Terrible Paxil withdrawal

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/14/2009 5:10 PM (GMT -6)   
hi everyone, my name is Nick

about 4 months back i began to have anxiety.. i was put on lexapro 10mg, and let me tell you the first 3 days on it were the worst days of my life. I understand that it increases anxiety at first, but this was much MUCH worse than i expected. I stayed with it though and the anxiety calmed down over the next few weeks.. but the anxiety was still WORSE on the lexapro. I was then switched to Paxil 20mg. after a few weeks on the Paxil i noticed no difference at all so i was bumped up to 37.5mg.. BAD IDEA. those next few weeks i was completely out of it, suicidal, constant worrying, it was hell. Right now im off Paxil (reduced dose by half for a week, then took a quarter dose for a few days, then i would skip a day and take a quarter dose etc till i came off.. I've been off Paxil for maybe 12 days) Last monday i went back to my doc and he wants me on Prozac 20mg.. Lexapro and Paxil made me 20x more anxious than i was before i started taking antidepressants. I told him how i currently felt and he said the withdrawals were over by now. THE WITHDRAWALS ARE OVER?? THEN WHY DO I FEEL 100x WORSE THAN I DID BEFORE I STARTED ALL THESE MEDS YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. How long exactly can Paxil withdrawals last? and not just withdrawal itself.. also adjusting to reality again. Like i said its been 12 days since my last dose and i kind of tapered fast. someone PLEASE tell me things are going to return to normal.. i dont care if it takes months.. i just need to feel like myself again..

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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 1/14/2009 5:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HealingWell. I am sorry you are having the medication management issues.  It is very common and if you type Paxil into the search feature above you will find many threads on this drug.
We are not professionals and we cannot tell you how long it takes on the drugs to completely leave your body.  Each person is different.
Have you tried and alternative to using the drugs?  Some people do well on  therapy etc. ?
Please do advocate for yourself when talking with your Doctor. 
I wish you peace.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 1/14/2009 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   


I'm certainly no doctor, so I can only share my own Paxil tapering experiences. I still take the med daily, by the way -- started taking it maybe 15 years ago for depression, which it treats very well in my case.

I have changed dosages many times with not much trouble: a little foggy when going up, a little agitated when going down, both for maybe the first 2, or at most 3 weeks. My doctor usually does my dosage changes more slowly than yours suggested. For instance, when I went down two "sizes" a few years ago (40 to 30 to 20 or something like that), he had me on the middle one for a month in between. I usually got very comfortable with the new dose and felt like I wanted to, felt like myself for sure, by week 4. (My one "cold turkey" experience...now that's another story...not a smart move at all)

Others here will have different experiences to share. Remember that your body did get used to having it, just like it's used to having, say, carbs, every day. When the body has to readjust to not having something regularly, it's a tough change, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

I believe you will feel like yourself again.



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Green Grove
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Date Joined Oct 2008
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   Posted 1/14/2009 5:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Nick :)

Welcome to the A/P forum. We have great people on here and tons of resources. I don't know what else to add to the great advice Kitt and Percycat gave you. You definitely need to talk with your doc about this situation although because many of us feel the way you do about wanting to be ourselves again and to do that requires communication with you physician and maybe even seeking therapy if things are getting to tough for you to deal with.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a good day :)
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Not a professional.  Seek your physician's advice before making changes to your meds or lifestyle.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
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   Posted 1/14/2009 8:09 PM (GMT -6)   
A good way to try to alleviate withdrawal is to drink a lot of lemon water (cleanes the liver) and maybe try to take vit's like C and B complex.

Google some good detox for withdrawal. It does work.

Good luck, been there
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1097
   Posted 1/14/2009 10:03 PM (GMT -6)   
hi nick,

i have heard that paxil can be very nasty stuff, but i've never personally taken it, so i can not comment on it directly. i would definitely echo others in that you really need to see your dr. about this.

also-welcome to the forum! i sincerely hope you are able to get this straightened out and start feeling better soon!

please feel free to ask questions! there are many wonderful and knowledgeable people here who will help you in any way they can.
love and hugs

this being human is a guest house.
every morning a new arrival-a joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awarenewss comes as an unexpected visitor.
welcome and entertain them all!
even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,still, treat each guest honorably
he may be clearing you out for some new delight.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6373
   Posted 1/15/2009 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Nick

Welcome to healingwell you have come to a good place. I have not taken paxil so cant comment on that but I have taken other antidepressants and find that I need to come off them very slowly and under supervision from doctor. I would recommend going to speak with your doctor and tell him/her exactly what you are going through. Hope things start to improve for you soon and stay with us and keep posting to tell us how you are getting on.


red lightening
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 1/15/2009 10:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Paxil is THE worst drug to come off of. Go very slowly.
There are even websites devoted exclusively to the
withdrawal from paxil. My husband went off his cold turkey
6 years ago and wound up in a mental hospital. It is bad
stuff to come off of.....just know that it isn't you
but the drug withdrawal that's making you feel this way.
Know that this too shall pass and you will gain equilibrium
soon. Hang in there.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 1/15/2009 1:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I hear so many stories about Dr's not listening when it comes to withdrawal symptoms. Are these general Drs? My pysc doctor as always cautioned me to change doses very slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. I tried doing Lexapro too fast and it was bad. This time around has been much better b/c I'm going very slow with 2 months between the next dose. Hang in there Nick!
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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/1/2009 12:40 PM (GMT -6)   
hi everyone i'm back to update my status. I wish i could tell you all that i'm feeling a bit better but that would be a lie :(. It's been a month and week since I've stopped the paxil and i still feel unbelievably terrible and the anxiety is the same if not worse than it was while i was on the antidepressants. I hear from some people that it can take months to recover but i'm not getting better at all. I pray not just daily but constantly to the Lord and i understand there's a plan for me otherwise I wouldn't be alive right now. I'm trying to keep the faith and not fall off again, but its becoming increasingly hard with every day. I understand it can take months to recover, I was just wondering if anyone has a personal experience to mine.. it would really give me some comfort.

either i'm going to get better over time or the antidepressants did permanent damage which is absolutely ridiculous. i thought i had anxiety before i started meds.. antidepressants boosted it to another level and its not going away.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6373
   Posted 2/1/2009 12:50 PM (GMT -6)   

Sorry to hear you are still having problems with your anxiety you need to go and speak to your doctor and tell him how you are feeling dont miss any thing out, I usually right down all the points I want to say on a bit of paper and take that in with me so i dont miss any thing out. You need to do something about how you are feeling, I found that therapy really helped me and I am due to do CBT in March and in the meantime i have just started moodgym which is a free online CBT site. I hope things start to get better for you soon and keep posting to tell us how things are going with you.

Take Care

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 2/1/2009 1:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, wintensity!

It's good to hear from you, but I'm so sorry you're struggling. My one cold-turkey withdrawal, which I didn't describe earlier, was much like what you're experiencing: a huge increase in anxiety, to the point where I felt frantic, that I couldn't tolerate any more. Some folks describe this as rebound anxiety, the body still in overdrive trying to communicate its fears through the safety screen of meds that are no longer there. So you're getting slammed with feelings that are much more extreme than usual, just because they're used to trying to blast through a medicated state.

I did go back on Paxil - because my depression also returned, and I have made controlling it my line in the sand regarding treatments - so I can't offer any advice about when the heightened anxiety will stop.

Peacesoul's advice about the lemon water is good, and taking a good multi-vitamin (I also include iron) can help me to feel more balanced even while on meds.

I surely hope you get some relief SOON, or at least a sense of how soon all this will stop.



Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

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