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Severe anxiety and tearfulness

Having tried numerous meds for my depression over the years I finally got my life back with Seroxat 20mg. 17 years later realising I’d forgotten to pack my tablets on arrival at my holiday hotel I decided to go cold turkey. Suffered horrendous stomach problems, vertigo sweating etc which ended up ruining the holiday, but decided to continue with the withdrawal. Now 10 weeks down the line physical symptoms have abated but have developed severe anxiety. This hit me out of nowhere this week and I can’t stop crying. Would love to know if this is my depression returning or withdrawal. Advice appreciated.

21 Replies

  • jaki54300

    I would say this is definitely withdrawal from cold turkey after many years on the medication.  I would suggest you look into potentially reinstating a small amount of the medication.  There are websites out there that can assist you through the withdrawal process.  Try Googling Surviving Antidepressants.

    Good Luck!

  • jaki54300

    Firstly do not panic, don't be scared this is absolutely normal because of the way the seroxat was so abruptly stopped from your system.

    Your brain stopped making its own seratonin years ago because the seroxat replaced it with a chemical equivalent, now it's having to really work hard to replace your chemical levels in the brain, this can take up to a year.

    I was on seroxat for 21 years the first ten years I was put on 20mg then I decided to cut that dose in half ten years later and take 10mg without a glitch, fine UNTIL I reduced to 5mg about 5 months ago. Like you. I decided all I was getting was the negative side effects of a pill that quite frankly shouldn't be taken lightly!

    So after ten years on 20mg then ten years on 10mg it was time to come off this. 5 months later I am now taking the liquid form of 0.5ml which is barely a dose at all but I had awful depression over Christmas which I'd never had (depression) mine was for anxiety.

    Christmas is my favourite time of year and I start celebrating in November but this year it was just awful, low thoughts of no tomorrow, non stop crying, sheer sad lonely places my mind was stuck in for about 2 weeks.

    This did pass! Like you I wondered is it the original problem returning?, but NO, no it isn't because I never had depression in the first place just anxiety so this was a very new horrific place for me and no disrespect to any anxiety sufferers out there but I'd take anxiety any day over this depression I had where thoughts were suicidal! Now I have everything to live for and a good family, home life, job so what the hell happened there but I never ever want to go back there but it did make me think this is all part of the withdrawal process! 

    So please don't be feel alone I promise you there are withdrawal sufferers all over different parts of the world who are at different stages and some the same as you and I, it is such a lonely terrible feeling, and frightening that all this can take place within your head and your head alone!

    I am still far from being free of this bloody pernicious drug but thinking of your situation, if this continues for you week after week perhaps put yourself on 5mg so get some 10 mg and cut in half. Because what you've done is cut off totally at 20mg which is quite a significant amount to go cold turkey on as you've been on it for so many years this really will take about a year to totally be gone from your system and never fear of the old symptoms returning because things change an awful lot in 17 years and you may not be in that same place you once were in order to go on seroxat in the beginning, so you have to fight this and not let those awful thoughts get the better of you.

    I am scared too, and I'm on a very low dose 0.5ml! You can't get much lower other than 0.25 then nothing!! I'm scared because I've been on it for so very long, 21 years it robbed me from being really slim which I always was before being put on this, I gained 49lbs over those 20 years but since coming off ALL my cravings have gone and I eat normally again I can't believe it that I struggled with these really overpowering cravings to binge eat all those years that I couldn't control because it was the chemical controlling me.

    Did you gain any weight in those 17 years of being on 20mg??

    Anyway lost 28lbs in these 5 months it's dropping off me and I'm not dieting, just eating normally and NOT over eating which I did. All those precious years!

    Still get short tempered, shout, anger outbursts now and then but the crying has levelled off but then it had done in November but came back worse than ever in December like I'd never had, so I'm scared too, scared that it will return, thinking about trying some CBT therapy. Cognitive behaviour therapy (maybe this would help you too?)  Dr suggested I go along and talk to someone as he is very reluctant to put me on Wellbutrin which I asked for. I like the sound of it (except the early stages but hear it's not so good for anxiety, it does give you high spirits, energy, lust for life, get out and about more.. Yes please I'll take me some of that! Have you thought of trying a less pernicious drug to help you through this?

    Never feel that alone where you feel there's no-one that can help you, or nothing that can be done, just remember it's all in your head! You are in control of you not the withdrawals!

    Also write a journal, maybe this will help you. It just helps to surround yourself with things that take your mind away from you if that makes sense, be totally immersed in something else, anything that keeps your mind busy, active doing positive things.

    I'm sorry I can't speed up time for you but in the click of a finger I know I would. Just be patient, time's a funny old thing when you have to wait. Don't let seroxat withdrawals get the better of you smile

  • Been to GP today. Felt as though I couldn’t go on like this anymore. Can cope with physical symptoms but not the torture that is anxiety and depression. Back on Seroxat. Doc said that if I improve quickly it was the withdrawal that caused my anxiety. If it takes longer it is the depression returning. Considered all other meds but unfortunately they do not work for me. 

    Thanks for your advice Jane. Have only taken half a 20mg tab and will see what happens.  Will try the website you suggest. Doc recommended an online therapy site called Moodgym

  • Seroxatbegone. Thanks for your detailed reply. Perhaps when I’m feeling better I will try withdrawing the proper way, very slowly. The initial withdrawal symptoms of going cold turkey, although horrendous, were only physical. The way this anxiety and depression took over me 10 weeks later has left me floored. I too have suffered from suicidal thoughts in the past but do not want to go back there. Fortunately I am not that bad at the moment. My anguish is coming out in tears, which although embarrassing, can be quite a release.

  • jaki54300

    Gosh, I so understand what you're going through Jaki, you just hang in there. Drs advice seems very good. It WILL get better and you'll start to feel less tearful quite quickly with seroxat back. Remember nothing lasts forever and these tearful sad feelings will be gone! You can do this. Sending hugs and support. Always here if you need to chat for support. smile smile 

    • seroxatbegone

      Thanks for your support Seroxatbegone. It really helps to know I am not alone with these feelings. Back at work today, second day on 10mg. Not such a struggle to hold back the tears, felt very anxious at times though. Particularly when boss asked me to come to slimming world with her. I can’t face social situations at the moment. I know she was only trying to help because I told her I didn’t want to stay on the meds because of the weight gain. I’ve probably gained 30lb due to paroxetine and have yo-yo dieted so many times.  

      Anyway at least I’ve got through the day without any tears, onwards and upwards.

    • Woke up with that terrible dread and went straight online to see when it would end. Only made myself worse because some people have suffered for years with withdrawal syndrome. I can’t believe I have done this to myself after being so well on Paroxetine even if I am a bit heavier than I would like.

      I am also worried that after 10 weeks off the meds I will not be able to reinstate. On the positive side, my chills have not been as bad since taking the tabs and I’m able to control the tears better, not sure if that’s just psychological though. My mind is in turmoil. Will have to go out this afternoon to try and distract myself.

    • jaki54300

      Jaki please don't despair I promise you these feelings will pass!! Yes withdrawals last a while but you're doing the right thing try and stick to 10mg and you'll soon get used to that dose x At least you'll be keeping busy with work Also the weight gain is 100% down to seroxat it's such a horrid drug for side effects x You don't worry about the weight gain that's not important what's important is that you get your mind stable and you will x If it's any consolation I'm having a very bad day today very teary it's  just withdrawals but this will be worse some days and better others x I work from home with many deadlines on things that have to be perfect and it's enough to make me want to run away most of the time x This is when you realise how important it is that our minds are strong to tackle even the small things like leaving the house! 

      You look after yourself today 


    • seroxatbegone

      Thanks for your reassurance. Off work today. Anxiety too much to leave house this morning, although I did manage to visit a friend this afternoon. Forced myself to do it, and although I felt as though my heart would pop out of my chest it did help to stop the negative thoughts for a while.

      ​Work tomorrow and although I love my job as a florist I find it so hard to function with this crushing anxiety. I find working in the back creating floral arrangements quite relaxing, but we have a Wedding Fayre to attend on Sunday and I just cant face going. How can I stand in a busy hotel foyer handing out leaflets to happy couples, when all I want to do is curl up and cry?

      ​Sorry to hear you're having a bad day today and thanks again for your wisdom.


  • jaki54300

    Your job sounds wonderful, it's in a similar style to me, my job is creative too. I'm a full time freelance Artist and sometimes as you say the pressure of deadlines and being told you have to be here, do this, paint that gets me really angry, makes me scared and gives great anxiety. Hey, don't write off Sunday just yet, maybe this may help you, just a thought? Maybe? smile

    It is good you saw a friend. I am due to see my friend in the morning, I haven't seen her in a couple of months! and I have been cancelling seeing friends lately simply because I just can't face it, (all my fault), but part of me thinks what if you push yourself, and I hate to think I'm selfish thinking about me a lot because of the withdrawals but I am going to try this talking therapy and I'll let you know how it goes as you sound SO similar to me and we're going through the same that's for sure! Hey, it can only get better right! ((hugs)) chat soon (it's funny I have been putting most things off recently but I will always have time to help if I can and talk about this as it's so important to function! xx

  • I'm sure that seeing a friend will relax you a little. It is so difficult being in social situations trying to fight back the tears. I would always avoid seeing anyone during my previous bouts of depression and became quite isolated. I have learnt not to hide my emotions from those closest to me and, you know what, it is such a relief to have that shoulder to cry on.

    ​I have just plucked up the courage to phone my sister to tell that I'm ill again She has always been a bit judgemental and I wasn't sure whether to tell her or not. I'm so glad I did because she was very supportive. Why do we feel so guilty about feeling like this ? I'm sure that if you open up to your friend you will feel better.


    • jaki54300

      Hi Jaki,

      Sorry it's taken so long to reply! It's been a little up and down. 

      How are you progressing?? I'd love to know how you're doing? Are you fully back on seroxat now?

      Well, I took my last dose of seroxat a week ago. I had it down to 0.25ml which I could barely get out of the syringe then just drops each night for a week then stopped.

      t's such a weird one because some days I feel ok, fine, happy but then my mood can change and I feel low very low and cry very easily.

      I feel that since I've been going through this awful withdrawal I've turned rather reclusive! Just trying to push myself to get motivated is verrrry difficult it's a feeling of fear and dread and can't face it! 

      Saw the Dr yesterday broke down crying there which was unexpected.

      I had been researching other anti depressants to get me through this until I am 100% seroxat withdrawal free as I understand it can last up to a year to fully get out of your system!!

      I came across Wellbutrin (Bupropion) 150mg XL, read mixed reviews but thought rather than going back on another SSRI which are known to stimulate the appetite thus making it very difficult to lose weight. (Ps lost half a stone and it's stayed off since being seroxat free) Wellbutrin is meant to make you happy and reduce the appetite too.

      Dr said under no circumstances go back onto seroxat he wasn't happy with that at all!

      I've never had depression before until now and I'd rather have anxiety over depression anyway honestly it's just awful. I was put on seoxat for anxiety. I also have slight OCD. But the depression is ruling now and I never had it in the first place!!?? So cross really.

      I am due to pick up the wellbutrin (Bupropion) today and will start it tomorrow morning.

      Very apprehensive as it's a total unknown that works on dopamine not serotonin, Dr said not for the long term and he wasn't happy prescribing it to me but I twisted his arm!

      That's my update. Still unsure whether I should ride this out for a couple more months before jumping straight onto another unknown pill. Have you heard of wellbutrin (Bupropion) and if so what are your thoughts?

      I'll post a new thread in here too about it, but I'm in need of advice really.

      Ps Dr said seroxat is the hardest anti depressant to come off!

      Hope you are well and all is good with you


    • seroxatbegone

      Hi Seroxatbegone,

      ​I'm sorry you are still suffering from withdrawal. A month ago I really was feeling traumatised by my depression and anxiety and could not function. Tried reinstating at 10mg to no avail but within a week of going back to my normal dose of 20mg I was so much better. Within 2 weeks my symptoms had completely disappeared. I plan to stay on Seroxat for now as I feel so well . Yes I know it's a dirty drug but before I started taking it my life had been blighted by years of depression and no other AD really worked for me. I feel as though I've got my life back again.

      ​Not sure about the meds you mention. All I know is that I'd rather be fat and happy than thin and depressed !!! Since my appetite came back I've been trying to exercise regularly. Bought my own cross trainer a few years ago, but only use it when I need to shed the pounds for approaching holidays. Last month I couldn't face leaving my house, but next week I'm flying off to Tenerife for a bit of winter sunshine, without Seroxat I wouldn't have been able to go.

      Really regret going cold turkey as although the initial physical effects of withdrawal were bad, that was nothing compared to the mental torture I have just endured..I do feel a bit traumatised by it. Can you get PTSD from Seroxat withdrawal ???? Anyway, keep up the good work, you have withdrawn very slowly, which is the only way to get off it. Hope the new meds make you feel better.



    • jaki54300

      Hi Jaki,

      You know what it is great to hear you're feeling yourself again and your levels of serotonin/dopamine have returned to normal for you. Absolutely you did the right thing re-instating seroxat! The only reason I wanted to come off it was because I was on it for 21 years and getting bad effects from the drug and it wasn't doing me any good anymore.

      I think withdrawal from seroxat can cause every single type of horror you can think of, it is a very dangerous time and I feel the Drs should monitor anyone withdrawing from this drug much closer than they do. (Come back in a month!) It should be every few days, although I appreciate this would be impossible due to high work level demands they have daily.

      So... Yep, completely off seroxat now. Went through hell and back over these past 5 months coming off it, wow it was beyond awful. Living nightmare.

      I have been off it 2 weeks now. So, between that time and now I have experienced epic highs, crashing lows, anger outbursts, followed by crying (only lasts a day or 2) then ok again. Then the cycle starts again and I was losing patience with it and it wasn't fair on people around me either.

      I kind of know when it's coming too as I experience brief feelings of desire which are non existent with me 99% of the time, (sorry TMI) these last an hour then extreme anger then tears. Every 10 days or so since withdrawing.  Inbetween feeling ok, normal and sometimes high, very happy. Just weird as I'm not used to these extremes. I still don't know whether it's dopamine I'm low on or serotonin??

      I was seeking answers as to what stopping seroxat has made me now, do I have depression? Is it anxiety? Is it bipolar, ADHD? All these titles, I am confused. I know that Seroxat is the opposite of Wellbutrin as seroxat is an SSRI and Wellbutrin works on raising dopamine levels.

      So, I decided to start Wellbutrin (Bupropion) 150mg XL THIS MORNING!! I have had the pills in the cupboard for a week and resisted taking them as I felt ok, but last night and this morning felt very down again non stop crying so I had enough and took one!!

      Not sure what to do now. I will report back in a week or so, I hope these pills work and regulate my moods I desperately want to feel normal again not so up and down. If they produce any unwanted side effects I must keep thinking they will pass, ride through it. I fear headaches more than anything else as these are debilitating.

      One thing is for sure, it's made me very aware of just how fragile the brain is and how the slightest reduction or increase in chemicals can change everything.

      So very pleased you're back to normal Jaki. I'm sure you did the right thing definitely. Thank you for being there and being supportive too smile 


  • jaki54300

    I was the same with my SSRI's after been on them for years and also on the Pregabalin, I went cold turkey and was going ok till about 3-4-5 months after stopping, started getting SEVERE PANIC ATTACKS again, was at breaking point so went back to my phychiatrist and went back on anti depressents

    • ellebi

      Hi Ellebi, thanks, it’s great to know that I’m not the only one this has happened to. Been back on Paroxetine for 12 days now and feeling a lot better. Feelings of sheer panic and weepiness went almost straight away. Anxiety is gradually decreasing. How long did it take you to recover?



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