Severe Panic Attacks after taking SSRI meds...

panic attacks - 71.4%
opposite reaction to Anti- depressants - 28.6%

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/7/2009 1:39 PM (GMT -6)   
I am kind of worried about myself ,because my case seems to so different from others. It all started when i went to the doctor for migraines, i was getting every day. The doctor put me on amitriptyln 25 mg. Which is an anti depressant.That was supose to help control the migraines. Take in mind i was diagnosed with adnomeosis about 4 months prior to going to the doctor for migraines , and my OB put me on Yaz birth control, to help with the adnomeosis symptoms. So after taking Yaz for about 3 months and Amitriptyln for about 6 months. The amitriptytln controlled my migraines for about 2 months. Then they came back even worse. So i went back to doctor to see what he could do about controlling my migraines . He increased my amitriptyln to 50mg. Which was 25 mg. more than what i have been taking already. That week ....Is when my Nightmare began. I took the 50mg, once a day, for about 5 days. And on the fifth day i started to get very depressed thoughts of death , suicide, i mean , just every thing bad. And take in mind i have never been a depressed person. You know i was so scared with feeling i was getting that i ran to the emergency room. They sedated me, and told me to get off the meds. So i stopped everything ,including the birth control. In fear that i would get these feeling back. about 2 days later i was feeling normal again. Thank God!!!! So after my whole episode with amitriptyln i started to get really bad panic attacks. I then made ANOTHER, appt. to see if they could talk to about how to control those. This doctor put me on Prozac Which was supose to control the panic attacks. And the PROZAC, was a million times worse than the 50MG OF AMITRIPTYLN. I took one pill of prozac at night , and then another about 9 am the next morning. And that day was just HORRIBLE. Thoughts suicide, death, i mean just awful , scary thoughts. So once again i ran to the emergency room. And they admitted me to observe me. And to see if we could put the pieces of the puzzle back together. When i got out the hospital i felt okay . But never the same. SO since then which has been about 4 months. It has been a roller coaster ride for me. I have good days and then i have my severe bad days.Which include severe panic attacks and obsessive thoughts about how i felt the day of the bad reaction to the meds, and just alot awful feelings of not knowing if im ever going to be the same again. And i have noticed more days come about a week before i start my period, and during the week of my period.. Im lost and dont know what to , or where to turn. I am so scared to take meds. Because they have such an opposite reaction to me.. if anyone can relate or give me some good positive advice, it would help me so much ,,, Thank you for taking the time to read. Even though ,it was really confusing......................................................Have a good day

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/7/2009 5:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Amitriptline ( sp ) is an anti pyschotic from my understanding and it does help many ppl
Correct me if I am wrong
I knwo it is used for pain in fibro as well as migraines
Sounds like you had a real bad time of it .........I am sorry

There are some meds that work the opposite as you say
I am praying you find out what yo can do or even take to help you
Have you tried therapy
There is also plenty of self help techniques listed above in yellow sticky at top like breathing and relaxation techniques

KNOW you are no longer alone and I do hope you will stay with us

WELCOME to the family that knows what you are going thru

 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2268
   Posted 3/7/2009 5:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Amitriptyline is an older anti-depressant.

I think it's very unlikely that the anxiety/suicidal type side effects resulted from the Yaz. You should talk to you GYN about it, but I just can't see them happening. Yaz can cause migraine, though, so perhaps that's something you would want to look into. There are lots of other BCP's out there, and maybe another one would be a better choice for you. One choice you might discuss with your doc is Nuvaring, since that one delivers the hormones locally & they mostly don't get into your bloodstream.

As for the mental health issues, I would say it is worth it to look into Serotonin Syndrome as a possible cause. You had such severe reactions, and that is rare. Were you sleeping some when you were having all those thoughts or were they just racing through your head faster & faster each day and most or all of the night? Did your family/friends notice anything different about you when you were on the Amitriptyline -- talking faster, eating more, rushing around everywhere? Sometimes a doctor who doesn't know you can misdiagnose Serotonin Syndrome as either an anxiety disorder or mania. It is an extraordinarily rare side effect of anti-depressants, but it can happen and often doctors don't even consider it when making a diagnosis since almost no one ever has it. If that's what happened, I can completely understand why you are so freaked out. I was a wreck before I understood what happened to me. I still choose to steer clear of anti-depressants, but I don't get all worried about other meds or about that I might just randomly develop those kind of rapid, unrelenting thoughts that I HAD to end my life. I know that I am in control of my thoughts & what I put in my body and that is enough for me. Hopefully you will find something to give you some peace as well.

take care,

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/7/2009 8:00 PM (GMT -6)   


Welcome to HealingWell and the A & P Forum.

It does sound like you may be sensitive to meds, however Amitriptyline is an old Trycyclic medication so it would not cause Serotonin Syndrome as it is not an SSRI medication but Prozac is an SSRI med.

I am not a physician but you did mention your sx become worse pre menses which you may want to see your GYN phycician as was advice by another wise member.  It could be the BCP causing the migraines and you could have General Anxiety Disorder which can be  controlled.

I am happy to welcome you to the warm and wonderful family of A & P.  Keep on talking to us.

Gentle hugs




Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/11/2009 10:09 PM (GMT -6)   
THANK YOU< THANK YOU,so much for getting back to me> I greatly appreciate your response in my post. Im glad im not alone any more. thank you, God Bless You

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 3/11/2009 10:34 PM (GMT -6)   
You are not alone. I was recently put on Zoloft to treat panic/anxiety attacks. As soon as I starte dtaking it, I felt really bad. Every night between 6-9PM I would get these warm hot flushes through my body starting in the legs, travel to arms and chest and then sometimes the head. It was a strange feeling like I was being injected with whiskey - real warm tingeling. I too went to ER twice. The Dr. kept telling me the Zoloft needs 2 weeks to take active to wait it out. After 11 days he finally took me off it and the warm sensation feelings seem to have been minimal. Only had two minor episodes last 2 weeks (THANK GOD)! It just seemed to be one of those medications that help many but did the opposite for me. Now I have been taking Xanax (Alprazolam) 5 mg 3x daily as needed. Today I only took 2x 1/2 tablets (total of 5mg) and soo far soo good. From what I read, Xanax activates fast and you can take one as soon as symptoms of anxiety/panic are felt. Really calms you down and I am 240lbs Male! Now I learned that my father and both sisters have Alprazolam as well and take as needed for anxiety. I just dont understand why it comes on for me. I have great outlook, positive, not depressed and have no worries that I can think of. May be genetics in my case. I recall when I was on Zoloft sitting in my car at the mall and just watching people walk in and out and wonder to myself what it would be like to feel normal again. Like you, I have a series of good days then a set back but I do believe time heals all. I am sure it will for you too. Not sure where you live but here in Illinois I am looking forward to Spring / Summer. Something positive!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 3/11/2009 11:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Things will get better, and we're all happy that you knowing that we're here for you helps. That's what it's all about! =)


"Come to the edge," he said.
"We're afraid!" they replied.
"Come to the edge," he said.

He pushed them, and they flew...

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6376
   Posted 3/12/2009 4:08 AM (GMT -6)   

Welcome to the forum nice to meet you. Its sound like you are having a rough time of it at the moment and im sorry to hear that, Amitriptline is a trycyclic antidepressant and as Kitt mentioned would not cause serotonoin syndrome which is a very rare side effect of an ssri such as prozac. I noticed from your post that you took one at night and then one in the morning to me that sounds a bit to close together, I was on prozac and took mine in the morning at the same time each day maybe this could of caused the reaction you had but im not a doctor so you could chat to your doctor about the reaction you had. Prozac is one of the stronger ssri and I was taking it to help treat my GAD but did not have much luck with it, when you first start taking antidepressants you can get increased feelings of suicide and other side effects but I have found these do pass after a few weeks once your brain gets used to the medication but every one is different and what works well for one person does not work for an other. You did the right thing speaking to your doctor about your reaction to these meds and hopefully you will be able to find one which will help you. Have you considered therapy such as CBT? I have gone through some therapy and found it to be very helpful even more so than my medication and im due to start CBT next month. I am glad you have found this forum as it is a great place to come and speak to people who can relate to what you are going through so please keep posting you are part of the family now and we are here to support you through this rough time.

Take Care

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/13/2009 3:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I just want to thank you so much for replying to my post. You dont know how much it helps me. But, lately i have had my pleasant days and then my bad days. But i have noticed since i have been taking Valerian Root Extract , that it has helped me to calm down. I take one right when i wake up ,and one right before i go to sleep. But has anyone ever woke up with a panic attack? Because when my anxiety is bad. I wake up with my heart pounding, very nervous, instant diarrhea, and my mind is just racing. And when i wake up like that, its so hard to relax and move on from those feelings. But the real test will be if gets worse around my menstration, and that will let me know if it has anything to do with my hormones. Has hormones effected anyone's panic attacks? Everyone have a blessed day. You are all in my prayers

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/3/2009 6:42 PM (GMT -6)   


Welcome to HealingWell.  Rosa last posted on 4/13 so I hope she sees this post and responds to you soon.

I hope you are off the medication if it has caused you severe panic attacks.  If you only had 4 doses I would believe that your physician would just stop the med.

I have never taken valerian so I am sorry I have no personal experience with this choice.  Valerian can be found in capsule, tea, tablet or liquid extract forms in most health food stores, some drugstores and online.

The use of valerian is supported by some evidence from clinical studies. The problem with many of the studies, however, is they've generally been small, used different amounts of valerian for varying lengths of time, or had problems with the study design, making it impossible to form a conclusion about the effectiveness of valerian.

Valerian appears to be less effective than prescription sleep medication. One possible advantage of valerian, however, is that it may not have as much of a "hangover" effect on mental or physical functioning the following day. Also, people taking sleeping pills sometimes have a temporary worsening of insomnia when they are discontinued, an effect that hasn't been reported with valerian.

Side effects of valerian may include headache, dizziness, itchiness, upset stomach, drowsiness during the daytime, dry mouth and vivid dreams. I would talk with your physician before taking any medication.  That is just my opinion.
I wish you luck and hope you are soon feeling better.

Kitt, Co-Moderator:
Co-Moderator Depression
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/29/2009 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   
dear rose,
i too have experienced the frequent migraines that come from using Yaz. my doctor prescribed a different medication to control them, but a better anti-depressant in my opinion is Paxil.
you're not alone,

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 5/29/2009 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow LisaJean,
Your story really hit home. I had my first panic attack about 5 days after starting Lexapro. I was having trouble sleeping so I took a xanax to help. I fell asleep on the couch and my wife woke me several hours later to get me to bed. I layed back down for 2 seconds, had this strange feeling come over me and then the panic set in. I had no idea what was happening. We called 911 and I went to the ER only to be diagnosed with a panic attack. The doctors told me that it probably wasn't the Lexapro, but I'm pretty sure it was.

I too am sensitive to that half asleep half awake feeling. I hate it. I think that's why a lot of my full blown panic attacks happen either in the middle of sleep, jolting me awake, or as I just wake up. My body feels strange at that time, almost like I touch my arm and then feel it a split second later. Hard to describe. Just strange and very scary. I've had a few since then that were almost as bad as the first. I think a lot of my anxiety now revolves around remembering what that was like and fearing that it will happen again. It's quite embarassing to wake everyone up in the middle of the night to go to the ER only to be diagnosed with panic.

Thanks for the post. It's always comforting when you find someone with a similar story. Hope you start feeling better soon.

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