- decrease your dosage slowly (check with your physician).
- if possible, book a couple of weeks off from work and send the kids to camp.
- don't be afraid to inform your friends and family if you find that the symptoms are noticeable to others.
- eliminate as many possible stressors in your life as you can, (e.g. finances, duties, chores) before starting withdrawal.
- find some kind of pleasant memory or thought which you can call upon in the darkest moment. This helps to provide context and hope to the struggle when it is most needed.
- surround yourself with means to distract yourself from the symptoms, e.g. books, films, games etc.
- if possible, engage in some physical activity (golf appears to be an efficient aid according to at least one visitor.
- stay away from recreational drugs, including alcohol.
- realize that there is an end to it.
- be in touch with your physician, if only for reassurance.
- to help you objectify the experience keep a written account of your the process.
Protocol for the withdrawal of SSRI Antidepressants - Dr. Healy
Practical Tips for Tapering Off - SSRI withdrawal guide from About.com ( some ads)
SSRI Withdrawal procedure - Guide for accupuncturists
Please note, that I am not a physician and have, therefore, no way to check if these methods for their medical validity. Proceed at your own risk.
Visitor's TipsWhat can I say about Paxil? I think your site covers off just about everything regarding withdrawal symptoms. And that's exactly what it is, serotonin withdrawal. People have to remember that there are good doctors and bad doctors. Bad doctors don't do their research on drugs and good doctors do, unfortunately my doctor fits into the former, at least in the case of prescribing me Paxil.
I will say this though, Paxil has the astonishingly non-unique effect of destroying your life while making you believe that your life is fine. Sounds like what you read about alcohol or marijuana? That's because it is. I came off Paxil cold turkey two weeks ago, and it's a good thing I did before I took another withdrawal on my credit line, or fully convinced myself that my friends and family aren't really that important to me. Now I'm piecing my life back together, trying to figure out what I've irrepairably damaged, and what can be salvaged.
When quitting, I would highly recommend a cold turkey or fast-taper approach (despite what my MD brother and sister-in-law say) as opposed to the tapered approach. For people like me it works great anyway. I'm the kind that if I'm 3 hours behind on my daily dosage of Paxil, I start feeling withdrawal. If the onset of withdrawal is this fast for you, then think of it like a band-aid. Pull it off fast or you'll just be putting yourself through hell for months. It'll hurt like hell and you're going to hate yourself and everyone around you, but get it over with and quit.
These are my tips though:
CHOOSE A GOOD TIME. If you live in Canada, January is not a good time. Wait until May when the sun's out.
GET IN SHAPE FIRST. You don't have to be running triathalons, but make sure you have the stamina to go for walks and light bike rides every day. You'll need to do this if you want to stay sane.
STAY AWAY FROM STRESSFUL SITUATIONS. This can not be emphasized enough. I'm extremely passive-submissive by nature, and even I nearly destroyed my life because of the anger that comes with withdrawal The first time I tried to come off paxil, I made the mistake of thinking that I could continue like normal. I thought it would be like Celexa, so no problem. Bit of a headache, some dizziness, but on the whole, no big deal.
Then, after about 4 days off the stuff and at the height of withdrawal, I put myself in the worst possible position. I reffed a high school basketball game between two of the best teams in the city. I was partnered with the worst ref in the league, and the game went into double-OT. Packed gym, people screaming, coaches yelling. Big mistake. The things that people say that normally roll off you, hit you like daggers when you're in withdrawal. The losing coach (who I'm surprised is allowed to work with kids) wouldn't let it go and kept at us long after the final buzzer. I'm a big enough guy to have ripped this coach in two. It took every ounce of determination I had to turn and walk away from that guy. I'm not a tough guy, but had I turned on him, I'm sure I would have killed him. I was that frayed. I went home and trashed my bedroom. I laugh at it now because it was my only opportunity to act like a 70s rock star with a valid excuse. I had to go back on the drugs before I hurt someone.
STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL AND DRUGS. This is surprisingly easy to do, especially once you're deep into withdrawal and a) you don't want to feel any worse, and b) you discover that it's the paxil that allowed you to abuse yourself the way you did while you were on it. The stuff makes you feel good no matter what. There's that one woman's story of how she dipped pretty hard into the cocaine while she was on paxil. Well, that's a bit extreme, but I bet it never would've happened if it weren't for the paxil. Booze took my money while I was on this stuff. It's hard to explain, but when you're on Paxil, you can drink four nights a week and somehow consider that to be normal.
REMEMBER ONE THING SOMEONE SAID AND HOW SPECIAL IT WAS TO YOU. Of course, for someone on Paxil this is a pipedream because nothing means anything to you except your next fun experience, but try to think of something anyway. Write it down, so you can pull it out and read it to yourself.. I laughed when I first heard this suggestion too. My experience on paxil withdrawal went from heavy physical symptoms (and agitation) to mild physical symptoms to depression. Remember, it's normal to feel depression when you're coming off a drug and you realize how you've screwed up your life while you were on it. You're in rehab, and there's a lot more to it than just the chemical dependency. Look forward and consider how you're going to make your life great again. Learn to hope again, call your mom, do whatever you have to do. By this point, you'll be able to FEEL again. Grasp that and remember how beautiful it is, even if you only feel pain. And cry your eyes out and then take a nap. You'll feel better when you wake up.
EXERCISE. Sorry, but the only thing that will kill that headache is cardiovascular exercise. It doesn't have to be intense, in face, less intense is better. After a day of hell, you can sit on a stationary bike at the gym for two hours lightly pedalling and you won't want to stop, just because it feels so damn good to not feel like shit. Also, you'll want to get those endorphins running in your bloodstream. Nothing like a bit of natural drugs to counteract the removal of the artifical ones. Also, the exercise will help you feel better about the binge-eating.
DON'T WRITE OFF ALL SSRIs. You might need them. None of us are perfect.
Finally, HOLD ON, you're in for the ride of your life. You know that scene in Trainspotting when the baby is crawling along the ceiling? Yeah. Don't be surprised if you hallucinate. Just grab something real and focus on it.
So after two weeks off, I still get the occasional zap, my concentration still sucks, but I'm back being myself again. My bank balance sucks, and I somehow blew off the greatest girl I've ever met, but hey, I was an addict. Maybe I can straigten things out with the girl . . . if not, there'll be another.
I just wanted to tell everybody that I was able to get rid of my Paxil withdrawal induced nausea with crystallized ginger. After a month and a half of nausea, I'm so angry I didn't try this sooner. It's more effective than dramamine, easier to keep down then a pill and has no known side effects
I've been going through withdrawal from Paxil and have some good advice that has really helped me with the dizziness associated with withdrawl. The way to get rid of the dizziness is to go running. It's amazing how well this works... if I have a headache and feel dizzy due to Paxil withdrawl, I run 3 miles, and the rest of the day, the withdrawl effects are completel gone!
I want to encourage everyone to stay optimistic and positive. I took the advice those who contributed to the website and I added my own strategy as well.
Nausea: Crystallize Ginger Works Dizziness: the Dramamine helped the dizziness, but not the jolting electric head "zaps" 2-week Vegetarian Raw Food & Liquid Diet Plan: To flush out toxins, I believed it helped me to recover in 6 days as opposed to 14 days.
Humor: Watched funny videos on Youtube and Watch comedies as much as possible. Excessive smiling helps. Listening to soothing or uplifting music: I listened to music of my faith more often.
Walking: Really helped! Bitching Session or Two: I found a (very) good, understanding friend, who allowed me to vent my frustrations. Warning: Don't do this excessively.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid: I did some internet research, and I decided to purchase OmegaBrite, and my head "zaps" went away (walking helped too).
Here's where I would like to add some advice, if I may. I have found exercise to be extremely beneficial. I wake up every morning feeling sick and cranky, so I force myself to the gym, and I feel 1000% better afterwards. The body aches and nausea disappear. I still have moments of dizziness and sensitivity to to too much sensory stimulation, but it is much easier to handle if I feel physically better. So, my tip is exercise! The endorphins help lessen the withdrawl symptoms.
I am a 31 year old teacher who has been on paxil for 2 years to treat my panic attacks. I tried to get off paxil 4 times and always experienced horrible side-effects that caused me to go back on my 30 mg daily dose of paxil. After gaining 60 pounds and getting rid of several doctors, I lucked out. I found a great doctor who, working with her psychiatrist friend, helped me get off paxil in just 9 days. Here's the plan:
Days 1-3: 30 mg paxil/ 10mg prozac
Day 4: 20mg paxil/ 20mg prozac
Day 5: 10mg paxil/ 20mg prozac
Days 6-9: 0mg paxil/ 20mg prozac
I then stopped taking prozac.
I never thought this would work. I thought my doctor was being naive and I'd be back in ther in 2 days telling her to find another plan. I'd tried slow weaning before and was too sick to get out of bed at 25mg a day.
I'm not saying this was easy, but it was nothing like I'd gone through any other time I tried quitting. I had no panic and almost no head zaps. I did spend a lot of time asleep and I didn't drive for a couple of weeks (my choice not to due to lack of need and attention span.) I have been off paxil for 22 days and am now experiencing some panic and insomnia, but I also went off 2 allergy medications and birth control at the same time I did this so my body is a little unhappy right now for may reasons. If you have tried other ways to get off paxil and have been unsuccessful, go to your doctor and try this! Good Luck!