remember when I felt joy.)I went from being a functional woman with drive and hope for the future; to a scared nervous wreck. I don’t even look or feel the same anymore. It’s like being someone else. Before Zoloft, I always kept my house clean and tidy; I weighed 120 pounds and looked great; I had hobbies which kept me sane; I had a support system and my family admired and praised me. Now, I weigh 208 pounds; I little confidence and drive; I used to be good with money but now I have maxed out my credit; I have become an angry and bitter person; I have thoughts of suicide every day; I have no friends left; In sum, I am not me anymore.

Three days ago, I decided to quit cold turkey again. I am writing this now, because I know that in a few days, I won’t be able to put one word in front of the other. I already feel the withdrawals. Every time I move, my eyes lose focus and my head feels funny. It feels like it skips a beat. It’s very difficult to describe and to tell the truth, I don’t want to see my doctor because he won’t take me seriously. Since I’ve been on Zoloft, I have attempted suicide 11 times. I want myself back. I want that drug out of my system and only hope that it hasn’t caused permanent physical damage.

Zoloft ruined my life.

BarryCompaq@aol.com

 

10/15/2002

This is Survivor Story number 8.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Eight-year Old Becomes Aggressive on Luvox

“I’m still angry at the psychiatrist for putting him at risk with these drugs.”

 

They prescribed Risperdal and Luvox to my eight year old son years ago for panic attacks. He started acting strangely and hurting other kids, something he’d never done before, so I stopped giving him the drugs after a few days but I still had to have them filled or DFCS would have claimed I was “psychologically neglecting” him, that’s why I had taken him to the psychiatrist in the first place, his pediatrician reported me after she “suggested” he see a shrink and I told her I didn’t believe in them. He’s almost 16 now, and perfectly fine, but I’m still angry at the pediatrician, DFCS, and the psychiatrist for putting him at risk with these drugs.

 

9/10/2002

This is Survivor Story number 11.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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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

563 total views, 1 views today

Teenager Loses Creative Passion on Zoloft and Paxil

“Paxil almost made me go insane after just a few days.”

 

I’ve been looking for a site like this for a long time now-ever since I decided (thank God) to get off my antidepressant medication.

Ok, so I am a 17-year old male, right… When I first got to high school, my parents divorced so things were kind of a mess and for the first time in my life I had made “enemies.”

Well, that’s when I first started seeing a psychiatrist. We would talk and underlying everything that was discussed to make me “better” was a deep, conviction that I was so terribly shy and this needed to be cured.

So I tried Zoloft and Paxil, but went off them immediately after not even a week. I will say that the Paxil almost made me go insane after just a few days. Yes, it was against the doctor’s word to go off them. Thank God I did though. Then a while passed and this time I thought I truly needed help.

I had gotten into a fight at school and received threats from a lot of people. I was completely paranoid and my mom (and I gave in) put me in the mental hospital (for kids). Oh my God, this is where I had like my calling or whatever the hell I was thinking (hoping they could cure me so I would fit in and be my “old” self again).

I don’t even remember if all this is right because my memory is really screwed up now. But, so I went on Celexa this time and unfortunately, for good…I was sixteen at the time. I talking a lot more in class, my anxiety was gone, I got really into the stuff they were feeding me at school, and my reputation for a nice, respectable young man went down the tube. I guess it was my own doing. But I started wanting to be different from everybody else, but I was Zen-like, using the Bible (it’s cover) as an inspiration.

I think I had too much ADD to read the bible at the time-it was just a matter of calming my emotions. Ok, so mix these calming drugs with listening to the band Radiohead. Not cool at all. I lost my two best friends. I got full of myself because I had gotten accepted to an art school. But the summer between leaving my old school I started believing I was getting really close to my family. My Dad at least because he was (and still is) taking the same medication I was. But I would say anything that came to mind. I thought I was “better”…

Then art school started and I went from being a boring person with a vivid imagination that could be translated to paper (drawing) to a zombie who could only draw from observation. My concentration was really good but I had spurts of anger with anticipated culmination of disaster. I was a totally different person. I wasn’t self-conscious at all anymore, had no friends either. Then I saw something in the other people at that school that reminded me of the old-me (the one I didn’t like for some reason) that made me want to change.

“A beautiful mind”, “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”- these movies made me realized I’d lost my artistic passion or whatever the hell I had before. A reason for living…

Well, yeah so then I went cold-turkey off the medication and slowly but surely went insane. It was not cool at all. I re-visited the past that I had tried to escape on medication. I thought I had lost the “holy spirit” though and this made me think about committing suicide. It was horrible. Before I would say such things to get attention but now I really felt it.

The bottom line is, do not believe that you have a depression that needs “correcting”. My God, that’s what I believed but then I realized it is just the devil doing his work. I have no life now really. I had lots of talent and potential and I think its all gone now because I thought I had a problem but really didn’t. Now when I hear these antidepressants being touted to save people or whatever, I have other thoughts. It’s hard for me to realize that I am my old self again. I had to piece back together my memory. It is better to be this way than a zombie on drugs though.

RtskooL@aol.com

 

5/4/2002

This is Survivor Story number 26.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Prozac Prescribed "Without a Thought"

“I cannot help wondering how much of his problem was enhanced or made worse by this drug.”

 

I was not too surprised to see the list of behavior problems. My son was just sixteen when the diagnosed him with depression. His teachers noticed, people saw and said nothing until he made an attempt at suicide.

We immediately sought medical help, and unfortunately because we have an HMO, were limited to a therapist with little or NO experience in treating his problems. The Psychiatrist who initially saw our Son, prescribed Prozac without a thought, and never informed us of the possible adverse reactions.

Instead of getting better, he got worse. The Therapist (who usually treated ADD juveniles 6- 11 yr. old) was clueless, even after I expressed that I was not comfortable with her treatment. When I suggested she refer us to someone with experience treating teens she stated that she and my son were getting along and not to worry. (She kept telling me how charming my son was).

I even asked that he see a male therapist, because I felt my son was manipulating the situation. No, she (his therapist) would not consider this. In the meantime the psychiatrist, never inquired or saw our son after the first visit.

Things got worse, our son stopped caring about anything, continued to mutilate himself. Finally one night at a friend’s house they snuck out and almost burned down a barn. It was then that the psychiatrist announced that he was only feeling guilty about what he had done and that they were done treating him? Get this, all of a sudden there was supposed to be nothing wrong with him!

The therapist then had the absolute gall to say to my husband and myself that she would not “get involved with kids and the court system” and that our son should “see a male therapist because she now felt he needed someone who would better understand our Son!!!!

They never mentioned the Prozac, or what we should do. So we took him off the meds, went to court, sold our home and moved. I am not blaming Prozac for our son’s problems, just that it made a bad situation worse. It may have been what pushed him over the line. He simply stopped caring.

This story does have a good ending though. When we moved our coverage location changed. We then were blessed to find Dr. Young Ho Kim a psychiatrist who specializes in treating teens. His new Therapist was a woman, Christine Daley, who although I was doubtful at first, turned out to be both professional and qualified. They treated our Son without ANY drugs. While it was a lot of work I at last felt there was hope. That was a while ago, our son is now in College, and seems to have returned for the most part to normal. I cannot help wondering how much of his problem was enhanced or made worse by this drug.

It was when I heard about the boys in (I believe it was) Kentucky, who pulled the fire alarm at their school and proceeded to shoot people coming out, and when I first heard about the boys a Colombine that I started to wonder. Sure enough it wasn’t long before the details about the boys revealed that they had been treated for problems, and like my son had been given anti-depressants.

I was angered that the first reaction to the crimes were “Where are the parents?”, or that somehow it was the fault of bullies, or TV Please. Only after the fact with all the blame properly labeled to the parents, society, school, the weather, whatever, might you have heard someone whisper the word Prozac. I wonder how many listened.

Ms. D. Abel

 

7/26/2001

This is Survivor Story number 16.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

330 total views, 1 views today

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

296 total views, no views today

My Alcohol Craving on Prozac

“I am feeling so angry and deceived by the medical profession.”

 

I was shocked to read the report on alcohol.html (Alcohol Cravings Induced via Increased Serotonin) I was on Prozac for 8 miserable years. During that time I gained a lot of weight but more importantly I constantly craved alcohol, like daily. The psychiatrist and psychologist lectured me about drinking yet I continued, always feeling guilty and ashamed. I am not now, nor have I ever been an alcoholic!
Last November I weaned myself off Prozac, I was concerned that my weight dropped so rapidly but not feeling ill, I was pleased. More importantly, at the same time I lost all desire to drink alcohol. I am feeling so angry and deceived by the medical profession. I was never told that Prozac was the reason for my huge weight gain never mind the alcohol craving. This is shocking information and I thank you.

Ann K.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 48.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

408 total views, no views today