For the first time I know I am not nuts!

“I’ve been on Zoloft for about a year and a half and I’ve hated every day of it.”

I’ve been reading through the posts on this site and thanking God that I really am not crazy!

I’ve been on Zoloft for about a year and a half and I’ve hated every day of it. The days I hate the most are when I can’t afford to refill it. I’ve told my doctor several times to please get me OFF THIS! When I can’t afford it I have to stop abruptly. THAT IS HELL!

My face goes numb. Then I my heart starts to skip so bad I can’t stop coughing. Sometimes it even throws me into a full fledged asthma attack even worse sometimes MAJOR panic attacks!

I just want to know how to stop. I just need to get off it. I am not glad that I am not the only who has had this happen but at the same time it’s bitter sweet because at least I am not alone.

If anyone has suggestions PLEASE email me.

Tina
MyMagic8Ball@hotmail.com

 

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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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Celexa / Citalopram Hell

realized now that the hell I was going through was a direct result of taking Celexa.”

 

Hopefully my story will be an eye-opener to those who are offered this drug (as SSRIs are so commonly offered to those unknowingly suffering from BZD-induced depression and/or withdrawal).

About 2.5 years ago, I was prescribed Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil) for depression. I had no other symptoms of “anxiety disorders”, etc, I was just “down”. I was assured that it was a wonderful, revolutionary new drug—-safe, non-addictive. A veritable happy-pill; nothing short of a wonder-drug.

Little did I know that this drug was anything but safe, harmless, or non-addictive; little did I know how this drug was going to ruin my life.

Initially, Celexa didn’t appear to be very effective, and so my dose was increased (from 20mg/day to 40mg/day, then to 60mg/day, if I remember correctly). “Nothing to worry about”, or so I was told.

I experienced two major side-effects whilst on Celexa (the real problems began later). I lost all short and medium-term memory. To this day, I can remember very little of those six months of my life. Furthermore, my mood drastically altered. Far from alleviating my depression, I became angry, withdrawn, and more depressed than ever before.

After six months of being on Celexa, I was brought rapidly (far too rapidly) off it over the period of a few weeks, and eventually came fully off them.

Two weeks later, all hell broke loose.

At first, I thought it was a very bad case of flu—-all my joints and muscles ached to the point of burning, my sinuses became painful, all the lymph nodes in my body swelled up. My head seemed as though it was on fire; unlike any migraine I had ever experienced before. I rapidly lost weight until I was well under 7.5 stone (about 105lbs or 45kg, and I’m about 5’10” in height). Everything I ate, I vomited straight back up, I couldn’t keep food down at all (and at one point, I couldn’t keep water down either). My memory was the same as when I was on the drugs (i.e. very little).

I felt like I was dying—-and if I’d lost much more weight, I probably would have.

I went back to our doctor’s surgery. He diagnosed that I was suffering from “some severe condition like glandular fever”, and had me rushed up into inpatient admissions at our local hospital.

I’ll spare you the details of the incredibly poor hospital treatment I received; I was bombarded with all kinds of obtuse theories about my suffering, which were eventually winkled down to “unidentified viral infection” and “possibly CFS/ME”.

A few months later, I was still suffering—-I’d made a slight improvement, and then the illness seemed to reverse course, and I got rapidly worse again. Once again I saw the same doctor; once again he seemed genuinely concerned; once again I was admitted to hospital. This time they added a little twist to their already absurd theories; I apparently had “both CFS/ME and severe sinusitis”. To combat this supposed sinusitis, I was put on a regimen of both intravenous and oral antibiotics.

Bear in mind that, at this point, I had no reason to suspect that Celexa, or, rather, my withdrawal from it, was causing these symptoms.

I was on these antibiotics for what seemed like an eternity; in total, I’d guess I was given the equivalent of around 50 courses of antibiotics. Needless to say, my body became much weaker as a result.

It was now about a year since I had come off Celexa. My condition seemed to be gradually improving, but I was still incapacitated by the symptoms. Due to circumstances that I don’t plan on making public, I became aware of the side effects of another class of psychotropic drugs, benzodiazepines.

A little research revealed that many, many others had experienced unnervingly similar symptoms and conditions after withdrawing from not only Celexa—-but other SSRIs, notably Paxil (Seroxat, paroxetine), as well.

I realized now that the hell I was going through was a direct result of taking Celexa.

“After about 2 to 2.5 years, you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel” —-paraphrased words of a Paxil survivor.

It’s now about 2.5 years since I withdrew from Celexa. Over this time, I’ve been making—-and continue to make—-a very slow, gradual recovery. I have two or three residual symptoms, but they are very, very slowly diminishing in intensity. I have near-constant pain and inflammation in one side of my head; and my memory and concentration is still not 100% of what it was.

Chances are that what Ashton says is true; neurological repair after damage by psychotropic drugs does occur in time.

This kind of experience is not unique. Try reading through the antidepressant web (http://www.socialaudit.org.uk/), drugawareness.org (https://www.drugawareness.org/), Paxil survivors, etc, etc resources.

My experience has surely brought new meaning to the phrase “hell on earth”. Be warned; accept these drugs at your peril.

James Moore

 

5/29/2002

This is Survivor Story number 23.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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A Teenager’s Journey into Prozac Hell

“He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality.”

 

My 17 yr. old son was prescribed Prozac after being diagnosed with mild clinical depression. We were told the side effects could be headache, stomach upset and anxiety for a few days. When I voiced concerns about this drug, stating that I heard it caused violent behavior etc. I was told that these were “fairy stories” and that Prozac was an excellent drug. He started Prozac and we hoped for the best.

He had been sleeping excessively, and after one day on Prozac, he woke up and said that he had woken up a few times during that first night. I figured the drug was starting to work. About a week later he announced that he had talked back to a teacher at school. ( very unlike him) I told him never to do that again. A week after that he came home from being out with friends, and he seemed very agitated. I asked him what was going on and he told me that he felt like a bully and had almost gotten into many fights at school. He said he didn’t care about anything, and if someone died, he wouldn’t even care. He said he felt his friends were becoming afraid of him. This was after about 3 weeks on Prozac.
I immediately called the doctor and told them I wanted him OFF this drug. He was becoming a different person and it wasn’t good. She asked me a few questions and said maybe we should try another drug. She never told us to taper him off this drug. She said to keep him off of it a week and then start on a small dose of Zoloft.

When he went off Prozac He was a wreck. He was shaking, had headaches, felt anxious, and kept telling me he needed some kind of medicine. It was as though he was craving some kind of drug. He then started on Zoloft.

He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality. The doctor now told me to take him off Zoloft. Again, we were never told to taper him off. He just stopped. We now know that going off of these drugs cold-turkey is the worst thing that you can do.

Then the hell started. Total change in him. He was hardly sleeping, and when he did sleep, he had horrid, violent dreams. He could not concentrate on anything, and his short term memory was shot. He said and did things that were totally unlike him. It should be noted that he had NEVER HAD ANY OF THIS HAPPEN BEFORE HE WAS ON PROZAC. He saw a therapist who suggested that he was bipolar, and he would have none of her. He asked me if he was going crazy, and told me he felt “criminally insane” in his mind. He said his thoughts were horrible.

At this point, I got on the internet and discovered Dr. Tracy’s web page. Everything my son had been going through was there in black and white. I sent for her book, and discussed it with our pediatrician. His advice was to let my son “dry out.” We told our son what we thought was happening, and hoped for the best. However, twice during the next month he became hypomanic, and wanted us to take him to the emergency room. We knew that they would only pump him full of more drugs, so we decided to wait out the episodes. The morning after each episode he seemed much better. However, his mood now became very unpredictable: it swung up and down from day to day. He also suffered tremendous weight loss during this period.

I then sought out any help I could find. We went to an acupuncturist, who told us that he had heard of such reactions to Prozac. He believed that he could help my son, whereas every traditional medical practitioner who we visited had not heard of such reactions, and discounted the idea that Prozac could have been the cause of such behavior. After a few months of acupuncture the violent thoughts and dreams subsided. However, his concentration and memory were still greatly affected. This had a huge impact on his school work. After a few more months of acupuncture, he seemed better, but still had an up-and-down mood.

At this point, he became extremely depressed, and we ended up seeing a psychiatrist. The doctor put my son on Depakote for rapid cycling mood disorder. He traded in his mood swings for constant depression. A small dose of Wellbutrin was then diagnosed to help this condition. After a couple weeks, he told me that he felt worse and wanted to quit taking all medication. He had once again begun to experience rage, and knew that the drugs were not good for him. He went off of all drugs, and began to feel better. at the same time, the acupuncturist started working on something new, and things started to get better.

I had been praying constantly throughout this ordeal, as had many friends and family members. I know that this has helped him, and all of us, get through these extremely hard times.

Since his attention and memory have been affected, his performance in school has dropped and his plans for a future education have been severely altered, at least for the time being. Our son has gone through an ordeal which no one his age should ever have to face. But with the support family members and his friends (who were kind enough to be there with him throughout the whole drawn- out incident, violent mood swings and all), we were all able to survive. It has been over a year since he has taken Prozac, and hopefully things will continue to improve.
This experience has taught us to rely on our instincts and to seek out as much information as possible on any drug prescribed to anyone in our family. I hope our story can help others in getting trough or averting similar situations.

Sincerely, a wiser, yet sadder, mother.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 31.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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After 3 months on Paxil, my hell started.

“Anybody who is thinking about taking medication for depression should think again.”

 

Everything started about 8 – 9 years ago.

I was going trough menopause and was feeling horrible. My doctor prescribed me Paxil. I took it for 6 months. I was not feeling very good on it because my underling problem was menopause. I got off the drug very slowly. I was not feeling very bad by slowly discontinuing the medication. About 3 months lather my hell started. I was having electric shocks (my doctor said that I had pinched nerve), flue like symptoms, I was vomiting and could not sleep.

I was suicidal. All I wanted to do is die. My therapist sent me to psychiatrist. He put me on Depakote for manic depression. I was going trough hell on Depakote. I was having horrible depression. I do not know why or how I went to gynecologist. I was put on natural estrogen and progesterone prescribed by doctor (from companding pharmacy). Suddenly I got better. I decided to get off Depakote. But because I was afraid to get off the drug knowing what Paxil did to me I stayed on it for maybe 7 years.

After I decided to get off Depakote I went through another hell.

I believe that I got dependent on the drug because every single time I was getting off I had to go back on medication. I remember when I was asking my psychiatrist whether I would have to be able to get off the medication that he told me that 90% people have to stay on it for rest of their life’s. Now I know why. By that time I was reading a book from Peter Breggin “Your drug may be your problem.” I was determined to get off the medication no matter what.

I was able, by increasing my hormones. For 6 months I was feeling wonderful. After 6 months I was feeling miserable again. I could not increase my hormones because I was on relatively high dose, so I was prescribed Remeron. I have been on it only for 2 months 15 mg and I am trying to get off it again.

I am going trough hell again. It feels like somebody is cutting my whole body. The physical withdrawal symptoms are worst then mental. By using this relatively “safe” drugs I am going trough hell and I am suicidal. I developed chronic insomnia. I cannot eat or sleep. My only solution is suicide. Anybody who is thinking about taking medication for depression should think again

Viera

 

1995

Years 2000 and Prior

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

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