A Professional Dancer’s Ordeal With SSRI’s

“…a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.”


Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

Fortunately, for me, someone recently referred me to your tape, “Help, I can’t get off my Anti-Depressants.” I would like to tell you my story.

Back in 1989, after years suffering from depression and anxiety, I was prescribed, for the first time, an antidepressant. I had been a dancer, previously, with American Ballet Theatre, in New York, and the National Ballet of Canada. Although I was no longer dancing, I had always been very aware of my body, and did not realize how sensitive my body chemistry was. I have suffered from depression since I was about 12 years old. I immersed myself into the dance world, and became a professional dancer.

At this time, which was already several years after stopping dancing, I was prescribed Prozac, which I took for six months (I do not recall the dosage). I was living in Tempe, Arizona, at the time, and became “wired like a bunny, going 90 miles an hour, sleeping about four hours a night.” I began commuting back and forth to Los Angeles, where I fell into the movie business, doing set decoration. I was happy and high. After six months, I went off the medication.

About six months later, someone broke into my truck, in LA. I, for lack of any other description, “freaked out,” beyond the normal reaction. I panicked, felt violated, and really overreacted. I decided to try to take the Prozac again, and began what was to become a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.

I guess my body chemistry being so sensitive, when I tried to take the Prozac again, I reacted badly, becoming even more anxious and agitated. The doctors would increase my dose, and it would get worse. Over the next 10 or so years, I went on and off different medications, different doses, always on the low side. I was given Paxil (made me severely agitated and very drowsy), Wellbutrin, Depakote, Serzone, Zoloft, and I even tried St. John’s Wort, Kava, and nothing. My cycles of depression were severe at times. And whenever I got to the point where I was finally off the medication I was taking, as I tried to get off so many times, I would have a major depressive episode, and it would take from six to nine months to get back to normal. It was even more difficult getting back on the drugs and becoming stable, after I had weaned off. I must say, I always did this against my doctor’s advice; she did not want me off my medications, I wanted off.

For a few years I did well on a low dose of Zoloft. Then I tried to wean off, and had a serious re-occurrence of the depression, waking up extremely anxious every day, not wanting to live. It was almost harder getting back on the drugs after I had weaned off. It took about nine months to recover and feel “normal” again.

In 1999, I ended up at a treatment center for depression and anxiety. By this point I was taking only Luvox, as I had a lot of obsessive thinking (not OCD, though). I don’t know what happened, but I went through a period that was bad, and the doctor’s upped my dosage from 25 mg to 75 mg a day, and I really freaked out and ended up going to this treatment center. When I dropped the dosage back to 25, the anxiety was greatly reduced. The doctor would always tell me to take a Xanax when it got that bad…I would rarely do that, and if I did, I would take 1/2 of the .25 mg pill, just one time, and that would jump start me back to normal, after a day of feeling totally out of it, for the next six months or nine months, when I might end up taking another 1/2 a Xanax again.

Anyway, today I have stabilized on 12.5 mg. of Luvox, EVERY OTHER DAY!! I have been trying to wean off for years, unsuccessfully. I practice kundalini yoga, with Gurmukh, at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles and am taking the teacher’s training program. This form of yoga works on the nervous system. A lot of time I shake in class, because I know my nervous system is still so out of whack. I try to each healthy, I don’t eat red meat, and not much chicken or fish, either. I am attracted to sugar, and always have been. I have a very lean, muscular, athletic body, and obviously a VERY sensitive body chemistry. The kundalini yoga has been amazing, BUT, I still haven’t been able to get past the 12.5 mg every other day dosage.

WHAT CAN I DO???????? If I pull out just one pill, meaning, if I skip one day, hoping to proceed further in the weaning process, I find myself dip right into the depression. I can also become very angry and agitated.

Earlier this year, not knowing the severity of quick withdrawal, I went from 12.5 mg Luvox every day to every other day for one week. I felt like I was in bliss, like someone lifted the cloud off my head. The second week I cut back to 12.5 mg every third day. On day 10 I suffered a severe crash, and it took me 6 weeks to get back to normal. I had to resume my dosage to 12.5 every day, and eventually got it back to 12.5 mg every other day. But every day, for six weeks, I woke up agitated, and crying and not wanting to live.

I am 43 years old. I am tired of being on medications, even if it is only a small dosage. I have taken something or other since the end of 1989, on and off. I want so much to be drug-free. I am also single, and tired of being alone. No one wants to deal with this kind of mood disorder, although I was married, and my husband was supportive, most relationships cannot endure “my problem.”

Despite my depressions, I have always been a functioning depressive. I will cry and be alone and in pain in the quiet of my own home, or often when I am on the streets driving, and I will go to work and complete my job. I work on the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle.” I shop for the set decorations, so I am often out by myself. I have time to be in pain and depression and not show anyone, then put on a smile when I get around the set. But it’s not good enough for me anymore.

I want to get past this dosage of 12.5 every other day, and get to NOTHING!! I practice the kundalini yoga 2-3 times a week. I’ve tried some herbs at various times to support my weaning, but I honestly haven’t been consistent with any one program. I get 32 acupuncture visits a year, free as part of my insurance, and I have utilized them for emotional balancing. I always come of there “spaced out,” much like how I feel after a yoga class.

I don’t know how long I’ve been on Luvox, probably almost four years now, if not more. Like I said, I don’t even know if it’s doing anything for me, but I have managed to get down to the 12.5 every other day, and I want so much to be off completely. Last week, I actually managed to cut the 25 mg tablet that I cut in half to make 12.5, in half again, to make it 6.25 (approx) mg, and I took that one day. I may have imagined this, but I suffered a relapse after that, too.

I follow a spiritual path. I’ve read all the self-help books. My whole life has been devoted to wanting to heal. It’s time for this to end now.

Please, can you tell me how I can finally kick that last little bit of the medication?? I don’t even know if even the 12.5 mg every other day is doing much for me, because I still have my cycles of mood swings.

Can I hope to be off of them completely? Where should I go from here??

I hope you will write back to me.

Thank you so much for your time.



This is Survivor Story number 2.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Your Site Explains my Nephew’s

“Thanks for making people aware of the dangers of using any drugs.”


I wanted to thank you for your site, and the information on it has helped my family deal with a recent loss.

My 15 year old nephew took his life last month. In the week after this tradegy, his friends came forward and gave information to my brother that led us to research what had happened. They explained that about six of them had been introduced to Zoloft just 7 days before and had been taking those pills. Ray Jr took heavy doses six times. This information, coupled with research on the internet, including your site provided an explanation for what happened, and why he would be driven to do this, with this particular drug.

My brother put up a site at http://www.geocities.com/ray_burk/index.html about two weeks ago as memorial to his son, but also to make people aware of the dangers of using any drugs. He references your site and others to provide information that parents and their kids should read.


Jimmy Burk



This is Survivor Story number 4.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

715 total views, 3 views today

Pharmacist Messed Up on Zoloft

“I developed insomnia and nightmares. When I would drift to sleep, I’d awaken to terrifying nightmares, that would leave me weak and shaking.”


I was having bouts of depression from work stresses and general work unhappiness, so my doctor put me on Zoloft. At first, I felt no immediate changes, but about 1 month into treatment, I began wanting to sleep all day. On my days off, I would wake up at 2pm, flop in the couch and nap the rest of the daylight hours away, wake up for an hour or so and back to bed. I would not leave my house, refused to see friends, refused to answer the phone, even quit going to the gym. My doctor decided the med was not working so he upped my dose to 100mg.

Wow!! That really messed me up. I then began suffering gaps in my memory, that started out tiny and insignificant, and grew to be huge and troublesome problems. At the height of this forgetfulness, I missed 3 house payments and 3 car payments!!!! I had never missed a payment in my life….I may have been a couple of days late on a couple of occasions, but never blatantly just missed!! I looked at my check book and could not tell that I had not made the payments. I was so confused and could not focus on anything for very long.

I also began having panic attacks and horrible sweating attacks. I would panic and break out in a horrible sweat….to the point that my hair and clothes would be soaked in a matter of a few minutes. I was especially intolerant of heat of any sort. I took a trip to the Caribbean and felt like clawing my skin off the entire trip, just to escape the heat. But people around me were wearing light sweaters!!! It was horrible.

Then I developed insomnia and nightmares. When I would drift to sleep, I’d awaken to terrifying nightmares, that would leave me weak and shaking.

I also started having strange heart palpitations and twinges of chest pain. Oh! and headaches that were unbearable.

I tapered myself off and immediately began having the most horrific dizzy spells that you can imagine. As long as I didn’t move my head, I was okay, but if I just slightly moved, the room would spin uncontrollably. So much so, that I found myself gripping the walls to stay upright. Then massive, deep sorrowful depression set in. I think I slept for the next 6 months, except when I was at work. I don’t know how I functioned at work, but I managed. During this Zoloft fiasco that lasted over 1 yr, I gained 10 lbs, developed that “fat neck syndrome” and managed to run off my boyfriend.

The sad part of all this is that I am a pharmacist!!!!

Not Lost Anymore



This is Survivor Story number 6.
Total number of stories in current database is 48


678 total views, no views today

Homicidal and Suicidal on Zoloft and Paxil

“1 week on the Paxil and I was nuts!”


Recently experiencing a mind-altering homicidal/suicidal Zoloft induced event in my own life, I wondered if any studies have been done to determine how many of these men had been taking an SSRI.

My personal experience, thank God, did not end in a completed homicide or suicide. If it not for your website and links I know I would not be here to testify to the dangers of SSRI’s.

I am currently withdrawing from Zoloft for the 4th time in 10 years. It saddens me even to admit this. Why I again took the drug that had led me to suicidal ideation when withdrawing from it in the past is beyond me.

I want to share with you my recent frightening experience.

I successfully withdrew from 8 years of taking Zoloft last year. By April, 2002 I was medication free. I also stopped receiving depo-provera injections. In Aug. I experienced depression (I now think was PMS) and was very adverse to any treatment with an SSRI. My depression lingered and my Dr. insisted I go back on an SSRI ”because I was just one of those people that will always need an SSRI to live a normal life”. She suggested that since I had effectively gone off Zoloft that Paxil would be a better alternative. 1 week on the Paxil and I was nuts! 2 weeks on the Paxil and I developed severe heart palpitations, increased anxiety and a total inability to concentrate. I titrated myself to shavings of Paxil and went back to the Dr. She was unhappy that I had decreased the Paxil dosage, and thought I should have increased it to “get past that”. We agreed Zoloft had worked before, and I immediately quit the Paxil and started back on a 50 mgm Zoloft dose with a psychiatric consult in 2 weeks. My Dr. felt that “my psychiatric problems were beyond her scope” and suggested my meds be evaluated by a shrink.

After taking the Zoloft 50 mgm for 1 week, I developed a homicidal and suicidal obsession. I was functioning in a somewhat normal fashion, but could not avoid thinking about suicide almost 24 hours a day. I felt it was the only answer to my problems. On the day of my psych consult, I was in despair over the anxiety attacks I was experiencing at night, waking me out of my sleep. I also was in despair over the invasion of suicidal thoughts and feeling the need to kill my child (to protect her) that were overwhelming me. I told this to the intake nurse during my initial psych interview.

She escorted me to the psychiatrist, who gave me some diagnostic fill in the blank tests. He increased the Zoloft to 100mgm a day, gave me a 2 week sample of Wellbutrin to start bid and gave me a sample bottle of Zyprexa to take prn -”for when you are really losing it”. I scheduled a follow up appt. for 2 weeks and left. I went home, picked up my daughter and took her to her gymnastics class. While waiting for her, I read the inserts in the drug sample boxes. Oh, My God! This information scared me out of my wits! I determined that the shrink really thought I was nuts without telling me! I immediately went to the bathroom and flushed the samples away. I thought, if I get any more suicidal, I’ll be over-dosing on my samples in a flash. While watching my daughter work so hard at her gymnastics, I decided I could not bare any more thoughts of killing her or myself. I needed to get home, get to your site and start researching what was wrong with me!

After her class, when we arrived home, the police were in my drive-way. I was fearing some tragedy had happened to my sons or husband. When my daughter and I entered our home, I found I was the tragedy!! The police had been waiting for me for 1/2 hour. They had been dispatched to my home, by the intake nurse at the clinic. She had called the police and told them I was going to kill my daughter and myself. The police had spent the time before I got home questioning my family, searching our home, and removing my husband’s gun collection from the house. All this was done with my husband’s permission as he and my boys were totally unaware of my problems. The police interviewed me for a 1/2 hour and 2 more police came to our home. After another 1/2 hour they decided I was o.k. and left. I had a lot of explaining to do to my family. They were as alarmed as I . For lack of insight and desperation I started taking 100mgm of Zoloft that evening.

About a week later after developing extreme heart palpitations and increased anxiety (which my m.d. gave me Xanax for). I went to your website and found a link re: Zoloft side effects; I found that suicidal and homicidal ideation within the first few weeks of use was a known side effect.

It would have been very beneficial if the psychiatrist and other professionals I came in contact with would have known this. As soon as I read this I went to another link for more help and decided to taper off the Zoloft. The anxiety, depression, and especially the heart palpitations have subsided.

I had an echocardiogram and holter monitor which showed I was fine. I haven’t got all the Zoloft out of my system yet, but am hopeful that I will use ANY alternative to SSRI medication should/when the depression returns.

After careful evaluation of my situation, and having had successful use of Zoloft for many years, I had come to the conclusion that I needed more Zoloft because I was SO depressed about the suicidal ideation. I spoke directly to a phone counselor from another link. He was very helpful in explaining that THE SAME MEDICATION (ESPECIALLY SSRI’S) CAN CAUSE NEW SIDE EFFECTS WHEN THEY ARE TAKEN AGAIN AFTER BEING DISCONTINUED. It was a logical explanation to what had gone wrong!

If it weren’t for your website and links I doubt I would be able to write this. Thank-you Dr. Tracy for saving my life.

Thank you, again.

Laura Kandl



This is Survivor Story number 7.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

763 total views, no 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.




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

947 total views, no views today

A Letter to President Bush

“The drugs my daughter received are not F.D.A. approved for use in children. These drugs cause mania in 6% of all children taking them. The F.D.A. states the safety and efficacy have not been established. I ask, why are physicians allowed to prescribe off-label?”


Dear President Bush:

My name is Lisa Van Syckel and I am a resident of Raritan Township in the State of New Jersey. I would like you to hear how corporate greed and psychotic psychiatry have forever altered the life of my most precious gift from God, my daughter.

My husband, Bill, is Vice President and CFO of American Standard Co. and I am a proud stay-at-home mom. We have two children, Michelle, who is a senior, and Christopher, who is a freshman.

Three years ago we moved back to the United States after a five-year stay in Belgium. Our children attended St. John’s International School in Waterloo, Belgium. They were honor roll students and fluent in the French Language. They traveled and explored many European Countries. They truly loved their life in Belgium.

In July of 1999 when we returned to the United States we were a little overwhelmed with the fast pace of our society. Michelle missed her friends in Europe. She began complaining of ill health and was upset over the declining health of her grandmother.

In April of 2000, Michelle continued to complain of ill health and had stopped eating. She was admitted to Somerset Medical Center’s eating disorder unit with a diagnosis of depression and Anorexia Nervosa. It turned out that my daughter had undiagnosed Neurological Lyme Disease. She was prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft and within hours of taking the medication she reported to hospital staff that she had the urge to hurt and cut herself, and, two days later, again reported she was uncomfortable taking the medication. Her complaint was dismissed. The next few weeks Michelle began suffering orthostatic changes and Brady Cardia, which are side effects of Zoloft. She was then given a new diagnosis of having a personality disorder.

By June of 2000 Michelle was removed from Zoloft and placed on Paxil. Within a few weeks Michelle began to self-mutilate with knives, razors and broken plastic CD cases. She became verbally abusive and was displaying extreme oppositional behavior. She had severe insomnia, diarrhea, chest pain, chills, weak muscles and akathisia. My cries for help were dismissed.

In August of 2000 her Paxil was increased to 40 mg. She was now diagnosed with a severe depressive disorder with psychotic features. I should note that psychosis is a side effect of Paxil. On a few occasions she would vomit blood and have rectal bleeding.

In September of 2000 Michelle became violent and suicidal. The self-mutilation increased. During one episode she slashed at her body with a razor and inflicted over 25 wounds. She even cut the word “die” in her abdomen. Michele was then hospitalized at the Charter facility in Summit as she was deemed a danger to herself and others. She was prescribed Depakote for mood and the Paxil was reduced to 20 mg. If you are not slowly tapered off the Paxil, you will suffer a severe withdrawal.

On October 6, 2000 Michelle became violent and attempted to commit suicide. As her brother attempted to stop her, she assaulted him. The police were called for assistance. She was so violent they had to place her in handcuffs. She managed to slip out of them twice. It took three police officers and two hospital security guards to place Michelle in humane restraints. I couldn’t‚t believe the strength my daughter had. She was sedated and when she awoke she had no recollection of events. I should also note that Michelle has no history of drug or alcohol abuse.

On October 7, 2000 Michelle awoke unable to walk or talk. She was dystonic and unaware of her surroundings. She was rushed to the hospital and again became violent and had to be restrained. She was sedated. She began to hallucinate. Her vitals were crashing. It took six hours to stabilize her. She was never admitted to the hospital. Instead, she was placed in an adolescent behavioral health facility.

While at UmDJ Michelle was prescribed Celexa and Risperdal without a wash out period. Within 36 hours she became violent and out of control. She was paranoid and delusional. She began to self-mutilate with staples she pulled out of the walls. When she was released and at home she threatened to kill me and came after me with an ax. She thought I was the devil and told me I was evil.

Michele was removed from all these drugs one year ago this April. Recovery has been a long process and she has suffered from numerous withdrawal symptoms. The drug-induced psychosis is gone, as is the drug-induced self-mutilation. 15% of children placed on anti-depressants will self-mutilate.

Her beautiful smile and wonderful disposition have returned, and she has been treated for her Lyme disease. Lyme disease was the reason for her ill health and loss of appetite. What a price she had to pay because physicians aren’t‚t educated in Lyme Disease. Our county here in New Jersey is 3rd in the nation on Lyme Cases.

Michelle now suffers from irreversible neurological damage. Once an honor roll student with high reading skills who loved to read, now must listen to books on tape. She has limited strength in her right hand due to suspected atrophy. She has a cyst on the pineal gland in her brain. She has been diagnosed with energy metabolism dysfunction in the brain, which means she is at high risk for diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. Adult women on anti-depressants have a 700% increased chance for breast cancer. I fear for my daughter who was undeveloped at the time she was placed on these drugs. Not to mention the numerous physical scars caused by the self-mutilation.

The drugs my daughter received are not F.D.A. approved for use in children. These drugs cause mania in 6% of all children taking them. The F.D.A. states the safety and efficacy have not been established. I ask, why are physicians allowed to prescribe off-label? I speak for myself, had I known these drugs were NOT F.D.A. approved, I would never have allowed my child to take them. What parent in their right mind would give drugs that are addictive and cause mania and psychosis? Through my experience and knowledge of the adverse affects of these medications, I ask are our children becoming violent, or is it the medications they are taking? The F.D.A. must know the answer as they fail to approve these medications for use in children.

Mr. President, please launch an investigation into the drug companies. Their greed is harming and in some cases killing our children. Eric Harris, the Columbine shooter, was on Luvox. The drug company, Solvay, has since removed this drug from the U.S. market.

I was saddened by your response to the medical community and promising to campaign for a $250,000 cap on medical mal-practice suits. Mr. President, have you truly seen the cost for medical care? Do you honestly believe $250,000 will cover the cost of breast cancer or diabetes? You should be encouraging physicians to take the time to evaluate their patients.

I am also insulted that you believe that $250,000 is sufficient in evaluating the health, dignity and reputation of a child. “Sir”, I don‚t know about you, but to me, my daughter is PRICELESS.

The drug companies and physicians are to blame for what happened to my daughter. They should be held accountable for their actions. Mr. President, how will you respond? Will you show strength and courage and protect our children? Or will you allow corporate greed to line your pockets as your look the other way?

My police department‚s officers were my heroes before September 11th. My daughter is alive today, due to their quick response, compassion and kindness. My other hero is my cousin, Jay, who is with special forces, 5th division, at Fort Campbell. My prayers were answered when he returned safely. Unfortunately, three men from his unit did not.

Mr. President, this is your opportunity to be our hero. Expose these drug companies! Prevent them from harming another child’s life. And please, dear God, don‚t ever put a price tag on the dignity or the lives of our children!

Our nation‚s children, like your children, are priceless!


Lisa VanSyckel


Lisa VanSyckel
5 Mills Court
Flemington, NJ 08822
(908) 237-9098



This is Survivor Story number 17.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

768 total views, no 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.




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

698 total views, no views today

4/9/2002 • Sugar pills offer more relief than St. John’s wort, Zoloft

4/9/2002 • Sugar pills offer more relief than St. John’s wort, Zoloft

Robert Bazell

NBC News

Even in severely depressed patients, the antidepressant drug, Zoloft, was no better than placebo.

Sugar pills offer more relief than St. John’s wort, Zoloft


Robert Bazell

NBC News

Even in severely depressed patients, the antidepressant drug, Zoloft, was no better than placebo.

Although promoted as an alternative therapy for depression, the herbal supplement St. John’s wort appears ineffective for people with moderate clinical depression, findings from a US study suggest. In the study of 340 patients diagnosed with moderate depression, St. John’s wort proved no more effective than inactive treatment with a placebo in alleviating symptoms. Active treatment with the antidepressant drug sertraline (Zoloft) worked somewhat better than placebo, according to findings published in the April 10th issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (news – web sites).

A body of evidence suggests that St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), used for more than 2,000 years to quell mood problems, does help symptoms of depression. In Germany, where many of the positive studies have been conducted, St. John’s wort is available as a prescription antidepressant.

But the quality of much of this research has been criticized—including the lack of studies using a placebo and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like sertraline, according to the authors of the new study. SSRIs are a newer class of drugs commonly used to treat depression.

To address these concerns about earlier studies, researchers led by Dr. Jonathan R. T. Davidson of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, randomly assigned patients to take St. John’s wort, sertraline or placebo for up to 26 weeks.

At the study’s end, the researchers found that neither the herb nor the drug was better than placebo in improving patients’ scores on a standard scale of depressive symptoms. Overall, nearly one third of placebo patients showed a full response to treatment, compared with roughly 24% in both the St. John’s wort and sertraline groups.

Patients on sertraline did, however, do better than placebo patients on a secondary test used to gauge a person’s daily functioning and levels of distress. The sertraline group also had a higher percentage of so-called “partial responders” to treatment than either the placebo or St. John’s wort groups.

Still, the findings do not indicate whether the herb can help people with mild depressive symptoms—a question additional research will have to address, Davidson told Reuters Health. St. John’s wort is marketed for the treatment of mild to moderate depression, but Davidson noted that it’s likely people with a range of depressive disorders try the herb.

“If someone is suffering from depression for weeks, they’re much better off going to a healthcare professional…than trying to self-treat,” he said.

And because St. John’s wort can interact with a range of drugs, including some used to treat cancer and HIV (news – web sites), people who do use the herb “should always tell their doctor they’re using it,” Davidson added.

As for the findings on sertraline, the researcher said that dosing “had a lot to do with” the lack of full response among patients on the drug. The study design permitted sertraline to be given only up to half of its highest recommended dose, and fewer patients on the drug had their doses “maximized,” compared with those on St. John’s wort or placebo.

Dosing “almost certainly contributed” to sertraline’s less-than-stellar performance in the study, according to an accompanying editorial by Drs. David J. Kupfer and Ellen Frank of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School in Pennsylvania.

They also stress that this study—along with a second one in the same journal issue documenting the rise of the “placebo effect” in recent research on depression drugs—highlight the importance of using a placebo and an active comparison drug in studies of unproven antidepressant agents.

The New York-based drug company Pfizer Inc. provided the sertraline for the study, and Lichtwer Pharma of Berlin, Germany, supplied the St. John’s wort product. Davidson holds stock in Pfizer, and has received speaker fees from both Pfizer and Lichtwer. Co-authors on the study have received funding from a number of pharmaceutical companies.

The study itself was funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

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Samples of Zoloft and Xanax turn Brother into Criminal

I am unforgiving of a medical profession who cares so little for the very human beings that they swore to help.”


After 9 long and horrible years you cannot know the relief that I am feeling after reading about all the experiences that I have read tonight.

My brother is currently serving a twenty-year sentence for a crime so completely and totally out of character for him that I am still astounded.

This was a young man who could be considered irresponsible and unmotivated at worst, at least until he started taking the prescription drugs Zoloft and Xanax.

After a period of depression that I knew then and know now to have been brought on my a sense of low self esteem my brother went to a doctor he had never been to before and explained how he was feeling. This doctor determined in less than thirty minutes of knowing my brother that what he had was “a chemical imbalance in his brain”. This man sent him home with an entire sample box of Zoloft and an entire box of Xanax. He promised my brother that he would be a brand new man in three months. He did not lie. Three months later my brother was someone that I did not know.

Buddy Joe never drank, ever. He just didn’t like it. Yet after taking the drugs for a while he began to crave alcohol. He started introducing himself to new people using the name Austin. When we questioned him he would say that he just liked the name better. He was never, and I want to stress the never part, violent. So what he was becoming was an agitated alcoholic named Austin.

He had been out all night drinking and I later learned through friends acting extremely wild. He came home and committed a crime that I still find too difficult to actually go into. He says he remembers that night like a strobe light blinking off and on in his head.

I have spent nine years knowing that the Zoloft was behind the events leading up to that night and I am so thankful to have read the different stories sent in by so many people with different and yet similar experiences.

My heart breaks for those who have lost those that they love to the horrors of these medications. But I am unforgiving of a medical profession who cares so little for the very human beings that they swore to help.

Thank you all for sharing your stories.


Annette Royce



This is Survivor Story number 31.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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A Stockbroker’s Story on Zoloft

“I’m so stressed out over nothing I feel like I’m going crazy.”


I can not begin to tell you how sorry I am to read about your terrible tragedy. (“He Never Said Goodbye”–posted here) I am a 30-year-old man with a son and family of my own. When I read your story it brought real tears to my eyes. What you’’ve done to tell your story, as hard as it is to do, is for the best. It needs to be told more and more.

I will do my part to educate as many people as I can about the effects of this terrible drug myself.

In late August of last year as I was driving home from work when I began to have severe chest pains. So bad I had to pull over to the side of the road, call my wife to “say goodbye”, then call 911. When the ambulance arrived I was already feeling better, but they took me to the hospital anyway. They did all the tests and it wasn’’t a heart attack. So 2 nights later I get the same thing again (chest pains). This time no Hospital visit. Anyway, my regular Dr. sends me for every test that can be performed on a heart. When they come back negative, she sends me for every test that can be performed on every other organ that is housed within my chest, gall bladder, liver, gastro etc. All come back negative.

Because I’ve been a Stockbroker for some time, I manage more than $100m in client assets, and have witnessed a “great deal” of wealth lost by my clients over the last couple of years, which I took personally. My Dr. said my condition was a Panic/ Anxiety disorder and put me on 50mg Zoloft.

I, not knowing anything about it, and completely trusting my Dr. took it religiously every day until early Feb. Things were starting to get better in the market, and at home etc… no more chest pains etc… Decided I didn’t need it anymore. After 3 days of not having it I was forced to get back on it to avoid the dizziness from the withdrawal. I tapered like I was told. Doesn’t work. I’m so stressed out over nothing I feel like I’m going crazy. The dizziness is unbearable. –Almost killed one of my colleagues over a comment I would have laughed about 2 months ago. When I bought a bad Go-Kart for my kid for $1500, and was forced to take it back after 1 day the guy charged me $200 to take it back. I began to “egg” his store window religiously every Sat. night (including the last one) for 6 weeks straight now. I’m a model citizen. Pillar in the community, handling senior citizens entire retirement portfolios and I’m egging a business over $200 bucks. I find myself in a lot of situations asking myself what would Vito Corleone (Godfather) do in these different situations. I hope I can get back to my old self again soon. Because I’ve never been clinically depressed a day in my life. But seem to be heading that way fast.

Anyway, enough about me. I wanted to take the time, and drop this to you, because I know your son is with God. I know you will be with him again someday. I haven’t had a tear swell up in my eyes in probably years. But when I read your post, I thought about my son, and could just imagine the pain. The unbearable pain that you must feel. I don’t even know you, and I’m dealing with my own thing right now, but I swear to God if there is anything I can do for you people, “anything” at all, let me know.

God bless you, and your family!




This is Survivor Story number 33.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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