Paxil (Paroxetine) is an antidepressant drug used to treat a variety of diseases, including major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing the amount of serotonin available in the brain. It is not uncommon to experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit Paxil.
More than 40 million people in the United States take antidepressants.Most of them get their prescriptions from family doctors rather than psychiatrists.SSRI withdrawal symptoms are well documented in the medical literature,But the prescribing doctors usually have no psychiatric expertise and sometimes neglect to tell their patients what will happen.
A large proportion of people taking Paxil and other SSRIs experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit smoking or reduce their dose. Approximately 50% of people taking antidepressants have been taking it for more than five years.A quarter of people have used it for ten years or more.
Unfortunately, Paxil is notorious for being one of the most difficult antidepressants to quit. It is even described in the medical literature as an antidepressant from hell.Due to its short half-life, Paxil withdrawal may happen very quickly. Overall, more than 56% of people who quit antidepressants will experience some kind of withdrawal symptoms.The incidence of Paxil users may be higher.
The intensity of symptoms ranges from mild to severe, including irritability, dizziness, nausea, and tingling.Some people describe feelings similar to electricity in their minds. This is sometimes described as a brain shock, brain tremor, or electric shock. These sensations may occur rarely or multiple times a day, and may sometimes be triggered by rapid eye movements.
Changing or stopping taking antidepressants can also increase the risk of recurrence of the mood or anxiety symptoms being treated. After stopping antidepressants, your risk of suicide may also increase.
Signs and symptoms
Although withdrawal symptoms may occur after stopping any antidepressant, it is well known that some symptoms are worse than others. Paxil is one of the most serious criminals. This is due in part to its half-life, which means the time it takes for half of the medicine to leave your body effectively. Paxil has a relatively short half-life of 21 hours.This means that withdrawal symptoms usually develop rapidly, usually within two to three days.
Symptoms associated with SSRI withdrawal include:
- Digestive system: You may experience nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.
- Balance: You may feel dizzy or light-headed, sometimes causing difficulty walking.
- Sleep problems: You may have nightmares, unusual dreams, excessive/lively dreams or insomnia.
- Overall: You may experience flu-like symptoms, including headaches, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, cramps, and tiredness.
- Mood: You may experience extreme anxiety, agitation, panic, suicidal ideation, depression, irritability, anger, or mood swings.
- Strange feelings: You may experience concussions (such as electric shocks or brain tremors), needle tingling, tinnitus, strange smells, or allergies to sounds.
- Heat resistance: You may sweat too much, flush, or become intolerant of high temperatures.
- Motor control: You may experience tremors, muscle tension, restless legs, unsteady gait, or difficulty controlling speech and chewing movements.
Paxil withdrawal symptoms can range from mild trouble to severe and incapacitating. Discontinuation-The Signs and Symptoms Scale (DESS) is a list that you can use to assess your symptoms and their severity. This list should only be used as a reference, and your clinician will use this list or something similar to diagnose you.
Response and relief
Paxil withdrawal can be painful, but there are steps you can take to alleviate the blow. Doctors usually recommend switching to long-acting SSRIs, such as Prozac, before trying to quit smoking. Once you have stabilized a dose of Prozac, you can try to gradually reduce the dose. Recent studies have shown that a slow taper will continue to decrease after the therapeutic dose until your dose approaches 0 mg.
Other response strategies include:
Telling your friends and family about potential withdrawal symptoms, such as agitation, may help prevent interpersonal conflict.
If you have insomnia, prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills may help. Consider Tylenol PM or Benadryl.
You can use over-the-counter painkillers, such as Tylenol and Advil, to help relieve pain, or Pepto-Bismol to help relieve nausea and vomiting.
Meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises are all good ways to reduce stress and restlessness.
Aerobic exercise helps to improve mood and increase energy. Exercise four times a week for at least 30 minutes each time.
A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables helps keep the body active during withdrawal.
One of the best ways to deal with withdrawal symptoms is to realize that your feelings are the result of antidepressant withdrawal-and only temporarily.
After stopping antidepressants such as Paxil, your depression or anxiety may recur. Studies have shown that, overall, people who quit antidepressants are more likely to attempt suicide than people who take antidepressants.
Although mood and behavior often change when taking and stopping antidepressants, it is important for friends and family members to watch for signs of severe distress. Signs of suicidal tendencies for you or your loved ones include:
- Plan if you are going to commit suicide, how will you commit suicide
- Talk about or think of suicide more than usual, for example, “I wish I died”
- The means of collecting suicide, such as bullets or pills
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Have strong mood swings
- Engaging in dangerous or self-destructive activities, such as drunk driving
- Focus on death, dying or violence
- Organize affairs or give away money
- Say goodbye to people like the last time
If you become pregnant while taking Paxil, it is important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible because you need to make some decisions. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits of continuing or stopping the medication.
In addition, women with depression who stopped taking antidepressants during pregnancy were five times more likely to relapse than women who continued to take antidepressants.
Some data suggest that women who use antidepressants in the second and third trimesters have a slightly increased risk of premature delivery and delivery before the baby is fully developed. Your baby’s risk of developing a life-threatening disease called persistent pulmonary hypertension is also less than 1%.
Your long-term treatment plan will depend on your initial diagnosis and your current symptoms. It is best to work with your doctor to develop a plan that suits your individual needs. If you cannot tolerate Paxil well but still experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, your doctor may want to introduce a new drug or combination of drugs.
If you no longer want to take medication, your doctor may recommend alternative therapies, such as psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is an evidence-based therapy for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, which can help relieve and prevent depression. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and other universities have found that people who take treatment while stopping antidepressants are less likely to relapse than people who do not take antidepressants.
Complementary and alternative therapies include:
- Equine therapy
- Mindfulness training
- Dietary changes
- Natural supplements
If you feel that your doctor has not helped enough with your condition, please seek a second opinion, or consider finding a new psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist in your area. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a searchable directory of qualified providers. You can also call them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
If you have health insurance, you can also search the company’s list of local providers that accept your insurance.
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Quitting Paxil may not be easy, but it is definitely possible. Although Paxil may have been a revolutionary treatment option in its heyday, there are better options today. If you still experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, please consult your doctor and ask you to switch to a newer drug with fewer side effects. Don’t forget: treatment is an excellent evidence-based treatment with no side effects or withdrawal symptoms.