Monday, June 1, 2020

Comments by Robert

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  • I was put on paxil (paroxetine) when I was a teenager for severe anxiety and depression. I was being bullied hardcore but the solution seemed to be to put me on drugs instead of deal with the bullies. But I digress.

    After 3 years on this medication, it was agreed that I didn’t need to be on it anymore. I was taken off of it cold turkey and immediately went into withdrawal: unable to walk, severe dizziness and cognitive disorientation, night sweats, nausea, etc. When I brought these symptoms to my doctor and my psychiatrist, both said there was zero evidence of withdrawals from SSRIs and that my symptoms were psychosomatic. This was back before there was any research into the effects of immediate discontinuation.

    Despite these claims, my psychiatrist decided to put me back on another SSRI, efexxor, which I ended up having some kind of allergic reaction to. They put me back on paxil and my symptoms vanished. I noticed during the withdrawals that I noticed a greater range of emotional sensitivity against so I opted to get myself off these drugs.

    One Christmas on my break from high school, I spent all 2 weeks in bed. My family quietly acknowledged that I was going through drug withdrawal at the young age of 15 and supported me as best they could. Three years later, research came out about the dangers of discontinuing SSRIs, even in tapered doses. The industry quickly renamed these withdrawals to “discontinuation syndrome” so that it couldn’t be compared symptomatically to opiates, which really infuriated me.

    I have had severe episodes of depression since then and I have found that there is an emotional discontinuity within myself to work through these episodes partially due to the SSRIs I took in the formative stages of emotional coping strategies. I sincerely believe that my ability to cope now as an adult would not be as hampered if I hadn’t taken SSRIs. Their effects on my nervous system are unknown, and there is no long term evidence that SSRIs, in the long term, actually help depression. In many cases they make it way worse, as they did for me. Suicidal ideation became way easier while on the drugs than off because they put you into a false parasympathetic mode about your own suffering.

    These drugs are insidious and desperate people don’t know what they’re signing up for when they get prescribed them. Without supplementary mental health counseling they could get worse.