My experience of adverse reaction to anti depressant Seroxat also known as Paxil and Paroxetine. This drug can increase suicidal thoughts.
Paroxetine,Seroxat and Paxil.
Paroxetine, also known as the trade names Seroxat and Paxil are drugs used as anti depressants. From the the class of anti depressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which are meant to increase the brain's levels of mood improving serotonin and is manufactured by Glaxosmithkline.
Serotonin is known as happy neurotransmitter which is a chemical messenger in the brain that allows communication between brain cells and is thought to act as a mood stabiliser as well as other regulatory functions of the body. It is believed that SSRIs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain as serotonin deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems as well as other problems.
Seroxat and Paxil are used in the treatment of:
- Major Depressive Episode
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder with and without agoraphobia
- Social Anxiety Disorders/Social phobia
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
My Seroxat Journey
As a full time, mature Degree student with just months to go before I finished my studies, and with three young children at home, juggling two part time jobs and knowing that my marriage to my alcoholic abusive husband was over, I sought help from my doctor for stress and anxiety and inability to sleep. After explaining to my doctor about the situation I was dealing with in my life, I was prescribed a popular anti depressant Seroxat. Marketed as the ‘Happy pill’ Seroxat seemed my only option if I was to get some rest from the stress I was under. I was tired enough and desperate enough to give the drug a try despite my reservations about anti depressants not being the answer.
Intrusive Suicidal Thoughts
Within days of starting on a dose of Seroxat I felt changes in myself. I started feeling aggressive and was afraid I could hurt someone should I be pushed. I had to control my rage and I felt all my anger about everything negative that had happened to me throughout my life, and that I had suppressed and buried deep, was now coming to the surface and I did not know how to deal with it all or how to keep control of my emotions
I was more suicidal than I have ever been. I was bombarded with intrusive thoughts, urging me to end my life for everyone’s sake. I was seriously battling with extreme paranoia and panic attacks since starting this medication yet my doctor would not believe me when I explained to him the changes I experienced.
I knew that I was slipping into serious mental state of which I might never recover and I knew Seroxat, had some something to do with my declining mental state. I could not prove that nor would anyone listen to me about my fears despite warnings on leaflets inside the medication which claims,
‘Suicide-related behaviours (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts), and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) were more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with antidepressants compared to those treated with placebo. If, based on clinical need, a decision to treat is nevertheless taken, the patient should be carefully monitored for the appearance of suicidal symptoms. In addition, long-term safety data in children and adolescents concerning growth, maturation and cognitive and behavioural development are lacking.’
Trapped And Suicidal
At the time of the experience, I was in an unhappy marriage. I felt trapped, useless, worthless and desperate to escape from my constant internal worry and paranoia. I was convinced that the drug Seroxat was playing havoc with my brain chemicals and preventing me from being able function properly. I knew my own mind and I knew something was very wrong with mine and I was afraid I was going insane. I went from a hard working mum and student to a quivering wreck too afraid to leave the house. I was so angry at myself for trusting that doctor that day and allowing myself to be convinced to take a drug to cope with my unhappiness instead of dealing with the problem by facing them. Life had been hard and I was learning to deal with everything and then I messed it all up by taking a prescribed drug. I just needed help to cope with the anxiety I felt and to calm down enough to finish my degree. The drugs were just meant to see me through a very unhappy difficult time and I was regretting taking them.
Late one night after yet again begging my husband for a divorce, I snapped. I took a cocktail of drugs, washed down quickly with a bottle of wine. I went into my children’s bedroom and kissed them good bye. One of my children woke up. ‘Where are you going mum?’ my son asked. ‘Whatever happens, know that I love you and always will’. I kissed him and told him to go back to sleep and then I went into the bathroom and lay on the floor and waited to die. As I laid there sobbing and waiting for the end to come, I felt a calmness come over me. 'This is for the best,' I thought. No more will I mess up my life or the lives of my children. I felt like I was sinking in to a nice warm cosy place and I allowed myself to sink into that place. Then I suddenly realised, as I lay there waiting for the end, that my husband would not love my children and care for them like I do. He would not think to tuck them up in bed and let them know they are loved. It all came flooding back, how I had felt when my mother had taken her own life and left me here all alone and I pulled myself together and asked for help.
I allowed myself to be taken to hospital to have my stomach pumped. I can remember the shame and guilt of knowing that my children would know what I had done, as I was vomiting up buckets of black charcoal given to me instead of a stomach pump. I realised that taking my own life was not the answer. Running away from my problems was not going to help my children. In that moment, between vomiting, I vowed to find a way of feeling happiness in my life so that I can be a good role model for my children. I realised that I had to find myself, my true self and find out what would make me happy without the use of drugs. My doctor wanted me to continue taking Seroxat because it takes a while for it to start working and apparently I had not given it time.
My doctor wanted me to continue taking Seroxat and for a while did but was convinced the drug was having a detrimental effect on my already struggling mental state. When I ran out of my supply I did bother asking for another prescription and within 24 hours I experienced what I can only describe as electric shocks in my brain. I was driving my car when I suddenly got a sensation of having a bad electric shock inside my head. I was convinced that I had been struck by lightening and manage to pull my car to the side of the road when I was hit by another powerful shock. Fortunately I managed to get home before I collapsed in a heap just inside my house door and I could not move as the shocks kept on coming. Later that day I started having hallucinations about elephants chasing me and surrounding my house looking through my window at me. I was absolutely terrified. I went back to the doctor and explained what I had been experiencing, the electric shocks inside my head, terrifying nightmares, hallucination, paranoia and I was becoming too afraid to leave my house because of over whelming panic attacks.
A week later, when I finally saw a psychiatrist he diagnosed me with Serotonin Syndrome, a potentially life-threatening adverse drug reaction to the Seroxat. My dosage was reduced very slowly over the next few weeks and I was prescribed high doses of Valium to help deal with the horrendous withdrawal symptoms from Seroxat which has been described as a similar experience to withdrawing from heroin.
I was given liquid Serotonin and a syringe to reduce slowly. I struggled to cope with the withdrawal that seemed to be taking forever because I had my children to care for and I could barely function properly. I set a date April 3rd 2001 to stop taking Seroxat. I had tried to tell all the doctors over the years that the drugs don't work and were not helping me, and never had, but they would not listen.
I lost all faith in the medical profession when it came to my physical and mental health and at the time, trusted no doctor to help me. I knew I needed to cleanse myself of this drug quicker than the weeks that it was taking. I did not want to waste more weeks and months of my life while I waited for the right doctor to help me.
Within a couple of days of stopping taking the low dose of Seroxat, I started experiencing the electric shocks to the brain and body again. The electric shocks to my brain were powerful enough to knock me of my feet. I was experiencing terrifying nightmares, hallucinations and feelings of paranoia. Hallucinations seemed to be one after the other and I was beginning to lose my grip on reality. I knew that I had to be strong mentally and I was afraid because I had no support.
Stopping taking the drug seemed to open the flood gates to all my suppressed fears and now I had to deal with them all on my own. In my journal at the time, I wrote, 'I am terrified that I am not going to get through this. The terror I feel has me crying out with pain and fear and there is no escaping my fear this time. I knew I need to be free of drugs to continue to live. To be free I had to face my fears and deal with them.
Withdrawal opened the floodgates to many forgotten memories of childhood trauma and the memories of my mother’s abuse all came flooding back. I felt like a child reliving all those experiences that I had buried deep down inside. Each memory came like a wave, one after the other. I was sobbing with my heart broken one minute and the next lifted so high emotionally that I felt like I could fly. Emotionally I felt like I was on a very steep roller coaster, up to the top and the excitement climbing and then the deep descent back down to my internal hell. Days blended into night and back in today and I would not know what day of the week it was. The whole experience, at that intensity, lasted just a few days but at the time, felt never ending. I knew it would all be worth the pain because I really felt that I was on the road to recovery.
Eventually the intense symptoms of withdrawal passed and again I was left feeling angry about what I had experienced. Later I researched the drug and the first thing I found out was that many other users suffered similar symptoms, including electric shocks, hallucinations, aggressiveness, anger and frustration. I found that in America the drug was marketed under a different name, Paxil. I read about a man in America, David Snell, who had taken the drug and killed members of his own family before killing his self when he had never shown any signs of violence before. The drug was found to be the cause of his personality change and his family was awarded over six million pounds in compensation. I found that many killings, birth defects and suicides have been blamed on this drug. I spoke to a well known women’s' magazine and they ran a story of my experiences and others who had taken the drug came forward. Some had positive experiences and some, like me, had a negative experience whilst taking this drug.
In Health and Nutrition Secrets, Dr. Russell L. Blaylock writes, "It is also known that these medications increase brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which, in high concentrations, can also act as an excitotoxin." When antidepressant drugs raise serotonin to an excitotoxin level, the brain reacts in ways similar to mental illness. According to Burton Goldberg's book, 'Alternative Medicine', side effects of SSRIs include uncontrollable facial and body tics, dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, sexual dysfunction, addiction, electric-shock-like sensations in the brain and, of course, homicidal or suicidal thoughts and behavior.
It Is Dangerous To Discontinue Anti Depressants Without Help And Support
I wrote to a solicitor about my experiences with the drug and sent him all research I had found pertaining to the anti depressant Seroxat and he agreed to help me. Along with others we started action against the manufacturer of the drug ‘Glaxosmithkline,’ who had always claimed that clinical tests showed that the drug was safe and non addictive and so had no withdrawal problems. Unfortunately the drug manufacturer, Glaxosmithkline were found to be liars about clinical test results claiming Seroxat to be a safe drug and that it had no addiction problems. I was part of a group of people who were suing because of the trauma we experienced as a result of this drug.
I could not continue with my claim against Glaxosmithkline and was dropped by the solicitors when I could not raise £900 to pay a private psychiatrist to check me out and prove that without the drug I was fully functioning.
I was very angry at first that I had this experience because of a prescribed drug. I felt like I was owed for the robbed years, for pain and suffering, for the nightmare I had lived, for being incapable of working because I was too disturbed to even leave the house, for robbing me of my sanity, robbing my kids of a capable mother. They thought differently and I was to get nothing.
I was grateful that a campaign to make people more aware of some of the dangers of Seroxat had a good result. The drug and its side effects was discussed on the national news and in magazines and I hoped doctors all over the country would understood and accept just how dangerous this drug Seroxat, and others like it, was to the sanity of some of those taking it.
Please do not ever just stop taking medications. Seek help and support before discontinuing taking any medication.
If you are experiencing similar symptoms to mine after taking anti depressants or you feel a change in your personality I urge you to seek professional help.
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news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1382551.stm11 Jun 2001 - The family of David Snell won a $6.4m payout from manufacturers ... a drug in the same family, had caused David Hawkins to murder his wife ...
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