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  • Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?



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    Old 08-22-2005, 08:46 AM   #1
    holst
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    Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Can anyone offer any suggestions?

    My story: Last year I weaned off Zoloft because of the side effects; weight gain, sexual problems, insomnia, diarrhea on a regular basis, lethargy. I went extremely slow - 10 months. I was on it in total 22 months. I was really happy to be off. After a couple of months completely off, I started to have unremitting, panic - completely severe. I never, ever, had panic and anxiety before in my life. I mean, I could not function or eat. I lost 25 pounds because of nausea, had brain fog, headaches, and the feeling that I was in fight or flight mode 24/7.

    I finally could not take it anymore, because I could not work or eat, and went on Lexapro. It helped the anxiety for awhile, but it seems it like it stops working and then you have to go up on the dose to get any relief. The thing is, I hate it and I don't want to keep upping the dosage or add another SSRI to the mix! I hate being on drugs! I feel like a drug addict now, because I have to be on Lexapro, Xanax and Ambien. Three years ago, I wasn't on anything except insulin (type 1 diabetic). I got through 40 years of my life without drugs and now after a relatively short stint on Zoloft, I'm a basketcase. Also, I'm gaining a lot of weight - which is actually making me so depressed when I wasn't before. I NEVER feel well anymore. I feel imprisioned by the Lexapro and every time I try to ween off, I get the panic, along with the nasty symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, diarrhea.

    Ironically, being stuck on an SSRI in order to function is giving me unremitting anxiety. I can stop thinking how this is messing up my brain even more, but I can't get off. I feel like I permanently damaged my brain. Can anyone offer any hope? Or am I stuck on a cocktail of drugs forever?

    Last edited by holst; 08-22-2005 at 08:50 AM.

     
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    Old 08-22-2005, 01:28 PM   #2
    hry33
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Hi
    am puzzled, why start the zoloft if you never had any anxiety problems?
    do you check your bloodsugar regularly, as you would probably know, low BS causes anxiety and panic like problems
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    Old 08-22-2005, 02:09 PM   #3
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    I am in a similiar situation as you are.

    My psychatrist put me on Celexa for Depression & OCD. I also had issues with social anxiety as well. However, it wasn't until I stopped using Celexa that I started getting panic attacks. I never had them before in my life and now I am on Lexapro. I am on a very small dose (5mg) and it seemed to be working but now I am starting to feel panic again and I am very adamant about not upping my dosage.

    I have also noticed that my appetite has grown quite a bit. When I started getting the panic attacks I couldn't eat anything, so I'm not sure if it's the medication or if I'm just making up for all that time that I couldn't eat more than 1200 calories.

    I definitely feel your frustration and fears concerning these issues. Had I known that this would happen I never would have touched medication to start with. I would MUCH rather have mood swings and crying spells than feel like I can't breathe and am dying.

    Last edited by Geek_Kittie; 08-22-2005 at 02:13 PM.

     
    Old 08-22-2005, 04:30 PM   #4
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Geek Kittie,
    Thanks for replying. Wow, you totally sound like me. My doctor gave me Zoloft for depression. Hindsight being 20/20, it was situational, mild depression and was nothing I couldn't deal with. Now I am in dire straights with the panic/anxiety. I, too, was on 5mgs of the Lex and tried to go off recently. That didn't work out too well - it was panic city and had to go back on. Now, 5mgs. is doing nothing. I feel like I can't breathe and want to puke all the time. I'm on Xanax daily, but that doesn't last. Ugh, this is utter hell.

    How long were you on Celexa and how long were you off before you developed anxiety?

     
    Old 08-22-2005, 04:33 PM   #5
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    I feel the same way. Had post partum depression almost 5 years ago. Went on Celexa and then numerous other ad's. Gained 35 lbs. I was off of the ad's for just over a year and had to go back on July 1st. Despite working to lose weight I can't get a half pound off to save my life and I worry that I will continue to need these meds and continue to gain weight. This also depresses me more than words can say

     
    Old 08-22-2005, 08:01 PM   #6
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Sorry I can't give you any encouragement because I'm pretty much in the same boat. I am on Lexapro after being off of Paxil for over 2 years. Those two years were bad...my anxiety and panic attack became chronic, hence the Lexapro.

    Theoretically, from what I've read on another board, your brain should readjust back to normal after some time off of the drugs. This time period is variable. Some people are better after a year, others still have effects from SSRI discontinuation 5 years down the line. I tried to tough it out, but really nothing was working for me, so I am back on an SSRI out of desperation.

    I'm reading "Prozac Backlash" - a rare book about the negative side of SSRIs. I am only through chapter 1, and hope this book will give me some insight into the problem of getting off of SSRIs. See if you can find it at your local library.

     
    Old 08-22-2005, 09:21 PM   #7
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Sandra, I'm sorry you're dealing with the weight issue. I wish my doctor would have told me about these horrible side effects before I took the drugs. How can they really think these meds are going to help depression when they do such damage to us? I'm way more depressed about the physical changes to my body and mind than I ever was before, and the SSRI is the direct cause. Gaining a significant amount of weight is not acceptable to me. Anyway, keep fighting, I wish you luck.

    Eddie, I'm sorry that you are in the same panic boat as me - it's a terrible place to be. It's quite discouraging to hear that you were off the meds for 2 years and your brain did not readjust back to what it was before. Were you on any benzos for the anxiety during the 2 years? Did you try any alternative treatments such as herbs or accupuncture? I will look into getting that book too. Thanks for the suggestion. I don't want to lose hope, but it ain't looking good.

     
    Old 08-23-2005, 04:30 AM   #8
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    I was only one Celexa for a short period of time. Less than a month and I developed the panic attacks a few weeks afterwards.

    I am also concerned with the weight gain and Lexapro. I have noticed that my appetite is much stronger right now, but before I was on Lexapro I wasn't eating hardly at all, so with hope I am just adjusting.

    I am planning to finish out the bottle of Lex I have now and then try to slowly cut down on the dose until I'm off. Hopefully I will be able to tolerate any panic attacks that come from this.. They just feel so intolerable and make me feel so physically ill, it's hard not to use medication.

     
    Old 08-23-2005, 01:39 PM   #9
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Holst, for the most part I didn't really use any other medications during my two years off. My doctor gave me a script for alprazolam (generic Xanax) back in November 2004 because I complained about anxiety and asked for a non-SSRI alternative. I've taken the alprazolam extremely rarely because I am aware of it's addicting nature; and usually when I've taken a tablet, I've had some relief from anxiety. Although when it wears off - you can feel rebound panic/anxiety - which did occur to me a few times. My bottle is still pretty much full; the longest I've taken it straight was about a week.

    I did try the 5-htp that someone else mentioned, but only a couple of times. I didn't give it the full course of a week - I guess this experience made me wary of things that mess with neurotransmitters. I tried vitamins and a magnesium supplement as recommended on another site, but these didn't have any noticeable effect (perhaps I wasn't taking enough). I have heard that B-vitamins are bad for people with anxiety because they tend to increase anxiety.

    So I reluctantly went back on an SSRI - Lexapro. I'm currently on a 5mg dose and I've been on it for about 3 weeks. It is definately helping me out. My anxiety and panic are lessened (not completely gone - which seems to suggest that I may have to up the dose - which I am reluctant to do). But the area in which it has helped me the most is it has taken away these massive depressive jags that I have started to get this year. Basically I would get periods where I was feeling a very deep powerful depression, especially upon awakening. This is a horrible feeling - I felt completely hollow and empty and thoughts of snuffing it ran amok in my head. So far the Lexapro has stabilized that, for which I am thankful.

    The experience of taking Lexapro has so far been positive. When I started it, I did feel some nausea, but that passed. It seems my body has adjusted to the drug. I am still not back to feeling like my old self, or how I felt when I took the Paxil the first time. That was bliss compared to how I felt in the interval when I wasn't on anything. I will give it some more time, and if I feel I need to, I will consider upping the dose. So far, the only side-effects that I am getting that remind me that I am taking something are the vivid crazy dreams - my dreams feel like episodes of the Twilight Zone; and an increase in appetite. I do worry that I will get fat, but time will tell. So far no problem with sexual functions.

    I really sympathize with you. I actually hate being on drugs. The idea that I have to take something just to feel normal really gets to me. I wish that I could live drug free sometime in the future, but for right now, I think I need to be on something so that I can straighten out my life. If I had known then what I know now about SSRIs, I would have thrown the pills in the garbage. I still kick myself for not doing some research on the Internet before blindly taking something as powerful and mind altering as these SSRIs.

    Anyway, good luck to you. I hope that you and I and everyone else can find a way to safely get off these drugs permanently.

    Last edited by NiceguyEddie; 08-23-2005 at 01:42 PM.

     
    Old 11-05-2005, 04:31 PM   #10
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    Re: Am I Stuck on an SSRI Forever?

    Celexa caused me big time problems...was given it for anxiety and when I upped the doseage as instructed, went into a full blown panic attack..which I didn't know what it was...thought it was a heart attack for sure..I was switched to Zoloft, but the panic attacks continued...therapy helped...but was mild anxiety isn't any more...

     
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