Posted by Pam on April 19, 2000, at 9:20:44
In reply to Paxil withdrawal sucks.....but hang in there, posted by deb on March 30, 2000, at 20:47:40
I don't know a lot about addiction, but I'm really upset by the simplistic
equation that "problems going off Paxil" = "addiction to Paxil."
This is a drug that alters our brain chemistry. It changed us when we
went on it. Of course changes will happen when we go off it!
My experience is like a lot of yours. I was on Paxil, 40 mg/day, for a
whopping five years. It enriched my life, and it probably saved my life.
When we're not depressed, it's easy to forget how hellish depression is.
I'm having a very difficult time right now with what is probably "Paxil
withdrawal," but I'd endure my current symptoms for a month rather than
go through another 30 seconds of the depths of hopeless despair that
led me to Paxil in the first place.
I had sleep problems (mostly vivid dreams and hypersomnia) before,
during, and after my time on Paxil. I started weaning myself off
Paxil nearly a month ago (under a doctor's care) because my doctors
believed that a recent increase in my sleep problems was a manifestation
of my depression and that the Paxil wasn't working anymore. (They want me
to go on Prozac, but that's a whole 'nother issue.) As I took
less and less Paxil, I felt better and better! Emotionally, I'm feeling
Then, 10 days ago (when I was at the 10-mg dose), I started getting what felt
like a rapid and irregular heartbeat. Two nights ago, after being off Paxil altogether for
nearly a week, I had a horrible episode of "conscious dreaming"; I
could tell I was in a dream (and a fairly mundane one--not a nightmare)
but I couldn't get out. I kept going in and out of this state for
an hour or two. I also had some really weird altered perceptions, like
my arms were too long or my feet were on the wrong legs. It was
terrifying. So for the last two days, my sleep has been uneven (mostly
normal, though--no repeats of the severity of the episode two days ago)
and I've had this damned annoying ringing in my head.
Reading this stuff on the Net is, for me, an enormous relief, because
I feel less like I'm crazy and more like I'm going through a medical
(I'm going to the doctor in a few hours, by the way, to diagnose this
I would beg anyone who's reading this NOT to be scared away from taking Paxil
because of possible withdrawal problems later. Different drugs help different
people (and some people aren't helped by drugs at all), and Paxil was the right
one for me. I am looking forward to life after Paxil, but I don't regret for
a moment having been on it for all that time, even though I feel crappy
at the moment.