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Effects of long term SSRI use... My Story...

Posted by newquestions on April 16, 2009, at 9:10:07

I continue to post my story in the hope people learn from it and someone can explain what has happened to me.

I started to suffer depression, anxiety and OCD at age 18. I would ruminate over prior failures and get severely depressed. I did not experience any manias. I did not seek help until I was 26. I started Zoloft, 200 mg, in 1993. In 2003, I started to notice a major change in side effects of Zoloft. I had less muscle energy, mentally foggy and lazy, heaviness, non-restful sleep, more withdrawn, and my physical appearance/grooming grew worse. My concentration and attention to detail deteriorated. I was more "in side" myself, sluggish, not responsive, more drugged. I felt more fatiqued.

In retrospect, this was the beginning of poop out, where my body adapted to the drug, and did not respond to it any more, except in negative ways. Over the next five years, I cycled through every antidepressant looking for the one that would help the way zoloft helped in the early years, all with devastating and even paradoxial side effects.

I HAD BECOME SEVERELY HYPERSENSITIVE TO ANTIDEPRESSANTS. I can't even take amino acids. I tried a very small dose of inositol and then 5-HTP (less than 10 mg) and they made me more depressed within a few days. (Interestingly, the 5-HTP greatly improved my hair and skin, making it retain oils. Without it, my hair and skin are dry, presumably a side effect of long term SSRI use.)

This antidepressant use took a toll on my body. My hair became dry and brittle, dry sticky skin, skin and ear infections appeared, dry mouth and dry eyes, trigylcerides shot up, HDL cholestrol went to low. I felt fatigued, run down. My professional and personal lives suffered. My personality changed.

I have been forced to go off all drugs, amino acids and vitamins. My last dose was in early December 2008. Right now I am experiencing:

Derealisation and depersonalisation
Vision problems, foggy vision, focus problems
Cognitive problems, foggy brain, memory and concentration problems
Muscle weakness, fatigue, low stamina
Apathy, lack of emotions
Balance problems
muscle ache
Sticky skin, waxy hair, skin rashes
Horrible sensations like heavy head, head pressures
can't handle stress
Worse anxiety than pre the ADs--its a physical anxiety
Dizziness in different ways, vertical and horizontal
Sensitive for sound and light
Inability to enjoy everyday things, including music, movies, etc
personality change

I stopped listening to music or watching movies because I can't enjoy them or anything else anymore. What really concerns me is the cognitive decline. I just can't think abstractly anymore. I can't learn. My attention to detail sucks.

SSRIs affect the body in many different ways and there are a thousand theories as to what happens, e.g., receptor changes, downregulation of other neurotransmitters and firing rates, adrenal gland exhaustion, the list goes on but no one really knows.

All my doctors think I am a defective lab rat, and that any problems I am experiencing are the underlying condition returning. However, I never experienced these problems pre-zoloft. On, you will find a bunch of people with similar experiences.

I still research other possible causes (e.g., Lyme disease, Wilson's Disease, lead poisoning)
but I am now pretty convinced I am in protracted withdrawal. My body was used to a drug for so long and now it is no longer there and my body is adjusting. It takes years to recover, not weeks (as drug companies claim) or months. There are many stories of people who still experience problems years and years after their last dose.

I think only time will heal me. No more drugs, amino acids, vitamins, herbs. I can't tolerate them.

I wish I never took an SSRI.




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