S arah never planned to take antidepressants for 14 years. Three years after she began taking them, when she was 21, she went to her GP and asked to stop: Her doctor advised her to taper down her medication carefully. My appetite completely went. I lost the best part of two stone.
I was anxious constantly. My mouth was dry. It was difficult to sit and be calm. I feel anger when I look back. Now the only reason I am on the drug is because I am dependent upon it. And that is not good enough.
Prescriptions of SSRIs selective serotonin reuptake inhibitorsthe most common type of antidepressant, have doubled in the past decade. But while the side-effects of starting and then withdrawing from these drugs are reasonably well known the patient information leaflet accompanying the SSRI Seroxat is six pages longthere is very little research
Post ssri sexual dysfunction success stories the long-term effects of using antidepressants.
Reports both anecdotal and clinical have included side-effects such as constant pain, an altered sense of smell, taste or hearing, visual problems, burning hands and feet; food or drug intolerances and akathisia the medical term for a deep inner restlessness.
When a patient begins tapering down their dosage, these effects are generally ascribed to the drug leaving their system; if it is long after withdrawal is supposed to be over, however, patients are often disbelieved according to the drug companies, withdrawal should take just two weeks for most Post ssri sexual dysfunction success stories, though they acknowledge that for some it can be months. Professor David Healydirector of the department of psychological medicine at Cardiff University and author of 22 books on psychopharmacology, believes that antidepressants are overprescribed.
All we need to do is put you on another pill. Healy, who has been a consultant for, and expert witness against, most of the major pharmaceutical companies, has long argued that long-term side-effects are routinely ignored or misunderstood.
But many experts believe these drugs do more good than harm. It can get them through a really critical period of their life.
However, when it comes to long-term impact, especially after a person stops taking SSRIs, Smith says it can be hard to work out which symptoms relate to the drug use and which to the underlying conditions. How can we be certain the SSRI caused it? Depression affects libido and sexual interest. SSRIs have been around for more than 40 years, but grew popularity in the late s and 90s after pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly launched fluoxetine, otherwise known as Prozac.
Study led directly to a massive increase in prescriptions: But concerns were raised about the study —the US food and drug administration FDA officer who reviewed the data disagreed with the findings, calling it a failed trial — and in the British Medical Journal published a re-evaluation.
The original study reported adverse reactions; the BMJ found Many SSRI users report blunted emotions, even long after they have ceased taking pills, and an impact on sexual function.
Last September, Healy and colleagues published a further examination of the data gathered for Study In October, the British Medical Association published its response to a two-year fact-finding exercise into long-term use of psychoactive drugs. The BMA made three key recommendations: There are also increasingly urgent calls for studies into long-term effects that are not funded by drug companies, because, Moncrieff says: All we know about the benefits is from short-term symptom-reduction studies.
Quite a few long-term users, such as those I spoke to below and who wished to be anonymouswould agree. I was prescribed Seroxat when I was 18, the year I started university. I grew up with a disabled sister, so things at home were very stressful, and I had a history of anxiety and panic attacks.
I had counselling, but the problems persisted, so I went back to the GP. Within the first two weeks of starting Seroxat, I remember I was sitting in the front room watching TV when out of nowhere I had this intense feeling of heat, like an electric shock. It started in my hands, went all the way up my arms and through my head.
The GP said it was probably just my body getting used to the drug. And after a few weeks the weird sensations Post ssri sexual dysfunction success stories ease off. I had a fabulous time at university. But in I tried to come off it. There were a couple of Panorama documentaries about the side-effects and I was starting to become concerned. I immediately became incredibly unwell.
I thought I was losing my mind. I was going to work, but it was difficult to get through the day. My mouth was so dry, I was constantly drinking water. I had bizarre thoughts — not hallucinations — that were frightening or distressing.
I had a strong sense of detachment from reality. A few years later, when I realised my mental health was getting worse, even though I was on the medication, I started to do some research, reading case studies about withdrawal.
I saw various psychiatrists. Why are you so bothered about taking this drug?
I believe Seroxat has played a part: But I do believe that it has caused me harm. I had been dealing with symptoms of OCD and anxiety for a Post ssri sexual dysfunction success stories of my childhood.
I got high marks, I had a lot of friends. So, in that sense, they must have helped. I went to university right out of school. I did very poorly. I had a bit of a breakdown, isolating myself, not sleeping. I was still on medication. I came home and enrolled at a community college.
That was my worst period — I was very depressed. For months I had trouble sleeping. I had brain zaps. My anxiety was pretty ramped up. I would feel numbness in my extremities — generally my arms.
While my brother took the same medicine over the same period and had a normal sexual life, I had a lack of sexual interest. I had erections, and I have regularly masturbated my entire life. Some also took antidepressants; I think there are a lot of people like me out there. Your brain develops around them.
It wasabout the time GlaxoSmithKline released Seroxat. I was one of the first people to be given it. I was prescribed 20mg, the basic dose, to start with. I got through school, I went to uni, I went to work. But I had side-effects from the off: I managed to work, as a sales rep, for years. But byby which time I was up to 60mg, I had tried on numerous occasions to withdraw.
I tried to go back to 20mg, but my words became slurry, so the doctor put me back up to 60mg. I tried "Post ssri sexual dysfunction success stories" take my life. A psychiatrist once said to me that coming off Seroxat is harder than quitting heroin. That really hit home.