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  Success Stories  

As hellish as the experience of withdrawal can be, it is important to realize that there is an end to it.

For this reason, I have included , here, some of the letters received from visitors who have gone through the ordeal. My hope is that they will serve as an inspiration.


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...I knew the withdrawal symptoms would be a rough ride for a bit, but I was prepared to do "whatever it takes" to be paxil-free. So, last May, my "new" doctor started tapering me from 30 mg. to 20 mg. which I did for four weeks. I experienced some dizziness and "disconnection" with my body -- an unbalanced feeling. In June, I went from 20 mg. to 15, and then 15 to 10 mg. July 1st, I stopped all paxil. All of a sudden, I felt completely lethargic -- it was as if the life had been sucked out of me. I experienced "electric shock pulses" in my brain for a couple of weeks. And I was completely disconnected from my body and had much trouble with walking and balance. My doctor advised me that while getting off paxil, I must eat 3 balanced meals a day -- get out for a walk in the fresh air every day. I did not do this, and I think my withdrawal symptoms were worse because I was not looking after myself nutritionally or physically. Anyway, finally in mid-August, I began a 6 kilometre walk every second day -- I started to eat 3 healthy meals a day, and I started feeling stronger with each week that passed. I have continued this regimen, along with taking amino acids, multi-vitamins and anti-oxidants and I am feeling FANTASTIC! I feel "real" again, and I have feelings/emotions that I can "feel". While on Paxil, I "floated" over everything -- now, my mind is clear and focused, my short-term memory has improved 100%. So, rest assured, the withdrawal symptoms do pass and it is a huge sense of relieve to be paxil-free.

P.S. The doctor who helped me get off paxil does not like the drug, because of the severe withdrawal effects. He said there are other anti-depressants that are easier to get off. BUT GETTING OFF PAXIL IS WORTH IT AND THE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS ARE TEMPORARY. YOU CAN DO IT
I am writing this to all of you who are either A) contemplating the discontinuance of Paxil B) going through bad withdrawal symptoms or C) reading about Paxil and realizing that it is not a very good drug to be on. Before I embark on sharing my story with all of you, I first want to acknowledge that it IS possible to QUIT Paxil. Some of you may be skeptical of this comment, believe me, I certainly was at one point in my life after I had tried and failed numerous times to get myself off of the drug. Honestly, if it had not been for all of the “success” stories posted throughout this wonderful web site, I probably would have not had the courage to discontinue Paxil. Therefore, I am indebted to each and every individual who has shared his or her story on this web site. Through reading the stories, I gained knowledge, strength, and courage to brave one of the most difficult battles I have ever faced in my life. With that being said, I shall begin my tale of Paxil withdrawal.

I had been on Paxil for the past seven years to treat my social anxiety disorder. I had tried numerous times throughout the past two years to quit cold turkey from my 20/mg a day dosage but did not have success. With the encouragement of a very good friend of mine I started to taper my dosage. I decided to cut my daily intake from 20 mg to 10 mg. A few days after I made the 10 mg decrease, I began to experience a wide array of symptoms; most noticeably, the “electric shock” sensations that so many other users have reported. In addition, I developed flu-like symptoms for about a week after I quit.

I stayed on 10 mg for another two weeks and then decided to cut my dosage to 5 mg a day. This decision was made because my body had habituated to the decrease and the withdrawal symptoms had subsided completely. When I made the decrease from 10 mg to 5 mg the side effects were not as noticeable. I did not develop any “flu-like” symptoms and there was the absence of the “electric shock” phenomena. Once again, I stayed on this 5 mg a day regimen for about three weeks.

I was very excited about the progress that I had made, but I was also very hesitant and worried about discontinuing Paxil altogether. I had read all of the horror stories on the net about the hells associated with serotonin withdrawal syndrome and how getting off of Paxil is far more difficult than quitting any of the other SSRI’s (read Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) because of the drugs half-life. I had also heard that quitting Paxil altogether was synonymous to an alcoholic ceasing to drink (cold-turkey).

With that knowledge in hand, I decided to stop taking Paxil altogether. Within three days, my body was craving the drug. On day three I started the horrible withdrawal as described by many on this web-site. I began experiencing nightmares that seemed incredibly real, I suffered a terrible headache throughout the course of the day that would not let up no matter how much aspirin I took, the muscles in my back severely ached, I was extremely irritable, my sense of equilibrium and balance was impaired, I had intense insomnia as it was difficult to get to sleep at night and I felt an exhaustion which I would compare to infectious mononucleosis. In addition, a few times in a day for no apparent reason I would begin to panic for 30 seconds or so and then I would be fine. All of the aforementioned symptoms grew in intensity from day 3 of my discontinuance and peaked at approximately day 18.

I have now been Paxil free for 28 days. The majority of my withdrawal symptoms are behind me as the only ones that my body is now exhibiting are mild muscle aches (only in the morning), headaches, a slight feeling of fatigue and off and on nightmares. Conversely, I can honestly say that I now feel the best that I have in seven years.

It is strange, as I feel as if I now have more energy than I have ever had before. In addition, my mind is more alert and sharp than it ever has been and I feel as if everything is incredibly clear. It feels as if a heavy fog has been lifted from my life and the sun is finally shining through. When I listen to music, it sounds clearer and seems to flow better, and, it sounds better than it ever has before. I feel as if I am actually living now and I feel as if I can experience emotions again. I can feel and experience extreme elation or happiness. I actually feel more emotionally stable than I ever have and my sense of self-confidence has greatly increased!

In addition, I have noticed that my appetite has increased (luckily I am not gaining any weight, in fact I think I might be losing some weight), my vision seems to be clearer, I seem to be able to recall things more quickly and with more ease, and my encounters with other people now seem to be actual interactions instead of chores. Basically, I am happy, full of energy and vitality, and I feel full of life. A good quote to describe how I am feeling is “my cup runneth over”.

I now feel emotionally strong and I feel as if I am ready to take-on and handle the world. I experience a sense of peace and fulfillment that I haven’t felt in a very long time. I seem much more interested in the things that I used to love and I feel as if I am now actually living.

In conclusion, it should be known that I do not despise the makers of Paxil. Paxil helped to give me some of the tools that I needed to get over my social anxiety disorder. In the same breadth, I find it very unfair that SKB manufactured the drug without disclosing to the public that people do experience withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuance. Would I recommend this drug to any of my family or friends suffering from depression or anxiety disorders? Certainly not!

Lastly, an excellent tool that helped me when I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms was to just tell myself that each day that I was off of Paxil was another day closer to being “Paxil-Free”. I also convinced myself that I did not need drugs to help me cope with day-to-day life. Getting off of Paxil has been one of the most difficult things that I have ever experienced in my 23 year old life thus far, but, the feeling of being able to conquer such a feat only gives me that much more confidence. Thus, if you are reading this and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, don’t give up, hang in there, it is tough, but trust me, in the end, you will thank yourself that you are “Paxil-Free”.


To anyone who made read this. I am now on day 20 without paxil. I decided to quit after being on this medication for 6 years. In 1996 I had a terrible epidsode of panic attacks which quickly spiraled into panic disorder. I was placed on Paxil 20mg and it helped me immensely. But what was meant only to be a short term crutch to help me get through a crisis became problematic in ways I could never have imagined. Many of you know the drill. I was afraid to go off the drug simply because it had helped me so well. And I thought why not stay with it? But after a few relapses of panic attacks over several years I realized that this so-called miracle drug wasn't really helping me overcome my illness, it was masking it and not successfully really, but it was treating symptoms and not a cause. Depression, anxiety, panic, etc. are all very complicated illnesses and are probably caused by a combination of things in our lives. So it seems unlikely that altering one thing --which is very probably a symptom itself and not a cause-could really work long term. At least, that's how I see it.

I was lucky to have been introduced to a very very competent cognitive-behavioral therapist a few years ago, and in the past year I also have discovered that yoga (at least a form of Hatha called Iyengar yoga) helped me learn to trust my body again. With hard work, progress and relapse, including a couple of failed attempts to quit paxil, I was ready to quit again. Not because I was afraid of the medication but because I didn't need it any more. But of course there was another hurdle because of the withdrawal symptoms, and believe me, I have had most of the symptoms if not all of them. I had awful nausea every day all day long, headaches, lucid nightmares, pain, fatigue, depersonalization, panic attacks, depression. I also had the "less frequently reported" symptoms of heart palpitations, "trails" (or what they also call "delayed vision"), numbness/tingling in my face and extremities, LA LA LA. Oh and that "scratching" noise too. That has been extremely annoying as it sounds much like someone rubbing a balloon inside my head. Or a duck quacking or something. ANYHOW, it has been awful but it has subsided and every day is better.

Please tell yourself to be brave and that you are okay and you can get through it. And if you can, listen to Frank's audio message as I found it very comforting! Good luck to you all and don't judge yourselves. Your symptoms are real and it is understandable that you are angry and afraid but you can do it

For everyone out there who is wondering whether they can get out of the paxil withdrawl hell....I am here to say it is possible! I did it cold turkey. I don't suggest doing it that way but my health insurance ran out and I had no choice.
In the end it was the best thing that every happened. I was scared at first but I just told myself I had no choice. Once I realized I could do that....I had the strength to beat my panic attacks...on my own...drug free! That was a good feeling.
That was two years ago. I am better than ever. The electric shocks and the dizziness will go away....I was scared that they wouldn't but they do. Good Luck.
I was on Paxil for 7 months when I attempted to stop taking the drug. While taking it I experienced tremors, restless sleep, decreased sexual sensitivity, headaches and night sweats. When I tried to quit I experienced severe dizziness which kept me from doing many activities of everyday life. I lost all hope and was brought to tears with the thought that I would never get off this drug without spending months being dizzy and unable to sleep. Then my boyfriend stepped in and tried to find some advice online where I discovered a lot of people with my exact same symptoms. What I finally did to help me quit Paxil without overwhelming dizziness was to very slowly decrease my dosage while increasing days in between of not taking it. I started taking half a pill each day (10 mg), then half every other day, then every 2 days, then a quarter (5 mg) every other day, then every 2 days, 3 days, 4 days, and so on. I would go as long as I could until I started feeling dizzy, then take as little as possible to feel normal again. Eventually I was able to go 4-5 days with as little as 5 mg and then quit altogether without dizziness. This entire process took about 2 months. I'd spend at least a week on each step down the ladder. All my symptoms have since disappeared and I feel normal once again. You can do it too!
I took an accelerated approach to weaning myself off. First, I cut from 20mg to 10 mg. Two weeks later, went down to 5 mg. Two weeks later went to2.5 mg. When I ran out of pills, that was it. Let me tell you that I felt horrible. Nausea, dizzy, sweats, shocks. All the symptoms described. After about a month and a half, the nausea went away. I'm back to my grumpy self but feeling better. No more shocks and spins either. Try lots of water, sweat it out. When you're feeling sick try a cold, sweet drink. Maybe only a placebo but seemed to work
Thank you for your Web site. I decided to quit taking my 20-mg/day Paxil dosage after two years of being on the drug. My husband and I had been discussing pregnancy, and it had been so long since I'd had counseling for depression, I thought it was time to get back to a drug-free life.
I quit cold-turkey nine days ago. The symptoms were exactly as they'd been described on your Web site -- nausea, dizziness, "brain sloshing" -- and vivid, epic dreams. I warned my co-workers that any sudden illness was brought on by my withdrawal from prescription medication and that I'd be fine after two weeks or so.
I still get daily headaches, the dull, pounding, pressurized skull kind. I hear odd sloshy noises in my head, but can mostly tune them out now. But last night I felt a sense of clarity I hadn't felt in years, even before being on Paxil. My brain felt clean, fresh, as if someone had dusted it off or rubbed off the tarnish. Conversations with my husband became interactions, not altercations, and I felt like I could actually comprehend the things he said to me, not just react to them.
There is a light. Many advised going off the drug slowly, and I won't go against their advice, but my experience was quick, dirty and worth it. I hope others feel that sense of return to consciousness once this extremely strong, brain-numbing drug is out of their systems.
Anti-depressants are not evil, but they are so new, and so misused. With hope, the future will bring greater knowledge about the awful circumstances that cause us to require "synapse lubricators" so that we may feel relief from anxiety, fear and sadness.
Hello ... I would like to relate to you how I successfully withdrew, cold turkey, from a 40m per day dose of Paxil, that I had been taking for 6 years. It was, as many people on this site have related, a living hell, in every sense of the word. I am a 42 year old single mother of four children, ages 14, 12, 8 & 7, and I am also a breast cancer survivor. I couldn't take 2 weeks off of work, or send my kids off to camp while I went through the withdrawal, but I knew that going cold turkey was the ONLY way for me ... to just DO IT and get it over with, not draw it out into this big, long process. I had EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS listed on the "symptoms" part of this site. The night terrors/insomnia were the absolute worst ... to be so exhausted that all you want to do is sleep ... finally I would drift off, only to be awakened moments later with a feeling of sheer terror, with vivid, frightening images so real that I think I was actually hallucinating. But somehow I got through. I slept with the light on, took Valerian ( I was coming cold turkey off Ativan & Neurontin, too) Root to help me sleep, and tried as much as I could to pamper myself. I am a classical musician, so I tried to immerse myself as much as possible in the music I loved. I took 4 showers a day to deal with the unbelievable sweating, and just walked around VERY slowly are carefully to deal with the vertigo. And I lay in bed as much as I could, reminding myself that for every day I could just hang in there and not go back on the Paxil, I was one day closer to having the drug OUT of my system. A few close friends that knew what I was going through came over and helped out with the kids a little (hint: Paxil withdrawal & 6 year olds having tantrums do not mix real well, it kind of had the effect of nails being raked across my brain). My Mom came over -- I handed her a printed-out list of all the withdrawal symptoms, she read them, and promptly did some of my dishes and laundry. My hint to other Moms, especially single Moms, who are quitting Paxil cold turkey. Forget about cooking fancy dishes for a few weeks. Buy paper cups, paper plates, paper bowls & plastic silverware, stock up on the Fruit Loops, Cocoa puffs, bread, peanut butter & milk, and don't worry, your kids will survive without their broccoli while you are experiencing the worst of your withdrawal. They might even enjoy themselves and wish Mommy would let them eat Pop-tarts for dinner ALL the time (-: And let me tell you, those %$#@*%* electric shocks. I really could have done without those, thank you very much. Well, I could go on and on, but let me suffice it to say that I am now doing quite well. It has been four weeks since my last Paxil tablet, and I no longer fall asleep before the children at night. I have my old energy back, as well as a some of my old anxieties, but am in general feeling wonderful. I used to drink 6 - 8 cups of coffee a day just to stay awake ...the paxil made me so drowsy! ... I now have only one cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning, something I thought I could NEVER manage to do!! I am drinking green tea (both hot and iced!), eating better, doing slow meditative breathing exercises, and making sure I take a walk every day. When I originally went on Paxil, I gained 40 lb., and couldn't lose it, no matter WHAT I did. Since going off the Paxil, I have lost 10 lb. without even trying. My entire system seems to be functioning much better. Well, life is not all a bowl of cherries, of course, but at least now I feel like I have a chance of trying to get through it without being hopelessly addicted to a drug that, YES, did help me immensely at one point in time, but was no longer needed. This Paxil site helped immensely as I was going through the worst of things. Just to know that I wasn't alone, and wasn't losing my mind, was such a blessings. When I first saw the complete list of withdrawal symptoms, I cried tears of joy, to simply know that what I was experiencing was NOT all in my head, and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. So there is my story. I hope that some part of it will help someone, somewhere, who is trying to get off of Paxil cold turkey. Hang in there. It gets better. I'm doing well, and I am PAXIL-FREE!!!!
Hello, I started on Paxil in March of 1999 after a severe mental and physical breakdown. After about 5 months of being on 20mg a day, I decide I was feeling fine and that I was going to wean myself off in a period of 2 weeks. About 3-4 days after I stopped taking Paxil, the severe symptoms began-- extreme dizziness, extreme nausea, headaches, crying, sweating, depression, electric shock feelings all through my body, and that very annoying "swish-swish" in my head as I would move my eyes around (would occur with eyes open OR shut). I, with the advice of my doctor, went back on Paxil. The symptoms were terrible and 5 months was not enough.
It's now July 2001, and I am 2 weeks off of Paxil after taking a FULL YEAR to wean myself off. Paxil is a very powerful drug that can definitely help a person when they truly need it. But, you must be prepared for the side-effects while on the drug, as well as the withdrawal symptoms when you are ready to come off it. When I went on Paxil I weighed 125lbs., at 5' 7". I have been thin my whole life. While on the Paxil, I steadily gained weight and have topped off at 160lbs. That's a lot of weight to gain. Other people that I know on Paxil have also gained a good bit of weight.
The final dose that I was on was only 5mg (split 20mg pill in quarters). And because I had taken a full year to wean myself down to 5mg, I, along with my doctor did not think that I would experience the side-effects again. WE WERE WRONG!!!! The past week and a half have been just horrible. I had all the same withdrawal symptoms again. I could not be in a vertical position very long, the dizziness and nausea were that bad. But I have toughed it out, although the swish-swish feeling in my eyes is still there. This will disappear eventually.
My advice to anyone wanting to get off of Paxil is not to rush it!!! If you can take a full year and wean yourself off---DO IT. When the time comes to finally get off, take two weeks off from work (you'll need it), and be prepared to spend a lot of time in bed. All the feelings and physical symptoms that you will feel are normal, we have all felt them. You're not going crazy. It's drug withdrawal. Once you begin to feel better, slowly begin an exercise routine, even if it's just walking. Exercise is wonderful for combating depression and anxiety!!!!! It, along with good nutrition, bring the body into balance. Drink a lot of water! When the Fall arrives, consider buying the special lights to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This is especially important if you live in the north like I do (Buffalo). Good Luck. You can get off of Paxil when the time is right! Elizabeth
"I feel it is so important to share my victory with everyone. I too felt as though I was a prisoner to this drug. Several attempts to wean myself were unsuccessful. To make matters worse, every time I spoke with my doctor or his nurse, they would say "oh really, we just have not heard of anyone having so much difficulty getting off of this drug." Truly, I thought I was going insane. It was so eye-opening to learn that I was not nuts and that many people have gone through the horrible side effects. Well, it took 9 long months, but I was determined. The slow progression was the success story. I went from 20 mg to 15 mg switching dsg. every other day for 3 months. Then 15mg to 10mg switching dsg. every other day for 3 months. Then finally 10mg to 5 mg switching dsg. every other day for 3 months. When I got down to five mg. I maintained that for about 3 weeks. Went to 5 mg. every other day for 2 weeks. Finally stopped. I held onto that bottle for one month before I had the guts to flush the Paxil I had left. Even after being off. I have challenges, but I am not going back on. I will find something else. You see, I have Multiple Sclerosis. The chances of me needing to be on an antidepressant are great. However, I don't ever want to go through this type of torment again. Good luck to everyone. God Bless."

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