Help! Im going cold turkey...

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Hello, I'm new to this forum and am relieved that I stumbled across it. It is so difficult to communicate with people who think it is a stroll in the park to come off paroxetine.  It is comforting to read the posts of others and realize that I'm not alone. Thankyou all for sharing your experiences and I hope by sharing mine i can do the same and possibly get some advice from those who have known living with a mental illness and the excruciating withdrawal symptoms. I have been on paroxetine 20mg for 18years. I have lived with depression and anxiety since before I can remember and was advised of the benefits of the drug. Granted, it did make me feel better but i have struggled to come off it for over 10 years. I'm still depressed and anxious even on the drug so I decided to come off and possibly try something else...Even, weaning myself off in gradual doses has proved difficult, frankly always impossible. I have never been able to live through the night terrors, nausea, virtigo, irratibility and electric shock sensations especially during sudden head or eye movements. I've always turned to them again usually after only a few days, 3 at a stretch..5 days ago i became so frustrated with the drug that I binned them all. It is the longest I have been off the medication and still feel the same symptoms although I feel slightly better. Nausea has gone but not the electric shock sensations and hypersensitivity to the light. I've started taking magnesium, omega fatty acid and b complex to help increase the deficiency in serotonin but also help with the symptoms. Honestly, I feel terrible but I'm not sure whether to continue feeling this way until I feel better again or just go back on paroxetine. Maybe, a small dose? I'm so confused, I feel I can't live without it and am trying too!! I would really appreciate anyone's advice who may have been through a similar situation xx

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hanna, take my advice and try Quetiapine 12.5 mg. It will make you drowsy but it will raise your serotonin levels and mood. I take it everyday and I take 37.5mg at night to sleep. It will help you come off the ssri. 
  • Posted

    Hi Hanna,

    I have been on antidepressants for a long time as well-15 years for me.  I have also tried multiple times to come off of them and would end up having anxiety and other symptoms like insomnia that caused me to go back on them.  I recently learned that when you come off of these meds too quickly it causes withdrawal symptoms that include both physical and emotional problems.  You have to come off of them extremely slowly in order to avoid this.  10% of your most recent dose or less.  This means if you were on 20mg you would reduce to 18mg and hold for at least a month before reducing another 10%.  If I were you, I'd reinstate, wait till your symptoms go away and then start reducing by 10%.  There are websites out there that can help with this process.  Try googling surviving antidepressants and you will find some helpful info. 

    Good luck!

  • Posted

    20 mg for 18 years... That's a very long time. Your brain probably thinks at this point that paroxetine is a natural biogenic substance that should be present in your system to enable serotogenic transmission. I would reduce the dose gradually, starting with 15 mg for a few weeks, then 10 mg for a few months, and then 5 mg when I would feel ready to do so.

    Paroxetine prides itself in being the most difficult SSRI to withdraw. If you're determined to continue the cold turkey route, I suggest you talk to a psychiatrist (a GP won't help here). There are medications out there that - if used responsively - could help with the withdrawal symptoms.

  • Posted


    Sorry to hear you are going through such a hard time. 

    I myself am now on just day 8 of no Paxil after being on 20mgs for the past 8 years. 

    May I ask why you are going off cold turkey? I understand you said that it's not giving you the full benefit, but going cold turkey could just make it worse?

    Could possibly be a good idea to work with your doctor to wean yourself off. 

    The withdrawals are yes something I have never experienced before and truly unless one has been there before hard to understand. 

    Mine was odd as with every time I dropped my dose down it was different side effects. The first drop I did was 20mgs one day and 10mgs the next. I did this for a week with no side effects. 

    I then started taking just 10mgs a day which is a pretty big drop. No side effects until day 3 where for a good week or so I felt very nauseous, flu like symptoms, anxiety, and this dreaded feeling that really bothered me. 

    I stuck with it thinking I'm not going back and starting this over. Keep trucking!! Sounds corny, but I read inspirational quotes online about over coming obstacles, saved them in my phone and when I felt really anxious and doomed I would read them. I also kept myself really busy as I felt when I had nothing to do I would think about my symptoms which made them worse. This sounds simple, but when all you want to do is puke your guys out and lay in bed it can be hard. 

    Once those side effects went away I stayed on the 10mgs for a week solid before I started 10mgs one day and 5mgs the next. I did this for a week with no side effects. Then I dropped to just 5mgs a week and still no withdrawals! I though I was smooth sailing until I then went to nothing. Again I was good for 3 days and then the confusion, dizzy, panicked, feeling of being doomed and the worst was my brain constantly feeling like I had just stood up really fast...I actually ended up taking 2 days off work as I need to be able to drive at work and I was so dizzy with this light headed feeling I didn't think it was safe for me to be behind the wheel. 

    Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt normal and I have to say I'm pretty excited!! 

    Everyone is so different when coming off these and unfortunately only the ones who do this can really understand the hell of it. 

    I've read some pretty horrible story's online about Paxil and I feel that it's really beneficial to have a physican work closely with one when coming off these types of meds. It's too easy now days with the internet  for people to suddenly be Doctors. 

    For me I don't regret taking Paxil as I needed it and this drug did wonders for me and my anxiety. I would go through the withdrawals again to be at the place in my life today where I'm happy. I still get anxiety, but through the help of Paxil I was able to attend workshops and classes to support people gain tools for their anxiety. 

    I hope hearing from me, us and others who are going through what you are brings some hope. Again it's so individual how it works with each person so what worked for me might not work for you or what works for you might not be for me. I hope though that this offers you some support in your journey ??👍🏻

  • Posted

    Morning Hanna I am on my third attempt to get off of paroxetine like you I am been on the drug for 18 years, this time my withdrawal has been different, I have been eating whole almonds not blanched eating up to 15 a day plus a daily pro biotic drink and my withdrawal symptoms have been greatly reduced, also I am just grating off a small amount off my tablet and increase the amount I grate off each week

    i have over four months reduce by half my daily dose, I am going to wait for the withdrawal systems to subside before I reduce any more as I want my body to fully adjust, I do feel more myself without this drug, but know it will take time to completely get off 

    hanna I wish you the best of luck try the almonds and pro biotic drink I heard about this on a Jeremy Vine radio show which discussed how depression and stomach problems are linked as a long shot I thought I would give it a go to see if it helped withdrawal systems for me it's helped I wish you the best of luck hanna 


  • Posted

    Hello to you all. New to this forum aswel. I have been on paroxetine for 8 years following an attack by random strangers . At the time I thought I was fine but later suffered post traumatic stress. My gp at the time prescribed me this and 8 years down the line , my new gp has told me that he hasn't prescribed anyone this drug in the past 21 years dues to the struggle on coming off it . He helped me by explaining that you have to treat coming off paroxetine like a diet over several months or even years. So far in the past 9 months I've  e dropped from 20ml and am fluctuating between 3 and 3.5. But also explained that this drug is not ment for long long term treatment. I feel happy in myself at the dose I'm on at the moment, but am really struggling with tiredness, electric shocks to the head and also joint pains. I also sleep for 3 hours or 12, no in between.In the past I've missed several days of my dose and have felt really evil ( which is not me) I'm worried on long term effects after hopefully coming clean off paroxetine. I've enjoyed reading your posts and I feel like I'm not the only person in the world going through this. I'm off to see my gp today , but it's a new gp that doesn't know my story and I'm worried about explaining myself yet again. I hope sharing my experience helps someone in any way . Thank you for reading.

    • Posted

      Hi Kevin and thanks for sharing.  I also sometimes worry I will never get off this medication.  I am down to 8mg and doing pretty well except for lack of sleep and morning anxiety.  It’s wonderful that yourgp understood that this med is not meant for long-term use.  Most doctors don’t get that.  Good luck at becoming Paxil-free.  It sounds like you are taking things nice and slow, which is really the only way to do it.



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