Terrified on Effexor

“I could not even go out to my car to go to the hospital. I became terrified, I could not leave the house.”

 

I just read the article from Pat Spruill regarding [her experiences] being a volunteer on a hot-line. I too called a hot-line after about 3 days on Effexor. (The girl at the distress center was condescending and I really should have reported her but was too upset.) I became immobilized, I could not even go out to my car to go to the hospital. I became terrified, I could not leave the house. I felt like what I imagine a moose feels like looking into the headlights of a car. It was the worst experience I ever had on anti-depressants. (I have tried Prozac, Zoloft , Zyban (Wellbutrin), all with extreme negative side effects.) Had I not known that this was a reaction to the drug, I honestly do not think I would be here today. Luckily my son was home at the time. The worst of this is that when I reported it to my family doctor he said, “Oh those reactions go away after 2-3 weeks.” My pharmacist advised me that this was an abnormal reaction and not to take anymore. Depression, sad to say, is still today looked upon as something folks bring upon themselves ..even by our doctors; so the easiest way for the doctors to “keep us quiet” is to dope us up and hope we go away. (I plan to report my doctor when I find a new one.)

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 88.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

Prozac prescribed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

“It was, by far, the most terrifying experience of my life; I literally felt like I was losing my mind, being taken over by an alien force.”

 

To make an excruciatingly long story tolerably short, I was given Prozac for Chronic Fatigue syndrome by my GP. I was on it for a year with no major problems, in fact I quite liked the unsought-for increase in confidence, sociability, etc.

After stopping, I began experiencing a whole host of ‘mental problems’ that I’d never had before. This began as a strange and almost indescribable difference in perception; it was as if I saw things without any emotional response. Even the simple, everyday things — looking at a tree, a dog, being in a roomful of people listening to conversation – took on a bizarre, otherworldly aspect. It was as if I were on some kind of anesthetic while still awake. This escalated over a period of several months until it took on the form of full-blown depersonalization disorder. At the same time, I began experiencing episodes of derealization and extreme LSD-like experiences, a constant experience of mental impairment, and severe loss of short-term memory. My doctor said he’d never heard of such a thing and referred me to a psychiatrist, who proceeded to tell me that this wasn’t caused by the drug, but that my ‘illness’ had gotten worse. ‘What illness,’ quoth I. ‘Your depression,’ quoth he. When I told him that never had depression, just fatigue and food allergies, and I’d certainly never had any of these extreme forms of mental illness before or anything remotely like them, he looked at me blankly for a minute, and then somehow convinced me that they had just ‘happened,’ that my condition had just coincidentally deteriorated, that I’d always ‘really been depressed’ and just hadn’t known it, and that what I needed to do to make these things go away was to go back on the drug. I was in desperate straits, scared out of my wits and appeared to have no other options. I did as he said, re-started Prozac. All the symptoms immediately got worse. I was having constant, unremitting LSD-like experiences, horrible, nauseatingly violent dreams, a constant state of unremitting depersonalization and derealization to the point where I could barely function. It was, by far, the most terrifying experience of my life; I literally felt like I was losing my mind, being taken over by an alien force.

I went to several other psychiatrists to try to find an ‘expert’ who could explain all of this. Dr. Daniel Aurbach (quoted in a recent story in Newsweek as a Prozac authority) told me that he’d never heard of Prozac causing any of these phenomena, that I should not worry, it was ‘a very safe drug.’ Dr. Deborah Nadel of UCLA told me that she’d ‘bet money’ that this had nothing to do with Prozac, that I should increase the dose, and that I needed to take Klonopin for my ‘anxiety,’ and go into therapy, which I did for several weeks. Eventually, I could no longer bear the asininity of sitting in a room talking to this woman about my childhood while tripping my brains out on a drug, hallucinating and having out-of-the-body experiences, nauseatingly violent dreams (when I was even able to sleep) and not being able to remember what I did yesterday. I expressed my concerns to Dr. Nadel about the approach we were taking; she told me that I should take a neuroleptic (anti-psychotic medication). To my eternal credit, I did not throw her out the window, but, patient guy that I am, went to a few more shrinks. They all told me basically the same things:

Prozac doesn’t do this, you must have ‘already’ been mentally disturbed (or this just ‘happened,’ nothing to do with the drug), all reports of adverse effects from Prozac were started by the Scientologists, why don’t you try a neuroleptic, they’re safe in small doses, etc. etc. etc. One morning, after waking up in sheer terror from a particularly horrible dream in which men in masks were ripping first the eye-balls and then the brains out of two young girls, I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet, letting the water in the sink run to give me something other than my mind to listen to. ‘Jesus,’ I thought, ‘what the *hell* could a dream like that possibly mean? What is happening to me?’ ‘It doesn’t matter,’ said a clear, calm voice in my mind, ‘because I’m going to kill myself.’

In that moment, I realized that I didn’t give a rat’s ass what any psychiatrist said. I was stopping this shit no matter what. I’d walked into this with a mild case of fatigue and some food allergies, and now I’m sitting here on the edge of psychosis with a voice telling me to off myself. I don’t think so.

I went to a doctor I’d seen several years before, Dr. Murray Susser, one of the foremost authorities on the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related disorders. I knew that he had prescribed anti-depressant medications (I’d read his book), and I also knew him to be a knowledgeable, widely educated, intelligent and decent man. I told him my story. When I got to the part about everybody telling me that it ‘couldn’t be the drug,’ he looked up from his notes and said “Bullshit! It’s the drug. I see this kind of thing all the time. I don’t know how these psychiatrists can be in such denial, the literature is full of reactions like this.” We talked for a long time, figuring out a workable program for safely tapering off the drug, and for trying to get myself back in shape afterward. I left his office feeling hope for the first time in eight months.

Happily, right at that time, I found the book ‘Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?’ by Ann Blake Tracy, which I promptly read. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel; this book described everything that had happened to me in great detail, gave scientific reasons why it happened, backed it all up with solid research, included testimonials from hundreds of others in the same situation, and even gave me some insight as to how seven of the top psychiatrists in LA could be so amazingly, criminally inept.

I thought about suing them. For about thirty seconds. How could I prove what this stuff has done to me? For me, the most frightening aspect of this whole adventure, even more so than journeying to the brink of insanity, is the realization that these psychiatrists have all this power and authority to proclaim what is and isn’t real as regards your own mental function and sense of self, whether they have any real idea what they’re talking about or not. [I’ve learned that] SSRI’s can, in fact, cause LSD-like experiences, due to their artificial raising of 5HT (the chemical that LSD achieves its effect by mimicking). However, it’s not ‘fun, trippy acid’ kind of stuff. It’s more like LSD mixed with PCP mixed with anesthesia, mixed with Sulfur from the Pits of Hell, and like the energizer bunny, it keeps going and going and going…

As for depersonalization disorder (something the docs all told me Prozac couldn’t be the cause of): it’s listed right on the package insert as a possible side-effect. Too bad none of these guys thought it worth-while to give to me. Or read…..I like to learn from my experiences. In searching for positive aspects to this whole thing, I can say I now have at least some idea what schizophrenia might be like. For whatever that’s worth.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 82.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

Hospitalized on Paxil

“Has psychiatry’s faith in medication become so strong that the last thing they can imagine is that medication might be what is causing a problem?”

 

I was in and out of the hospital 5 times during the 8 month period on the drug in 1996. I suffered delusions, impulsiveness, roadrage (bumped a car ahead of me repeatedly), spent an entire night trying to put a T-shirt on–I had forgotten how to dress myself, and I couldn’t lie still. Eventually (I am told) I began hearing voices, became unconscious, and was in intensive care for ten days on the danger list, writhing around. Only then did they think to take me off the medication! They had actually added other drugs, rather than stop the Paxil!

When I regained consciousness I was in a black mood and let them use ECT on me.

What an assault on me! I’m angry! Shouldn’t my inability to dress myself have been a sign that I should be taken off all medication, rather than adding another drug?

Has psychiatry’s faith in medication become so strong that the last thing they can imagine is that medication might be what is causing a problem?

Ed Robinson
erob@people-link.com

Years 2000

This is Survivor Story number 72.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

Withdrawal from Paxil

“Please get this message out…”

 

After trying several different antidepressants my doctor put me on Paxil. I stayed on it for about eight months but just didn’t like the way it made me feel. I felt like I wasn’t really living, just existing and I was extremely tired. I would fall asleep at nine at night and have trouble waking in the morning.

I decided to go off it VERY SLOWLY and without much help at all from my doctor. This is when my nightmare began. I experienced all kinds of symptoms- depression, uncontrolled bouts of crying, unable to get out of bed, dizziness, my head swimming and what I can only describe as brain attacks. I felt like I had some kind of brain damage . My doctor was completely unable to help me so I took Xanax to help counter the withdrawal symptoms. It helped a little. I even felt suicidal for the first time in my life. I thought I would never wake from this nightmare. Two months later I was still not completely off Paxil and the symptoms were still awful. I finally called a doctor in another state I had gone to in college and he told me there were several things I could have done to ease all this but since my dosage was now so small he told me to just stick it out and within about ten days of stopping completely I should start to feel better.

Well it took about another six weeks after stopping completely to feel normal again. Now another two months later I feel that I have recuperated from a serious illness. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to be off this drug completely. I am angry at my doctor for not telling me there are withdrawal symptoms from Paxil. None of the literature from the manufacturer mentions this. I would have never taken this drug had I known. The only thing that kept me going was reading the internet and knowing so many people were experiencing the same thing. PLEASE GET THE MESSAGE OUT TO PEOPLE THAT STOPPING IS POSSIBLE. There are so many others who just give up and stay on the drug to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 73.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

He always kept his promises.

“I know with absolute certainty that he could not have committed this act on his own.”–by Richard Schultz, his brother

 

Leonard Schultz
on his 50th Birthday
7/11/1948–11/29/1998

He was quiet and unpretentious. Someone who always played by the rules and rarely complained. If you passed him on the street you probably would not recall the encounter. However, if you were in trouble or needed a hand, he would be the first to offer help. You wouldn’t even have to ask. He could never refuse a request for a donation or assistance, even from strangers, and he could never walk by a Salvation Army kettle without putting a few dollars in the slot.

With small acts of kindness and courtesy, he made the lives of those he touched a little brighter. By example, he taught us how we should treat one another. He was a cherished husband, a loving father, a helpful and considerate neighbor, a valued employee and a wonderful person. He left behind a wife of 20 years, and a son that he adored. He always kept his promises.

It was a time when several significant changes were occurring in his life. His son had recently left home for his freshman year at college. He had just celebrated his 50th birthday, which is often a time for pondering and reflection. He had worked for his employer for 30 years and was eligible to take an early retirement. His wife had been encouraging him to retire and move to Florida where he could continue to work part time, but he was uncertain about taking this step. He loved his job. It gave him great satisfaction and a sense of worth. He worked as an industrial electrician for one of the large automobile manufacturers. He was extremely proficient at repairing and maintaining the complex machinery on the assembly lines. He was a prized employee who was relied on to quickly diagnose and repair problems and keep the plant’s assembly lines running.

I believe that these significant life events along with the uncertainty concerning his retirement must have combined to cause him to feel some symptoms of depression. Based on my conversations with the authorities, and with the people who were in contact with him in his final days I have pieced together these events. On November 15, 1998 he was having trouble sleeping. He was experiencing heaviness in the chest, and some anxiousness. He went to the local hospital emergency room where he was given an examination and various tests. The result of all of the tests were negative. He was given a prescription for 30 mg capsules of Temazepam to aid in sleeping, and was advised to contact his primary care physician. On November 23, 1998 he went to the local Family Practice Center and saw one of the doctors on their staff. This was his first and only visit with this doctor.

During the screening with the doctor, he again indicated that he had not been sleeping well and mentioned that he was feeling depressed. The doctor prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft. The prescribed dosage for the Zoloft was 50 mg for 14 days followed by a 100 mg dosage thereafter. He actually only took the Zoloft for 5 days before his death.

It was the week of the Thanksgiving holiday. He took the entire week off from work. As previously planned, he and his wife flew to her sister’s in Texas where they celebrated the holiday along with their son who met them there. By all accounts they had a wonderful holiday and reunion. The only indication that something was amiss was when he mentioned to his sister-in-law that he was feeling agitated, and felt like he wanted to “crawl out of his skin”. He and his wife flew back home on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, arriving at their house at about 2 AM. They went to bed immediately. His wife remembers waking at about 4:30 AM and seeing him sleeping next to her. Sometime after 4:30 AM he got out of bed, took the prescription bottle from his yet unpacked luggage, went to the kitchen and took another Zoloft tablet. (The police found the opened bottle and partial glass of water on the counter.)

Shortly afterwards he got a gun, went into his back yard and ended his life. We were stunned and horrified at what happened.

We spent days looking for clues, any indication that he had been troubled and had been contemplating this act. We found nothing. I spoke to everyone I could. His family, the doctor, his neighbors, his closest friends at work, and the investigating authorities. It made no sense to anyone. The only unknown factor was the medication that he had started taking. I began searching on the Internet and found the www.drugawareness.org web site. There, I found some accounts that were so similar to what happened to my brother. I could only read them over and over again in disbelief.

I knew my brother better than any other living being. While growing up we were inseparable. We were often mistaken for twins. We looked alike. We acted alike. We knew each other’s thoughts without speaking. I know with absolute certainty that he could not have committed this act on his own. It must have been an adverse reaction to the drug. There simply is no other possible explanation.

He had everything to live for. He loved his family and his friends. He was at the top of his game. He had a private pilot’s license and was flying regularly. It was a hobby that he thoroughly enjoyed. He had recently gone to a racing school in North Carolina where he learned how to drive a top fuel dragster at over 200 miles per hour. I watched the video tapes of his runs and remember how I admired his skill and courage. There were many things that we had planned to do together. He had asked me to look for a good used recreation vehicle for him to buy so that he might use it to ease into retirement mode. He had never seen Cape Cod. He promised that his wife and he would join me and my family on our next annual vacation trip there.

His wife Paula adds the following to this account: “My husband would never have left us in the way that he did. Leonard was a very giving, loving husband, and enjoyed life. It is important to know that Leonard abhorred suicide. Two years ago my stepfather’s brother committed suicide and I remember Leonard and I discussing it. He said ‘Why would someone do something so stupid? There are so many other options to help you get through life’s problems.’ Leonard was very organized. He would methodically research every major purchase and every vacation trip. Everything was always well planned ahead of time. Before we went on a trip he would always make sure that the bills were paid and everything with the house and car was in good working order. He hadn’t done anything differently in the months, the weeks, or even the days before he left us. There were so many things that he would have taken care of if he had known that he was leaving, but they were left by the wayside. He left no note nor any other signs that this had been planned or even pondered. I am convinced by both the timing and the things that he left unfinished, that the Zoloft that he was taking affected his judgment and ability so severely that the drug itself is responsible for his untimely death. We are now left with only the memories of how special a person he was instead of having him here to continue his life with us.”

I cannot begin to explain how different life is now for his wife and son, nor can I describe the void we now have in our lives, so I will not try. We will forever remember him as someone who, except for this one time, always kept his promises.

His wife Paula Schultz can be reached at PSchultz1@aol.com

His brother Richard Schultz can be reached at Richard_Schultz@yahoo.com

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 76.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

Mother of Four Suffers Extreme Anxiety on Prozac

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

CYNTHIA
valarie30@yahoo.com

 

Years 2000 and Prior

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

One Woman’s Experience with Prozac

“I feel that many women get drugs [because doctors] cannot spend time over a period of several years with a patient to discover what is really wrong.”

 

Several years ago I got divorced and was of course very upset during this period. I went to several “talk” therapists who I did not feel comfortable with. Like buying any other service you have to shop around for someone who can help you that you also feel comfortable with, whether it is drug and/or talk therapy. After running through several therapists, I ended up with a drug-oriented therapist who prescribed Prozac and monthly monitoring sessions. I then took the Prozac for “depression” (due to on-going life problems and some poor life skills of course I was depressed) for six months and decided not to take it any more for the following reasons:

a. during the six months I took the Prozac, I got six ear and/or sinus infections. I usually get one to two bad colds a year, maybe the flu or a strep throat.

b. my joints ached clicked, especially in my jaws. My dentist of long standing took x-rays and discovered “previously undiagnosed” TMJ and I had to go through expensive dental therapy for this during the time I was on the Prozac. The dentist asked me if I was taking any prescription drugs, which I told him about the Prozac. He said he had done part of his internship in a mental hospital, as well as working there on a part time basis to earn money for school, and Prozac and Zoloft were often given to the patients to chill them out and be more controllable for the staff, and not to really help them with any illnesses or anything going on in their lives.

c. various other “miscellaneous” symptoms including weight gain, a lot of weight, even though this medicine was also supposed to make me both lose weight and not want to eat as in Meridia (affects serotonin levels). I did not want to eat for about the first two weeks I was on this drug (about the standard life-cycle of over-the-counter diet medicine available at your local drug store, and then as it began to “work” (“it takes a month to work,” said the doctor), my appetite returned plus some. In my experience it is supposed to make you “happy” but it makes you “overeat happily”, or keep on with your behavior that needed change before the drugs or in other words happily not address whatever your issues were before you started taking the Prozac.

d. my blood prolactin levels went way up. At my next gynecological exam I told the doctor (the gynecologist, not the psychiatrist) about the weight gain and the prolactin levels. Before I even had a chance to say I was on Prozac, he said “are you taking anti-depressants” and that in his experience these were common side effects of taking anti-depressants. This was a very good doctor who I had seen for years, and he knew I was in the middle of a divorce. His opinion was that the anti-depressants were not going settle a bad life experience and I should get someone to talk to rather than prescribe drugs and that if I really wanted something to “take the edge off so I could cope,” there were many older, way milder, and more effective drugs to take, just for a short time, until things calmed down in my life.

e. I never had anyone suggest that maybe a complete physical would also help. I am still very overweight and they want to give me Meridia for it. My insurance will not pay for this or Xenical because they say there are too many side effects they said it causes enough side effects for them to begin to see it as “uneconomic” because they would have to pay to cure the (preventable and avoidable) side effects and that they won’t pay for it and that it would be foolish for me as well to pay out of pocket good money that I don’t have for something with many serious side effects and minimal/marginal good effects. I have also been on birth control pills for medical reasons not to do with avoiding pregnancy (another story) with similar effects to the Prozac.

f. I stopped taking the Prozac, fortunately no side effects, and found a therapist that I liked, in this case a “feminist.” Unfortunately by this time my insurance was close to running out so I had to space out visits, and then I had to pay out of pocket because I had to change to a health plan she did not use.

g. Unfortunately the health insurers do not like to pay for talk therapy, it seems to me because it easier to pay for one 15-minute visit monthly than for one or two weekly sessions that might go on for a year or two, in addition to visits for medication if the person needs that as well. It also seems that there is no way to “shop around” for a person who can help you without using up your allowed visits. So people who could use the help end up with not enough help or the wrong help or no help or end up in a clinic.

h. I feel that many women get drugs (because they are women, a social issue) and that doctors either do not understand what the drugs really do or cannot spend time over a period of several years with a patient to discover what is really wrong that may take a while to discover, such as endometriosis, PCOD, women’s physiology, life problems, and we just get pills thrown at us to make us happy with the status quo instead of just listening. We know the doctors have many patients and not much time and we don’t need them to kiss the ground we walk on but we would like to feel that we are listened to.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 70.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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

Uncontrolled Crying Withdrawing from Effexor

“Two days after my last dose was hell.”

 

One issue not brought up yet in the Effexor stories is that because it is so fast-acting, it should be taken at the same time every day. If I had known this, I would have disqualified myself from this medication.

If I had known about the withdrawal, I also would have decided to go without “this time.” But there would have been a next time. Now there won’t be a next time.
My initial complaint was a “different sort of depressed” feeling. Not like the major depressions I’ve had in the past, but uncontrolled crying and irritability. My psychiatrist, now that she is leaving her group, tells me that she was not allowed to offer psychotherapy, only drugs. I was not told this when I saw her, but I admit I was open to more drugs. I thought I had responded well to Zoloft in the past, but didn’t like being anorgasmic. I had responded very badly to Serzone. She first put me on Buspar, as she felt I was more anxious than depressed. I gave it what I felt to be a decent try (about 3 months) but the dizziness never really went away, and although I drink less than one drink a week, I was going to Tuscany and felt it quite unfair that I couldn’t drink while there. So I took myself off in about 2 weeks and one step down.
A month or so after I returned from the vacation, I was put on Effexor because of extreme fatigue, lethargy and bothersome “fuzzy brain”(that I had also brought to my GP and she had been unable to diagnose). [Note that all of these effects are listed as withdrawal symptoms with the SSRIs. Dr. Tracy]

I spent the next 5 months increasing my dosage on Effexor because it didn’t appear to be making anything worse, but I was still not better. I had also been suffering from extreme constipation (concurrent with the removal of Buspar) which after many GI tests my GI doctor ruled as “mulitcausal” and washed his hands of me.

The constipation became significantly less bothersome after a major stress date in my life passed. But by then insomnia compounded by nightmares were added to my list of symptoms.

I talked to all 3 doctors about the increasing muscle spasms I had been noticing. “That’s normal”was the most response I got. I was referred to a neurologist, who could find nothing but lessened reflexes on one leg. I was intermittently experiencing buzzing in my brain that I was afraid to mention to anyone.
I felt urges to voluntarily spasm my neck muscles, and the longer I delayed doing so, the more it felt involuntary when I finally relented (voluntary tics??). I worried about myself!!

Since I hope to get pregnant soon, my husband and I decided that I needed to get off of the Effexor — definitely not enough benefit for that kind of risk. I weaned myself in what I thought was a slow manner — a minimum of a week between drops, some drops I stayed on for 2 1/2 weeks. 5 drops in all.

Two days after my last dose (yesterday) was hell — and I also received “Prozac Backlash”in the mail. Talk about reading about yourself! I now believe that many of the symptoms that kept me on the Effexor were really withdrawal symptoms!
I would sometimes take it at 10 in the morning, sometimes at 2 in the afternoon. If I’d forgotten, I would take it at night and then try to wait until the evening the next day, but then would be back to the morning.

Now I am very worried about how long I will be experiencing all the buzzing and dizziness (ironic, my left ear says “quack quack”to me a few times a minute), the urge to spasm, the crying and irritability (thank God my husband not only understands but is very relieved to finally have a reason for some of my complaints!).

And my psychiatrist? I saw her about two weeks ago and let her know how I had been coming off the Effexor. She never mentioned any side effects or to take it slower. I indicated that I would like: 1) a short-term sleeping aide to help get my sleep schedule back on track and 2) something to take when the stress builds up to too much and I “flip”. My preference is to sleep until I am better, and I didn’t want to keep raiding my medicine cabinet for whatever heavy-duty painkillers were still in there.

What did she prescribe? Neurontin. To take “as needed”for both purposes. No wonder there is such a movement towards “alternative”medicine. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust a drug prescription again.

I am so glad I am not exposing a growing fetus to this!

L G
Austin, TX

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 49.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

Kerri’s Story – My Dark Place on Psychotropic Drugs and ECT

“I had the “electric jitz which feels literally like hot coals inside your back.”

 

An Introduction by Ann Blake-Tracy

I am so concerned at how many I continue to see go through ECT because of reactions they are having to the SSRIs that doctors refuse to see! There is absolutely no need for someone to go through the additional trauma and damage caused by forced seizure activity from an electrical current when what is needed is withdrawal from the offending medication. And why do these doctors remain ignorant of the fact that ECT contraindicated while on SSRI medication due to the risk of the life threatening reaction of “Serotonin Syndrome”? We continue to suffer from an abundance of ignorance about these meds.
———-
I wanted to share my story as a psychiatric drug survivor. I am a college student, I was a senior earlier but this year I had withdraw because of the above problem (i.e. psychiatric drugs) so next year I am to have my senior year.
In August I went to the doctor to refill my anxiety med, Xanax, and because I was concerned with my increasing number of panic attacks. The nurse practitioner refused to give me klonopin (my friend is on that for her anxiety) and instead thrust Paxil at me.

She told me I would “feel crummy for a week” but that after 6-8 weeks it would help my anxiety attacks and it would feel like I wasn’t on anything at all. Stupidly and to my detriment I believed her. I was put on 10 mg. I only lasted 6 days on the stuff! I lost 10 pounds in that period, was dry-heaving and horribly nauseated, I had the “electric jitz” which feels literally like hot coals inside your back (I swear that to God!), palpitations, WORSE anxiety that could not be diminished, I became detached, was unable to concentrate, was crying uncontrollably, had awful stomach gas so tight I couldn’t breathe, had breathing problems, my period lasted 11 days and was heavier than I could ever remember it being, I was constipated, then I had constant diarrhea. Then my thoughts started to race. I went back to the doctor and he just looked at me and asked me why didn’t I just take my Xanax for the anxiety! They told me I was fine, and that it was panic and that I’d be fine. But oh no, fine was the last thing I was. I tried to keep working at my job and had to quit, went back to school and they found me a psychiatrist, who told me that I’d get better and that there were lots of things out there to help me. So he tried me on Celexa.

I was now TERRIFIED of the SSRIs so I didn’t want to, but I tried it for 2 days and stopped it because it made my jitteriness much worse again. So then Dr. H gave me Desipramine. I tried to go to classes, but finally had to withdraw because the meds were making me sicker and sicker and more depressed. I was now down to 84 pounds. This was in early October. My parents took me home to GA, where we found a meds doctor, Dr. W. I slipped farther and farther into the abyss, and then suddenly the Desipramine lifted my mood. It worked like that for ten days, but all the while the racing thoughts were prominent, and my hands kept shaking, and I was well, “high.” Then it kicked out.

So Dr. W upped my dosage (I was at 150 mg) too 200mg, and overdosed me, so I wound up in the hospital because apparently I was threatening to throw myself over the railing of our house or something. (NOTE: not once during the whole ordeal did I ever attempt anything, I merely thought about it).

I saw a Dr. K, there, and he started me on Effexor. This med didn’t work, and it never did anything too bad to my body or mind. Finally, since that wasn’t working, Dr. K put me on this stuff called Risperdal and Depakote. He overdosed me again!! My parents tell me (I have no recollection of this and am thankful to God that I don’t) that I was literally running up and down the stairs because my body couldn’t keep still, the tremors were so bad.

Dr. K wound up going on vacation, and this great doctor, Dr. A. filled in for him. I knew one thing. Dr. A. did ECT. Dr. A. suggested I try Prozac (I was even more terrified after both Paxil, Celexa, and the other meds) but apparently I asked him if I could get ECT done since I knew it was the very last resort and I didn’t really think I’d like to stay like that for the rest of my life. So I got the ECT and within 3 treatments, I was COMPLETELY BACK TO NORMAL. I had all my feelings back, I was ME, I was peppy like usual, I felt terrific! I wish I could remember how it was to wake up that way. My mother told me that I went to sleep and woke up at 4 one afternoon, completely myself again. It was a true miracle. Apparently this is very unusual with ECT because it’s supposed to take many more treatments before you are anywhere near well. After I was done with he ECT the doctors still had me on Prozac.

While I will ill, all I ever said were 3 things: 1) “I’m never going to get better” 2) It’s permanent brain damage” and 3) I want to die. So the idiot doctors diagnosed me as OCD. So I’m fine by February, but all of a sudden my body starts rejecting the Prozac. My vision started blurring out (this was also because of the ECT medication), my anxiety level was rising (I was popping an anxiety pill every 2 days at this point), my limbs were twitching and jumping, I was getting more of that awful stomach gas, and I was starting to get scared. So I made my doctor get me off it and he let me stop it abruptly (since doing that with the other SSRIs is hazardous to your health!!!) and now I am only on 7 mg of Remeron which I am getting off of late this month.

I wanted to sue because of all the losses I suffered this year including: my mental and physical health; my dumping my boyfriend while I was stoned on tranquilizers, the loss of my senior year of college with friends that I have been with for the last 4 years, all the trouble getting reinstated at my college, the nightmares, my fear of even taking ibuprofen for a headache, or even a vitamin, my hatred of psychiatric medicines, therapists, and the drug companies, my fear of going back to that dark place, all that lost time!!!! But I can’t sue because I’m not in the mood to wait a few years for any decision.

So I am just going to file with the FDA. Thank you for reading this, if I sent this wrong, please post it up on this site for me.

God bless you for your intelligence on these matters.

Kerri

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 50.
Total number of stories in current database is 96