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Marmite posted a topic in Events, controversies, actionsHi everyone, We need your input for a national newspaper article on the long term effects of SSRI's.!!!! https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/06/long-term-user-antidepressants-tell-experiences We are seeking accounts of long term use and any symptoms that people have encountered as a result of this. Symptoms "may" include PSSD, Fibromyalgia, Tingling / pain / numbness, sensory disturbances (ears, eyes, touch), brain symptoms, general nervous system issues, movement disorders, cardiovascular issues / arrhythmia to name some of the symptoms which people have mentioned in the past. You can submit an anonymous or named account of your symptoms via the link and questionnaire in the article. You don't have to be named if you don't want to be. The request for stories has arisen from an article which was recently published and which Professor David Healy and Joanna Moncrieff contributed to. The British Medical Association research into dependency and withdrawal from psycho-active drugs which was published in October 2014 is also cited. The previous article can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/06/dont-know-who-am-antidepressant-long-term-use Please contribute - the results of this national newspaper request for stories could drive research into the long term effects of antidepressants !
I started ADs in 2000 at the age of 25 following a difficult period where I had lost a lot of money while working as a fund manager in the US. I lost my job and faced some possible legal ramifications which never eventuated. Anxiety and general panicky feelings led me to see a shrink who put me on a low dose of what is known mostly as Paxil (Aropax here in Aus where I now live) and said I would "feel better" soon. I stayed on Paxil for about a year but I never felt better, it increased my anxiety and made me very uptight and even caused me to be violent and aggressive at times which is very unlike me (I remember at least one episode of full on road rage). I decided to get off the drug after 1 year CT and suffered horrible withdrawals. After a week I went back to the shrink and said I've never felt like this in my entire life, I feel like a complete basket case. I asked him if it could be withdrawals like a heroin addict who stops taking heroin, and he said there is no evidence of withdrawal symptoms with ADs (imagine, this is in 2001 in a Western country, one week after stopping the med cold turkey and he told me it must be me and my anxiety returning!) So he switched me to Zoloft. Within 24 hours I felt like my body was trying to come out of my skin, it was the worst thing I had ever experienced. So I stopped it immediately and then he suggested I try Citalopram (Cipramil /Celexa). This drug had an instant calming affect, I still remember 3 days later walking around all smiles and totally relaxed. Within a few weeks I was back to myself completely - if not better than I ever was, since I always had a bit of social anxiety such as when engaging in public speaking (which I hid well) and this drug had totally eradicated that nervous feeling. I almost felt like I was a little high (like a mellow high) but still energetic and upbeat and able to function well. I gained a lot of weight but didn't care, and I definitely had a lowered sex drive, but it didn't seem to bother me then. I was in a total bubble. My GP told me that if you find something that works well for you you should stay on it long term. So I did. In fact I never saw the shrink again. I got my scripts from my GP and he never suggested I go off. Nor did I want or feel the need to. Once in a while I would ask him if its dangerous to be on this stuff long term and he would joke and say half his patients are on the stuff and there is no evidence that long term use is dangerous. People had been on it for years longer than I had and they were fine. So I was on Citalopram from 2001 until 2008. During that period I functioned well. Too well. I took on a new job in Australia where I thrived in an executive position, worked hard, made lots of money, bought an expensive house and had 2 kids (I guess my libido was low but not that low). By nature I am very driven and hard working, but I think the drug enhanced my stamina. (In hindsight I realise I was quite emotionally blunted during that period. I also have no doubt that he drug was probably the reason why I was able to take on so much work and work long hours without getting burned out. It did not make me manic but gave me a lot of confidence and stamina.) Then in 2008 I started to read about the dangers of long term use of SSRIs. How people were struggling to get off them. How they can lead to depression and possible brain damage. I got scared. So I decided to go off them. Life was good (perhaps too good) and I had no reason I needed to be on them anymore. The original anxiety of loosing money that led me to the drug years ago was long gone and totally irrelevant. By now I had known enough about these drugs that WDs were real and that I would need to taper off them. So I cut my dose (20mg) in half and took 10mg for 2 weeks. During that time I felt fine. I also began to feel more emotion and libido was stronger. Otherwise, not much difference. Then, two weeks later, I stopped taking the drug completely. The withdrawals were horrible. After a few weeks the brain zaps stopped but I still felt out of sorts. I felt very fatigued and out of it. But I was still able to function at work. I stayed in this mode for about 3 months, functioning, but still out of sorts. But I felt I was slowly getting back to myself. I was much better by the end of 3 months. You'd think this would be the end of my little story. But sadly, it is not. About 4 months after going off the drug I was standing in my office casually talking to some clients and suddenly I became overwhelmed by a surge of racing thoughts. They filled me with panic and anxiety to the extent I had never felt before. I went home that night and couldn't sleep. Everything was fine in my life but suddenly I felt like I had been hit by a train! The thoughts were ruminations and feelings of extreme guilt, about random things. They became obsessive and gave me the darkest, most anxious feelings I have ever had. Far worse that even the anxiety that I felt in 2000. Worse even than I felt when I was withdrawing. I couldn't function. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. My entire being was exhausted from fighting these horrid feelings. I never had such a level of extreme anxiety, guilt, obsessive thinking and deep inner turmoil. It was like a door had opened in my brain that had been closed my whole life and had suddenly flooded my brain and I had no way of closing the door or making it stop. A few days in and things were getting worse. I went to a very highly regarded Psychiatrist, who was able to see me immediately. He said I had relapsed and would need to go back on the drug. How could this be a relapse? I never suffered from pure obsessional thoughts before! Terrifying panic and horrid overwhelming feelings of guilt and obsessional thinking. But I didn't care. I wanted it to end. I went back on the drug, but it didn't help. In fact, it made me feel worse. At once stage I felt like I wanted to admit myself into a hospital because I felt so unspeakably horrid. But I never did, and instead saw my new Psychiatrist who was very good. He introduced me to a drug called Solian, an Atypical anti psychotic which works to increase dopamine at low doses. It has no anti psychotic benefit at a low dose but an anti anxiety / anti depressive affect. This was helpful. A few weeks after starting this drug (in combination with my original dose of Ciprimil/ Celexa) I turned the corner. I slowly began to get better. I weaned off the anti psychotic pretty early on, but stayed on the AD. I was still working throughout most of this "relapse" and after about 18 months the obsessive thoughts had stopped completely. my Psychiatrists was of the opinion that I should stay on the drug, and I was totally for that, as the thought of what happened the last time I tried to stop was so terrifying, I couldn't even fathom returning to such a state. So I stayed on the Citalopram and life went on. However in 2015 things got worse again. I stated to feel depressed. Some days were better and some were worse. I never suffered from depression before. The mornings were bad. I was becoming more and more blunted, apathetic and depressed. It was a dysphoric but also agitated depression. I felt very drained and lethargic, like I had no motivation or drive anymore. I felt like my adrenal glands had been removed or that the motivational part of my brain had been cut out or switched off. I started getting more moody and irritable than I have ever been. Everyone was noticing it and it just got worse and worse over the following 18 months. As I write this I am still suffering, and it is getting worse. I am still functioning at work but I can spend a lot of time distracted and not working efficiently. I have zero anxiety or feelings at all, for that matter. Just a heavy depression. But I fear I may not be able to function at work much longer, the way I feel. Some mornings I cannot get out of bed and show up at work only in the afternoon, (but stay late). I now own my own business and I don't book appointments or schedule meetings until later in the day unless I really have no choice. Some days I don't show up at all. I do still have windows of high functioning, but they come and go. But this has gone to far, its affecting my life and work to the point that I am getting really desperate. A few weeks ago I did some online research about depression caused by long term use of SSRIs. The term is Tardive Dysphoria. I know that's what I'm suffering from. It is such an unnatural feeling and so all consuming and disabling. The suggested remedy, assuming the damage isn't permanent, is to get off SSRI's. My Shrinkrecently added a new drug called Valdoxan. It worked well for about a month and then pooped out. Now he wants to change my med to Brintillex, a new type of SSRI. He swears I will feel better on it. He's a good at what he does and he's probably right. But then what? I'm 42 years old. It will work for a while, possibly even for a sustained period. It might even get me to 50. But then what? I actually asked him that. He said we'll worry about it then. I think my preference is to get off all meds. But I'm too terrified to try. What happened last time I tried was just too terrible. Its been 9 more years of Cipramil use since, so it will definitely be even worse now. However I need to get out of this dysphoric state and I don't want to start any new drugs which will just make it harder to get off in the future. Any advice would be much appreciated.
My relationship with antidepressants: I've been on different ones for over 20 years. The more I learn about long term use, the more I want to be off of them. I started weaning myself from Effexor about two months ago, and am on day 8 of no Effexor. I am still on Wellbutrin. Withdrawal symptoms I'm currently experiencing: dizziness, brain zaps (like frequent small electric shocks to my brain), insomnia, some nausea. They were the worst at day five, and seem to be decreasing slowly. How I feel now: I have a crazy amount of energy. I don't know if it's a withdrawal symptom, a no more Effexor stunting my feelings and energy level, or what. But it's pretty cool to have energy. The negatives are that I'm super irritable and little things like repetitive noises, my kids not following directions, the room being too hot or too cold, all make me want to scream or cry or rage. Literally. I'm also experiencing super surges of grief, wanting to weep uncontrollably at a Facebook post about someone's dog that died, someone's kid who graduated from college, or my mother-in-law who has lived with us for 12 years breaking the toilet or the dryer or the lock on the front door or some other thing that seems indestructible to the average person. My anger at the medical community: why the hell, twenty years ago when my mother died at a young age and I got into my first real depression, didn't they say, well let's get you walking, meditating, support grouping, counseling, or anything else? "You are depressed. Here's your prescription. See you in a month." There are valid reasons for getting depressed! It is normal to be sad and cry and have a hard time moving through the death of someone you love. Physicians are quick to stifle all of this with meds rather than deal with the underlying causes of the depression. My life outside of meds: I'm a special education teacher. 55 years old and proud of the work I do. I live with hubby who is also a SpEd teacher, one kid in college, one in high school, and an amazing adorable 7 year old we adopted recently. We also have a son who died at age six months, due to a stupid sucky unfair genetic syndrome he had, in 1998. And mother-in-law. I have never missed more than a day or two of school due to depression. Never been hospitalized for it. Seem to be able to fake my way outside my home pretty well, but depression comes out big time at home. Also can you tell I like to write? Lol, it's very therapeutic. My goal: to successfully get off of antidepressants and manage my depression through yoga, meditation, journaling, exercise, and groups like this one.
I'm ******. My signature pretty much sums things up, but leaves out the In-depth details of the journey with this drug. My biggest fear is that I began taking the med as a teenager and while my brain was still developing. I can't help but wonder about the impact Prozac had on my neuro- development and what that means for me now and in the futures he last time I kicked the Prozac habit it lasted 4 months before I finally gave in to the withdrawal symptoms and resumed taking Prozac again. It's so hard to describe how bad it was and what it felt like. The physical symptoms alone were unbelievable. I honestly wasn't sure I'd survive it. Right now there are periods of anxiety and fatigue and irritability, but they are tolerable and slowly abating. When they do I will decrease my dosage again. That's how I'm playing it this time. Decrease, survive withdrawal symptoms till they [mostly] abate, then decrease again... Then on like that. I don't ever want to experience what I did the last time.