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Success

What follows are some of the letters that have been sent in by visitors who have had success in getting off Paxil after going through severe discontinuation side effects. These personal accounts have not been edited and were chosen on a more or less random basis.

I wanted to share my story about my experience with Paxil. I started taking the meds in May of last year, because I was very unhappy and depressed at that time. By the time we got up to a therapeutic dose, I noticed I was happy all the time and never anxious, but didn't really react to anything or care about anything. I felt somewhat relieved in July when I lost my job because I didn't like it, I didn't want to get up every day and go to it. Now I spent most of my time drinking, which surprised me, because the meds were helping my depression and I thought that would decrease my urge to use alcohol. I couldn't have enough, I was charging it on my credit cards, drinking all day, sometimes getting sick but continuing to drink anyway, and often driving around drunk.
I found a job in November and relocated for it. After a month, one day I realized I forgot to take my Paxil before work, and decided not to take it again. I was starting to feel anxious and paranoid all the time, having anxiety nightmares and insomnia, and drinking as much as ever. So I thought to myself, it's not helping so why do I keep putting it in my body. That was a Friday. I felt fine Saturday and Sunday. By Sunday I was feeling weird but not too bad. Just felt vaguely sick at work Monday. Monday night I couldn't sleep because I had restless legs and just itched terribly all over. I got up and watched tv, tried to sleep on the couch, went back to bed, back to the couch, back to bed, nothing helped. I called out that morning because at 6am I still had not slept. I slept from about 8am to 4pm, went to the store, cooked dinner and went back to bed around 11. The itchiness and restless legs weren't as bad after that, however I would fall asleep and have terrifying anxiety dreams, wake up feeling like they lasted all night when really it had been two hours. I wouldn't want to go to sleep after that but had to work in the morning. So I'd sleep in fits and it was like that for a few nights but eventually that subsided too.
On New Years Day it had been two weeks and I threw out the rest of the Paxil. Several times I thought about going back on, wondering why I was putting myself through that, but I couldn't because I knew I'd feel awful again, not better. I noticed the paranoia vanished, I wasn't anxious all the time, I stopped having nightmares, I can sleep, and I have been starting to lose the 20 pounds I gained during the year I was on Paxil. I'm really glad I made the decision and have been trying to figure out what does me make me happy.

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It's interesting to read these withdrawal stories and compare them to my own. I was on 20 mg Paxil for 8 years and decided to stop due to (1) weight gain and (2) a feeling of "flat affect", i.e. rarely cried or reacted strongly to anything, including sex. I tapered down in one week, which was NOT long enough, and didn't contact my psychiatrist, which I should have done. My symptoms included: the horrible vivid nightmare/hallucinations that just filled me with terror, numbness and tingling, extreme itchiness all over my body, pain and "heaviness" in my legs and feet, insomnia, whooshing sounds when turning my head. No "zaps" or nausea, though my appetite has changed and even when I'm hungry I have a hard time finding anything I actually want to eat. Two weeks post-Paxil, I finally went to see my psychiatrist and he told me that going off Paxil and Effexor can be extremely difficult, worse than any other antidepressant. He suggested taking one 10mg Prozac, which he said would help alleviate the symptoms and would stay in my system for about 6 weeks, then disappear. I did that and it helped a lot, especially with the horrible dreams. I have now been off Paxil for 2 months. I still have occasional insomnia, tingling in extremities and (worst of all) pain and "tiredness" in my legs and feet. Most of the other symptoms no longer bother me. I exercise faithfully 3-4 times a week, which helps my general mood plus is a good thing to do anyway. I have lost 5 pounds without dieting. I feel much more "connected" to the world and feel positive and happy. So far, no panic attacks or depressive episodes, the two reasons I took Paxil in the first place. For those who are considering getting off this drug, I say go for it, but do it slowly and check with your doctor first. Expect some problems, but know that eventually you will be very happy you stopped!

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I have taken paxil for over four years now, I also decided to quit. I started taking it for anxiety. I was a stay at home mom with a very active 4 year old son, i was always anxious and never felt in control. I must say that paxil helped me for a long time. Recently I felt like I was having short term memory problems. So I decided to try quitting. I had the full support of my husband who was feeling that I had somehow become too passive and easy on my children-and that I just didn't feel for things strongly anymore. I totally agreed. I could almost never cry, I never had high highs or low lows. I decided I missed my feelings. About a month ago I started to take only one half of my 20mg dose for about a week. then 10mg every two days.I have not taken it now for about 17 days. I never had any headaches, but did have light flashes- no nausea- weird zapping in my head- a little freaky feelings when running on the treadmill. I also had very little patience for my children. I would walk around muttering under my breath, swearing to myself- you do start to feel a little on the crazy side. Today though I have had my first really great day, no symptoms at all. I started run/walking everyday, 33 days ago at the YMCA and I believe this has helped me incredibly.Good luck to all! Be strong!

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I have taken Paxil for the past 6 years. It was your website that gave me the courage and the confidence to quit. I've been Paxil free for 5 days now! I will not believe that some people need to be on antidepressants forever due to chemical imbalance. I will take charge of my life and my emotions-good and sad-and will Be a stronger person because of it. My plan was to wean off it over a 5 week period. It worked nicely, but I still noticed withdrawals that included sweating, dizziness, extreme irritability the first Day of cutting the dose, increased appetite, and headaches. I have lost 4 pounds already and feel great. Many thanks to everyone who has written and told their story. We are not alone. We can support and encourage others by talking about it. I've never been happier!

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Okay, here is my story and I hope someone else can benefit from it. I'm a 29 year old female who was placed on Paxil 2yrs ago for depression by a Psychiatrist. He started me out at 20mgs and eventually I ended up on 75mgs. Before Paxil, I was going through a hard time and became depressed, after Paxil I found myself numb, which made me feel more depressed, what a vicious cycle. So, up and up on the Paxil he went. I never really did feel that much better from the Paxil even at my highest amount, just incredibly numb. I did however start to notice these "shock" feelings in my head. I would tell my co-workers about them and they just looked at me like I was a psycho, but hey I thought I was too at 75mgs of Paxil. So, I threw the shock feelings to the side. Then one day I had a Grand Mal Seizure out of the blue, no personal or family history. I had all the testing you can have done, even a week long video EEG, everything was normal. I noticed after the seizure that I kept having these "shock" feelings and they were becoming more frequent. I didn't know what the deal was, I even thought they were mini seizures. I told my two different Neurologists and my Psychiatrist about these feelings. All the Dr.s just gave me that head tilted look and would say Hmmmm. I felt even crazier at this point!!! The seizure scared me badly and I re-evaluated my life. I decided I wanted to get off the Paxil (since it didn't help much anyway) to see how I felt without being drugged. I told my doctor I felt great and wanted to decrease the medication, as a nurse a knew this was a no-no, but I was determined to get off this medication. My Dr. decreased my Paxil in one day by 20mgs. Holy smokes, was I in for a ride. I felt awful: palpitations, chills, sweats, diarrhea, headaches, confusion, unsteady gait, mood swings, insomnia, restlessness....and more. The big thing I really noticed was the head shocks got so much worse. Then a few weeks after I decreased, Whamo, I had another seizure! HMMMMMM.....can anyone say Paxil??????? Again, all of my tests were normal. My red alarm went off and I started to research Paxil. I read that if you have a seizure and you are on Paxil, then you should stop taking it, but neither of my two Neurologists nor my Psychiatrist mentioned this to me. Thank God I found this website! I felt as though I found my lifesaver. I was shocked at all the things I read. My depression turned to anger, but I also had a new sense of hope. I slowly began to decrease my Paxil 5-10mgs per week, just depended on how many head shocks I was having. I took my last Paxil two weeks ago and I feel alive and happy. I'm still having some withdrawal feelings, but the head shocks are virtually gone! I followed the advice of the others who had gone through this and drank lots of water, got lots of rest and started to exercise almost every day. I tell myself that my exercise is my "happy pill" and it works. For those going through this withdrawal right now, stay focused, don't panic (you will be okay and you are not dying...lol) and exercise. As for my seizures, I hope I have found the reason and stay seizure free, only time will tell. Happy healing to all!!!

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I had been on paxil for about 4 years. I was prescribed paxil for severe stomach pains which my doctor felt was coming from anxiety. Although the paxil did completely stop my stomach from hurting, little did I realize what it was doing to the rest of my body and my life!! First of all, the weight gain was terrible. I went from 119lbs to 154lbs while on paxil. It didn't matter how hard I exercised or what kind of diet I went on - nothing helped. I was extremely tired all the time and had no sex drive whatsoever! I didn't care about anything anymore. I lost a lot of good friends because of my new "kiss my butt" attitude. I even quit my job one day (thankfully they took me back when I explained that it was the paxil talking). I finally decided that I had to come off this wicked drug. I thought I could quit cold turkey - BIG MISTAKE!! After missing just two doses I could not even walk straight. I had horrible zapping feeling all throughout my body and buzzing noises in my head. My arms and legs were numb, my vision was blurred, my speech was impaired. I couldn't work or even drive my car. Once I realized that I couldn't do this cold turkey, I decided to try to skip a day in between doses - this didn't work well for me either. I still had the same symptoms, just not as severe. I finally decided that I would start cutting my pills in half. This seem to work the best for me. I continued to do this at two week intervals until I was literally just licking some powder that would fall off the side of a pill that had been cut into 6 pieces. I know this sounds dramatic, but it was the only thing that worked for me. I am completely paxil free and have lost almost all of the weight that I gained while on paxil. I still have some anxiety problems which effect my stomach now and then but I'm learning to deal with it. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. You just have to experiment until you find what works best for you.

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Follow EVERY suggestion that makes sense,WITH the advice and help of a doctor.Prepare yourself for possible butt kicking of your life. Hopefully not.Prepare mentally for several weeks ahead-continuously.Use your resources (friends,telephonecalls to friends help alot, let them know what may be upcoming with your moods or illnesses.) If you have a weapon, entrust it to a friend before you begin. Your thinking logic WILL change and you may not realize it. Tapering or quitting may cause siezures which may cause heart attack or many other life endangering situations. Tapering,even gradual nearly killed me, grand mal seizures and running bloodpressure up to 178/95, and I didnt like the ambulance ride or ER either.It is like any other addictive drug(can even be like a street drug withdrawal). Not to harp, but call your doctor beforehand-and stay away from alcohol-it compounds the overall agony.Trust me-I learned in the worst way - the ICU unit

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I was on Paxil for 7.5 years. When I tried splitting up pills to taper down my 20mg daily dosage, I had the common terrible withdrawal effects. Then I asked my doctor to prescribe the liquid version (which I had read about on your site). He didn't even know it existed and I had to special order it through a pharmacy in town because none here carried it in the liquid form. My doctor said to taper down 5 mgs at a time. I didn't agree with that as it was too much for me and caused the withdrawal effects. So I tapered down 1 to 2 mgs at a time. It's so easy to do with the liquid form. I would go 4-6 days and then drop down a little. It took me about 5 months to get entirely off it, but it worked with very little negative effects.

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On the morning of June 15th I woke up with the expectation of enjoying my day off with my husband. It is rare that we both are free on the same day. A few days earlier I had stopped taking my Paxil due to the side effects that would not subside. The insomnia kept me up nightly and my lack of sexual desire did not promote a healthy, well-balanced relationship. A couple years prior I had been prescribed celexa while I was in the service. Upon separating and thus running out of medication I had barely if any serious consequences. I have also stopped taking paxil for a brief period of time as well without unbearable withdrawal. So the experience I then proceeded to have did come as quite a shock. I just did not know. Like I said I had stopped taking Paxil in hopes of regaining my life and possibly trying something new. The first couple days I noticed I was a little more edgy and maybe moody. But it was day 3 that I came to realize there was a problem. The previous night I had the oddest sleep I had ever experienced. I could not tell most of the time if I was awake or asleep and the dreams were very vivid to the point if something fell in my "dream" my heart would begin to beat fast.Iwasalsodrippinginsweat at certain points of the night. At the start of my day as I began to get ready, I began to hyperventilate and anxiety just shot right thru me like never before. I was able to regain my composure and go out to breakfast with my husband. Afterwards we went shopping at the bookstore. As I sat at a table skimming a book, anxiety once again came over me, this time it was uncontrollable. I frantically looked about for my husband and when I couldn't find him fear took over my entire being as tears began to whelm up in my eyes. Nausea came quickly and I was forced to run to the stores bathroom. Eventually I was able to locate him and he got the car and helped me in. At home I laid down only to have more of those "dreams" and rest to where I was unable to know if I was awake or asleep.

When I got up Justus was playing with my bass guitar and decided to "quiz" me on the chords. I rambled " E, A,...uh uh" and then uncontrollable tears came forth. I could not stop crying, which caused me to hyperventilate and then came the nausea and vomiting. A bit later we decided that we could go pick up something at Wal-Mart and grab a bite to eat. A crowded Wal-Mart is not the place for someone going through any kind of withdrawal. Midway through our shopping quickly became the end of our shopping I managed to find my way to a bench to sit on as he checked out. The whole time wanting to just crawl underneath the bench and die. Again I was sweating and sweating and then moments later needed a blanket for the chills. I gripped my arm so tightly as my arms were crossed that my dull fingernail marks could still be seen hours later. We went home and this time I knew that I absolutely must stay there. The intensity of the pain I felt is beyond words. Whenever an attack would come on me all I could manage to say is "make it stop, make it stop". I think about and remember all the emotional lows I have had and even the most traumatizing events that I have lived through cannot even compare to the magnitude of the feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear, confusion and physical discomfort I was experiencing. Most of the evening became a blur. I remember lying down on my living room floor as if to say I give up while I lay there crying and shaking. I crawled to the bathroom cause I knew that I would be sick. And then I could not move from the little ball I had crawled into, laying on the cold bathroom floor sweating and coughing. At about 1am, I went and lie in my bed, simply for the fact that I knew my husband wouldn't go to bed with me still up. We had looked on line and found information regarding paxil withdrawal which stated it was generally safe to take Tylenol pm in order to help with muscle tension and sleeping issues. I would not take it, I have taken it many times before but just the mere thought of it, made me break out in a panic attack. I was angry and wanted to throw everything in sight. Fear gripped me. I was scared and I didn't even know what of. I was scared to sleep, I was scared of any medicine, I was scared to go lay on the couch. No logical reason for these things but it was just as a little child is afraid if they step out of their bed the monster will grab there leg, I was now consumed with the same kind of irrational fear. I could hear everything, the fan, Justus scratching his forehead, the wind outside. It all seemed so loud. So I cried out to God in my mind cause I just knew I could take no more. All I said was I need to hear you. And then as I lay there I didn't hear or feel any comforting words but I became a little less scared to take the medicine that would help me sleep so I did that. And I also realized that yes this was too way much and I need to rewind the process, I then took a Paxil. Not with the intentions of keeping on this life sucking drug but understanding that even though it only took one day to start, it would take many more to stop. This realization did not suddenly make everything better. I did continue to hear an audible noise that did not exist to which I woke myself with my own voice asking "what" in response to what I believed was Justus taking care of the "noise". I then looked over to find him sleeping. So as I begin this journey of being free from paxil I can only think "I wish I would have known.".. It has been about 2 months since I wrote that piece above, since then I have been able to tamper off paxil and have been paxil free for about 3 weeks. I still have an edge but at least I am a functioning human being once again.

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First of all, I was on 25mg paxil for about 4 and a half months. And like most people on this web site I was not told beforehand about the possibility of horrible side effects if I ever decided to discontinue use of the drug. And to be completely honest I did not refer to my doctor before I stopped taking the pills, and I did it cold turkey. I would not reccommend that. My main reason for stopping was the expense and the pills really didn't do much for me except to make me feel tired and lazy all of the time, even if I took them at night. Also, I didn't like the idea of having to take pills for the rest of my life, which is something my doctor told me I was going to have to do to reap the so-called benefits of the pill. But at the time I was searching for something/anything to help me with social anxiety which had begun interfereing with my career and had forced me to quit several jobs over the last couple of years. I stopped taking the pills on Tuesday and on Friday the side effects kicked in. The first thing I felt were the electrical zaps. I immediately started researching sites to get more information and found that I wasn't alone. The next thing I experienced was intense nausea every time I ate and an overall feeling of just being sick and unhappy. I was miserable for the next two days but then I made a conscious decision that I would get through this and I did. It's been exactly one week since the withdrawals kicked in and I am feeling much better. The electrical zaps have almost disappeared completely and I get stomache pains once in a while but not as often as before. The weird thing is that I feel better than I did before I started taking the pills.

I'm still unemployed and almost completely broke because of it but I am motivated and have made more progress in the last week than I have in the last four and a half months in terms of my job search. I just want to encourage others to hang in there because the symptons do go away. Also stay busy, walking really does help even if you feel sick or the zaps are frequent, you can do it. Drink lots of water or herbal teas with no sugar, eat healthy and in small amounts all day long and read (even on my worst day when I was using my brain I wouldn't get those zaps) and write out your feelings in a journal. Another thing, and maybe the most important is to think positively and know that this won't last forever and when it does you will be grateful for your new found appreciation of being paxil free. Also prayer and a belief in something higher than yourself (God or whatever you'd like to call it) will make all of the difference in the world. I'll just suggest the book that helped me get through it and is changing my life as we speak. It's called The Essential Ernest Holmes. He founded the science of mind school of thought (not scientology) which basically says that we are all responsible for how we choose to respond to situations in our lives, good and/or bad. And that it is very important to know that we are all products of a higher being and that because of that we are special no matter what anyone else has done or said to us, people who know this will always react to things differently and more positively than others, we tend to call them arrogant. Its not about thinking you're better than others its about knowing that no one is more worthy than you. It's really a good book. I like it because it's practical, it makes sense, there are no judgements or rules to follow and it has helped me a great deal and will continue to for the rest of my life. But do whatever you can to get closer to that higher place no matter what you believe in, we are all the same, some of us are just more in tuned with our higher selves than others. But we are all capable if we change the way we think, which changes the things we say and do, which changes our lives. Think negative and your life is negative, thinking positive has the same effect. I'm doing my best to work on that now and forever, old habits do die hard but I know I can do it.

 


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