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Old 09-13-2005, 01:44 AM   #1
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Exclamation My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

I wanted to tell my story & hopefully help someone. Since I was very young (around 5 yrs., I'm 23 now) I have had anxiety... specifically social anxiety. I hated going to school because I was extremely shy and had a hard time socializing and making friends. I was one of the "pretty girls" growing up and other girls thought I was stuck-up because of my "standoff-ish personality" when the truth was I was extremely shy and afraid of rejection.

The older I got the more elusive and withdrawaled I became. I never had a boyfriend in high school -- boys would call my house, but I was too embarrassed to talk. I found that when I got to college I was able to socialize and make friends, but sooner or later the "outgoing front" would wear off and my true personality came out.

About 2 and 1/2 years ago I met a wonderful guy. When we first met I was extremely nervous, but able to pull off a nonchalant, outgoing persona. I was basket case! I remember sweating profusely when he and I went out on dates and having a panic attack on one occasion. About 3 weeks after we met, I had to go to the doctor to get an allergy prescription. I noticed while sitting in the waiting room a "Lexapro" brochure on one of the tables. I had figured it out! I needed to be on an anti-depressant!

I talked to my doctor about how I was feeling and he diagnosed me with depression associated with anxiety. He gave me a few samples of Lexapro and sent me on my way. I took 10mg of Lexapro for a little over a year. During that year I developed a wonderful relationship with the guy I had been dating and I considered Lexapro to be a MIRACLE! I decided to go back to school after a 2 year hiatus. I took 9 college hours and ended up dropping all 3 classes after the first 6 weeks... and I didn't feel ashamed or upset.

My boyfriend was perplexed by my irresponsibleness, but never questioned why I dropped all my classes. I don't think I could have given him an answer as to why... I just really didn't seem to care. About 2 months after that, I went to my yearly gyno. appt. I was seeing a new gynecologist, so I had to fill out all the paperwork and write down all the medication I was taking. When the doctor came in to talk to me and review my file, he asked me how Lexapro was working out for me. I told him that things were fine. He asked if I went to school or worked and at the time - didn't do either. I told him that I was going to college, but I dropped out. He asked what doctor prescribed me Lexapro, then informed me that one of the side effects was loss of "passion". Not the passion one expresses in the bedroom, but the kind of passion that enables a person to get out of bed each day and accomplish his or her goals. I had definitely lost that drive, that passion.

It all made sense! I wasn't lazy or irresponsible, I had lost my DRIVE! My doctor informed me that Lexapro was "a dangerous drug" and that he would NEVER prescribe it to any of his patients. The doctor and I decided that I needed to get off this medication as soon as possible. He gave me 1 prozac to ease the withdrawals.

The Lexapro withdrawals were absolutely terrible. I was extremely miserable, angry, and physically sick. After day 3 I decided that this was just too much and I called my doctor's nurse, crying. She called me in a prescription and I made an appt. to see my doctor the following week.

The prescription was Effexor XR. A couple of hours after taking one of the 37mg capsules, I felt almost 100% better. Over the next 3 month my doctor raised my dosage to 150mg. Everything was GREAT! I had "passion" again, however sometimes I felt lethargic and dizzy. I had been on Effexor for about 4 months when I decided to do some research on it online. I was SHOCKED! On one lawfirm's website, there were lawsuits against wyeth (the co. that manufactures effexor). In some cases, patients families were suing because their loved one committed suicide while on the drug. Another high profile case involved the Texas mother, Andrea Yates, who drowned her children while on effexor. I was extremely scared.

On one message board a woman talked about her 15 month old baby who was born 9weeks premature with cerebrial palsy. She was taking effexor while pregnant and blames it for her baby's condition. It was all too much for me. For the past 18 days I have been SLOWLY weaning myself off this terrible drug. I am now taking 50mg and some days are very difficult. I have experienced many of the "normal" side effects people experience when getting off this drug. It's very scary. I told my boyfriend one day (it was one of the bad days) I feel like a naive child on a playground who was offered to "sample" a drug by a bully (my doctor) without being educated on the teribble things this drug could do to me. Of course, after taking the sample I was "hooked".

I no longer trust the doctors that prescribed me Lexapro and Effexor and I plan on talking to an attorney and questioning the dr. that prescribed Effexor to me. I have recently been diagnosed with a heart condition and I'm really scared that Effexor may have caused it. My heart rate has been unusually high (as high as 268 bpm -- which required an ER visit) for the past few months... the only thing I've been doing differently is taking Effexor. It's certainly something I'm going to investigate...

I am coping w/ my anxiety and "dealing with it" for now. It it scary to imagine life without a "happy pill" everyday! My health is too important to me right now to risk it all and take yet another pill. I went to the health food store and was told that "flaxoil" is good for mood disorders. Specifically "barlean's flaxoil".... I bought it thinking I had nothing to lose, besides, even if it doesn't help my anxiety it's still very nutritious. Well, for the past few weeks I take 2tbsp daily w/ orange juice and it really seems to take the edge off.

It's day 18 and I'm doing better and better everyday. If you are thinking about getting on anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask questions and be smart about it! God Bless

Last edited by DueNApril09; 09-13-2005 at 02:15 AM.

 
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

thank you for sharing your story, did your dr offer you therapy to go with the a-deppressants? Because i not many people are given anti depressants in my area if they are not going to or at therapy.

 
Old 09-13-2005, 11:30 AM   #3
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

Great post bondgurl! You are wise beyond your years. I've tried many AD's at doctor's suggestions and they always made my anxiety worse. I also experienced that lack of passion you describe (anhedonia), and hellish withdrawal from both Zoloft and Paxil. I hope I never get talked into taking another SSRI. I'm going to stick with Xanax as-needed and if my anxiety gets worse, I'll try psychotherapy. Thanks for sharing.

 
Old 09-13-2005, 03:49 PM   #4
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

I am taking effexor xr (75mg). I have been on them for two months now. I was put on it for my anxiety. I feel normal again. With any drug you are prescribed you are taking risks. Even birth control pills have DEATH as a possible side effect. All people are different. Everything we take can effect us all differently. I have 4 more months to go. Then, I'm done with them. Just long enough to get my sanity back again.

Thank you for sharing. It's a shame they aren't working how you had hoped. I did hear someone say that effexor may work too well. I have heard that it takes your passion away. I won't be on them very long. Hopefully that don't happen to me.

 
Old 09-13-2005, 04:20 PM   #5
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

lto bondgurl
exapro and prozac are both the same type of med, many of your reactions are probably just placcebo effect, lexapro isnt really all that bad
effexor is an antidepressant of a different type and if things get bad again it would probably help you

some therapy for anxiiety and depression would also help

flaxoil is claimed to cure everything by some but is unlkikely to do any harm
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Old 09-13-2005, 09:49 PM   #6
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Cool Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

Quote:
Originally Posted by young momma
I am taking effexor xr (75mg). I have been on them for two months now. I was put on it for my anxiety. I feel normal again. With any drug you are prescribed you are taking risks. Even birth control pills have DEATH as a possible side effect. All people are different. Everything we take can effect us all differently. I have 4 more months to go. Then, I'm done with them. Just long enough to get my sanity back again.

Thank you for sharing. It's a shame they aren't working how you had hoped. I did hear someone say that effexor may work too well. I have heard that it takes your passion away. I won't be on them very long. Hopefully that don't happen to me.

I agree with young mama. These are in fact drugs we are takeing, they are not natural, there is nothing natural about them. They don't grow out of the garden, there are going to be side effects as with any drug. They haven't been on the market long enough to study long term effects of the drugs. I remember when I first was given celexa and I tried to go off it, at the time there was very little about withdrawl from these drugs. I had more then one doctor tell me that sorry withdrawl is not a side effect of the drug. My response was, Sorry but I know my body. I've been on celexa, xannax, zoloft, tried welbutrin and now I'm trying effexor. After a while your body does adjust to what you are taking and I believe you have to change "brands" to get the same effectiveness. yes I belive that it can cause you to loose some drive for life, as I went from being beautiful, skinny and someone who took good care of their hair and body to someone who now is overweight (cut me a little slack I just had a baby), and hasn't had enough drive to grow out her hair in over five years so no matter how hard I try I get up in the morning and think this is too much work, what little can I get buy with today in the grooming department.
I also realize it's not just the meds fault. As we get older we gain alot more responsiblility. I married and bought a house at 20. Worked full time was married and went to collage two to three nights a week for four years. Then decided to have a baby and the doc said zoloft was the most studied SSRI to take durring pregnancy. I trusted my doc with all my heart and stayed on zoloft, durring my pregnancy I had to increase my dose once from 100 to 150 and then postpartum from 150-200 the max dose you can be on. I now have a extreamly healthy 3mo old little girl who was born four weeks early due to toximeia, but has had absolutly no birth defects or mental problems from me being on the ssri, I even breastfed for the first two weeks while I was on zoloft. The first few days home from the hospital, all I did was cry, I would break down in the middle of a converasation and cry for no reason, this feeling of being extreamly uncontrollably scared would come over me. that's why we upped my zoloft, that helped alot! not sure what I would have done without it as I could hardly function, I kept expecting my huband to yell at me and say grab ahold of yourself!!! he never did, he just kept reminding me that I am a good mother. Mostly I was scared because she was sooo tiny, she was about 5lbs when we brought her home. I was scared that I would do something and hurt her without realizing it, as a year ago someone had let my dog out of the house without me knowing it and I had ran over him. I loved him like he was my firstborn. All I could think about was how I was afraid I'd hurt her like I hurt him, so even though the zoloft helped I decided to add xannax so I could get more then an hours sleep at a time.

I am now trying effexor for the problem that I have such a hard time getting up in the morning. I was hopeing the norepinephrine would give me back my drive and concentration. but regardless of wether I take the drug or don't take the drug either way I've got to deal with something. I'd much rather take the drug and be calm enough to think things through then to be hyper over react and cause irreversable damage from anxiety and panic attacks. I've decided that I need to realize that life is hard, no matter how we look at it, we have to decide how much were going to put into it. I've blamed everything else for my weight gain and my looks going down hill, and my sometimes unorganized house and various other things on everything but me, now I've decided I'm still going to take my meds, cause lord (and my husband) know I need them but I'm tired of being a result of my condition and I'm going to start being a survivor of my condition.

(sorry for the book but I think these message boards are just as good as any shrink! it's nice to get it off your chest!)

 
Old 09-14-2005, 09:28 AM   #7
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

It sure seems like childbirth has a lot to do with some women getting panic disorder...I've often thought mine started after my son was born because of the huge responsibility that was on my shoulders. I was never scared when I was on my own. My son is still the best thing that ever happened in my life (he's 16 now) and I'd go through it all again, even if I thought I could avoid this problem.

 
Old 09-14-2005, 09:54 AM   #8
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

Childbirth with me too, minor anxiety during childhood, but panic disorder blew up one month after giving birth to second child, 14 yrs ago. I really think hormones play a part, not all mind you, but a great deal. Im 43 now and periomenopausal, and gets worse before my cycles than they ever did.

 
Old 09-14-2005, 10:20 AM   #9
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

Me too crabbyroad, I'm 45 and perimenopausal...same thing before and during my period! I think it's hormones too, but haven't figured out how to keep them in check. Tried many things, I just end up dealing with things as they come up.

Last edited by SRMom; 09-14-2005 at 10:23 AM.

 
Old 09-15-2005, 03:36 PM   #10
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

Childbirth didn't really do that to me. If there was anything I could blame on childbirth it would have to be my self esteem. I felt like my body had been trashed. I didn't think I was pretty anymore. I had lost my cute little 18 year old body!!! I have come to the conclusion that my 18 year old body is gone. I'm okay with that. Now, I am a woman and wasn't then!! Women don't wear little half shirts and shorts where their butt cheeks are hanging out! Clothes are amazing things! They can hide all kinds of stuff that you don't want others to see! They still fit a little snug in places and show that you have some curves now. It's not that I blew up like a balloon. I just felt like it. I weigh only 5 more lbs than I did when I was 18. My body is just shaped a little different now. Not near as lean as it was then. That's life! I'll deal with it.

I do get crabby from time to time now. I think everyone with kids does!! Sometimes, I just want to hear nothing but silence. I forgot what that was like! Until this month. It had been 6 years since I was last at home alone! This month my youngest started school! Yay!! Only half a day but hey, that's better than nothing.

 
Old 09-15-2005, 05:01 PM   #11
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

bondgurl so u would not recommend lexapro huh........i was given a prescript for them for my minor depression and my ocd did it really take away your passion that really sucks because i have ocd and should probably take something but i love how i can be passionate about some stuff and i dont want that to go away at all thanks for sharing your story i enjoyed reading it even though it was sad at times. Brandon

 
Old 09-15-2005, 09:44 PM   #12
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

Well I can say that I've been on 38.5mg of effexor for a week, switching from 200mg zoloft and I can tell a major difference. First of all I don't beat myself up as much as I used to about my body and I don't consitantly worry about what people will think of me or my weight (social anxiety). Now I just try to be the best I can be and I know that my personality will shine through for me. I can also wake up in the morning so much easier! I couldn't get awake until about noon on the zoloft. None of my passion for life has gone away, I can concentrate better. The only negative side effect I noticed was that I do crave sweets alot more then I did on the zoloft, which my mom also noticed switching from celexa to zoloft that she didn't crave sweets as much on zoloft. But I also know that it's a craving from the meds and that I'm not really hungry and the feeling goes away after awhile. I'm not sure how I feel about taking it twice a day, not sure why my doc didn't call me in the XR version??? Another side effect that is starting to go away, sometimes it kind of feels like I've taken sudaphed. u know like the buzz you sometimes get from sudaphed only it's not as strong. I'm sure that feeling will go away with use.

 
Old 09-17-2005, 08:31 AM   #13
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Re: My Story - Lexapro and Effexor XR

I was also on Effexor and had high heart rate 180 bpm. Since I am off it my heart rate is normal. I have been switched to Lexapro instead and I have been ok. I don't think I could go off medicine and go on natural stuff.

 
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