Sleep Problems After Stopping Antidepressants?

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November 5, 2019 | 87 Comments

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  1. annie says:
    October 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    In 2002, Seroxat cold-turkey, one every other day for two weeks and then stop…worse than cold-turkey actually, up down, up down, up down…

    My GP thought I had sleep apnoea and an appointment with a sleep specialist meant I rigged myself up with the machine at home. The results came back normal.

    I could have told them that, but, you know, how you do, go along with their suggestions, or else, they get cross..

    I was barely awake for the two years of withdrawal, two withdrawals consecutively, almost vegetative in state, but, for the shocking vivid nightmares that would jolt me awake from a short benzo respite. Comatose for almost two years. I was almost unaware that two years had passed.

    I was incredibly fit and healthy prior to Seroxat withdrawal.
    Bed was at bed-time; books were at bed-time, and then zzzzzzzz til the next morning for another action-packed day with my child, my labrador, my exciting days ..

    After the second withdrawal, I would sleep all evening whilst we were watching tv. Nodding off.
    At the cinema, Harry Potter, even, my daughter, thrilled, I missed it all, a deep sleep.

    I had virtually no sound or light for two years.
    No radio, no tv, no books, small bursts of company and that was it.

    The sleep problem, for me, from Seroxat, was an enormous issue.
    There was no circadian-rythm, zilch, zero.

    This is still somewhat problematic.
    Too much stimulation and I can become exhausted, hence, tv is very limited.

    I was acutely aware, with a teenager, just us, that I had to fight the need to want to continually go to sleep, and sometimes, I used to feel on the verge of being sick, just to try and be what should have been my normal self and stay up, for her.

    This sleep problem is nothing to do with being ‘tired’.
    It is a complete draining and almost impossible to fight.

    So glad you have brought up this detrimental condition, brought on by, for me, Seroxat.

  2. About one month ago I took Zoloft, one pill and a half. Unbelievably, it took me more than three weeks to recover physically, my main problems being insomnia and genital numbness/complete loss of libido/emotional numbness. I can say that physical issues are now resolved, except maybe occasional teeth grinding during the night but this almost disappeared now as well. Still surprised how powerful these drugs can be. I think it has been fashionable until very recently to not believe to what certain patients (psychiatric, women, etc.) have to say, because our experience is ”subjective” and we are just making things up anyway, we are being “too sensitive”, “typical women”, IT IS ALL IN OUR HEAD …
    Thanks again for writing this blog!

  3. When I stopped Seroxat after 13 years use I had insomnia so bad I slept for two hours a night for 18 months I honestly thought I’d never sleep again. I was terrified even in the day where I hadn’t slept the night before I still couldn’t sleep while this was happening I lost two and a half stone I looked like the walking dead. I remember vividly being so weak I struggled to lift a shopping bag one day how I survived it I don’t know I have people I lived with witness all what happened and one person that basically was there for me for years who saw it all she saved my life as far as I’m concerned and had never seen me like this. Before taking and coming off seroxat I’d never had a bad nights sleep in all the years off my life while this was happening I would get shocks through my head all through the night sometimes at night it would be so bad I’d jump out off bed and land on the floor the person I lived with next door to my bedroom would come in because she would hear it. Sometimes i would jump up and be clinging to the head board it was terrifying. After 18 months I started to sleep some nights but was getting zapped shocked for the next five years intermittently with my jaw gurning at times I’m sure coming of seroxat sparked off some kind off seizures it was the worse thing I have ever experienced. I would also get similar feelings in the day I went for MRI EEG saw a couple off neurologists told migraines ( load off b@@@@cks) this all started when stopping seroxat.I sleep okay better now I’ve been off seroxat over seven years but still have occasional bouts off insomnia that last about a week which I can tolerate. I was told I have fibromyalgia in 2017 when a sudden onset off body pain that hasn’t left came on I’m convinced this came on after the shock off the whole withdrawal process insomnia hundreds off other symptoms that has taken years and I’m still not better far from it but I’m alive. I had zaps to my brain for seven years after stopping with the worst off them being at night I remember speaking to one guy when I was desperately searching on line for info when I was in the thick off it and he had took seroxat and stopped and said he hadn’t slept for more than 3 hours a night for 3 years. It might not sound humanly possible but I know what happened to me and when I say I slept for two hours a night if I was lucky for 18 months I really did it was hell and people I live with witnessed it all this is my story.

    • I believe you Karl. I believe you that the sleep problems were caused by Seroxat. What you have been through sounds very difficult, and i hope you are getting some relief now. I have had my own lingering problems from Citalopram, and to some extent benzodiazepines.

      A lot of my family really don’t understand what has happened to me, and some are skeptical symptoms can linger on like this. It has caused a lot of bad feeling within my family, and a lot of them feel i just need to get on with life, and are critical of my time being unemployed during my years withdrawing off benzodiazepines.

      Not being believed by the medical profession is bad enough, but not being believed by my own family was a double blow.

      • Thankyou Spruce family members or everyday people couldn’t comprehend the severity off an adverse outcome off stopping these pills so I know it’s hard but even your own family might not understand. I wouldn’t off untill it happened to me I think if I’d off been a heroin addict it would off been alot easier to get off and over quicker.
        I believe that when symptoms last year’s it’s damage not withdrawal I’m definitely better than I was and work a few days a week and every day’s hard i’m still symptomatic and don’t believe I’ll ever recover fully it’s been nearly eight years I’ve been drug free. Think I’ll still improve but I’m alive and that’s something I trusted my GP was given a tablet for panic attacks and was left maimed when I stopped I thought panic attacks were bad when I was young but when you come off this stuff you realise what insanity realy is and then it physically does you at the same time for good measure.
        Couple off things I’ll add don’t dream much since stopping pills use to dream alot before and had vivid dreams while on the drug.

        • Thanks Karl.

          You mentioned in your first post you had brain zaps for 7 years after coming after Seroxat.

          I was wondering if this has now completely resolved for you, i.e you had the zaps for 7 years after coming off Seroxat, but then somewhere in the 7th year or so off, they stopped etc.

          Is this correct?

          • Hi Spruce was just visiting this article again after this week being terrible for brain zaps when drifting off to sleep still getting them 8 years off Seroxat. They are severe but what I will say is there episodic Now can have them terrible for a fortnight and then have a period off months without have a single zap sorry for late reply hope your well.

      • I can empathize with struggles with family members not believing the trials and tribulations of going through benzo withdrawals. I was on Valium for 5 years, up to 30 mg, the next psychiatrist refused to give me Valium and my sleep went to 0 hours. In the last 10 years I’ve been getting 0-2 hours of sleep a night and most of the time my sleep has to be induced my NyQuil or some prescribed meds all, of which, only last a short period of time.

    • I am so glad to have come across this article. I thought i was going crazy from nightmares and insomnia. If I was told I would have been told how bad Paxil withdrawals were going to be I don’t think I would have ever started. The other thing that bothers me is that my doctor to me how to wing off this drug but nothing about possible side affects. I really think that knowing I’m not the only one experiencing all the side affects will me help going forward.
      Thanks for sharing!

  4. One more thing too add I’m sure this whole ordeal I have gone through has left me with some kind off PTSD I often fear what happened to me insomnia/zaps having to go through it again which I couldn’t I know it’s sounds strange but sometimes I can’t believe what i went through and don’t now how I survived years off constant torture every minute off the day. I don’t trust many doctors and scared off taking any pills in any form. I suffer from burning and tingling feet at night and feeling hot I thing it’s all related and all started with stopping the tablets i refuse to give up and when I’m having a better. day I make the most off it. Any way off to bed nice to be able to kip without being electrocuted for a change ( touch wood) ?

  5. Thank you.

    Very important area of additional ADR injury.
    Our loved-one has markedly dysfunctional “sleep” pattern after cascade of inappropriate and unnecessary psychotropic drugs.

    Also nightmares – night-terrors re-living the great cruelty, and absence of empathy in none-caring establishments.

    Started eight years ago with inappropriate SSRIs for normal, new job/exam stress. Never ever depressed.

    Serial AKATHISIA misdiagnosis resulted in multi-systems iatrogenic injuries.
    Each new series of ADRs misdiagnosed as “Emergent M.H. Disorders”.

    Endured protracted, multiple, intense withdrawal syndromes – also misdiagnosed.

    Now well over six years off all medication. Multiple legacy issues.

    “Never had mental illness”: – Confirmed by greatly respected specialist.

    Tragic. Shameful prescribing.
    Labelled for life via ignorance of real psycho-pharmacology, yet
    fights on with great resilience, amazing humour and immense courage.

    “Each new psychiatrist only sees the injuries caused by the previous psychiatrist”.

    Psychotropic adverse drug reactions (ADRs) routinely misdiagnosed as “M.H. Disorders”.
    Prescribers largely lack understanding, awareness and skill in identifying and managing AKATHISIA.

    Denial of SSRI/SNRI/AD withdrawal syndromes. Rejection of PSSD – PGAD.
    Denial of AKATHISIA induced suicidality.
    Unaware of SSRI induced increase in alcohol intake et al. et al.

    Doctors and coroners in denial.

  6. I’ve never taken an SSRI or antipsychotic but I watched my son in the two months before he ended his own life, struggling with such horrendous waking dreams, that he dared not sleep in the end. The horrors he described in this semi dream state were unbelievably awful. He became terrified to even close his eyes. He had the brain zaps Karl and Annie describe. In the end, he felt there was no way to escape this unceasing terror so he died.

    The prescribed drugs involved, during those two months, given to him in quick and unmonitored succession, were Citalopram, Zoplclone, venlafaxine, Sertraline and Olanzapine. I have never witnessed such suffering. My mother died in pain from cancer but she was cared for and treated with understanding and practical kindness. My son was treated with contempt and no understanding whatsoever. There was no way he could hold on and stay alive, they had made him feel as though he was mad. There was no honesty. He was effectively thus murdered.

    • Heather,

      Symptoms like these can be scary, horrible and quite unbearable at times. Lack of knowledge about how to resolve these issues is one thing but a lack of belief, empathy and guidance to try and help ameliorate your son’s symptoms was cruel and unacceptable. I feel terribly for the pain you’ve suffered and for the loss of your son.

      • I agree too with Jayme, Heather. The way the medical establishment treats people who have adverse reactions to prescription drugs, can be shockingly bad.

        It is totally unacceptable, and has on its own, independently of the adverse reactions, led to loss of life (I know of two people with PSSD who were tipped over the edge into suicide because of the nasty reactions they received when trying to get help for PSSD).

        It has to change.

        I am also very sorry for your loss Heather. The doctors dealing with your son had a duty of care, which they failed spectacularly to live up to. That should be on their conscience.

        At a minimum it was manslaughter, if not murder. The medical establishment has a lot of blood on its hands.

    • So yet another day without sleep can not sleep wish I never took anti depressants… I’m not depressed… Anixeity through the roof…. Comes and goes not in my head but my body… Anyone that goes through this your not alone… Feel like we are just test tubes…. Going to doctors…. As I can’t stand it no more not being able to sleep… 8 thought in time it would get easier.. Yet my own self study shows that, I am now no longer able to sleep… When i did sleep, I thought brilliant I’m actually doing this gunner free myself from the grips of pharmaceutical company drugs…. 4weeks just 4 weeks it’s not got better its got worse…. The last week I would sleep eventually then a whole night in the dark no phone or TV on…. Yet still not able to produce the chemical to go to sleep…. I was having a panic attack this last night… Felt like.. Well its almost undescribable….. I could breath yet felt it wasn’t enough…. Felt like I was waiting for my body to just shutdown… On a scary rola-coaster I just couldn’t get off…if only doctors knew the side affects of these drugs… I’m pretty sure I will never be “normal” again…. #antidepressant

  7. Weed is the only thing that I can rely on when it comes to my insomnia and pssd related depression. Doctor suggested I take lorazepam for sleep, quickly rejected not taking another pill ever again. Finding the right strain of weed is the difficult part as some completely do the opposite and make my pssd worse.
    I also find that high stress levels increase pssd symptoms especially my emotional blunting, and insomnia.
    Weed, meditation and a low stress job is what I found helps me the most.

  8. Before starting to use an antidepressant at my 20s (Zoloft, at that time, for diagnosed dysthymia and bulimia) I always had problems to get into sleep at night (mostly because of ruminant thoughts) and, of course, to wake up early in the morning. I was that kind of teenager that could sleep the whole day on weekends and stay awake all night. After starting it, the ruminant thoughts became much better (and the bulimia was almost gone), so it was easier for me to fall asleep, but it was even harder to wake up in the morning. I`ve tried to switch to other antidepressants because of side effects, but sleep was always an issue (too much sleep with some or insomnia with others). Then I changed to venlafaxine (75 mg) more than 10 years ago. Depression and anxiety symptoms improved, it was a little bit easier to wake up in the morning, but not easy to fall asleep (I would describe it as some sort of RLS; bruxism is also a problem). And I have to sleep for 10 hours to feel like a normal human being. 50 mg of trazodone works really well for me, so I fall asleep in less than 45 min. But waking up in the morning is always a sacrifice.

    When I got pregnant (9 years ago), I had to taper off venlafaxine in only 2 weeks. Of course, it was tragic. Long walks under the sunlight in the morning, acupuncture, homeopathy, psychotherapy, praying, massage, nothing worked. The brain zaps got better after 2 weeks, but insomnia got much worse. It was a much worse version of RLS, or akathisia (if you prefer). I was so tired that I couldn`t keep my eyes opened, but every time I have finally dragged into sleep something inside would wake me up in the next minute. This process persisted the whole night and only at the beginning of the morning I could sleep in peace, but for only 1 or 2 hours. Depression symptoms came hard after that and when I reached the 12o pregnancy week, my doctors and I decided that it was better to take a half dose of Zoloft until after giving birth. After 2 days my sleep went back to normal.

    I won`t get into the details, but after that experience, I have tried to taper off venlafaxine two more times, with more time, counting granules like everybody else, or even trying a different antidepressant (with a short half-life) to help with the transition. It was always the same. Besides having more control over the brain zaps, sleep was always a problem, and after a while, the depression symptoms were back again. So I just gave up. Although some side effects are annoying, I still think that my life is better with a small dose of venlafaxine and trazodone. Or maybe I just don`t have enough money and guts to stop working for a year or two to try a much slowlier tapering process (like you all recommend). I also believe that unfortunately, we all need some sort of anesthesia at some point (antidepressants, drinking, illicit drugs, crazy beliefs or something else) to deal with so much work, pressure, artificial light and with the idea of death (unfortunately, the Western world still didn`t learn how to deal with the inexorability of death).

    • Your experience sounds very similar To what I’m experiencing at the moment, I decided to cut down and maybe remove the small dose of Zoloft I have been taking for the past 20yrs, sleep has never been great, around 6hrs a night and not good quality, since cutting back I’m in a horrible place sleep wise to the point there is no switching off this inner momentum in my head that is like a radio constantly on all day and night, only a sleeping pill will work and even then I’m have only 3-4 hours of a horrible sleep. I’m going to go back to my usual dose but am afraid I have done damage that can not be reversed. Have others experienced something similar?

  9. I titrated down from Cymbalta 30mg over a 9 month period using a weighing scale and putting the beads into rice capsules. I had to come off the drug as my liver enzymes were very raised. I took herbal and vitamin supplements to help as I was very aware of the reported reactions to coming off this drug. Despite that my sleep was incrementally badly effected the more I titrated down. By the time I was halfway down the dose I was getting around 4 hours a night. By the time I was towards the end of the titration period it was worse.

    Two weeks after being off the drug the sleep issues got worse – for seven months I was getting 2 to 3 hours per night at the most. I had remained on a lose dose of Remeron (about 3mg). Finally I got an appointment with an OB GYN and got progesterone which I took at night. Within a month or so I was sleeping up to 7 hours most nights.

    Bloods taken 2 months ago showed that my liver enzymes had returned to normal – still slightly raised but within normal limits.

  10. I have used cannabidiol (CBD) now and then for the past several months It is very useful for sleep and for calming stress related pain It can be bought all over the place now in different strengths and ways of using -no need to pay extortionist prices in health food shops or even a well known chemist, if you can find vape shop it is probably there. Of course it will work differently for different individuals but it works for me One man buys it for his elderly mother who has severe arthritis and she has stopped taking the strong painkillers which were causing added problems – like constipation which for someone who is in pain already can be horrendous because of the strain of pushing on old arthritic hips and back.

  11. Insomnia with acute withdrawal and akathisia. 6.5 years out from initial withdrawal—I wake up multiple times a night. Fortunately am able to go back to sleep quickly. Didn’t used to wake up multiple times a night before the withdrawal. But not the most bothersome nighttime symptoms. Those would be the night sweats and bruxism. I’m very sick of soaking my sheets and pjs multiple times a night more nights than not. Night sweats and bruxism started while taking SSRI. The night sweats have gotten worse over time. Also have other temperature issues that could elaborate on.

  12. The barbaric way of healing, as what I have witnessed and experienced, needs to change.
    Each and everyone one of us, may be able to relate with the unfortunate stories that have been kindly shared with all to read on rxisk.
    It takes a lot of guts and courage for anyone to come here and say it as it is.
    Healing, is not an easy process once you have been poly drugged and many have had to use their own inner resources, to heal the best way they can and know how because there has been no simple answers.
    You just don’t want to go from one place to another place, once you have been poly drugged because it may make your health issues worse.
    I was given a care plan that did not work for me however, from there I had the basic knowledge that was going to get me out of a dismal situation.
    Diet was the roadmap that assisted me to get out of a hopeless situation. Sadly, anything else just did not work for me.
    It was all trial and error however, I eventually made an impressive mark to my poly drugged body.
    I am still standing and still breathing ~ I am a survivor and if I can do it, I am a living testimony, here to tell you how diet can immensely benefit ones health.
    When one suffers from a disease or health issue induced by big pharma, we have to search heaven and earth, as to what will benefit us.
    My journey, may be the same as yours and if you listen to that ‘inner intuitive knowing’, it may assist or even prevent you from doing something which may not benefit you.
    For millions of years, man, in the Amazon forest have utilized insects and plants, as a medicine to treat diseases.
    The tribes in Amazon and the indigenous tribes, Yanomano, have been using plants to treat diseases for a hundreds of years. All these medicinal plants have healing properties.
    There needs to be harmony and balance when healing.
    Unhealthy cells need to be restored by plants, herbs and other non harmful means, that purge the aberrant ones. We still have a lot to learn from other cultures.
    They have a wealth of knowledge that modern medicine fails to acknowledge.
    We have to go back to grass roots to better understand why western medicine is failing a lot of people. Sadly, there is something not right when innocent people get harmed or pass away and if we want to make the necessary changes that is going to benefit humanity, I like to think that we are all on the same page.
    ~ DO NO HARM!

  13. I started on SSRIs after a relationship breakup and a badly broken leg> at the time I was self employed and had the stress of my business suffering through not working. Three years of various SSRIs and then seven years of polypharmacy. Over a decade off and my sleep is still affected not to mention the other debilitating symptoms. Some nights i cannot get to sleep, frequent waking, being jolted awake, night terrors and rarely sleep paralysis. This has taken a further toll on my health as without quality sleep we set ourselves up for other problems.
    All in all those drugs wrecked my life whilst taking and ceasing. They are a modern day plague.

  14. Contact Us
    BBC is looking for people willing to appear in documentary on antidepressant withdrawal
    by Admin on 09/11/2019 in News, Psychiatric drugs
    The BBC is producing a documentary about the long-term side effects and withdrawal effects of antidepressant medication. They are looking to speak to individuals who have decided to come off their medication and would be open to allowing us to follow their journey throughout this process, alongside the reporter of the film who will be doing the same. By following a number of people on this journey, the film will illustrate the diversity of peoples’ experiences in coming off medication and the advice they are given on how to do so safely. Filming will mainly involve video blogs.

    The BBC appreciates the very sensitive nature of making a decision like this and will ensure you are supported throughout. If you are someone who has decided off this medication and are open to finding out more about the programme, please reach out to: alex.gatenby@bbc.co.uk or bryony.hopkins@bbc.co.uk.

    Share this:

  15. Since tapering from Pristiq 100mg over a year in 2010-11, my sleep has been terrible in a few ways. The worst is waking with panic and absolute dread of life, racing pulse, etc. I’ve been told it’s a rebound of cortisol, which should be highest in the morning. However, my AM cortisol has been measured and is very low and I was diagnosed with Addison’s/adrenal insufficiency. The standard treatment of steroids did not help and only exaggerated the morning panic and dread.

    Also, I sometimes recall EXTREMELY lucid night terrors. This has escalated dramatically in the past year+ after my entire remaining family, 2 dogs, and 2 horses died (all independently). I have smashed windows trying to escape an RV and done other physical things in my sleep. Possible REMSBD?

    Just to note, I have been diagnosed with Degenerative Brain Disease based on significant cerebral atrophy and ischemic white matter disease (MRIs 2012 to 2019), primarily the frontal and temporal lobes (FTD, Pick’s). I am scheduled for further testing.

  16. recovery&renewal Retweeted

    Dr Evgeny Legedin‏ @DrEvgenyLegedin 33m

    Protracted debilitating withdrawal syndrome from depression pills #NNH202 is known for 30 years, but only now NHS timidly admits that “some people” have severe #antidepressantwithdrawal symptoms that last for months or more. Cold turkey isn’t a rare bird!

    https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/medicines/how-should-antidepressants-be-discontinued/

    Page last reviewed: 6 November 2019
    Next review due: 6 November 2022

    • Hi Annie they say lasts for months wish mine had off I could off handled that most long termers seem to have symptoms for YEARS unless you are very lucky

      • It is like trying to shift a brick-wall with a teaspoon…they are out-of-touch and spreading a lot of mis-information.

        Unluckily, for us, we are left out.
        Luckily, for us, we know it…

  17. Something i have noticed recently which might be of interest.

    I keep a regular eye on the BNF (the British national formulary), which is a book on medicines which most or all doctors have access to, and which they refer to for guidance when prescribing.

    I recently had a look in the most recent September 2019- March 2020 BNF, hoping there might be a mention of persisting sexual problems with SSRI’s since the June 2019 acknowledgement by the EMA. I was also hoping there might have been a mention of how withdrawal symptoms can persist for a lot longer than a few weeks, and can be quite severe in a lot of people, since the recent Roehampton and East London University studies on Antidepressant withdrawal, and the expected upcoming changes to be made to the NICE guidelines.

    There is no mention in the new BNF that sexual side effects can persist in some people after coming off SSRI’s and no real mention of sexual side effects in regards to SSRI’s in general, when we know that sexual side effects affect almost everyone taking SSRI’s.

    There is also no mention that withdrawal can persist for more than two weeks when coming off SSRI’s, and that in a lot of people it can be severe. In fact if my memory serves me correctly, i think the statement in the new BNF still states that withdrawal from SSRI’S is mild and only lasts two weeks at most.

    This needs to change.

    Most doctors see the BNF as almost like the fountain of truth when it comes to these drugs, and i have actually been told by a doctor once that the BNF is seen as the gold standard in knowledge about prescription drugs, and that doctors often treat it like a bible.

    If persisting sexual side effects, and sexual side effects in general in regards to SSRI’s are not mentioned in the BNF, and the fact that for a lot of people taking SSRI’s the withdrawal can be severe and often can last months or years etc, is not in the BNF; when a lot of doctors treat the BNF like the gospel of truth, how are they going to believe their patients when these issues are not in the BNF.

    We should really try to find a way to get these two issues with SSRI’s into the BNF somehow, so that doctors cant look in their BNF when a patient complains of PSSD or withdrawal symptoms lasting longer than two weeks, and say “sorry its not in the BNF, and i have never heard of it”.

    Until persisting sexual problems, and the true severity and duration of withdrawal from SSRI’s is included in the BNF, we are still going to face a big hurdle when trying to get taken seriously by doctors.

    Any ideas on how we could get these changes made to the BNF to include these two issues?

    • http://PAST.WALES are conducting a small survey about the side effects of #antidepressents with regard to PSSD to glean a possible reflection of its commonality within the population. Please RT!
      https://forms.gle/MLpt83vbhFd3oto77
      @SSRI_Injured

      @andydalessio2

      @alyne_duthie

      @dan_247
      Antidepressants & Sexual Side-Effects
      This ANONYMOUS small survey is to help ascertain and gauge how many people feel their sexual functionality and possible relationships have been negatively affected by prescription medication. At…
      docs.google.com
      5:21 PM · Nov 15, 2019·Twitter Web App

  18. Spruce – Would there be anything useful in this ?

    The False or Misleading Information
    Offence: Guidance for Providers
    4
    Contents
    Prosecutions under the FOMI offence……………………………………….12
    What happens if my organisation is convicted of the offence?………14
    FOMI – Due Diligence Defence………………………………………………..16
    Case Study – Applying the FOMI Offence………………………………….17
    The Regulations ……………………………………………………………………..22
    5
    The False or Misleading Information Offence – Introduction
    1. The Care Act 2014 has put in place a new criminal offence applicable to care
    providers who supply, publish or otherwise make available certain types of
    information that is false or misleading, where that information is required to
    comply with a statutory or other legal obligation. The offence also applies to the
    ‘controlling minds’ of the organisation, where they have consented or connived in
    an offence committed by a care provider.
    2. This guidance sets out the context for the offence and explains how the offence is
    applied.
    3. The need for a criminal offence in response to the provision of false or misleading
    information was raised by the Public Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS
    Foundation trust.
    “It should be a criminal offence for a director to sign a declaration of belief that
    the contents of a quality account are true if it contains a misstatement of fact
    concerning an item of prescribed information which he/she does not have
    reason to believe is true at the time of making the declaration.” – Report of the
    Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry – February 2013
    4. The Government accepted the recommendation to make it a criminal offence for
    a provider or individual to provide false or misleading information in a quality
    account, but felt that the offence should be applied more widely.
    5. The offence forms part of the Government’s overall drive to improve the
    openness and transparency in the provision of health services, by making clear
    that a sanction exists for failing to provide or publish accurate or honest
    information about the performance of services.
    6. The offence is in two parts. The first is a strict liability offence where a provider is
    found to have published or provided false or misleading information. The second
    is where a director or other senior individual are found to have been culpable in
    the offence. This means that the provider must first be found to have committed
    the offence before any individual can be prosecuted.

    • Thanks for sending this Susanne, it has given me a few things to think about.

      I have also filled out the Past Wales questionnaire, telling them about my PSSD etc.

      The issue i mentioned in my previous comment about persisting withdrawal and persisting sexual dysfunction not being in the British National Formulary, is quite a big problem and hurdle for people with PSSD being taken seriously by their doctors, and also a hurdle to raising awareness about these issues in general among medical professionals.

      I really think we should try and find a way to put pressure on the people who deal with updates to the BNF, to include these issues in the BNF, particularly as PSSD has now been officially acknowledged.

      If the drug labels can be updated to include about PSSD, why cant it be mentioned in the BNF, which doctors use as a guidance for prescribing these drugs.

      I am hoping to try and contact them soon to see what they say about this.

  19. I can’t say for sure it’s the pills because my sleep was already not that great. Likely has to do with GERD and it seems to be common with people with autism. But interrupted and light sleep issues increased greatly when I got off of my anti dipressants. Not being able to finish sleep cycles well greatly affects how tired I will feel all day. I’ve had many moments where I’d fall asleep completely calm, then wake up 10 minutes later with some annoying dream. These dreams are also often different, they often take place close in the area where I fell asleep and just involve men walking around.

  20. It does seem odd that the BNF hasn’t been updated – surely can’t be a slip up? I guess there must be updates- wonder when was the last one? By the way Can you tell me whether GPs have certain number of drugs they can choose from per condition eg say 6 for anxiety or 8 for depression or are they allowed to go outside the BNF? I remember the GP had it on the desk but assumed it had been replaced by info on computer.Will be interesting to see the response to your letter.
    Hope all groups like PAST are sharing info .

  21. I stopped Prozac in 2014 and have not had a proper nights sleep since. For the first 2 years I regularly slept 2 hrs a night waking with panic and surges of adrenaline jolting through my body like electric. Now I wake after 1-2 hrs then every hour until 7 am when my brain feels like expresso caffeine has been poured into it, I can’t describe it it’s like my body is exhausted but my brain is wired to the national grid and my breathing changes almost like I cannot reach the end of my breath..I never dreamed on Prozac but now the dreams are vivid and cause electric like sensations to flow over my legs. I cannot be referred to the sleep clinic as apparently My problems are solely due to anxiety not the antidepressant I took everyday for 16 years. Apparently Prozac at 20mg doesn’t cause withdrawal problems only higher doses cause issues on withdrawal. The fact I have had little balance and suffer almost constant vertigo is Simply down to my anxiety..sigh

    • Hi Kat,

      I stopped Prozac Sep 2018 after being on the 20mg daily dose for approx. ten years. I had the worst withdrawal effects ever. I couldn’t handle it, after about 9 months of debilitating withdrawal effects, I found the only thing that helps me deal day to day is taking cannabis. Its finding the right strain that helps with sleep. The doctors will tell you there are no long term withdrawal effects and the broken sleep is depression so go back on the drugs. Im no way ever taking Antidepressants again they have ruined my life, if I had known the Crazy withdrawal effects I would of stopped a long time ago. I think more needs to be done to recognise this as a valid medical disorder and stop giving Antidepressants as the first line of support and more CBT treatment instead. I blame the doctors for putting me on this drug long term.

  22. I have chronic sleeping problems from previous SSRI (escitalopram) use. It’s been seven years since I stopped and back then in 2012 I only used 5 mg for two and a half months. SSRI’s left me with dementia, pssd and a plethora of other problems. Yeah, those SSRI’s are heavily brain damaging. They destroyed my social life, working capability, and studying ability. My whole life. 🙁

  23. A mental health counselor 22 yearrs ago said Trazodone would help with insomnia; a nurse prescribed it. [I was grief stricken after both of my parents died within 8 days time] No doctor ever evaluated how the doseage and duration affected me. I am tapering off because I was not living real life …… terrible depression, hopelessness, despair, super high BP spikes and insomnia, A new doctor arrived in my rural area and he at least listened. Others merely told me I was mentally ill. The discontinuation symptoms are almost unbearable and I am tapering slowly. Thank you all for writing. It helps me feel less alone. Every day I question my sanity but the over-riding arc of recovery is positive, Started tapering in October 2019. I must keep going. I can’t give up. The withdrawal is painful. The pharma companies bear responsibility for bringing this nightmare people. I hope my neurology can recover to a degree that allows for some type of normal life. Now I cannot go out or be with others. BC

  24. Good day
    After gradually stopping Venlafaxine (3 – 4 months time) in 2014, I developed a insomnia. It worsend over time. In about 4 months after I stopped I was not able to sleep at all. If I did dose off.. I could hear everything around me. Also get the Zaps (like electricity going through me) if I start dosing off. Psychiatrist put me back on Venlor and added low dose quetiapine to get me to sleep. (nothing else on the market helped). However, after 5 years I still can’t sleep naturally. Not even a nap. Most difficult thing ever.

  25. I’m pleased to report my sleep is pretty good now. 17 years on Seroxat, 15 trying to stop with each time characterised by insomnia, weight loss and high anxiety. Such an innocuous little word “insomnia” – someone described to me recently how they had insomnia because they “only” slept 6 hours a night. That made me chuckle! When I finally stopped the drug just over 6 and a half years ago, each night, for the next 18 months or so, as I started to drop into sleep a loud crack in my head would pull me awake and my body would jerk (Seroxat has left me with a movement disorder). Then there would be a surge of adrenaline from the shock of this, the palpitations would start, I would feel terrified and that was it for the rest of the night. I would go downstairs, jerk and tremble and then have violent diarrhoea. Typing this is reminding me just how awful it was – a few times I banged my head against the wall because the feeling was preferable. Many things that I ate made me jerk too so taking any drugs to help with sleep were out of the question. But in the end I did go to the doctor because I was beyond desperate, and he prescribed melatonin which made a huge difference. My gut tolerated it and I slept. During the years since then as my nervous system has calmed down, my gut problems have improved and that has led to my sleep improving. All my withdrawal symptoms, including the movement disorder which started whilst I was still taking the drug, seem to stem from a traumatised hypersensitive central nervous system. I hope one day someone can describe specifically what is affected, why and how.

  26. I’ve always had sleep problems before I went on sertraline. When I was a kid I would hallucinate before I fell asleep, I still do occasionally but it looks like swirling shadows or colours now rather than anything coherent. I’ve also had really vivid, lucid dreams, but never nightmares as I ‘rewind’ my dreams if they go badly, and have experienced sleep paralysis since a young age, though I never used to hallucinate.
    After I went on sertraline, I experienced sleep paralysis at more frequent rate than before and for the first time I was experiencing the hallucinations (demon dogs, attacking shadows etc) which frankly was and still is terrifying. I also find it a lot harder to snap out of now. I also for the first time started to experience nightmares, horrible nightmares which seem extremely vivid and real. While I’m in them I’m honestly convinced I’m awake.
    I stopped taking sertraline two and a half years ago but I’m not getting any better. It’s currently 1am, I have to be up for an early shift at 3am but I just experienced a particularly scary sleep paralysis hallucination and I’m too afraid to go back to sleep as I know I will likely fall back into sleep paralysis.

  27. When I forgot to take my venlor (60mg) I get sleep paralysis and very vivid dreams where I can’t wake up as well as night sweats all in one day of forgetting

  28. I am suffering from extreme insomnia after ending my last anti-depressant a year ago. I tapered Effexor ( which I took for 12 years) very slowly ending in May 2017 then finished my small dose of Remeron 7.5 mg Jan. 2019. I have had insomnia issues through the whole process .
    Occasionally I will have a 7 hour sleep but at least once a week I do not sleep at all and most nights it can be 2-4 hours. I am exhausted by this. I have had a sleep study & all they suggested was sleeping pills – more trouble. It is very hard to function like this.

  29. Hi my name is Helen. I am completely off of ssris and Benzos now 6 years. I was put on ciprelax and than Zoloft and than back on ciprelax total of 3 years on these poisons. I was also on a benzo. I have been off ciprelax for 8 years now and the benzo 6 and I sleep about 5 hours broken up, when I first came off ciprelax I did not sleep for a full year. I’m still not healed from the damage these drugs did. Is anyone healed. Any advice? Anything that’s helped. Thank you.

  30. I have been off sertraline for 16 months. Initially there were no adverse problems, but about months after coming off the tablets I developed a sleep problem, much the same as most people have reported here. I took rescue remedy at night which worked for a while, when that sopped working I started taking melatonin which also worked for a while, and then stopped. I saw a homeopath who put me onto GABA and melatonin and this too worked for a while, but has now also stopped working.
    I have no idea where this will go, but I was hoping to read somewhere that the withdrawal effects would eventually settle down, and I could get a normal nights sleep without any aids. It seems, from reading the accounts here, that this might or might not be the case. Another problem I find is that the doctors here in the UK do not take this seriously and you cant buy melatonin or GABA over the counter adding to the stress of these running out.
    I feel as though I can not go on like this, and have even considered going back onto antidepressants just to get a good nights sleep, but I realise that that would only make it worse. Antidepressants are a scourge of the 20th/21st century and I feel that they have been oversupplied to patients. The pharmaceutical companies have a lot to answer for.

  31. I stopped Prozac Sep 2018 after being on the 20mg daily dose for approx. ten years. I had the worst withdrawal effects ever. I couldn’t handle it, after about 9 months of debilitating withdrawal effects, I found the only thing that helps me deal day to day is taking cannabis. Its finding the right strain that helps with sleep. The doctors will tell you there are no long term withdrawal effects and the broken sleep is depression so go back on the drugs. Im no way ever taking Antidepressants again they have ruined my life, if I had known the Crazy withdrawal effects I would of stopped a long time ago. I think more needs to be done to recognise this as a valid medical disorder and stop giving Antidepressants as the first line of support and more CBT treatment instead. I blame the doctors for putting me on this drug long term.

  32. I was on prozac for 2 years, 20 mg daily. Suddenly whilst on it, I developed severe insomnia. Whilst on it.
    I was sleeping 45 mins per night. Saw my doctors and they tried increasing the dose, changing meds but nothing worked. I was contemplating my existence.
    So, I stopped the drug cold turkey and my sleep very very slowly improved. I spent years sleeping 2 to 3 hours per night broken sleep.

    It’s almost been 6 years now and I am still not ok. A few weeks ago I was getting 5 hrs total of broken sleep. Now I’m only getting 2 to 3.

    When I close my eyes I almost go to sleep but never do. I also feel like there’s some sort of blockage in my forehead.

    I’ve always had anxiety. I’ve never had this kind of insomnia. 1000% caused by prozac. Never putting a psychistric drug in my mouth again.

    Search on YouTube for Dr Breggin, a psychiatrist who tells it like it really is.

    Because of my insomnia I live every day scared that I’ll die today. So scared.

    Happiness is not in a pill, but instead in healthy food, good relationships and connecting with nature/faith. Wish I’d known that before seeing my psychiatrist who insists that my insomnia is my anxiety returning.

    God bless us all.

  33. Hi i took one half pill of zoloft 50mg i stole it from my mom 🙁 im 17 i was having anxiety that day for really silly problems i got really sick by taking it a lot of vomit nausea didn’t sleep at all the week i took it i got really ugly brain shocks when i was trying to sleep and lots of acne it was a torture first week then saturday i got something called mania i was so agitated it was like torture its been 5 months now i getting better only problem is sleeping only like 5-4 hours and lots of mood swings but no more ugly brain shocks when i trying to sleep also sometimes i heard like really loud explosion sounds when i sleep like once two weeks i hope i get normal again tough i doubt it i used to think mom pills was just to calm u down a bit but i was mistaken those pills are really ugly they make u brain really sick

  34. Hello I have been taking Lexapro for about one year. It has caused major issues with me not being able to sleep and excessive increase in my appetite. About two weeks ago I stoped taking it because I just couldn’t bare.not being able to sleep and I was tired of waking up at night raiding the fridge like I hadn’t eaten in days. Since I’ve stopped taking it , my eating habits are back to normal , I’m able to sleep through the night but there’s one thing now …..I’m having the craziest dreams and I’m speaking out loud in my sleep to the point of waking myself up. And the dreams are aggressive dreams. When I first started taking lexapro my dr told me to be aware of the vivid dreams. And I experienced that for about a month. Is what I’m doing experiencing now a normal withdrawal from the medication. ?

  35. Great post and very helpful as well. to all the people who have stopped the antidepressants. I would like to share it with my sister as she is taking an anti-depressant for a long time. Keep sharing!

  36. When stopping lexamil 10mg I experienced sleep paralysis for the first time ever. It was an unbelievably terrifying experience and one that haunts me every day . I am now back on lexamil after being off it for just over a year due to having my son. I’m on lexamil for anxiety and it works great to prevent my panic attacks. This drug is also used for depression in some

  37. I was put on Concerta and Lexapro and my ADHD insomnia troubles caused my sleep to diminish to about 4-5 hours a night despite being put on various prescription sleep aids. In 2011 I was taken off 20mg of Valium cold-turkey and my sleep dropped to 0-2 hours per night. Since then I’ve had two sleep studies and been on various meds to help me get 3-5 hours of sleep but quit working after a couple weeks. POd in MN for the psychiatrist who refused me 20mg of Valium. Ninety percent of the time I need to be drug induced to get a few hours of sleep.

  38. Back when I was on antidepressants the 2nd time around, I needed 12 hours of sleep to wake up and be refreshed! Most days I just couldn’t do that of course, being a college student. It’s been 2 years since I got off them (Zoloft for around 2 or 3 months and then switched to Lexapro for 6 or 7) and now need around 10 hours of sleep to wake up naturally! And I could honestly keep resting after those 10 hours! Before all this I only needed 8, maybe 8 and a half hours of sleep before naturally waking up feeling refreshed! I didn’t have this continuing issue the first time I went off Celexa antidepressants maybe 2 years before this second time for about 10 months. I did sleep a lot more when on them but I went back to normal after getting off them. I don’t regret taking the antidepressants because I was soooo anxious and could only stay asleep 5 hours at my worst time, and after taking hours to fall asleep, but I do need to deal with this new sleep issue. When I told my family doctor once about sleeping 10 hours, she said in her 20s she could sleep that long as well and it’s probably age related. But I wasn’t like this before the medication so I don’t agree. I know I should get checked again.

  39. In Sept of 2018 I went on Zoloft for mild and situational anxiety. After the first dose I had insomnia and extreme anxiety coupled with panic attacks. I came off the Zoloft after 5 days of it. It is March 2020 and my sleep is horrific. It is difficult to perceive the sleep I get because it is so light. I get about 3-5 broken hours, many times nothing at all. Initially I woke every 20 minutes from a light dream filled sleep and would fall back asleep within 5-10 minutes. Now I can sometimes get 1 hour chunks.

  40. I was prescribed Sertraline in 2016 and spent an entire month with no emotions, severe insomnia, and it was awful.

    Luckily everything returned, but I accidentally weaned myself off it last year. Got into a bad habit of missing doses and eventually stopped taking it, no negative symptoms whatsoever, which was new as missing a couple of days would’ve sent me manic. I was fine and sleeping well etc.

    This year decided to put myself back on as my anxiety returned. Instantly my emotions cleared off and I lost my appetite and insomnia kicked in. Freaked me out and disturbed me. So after 3 days on 50mg I stopped.

    Felt very disconnected from the world and couldn’t enjoy food or smile, but it’s been a week now and I’ve regained my appetite, I have sudden periods of strong happiness and emotion, I’ve laughed the other day and slowly I’m sleeping a little more.

    Although I feel detached, there is tiredness looming and I manage to get 7 hours of sleep. Despite having to rely on whether I had a vivid dream as an indication of whether I did sleep.

    I think I’m slowly healing day by day. I’m thankful that I didn’t continue longer and that it was only 3 days. But wow, I was not well on 50mg for those 3 days.

    I’m still experiencing some mania and moodswings, but I’m working through it.

  41. I weaned myself off antidepressants over a period of 12 months. At first, things were fine. After about 6 months I developed symptoms similar to IBS, and did not associate this with antidepressant withdrawal. Then I developed insomnia. At first, melatonin helped, but that stopped working. I then took melatonin with 5HTP and Gaba but nothing worked, not even sleeping tablets. Between the IBS like symptoms and the insomnia, things became too difficult to live with and I could not function normally. My doctor put me back onto antidepressants, and things are back to ”normal” I feel really upset about this as I am not depressed, and the antidepressants make me gain weight.

  42. Hello. I’m a 43 yo female who stopped taking celexa about 3 months ago…I used the weaning method to do this under my doctor’s supervision. I had been on it for anxiety issues for about 10 years.
    Almost immediately after stopping I had 3 separate experiences with sleep paralysis that occurred during nightmares – all 3 nightmares were about a demonic looking something attacking me. I was awake and unable to move, and it felt like I had died and come back (at least that’s the only thing that seems to explain the experience correctly). The sleep paralysis/demon nightmare stopped, but for the last two months or so I am guaranteed to wake up at least once during the night. Sometimes it’s because I’m thirsty, sometimes it’s a bathroom run, but mostly it’s for no apparent reason, and always between 2am-4am.
    I slept like a 10 ton boulder before I stopped the antidepressant, even during times of heavy stress, illnesses, etc. The only thing that has changed is me stopping this medication. I have been tempted to start taking it again just so I can sleep but really, really don’t want to. Melatonin doesn’t help, benadryl doesn’t help, spraying the room with lavender scent doesn’t help – nothing helps.
    The kicker is that I feel so much better OFF the celexa – I feel human again. It just stinks that I can’t sleep straight through the night anymore – at all.

  43. Hi everyone,
    I tapered off of Cymbalta 60 mg in a little over a month and a half using the bead count system. I was on Cymbalta 60 mg for a little under two years after taking Zoloft 50 mg for over 10 years. The Doctor switched me because of chronic pain and at first it was great! I remember telling my husband how it helped me stabilize my emotions like i’ve never been able to do on my own.
    In January 2020 I decided nothing was worth feeling this dead inside and decided to taper off. I went to my PC who thought 2 weeks was long enough to taper off… I decided to do it a little slower and was completely off in mid February.
    The withdrawal symptoms happened immediately! I was nauseous with a horrible headache and dizziness that kept me in bed for over a week! Gradually those symptoms got more tolerable and I was able to work with the help of Zofran, and ibuprofen. The beginning of March is when my sleep problems started.
    My whole life I haven’t had any problems sleeping! In fact I have been able to sleep through anything and everything!
    It started out with horrific nightmares jolting me out of my sleep and me feeling like demons were in my room waiting to do something horrible! It has been a month and a half now and most night I sleep around 30 minutes to 2 hours. I truly thought I was possessed because of the terrible dreams and the evil feeling I would have after being jolted from a 20 minute sleep until I figured out it was this 2 nights ago.
    I have tried melatonin, Trazodone, and even Ambien but still toss and turn all night while dreaming even though I can open my eyes as i’m doing this!
    I am in dire NEED of some help which is why I am reaching out!
    I am a 42 female self employed and am so scared this is going to be my life!
    Any idea is so welcome and thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

  44. I took Lexapro 5mg for 8 months after dealing with terrible anxiety/depression from switching birth control. I stopped taking the birth control and waited a month to stop the Lexapro to let my body adjust a little. I was still experiencing some anxiety/depression from PMS, but the first 3ish days that I stopped taking Lexapro it was a huge plunge of despair. The 4th day those symptoms subsided. Full disclosure, it has only been 8 days since I stopped taking Lexapro but here are how I’d rate my ‘withdrawal’ symptoms and their duration thus far:
    Anxiety- moderate for 2 days, mild for 2 days, scarce since
    Deprission- severe for 3 days, mild the 4, subsided since
    Dizziness- moderate for about 5 days and mild for 3
    Nausea- mostly mild for 5 days and only a couple instances of severe that subsided quickly enough.
    Heightened senses: -smell- I can smell everything (like being pregnant again); -hearing- I definitely have misophonia but I can generally keep myself calm. However, the first 5 days I wanted every annoying noise in the world to burn in hell (i.e. xbox controller, chewing, wrappers crinkling.. even talking)
    Irritability- mild most days for about 5 days, but with noises it was extreme
    Insomnia!!!!- mild for the first few night and then 3 nights ago I literally didn’t fall asleep until between 9:30a-10:30a and was wide awake throughout the night. I finally fell asleep for 5 hours and then I was awake and alert. That night I managed to relax enough to fall asleep around 12:30a and slept until 11:30a (refreshing). Alas, last night I couldn’t sleep a wink and have been wide awake all night and it’s currently 9am. Obviously, I haven’t been off the medicine to know how long these side effects will truly last, nor do I know if they are all just from the Lexapro or residual from the birth control. But I do know that I am generally a rockstar sleeper and have only experienced insomnia with the anxiety from the birth control and now with stopping lexapro- and former wasn’t quite as bad as now.

  45. Prior to Sertraline, generally I slept ok. Would always get to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and wake around 1am, but get back to sleep after awhile till 7am. I went onto Seraline 25mg for 4 days taking in the morning and from the second day, I had full on insomnia, not a wink of sleep. I cut down to half tab for another 2 days, but following several heart palpitations episodes lasting up to 4 hours and the insomnia I had to stop. Now 16 days after stopping, I can still not sleep and it drove me to calling the samaritans at about 7 days after stopping Sert. I was desperate. Got some Zopiclone but after 3 nights, that is no longer effective and I ly awake hour after hour and its draining my life away. I dont day nap but am so tired and anxious now about not sleeping, its making things worse. When trying to sleep, I dont feel my brain is actively dwelling stuff, it just wont go into sleep mode. I may have to try 7.5mg Mirtazipine as when I was on it few years ago, it helped me sleep well. The doc also suggested 25mg Quetiapine for sleep, but that is seriously hardcore for bi-polar and scizo-thingy, that really scare me as all reviews suggest it can permanently change the brain and cause serious mental issues. Anyway, I am desparate to sleep and hope thing settle down as I worry about my own sanity with insomnia.

    • Hi Nigel
      After nervous breakdown I started back on Zoloft, with insomnia as side effect. I basically didn’t sleep for 8 weeks. At the recommendation of psychiatrist I started quetiapine 25mg up to 100mg for sleep. It was a game changer. I’m now sleeping 7-8 hours a night. Problem is I now need to come off it as long term use for sleep is problematic. As you said it is a powerful drug for psychosis etc. The lack of sleep and stress was horrible, the quetiapine has put me in a better place to make some changes. Long term use can affect your blood sugar levels also.
      Best wishes
      Mark

  46. Sleepwalking in week 3 of cutting down escitalopram and olanzapine after being on it 14 yrs. Has anyone else had this problem? Aside from this the usual flu like symptoms.

  47. Vivid Dreams ongoing week 2 now since cutting my dose of Lexapro in half in order to wean off of it….I am so sleepy most days now because my sleep is so erratic with all these dreams.

  48. I have been taking sertraline for a few years now since I lost both my parents. Before my mum passed I fell into depression linked to insomnia, was going 3 to 4 days without sleep , ended up on prescribed hypnotics which made things ten times worse so had a meltdown and ended up on sertraline.
    I have been coming off of them since Jan 2020 and have been taking 50mg every other day and every other day I would gave a rubbish nights sleep. I’m back on 50mg a day May 2020 and this week have slept only one night for 4 hours in three nights ,it seems like my insomnia is back.
    I have never been a good sleeper taking anything up to 2 – 3 hours to drop off and can honestly say that from back when the sertraline started working to when I reduced down to 50mg I would take 20 – 30 minutes to drop off , something I wasn’t used to so I am now thinking this is a long term condition that I have always had and I will be ringing my doctors today to get an appointment to relay my concerns.
    I have no problem continuing with taking 100mg everyday as it helps me function properly, only thing is cost but I’d rather that than insomnia as it can be a very dark and lonely place and It has cemented a fear into my mind , flashbacks of wandering my neighbourhood’s in the night chasing foxes.
    Anyway, hope you can take what you need from this, i think personally I have always had an underlying problem with sleeping, lack of serotonin or melatonin or both, as I said , I have never slept so well as when I’m on full dose of sertraline.

  49. Withdrawal symptoms from 50-100mg Zoloft included brain zaps and horrible nightmares. The nightmare would climax with the brain zap and jolt me awake with lock jaw. It was like an electric shock going through my jaw, throat and head. After 13 years of Zoloft which kept me relatively well, I foolishly stopped regular use and ended up stopping use all together. It wasn’t a planned withdrawal, I just felt better and was busy with life. Big mistake. Depression and anxiety, irrational thinking slowly crept back into my life, the brain zaps stopping after a few months of withdrawal. End result was a massive nervous breakdown due to bad decision making when unwell. Rushed back onto Zoloft, insomnia for 8 weeks (basically no sleep), some psychosis due to lack of sleep and stress, then quetiapine to help sleep. 9 months on 200mg Zoloft, 100mg Quetiapine has stabilized my mental health but damage done during lead up to breakdown due to bad life changing decisions. So basically brain zaps and nightmares are real when coming off Zoloft. I feel for anyone with mental health issues as it can make life intolerable even with love and support around you. In many aspects the irrational thinking and subsequent bad decision making due to anxiety and depression has ruined my life. I knew something was not right in my teens, early 20s and despite many GP visits nothing diagnosed until 37yo after second nervous breakdown. It’s gut wrenching, not sure why I deserved a life of poor mentail health. I can see all the good in life and tried my best to participate but the experiences were always tempered by not feeling well. Not sure I can handle it much longer.
    Best wishes mark

  50. I’ve been off 20 mg of paxil/paroxetine for a week. I needed it for depression and honestly social anxiety.
    I was on it for a total of about 6 years from 2014 or 2015. My psychiatrist recommended my getting off it I think in 2018 in November. Not because I was suffering from anything from the medication, if I remember right it also included getting off my olanzipene/zyprexa at the time I took for schizoaffective disorder/bipolar 1. I’m not sure why he recommended getting off it, but it also coincided with an eye surgery I had scheduled 2 or 3 weeks later. I couldn’t work for 2 or 3 months after the surgery because my eyes needed to recover and I couldn’t put contacts in to see during the recovery period. I had a psychotic episode a few weeks after the surgery then they put me back on the same drugs, olanzipene and paxil. As I remember though getting off paxil the first time wasn’t that difficult though the most notable side affect I remember was the brain zaps/shocks.
    This past week I have been suffering from insomnia unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I came off a marijuana binge lasting about 3-4 months that left me with very little sleep for about a week but I was fine after that aside from the physical withdrawals of a sloshing sensation as if having spent hours on a boat, that lasted about 4 weeks. The marijuana binge was about 8 years ago.
    Normally I sleep well and on zyprexa and paxil I slept like a log. At first I slept lightly when I did, and just the movement of a person walking in the house would wake me up, my sleeping area has no door or walls, and I’d instantly feel exhausted. I’m always exhausted getting maybe 1-2 hours of sleep. Only been a week though. Working at night from 5pm and not getting home until 12 some nights I haven’t been able to get to bed until around 2 in the morning and sleeping in until 12 pm the next day, but the last two or three days having to get up to care for the dogs and cat has left me so tired that the only way I could function at work is to try and get some sleep until I leave for work. Now I can’t do anything with my day.
    Sleeping quality has been variable, light sleeps you get as if you had to much coffee or sugar the day before. I’ve also noticed having brief snaps of vivid dreams and then fully waking up 1 second later and then still feeling exhausted.
    The first 4 days off paxil left me very volatile in my mood. There were ups, downs, suicidal thoughts, and moments of complete anger. I nearly quit work twice last week. I need the job, minimum wage though it is; I still have my bills to pay and that is the only thing that has kept me there. I can’t get any other job in my small town.
    At first I thought the lack of sleep was from my changed diet and coffee. I’m still on my diet, but have quit drinking coffee until this insomnia is over. I was taking 20 mg of paxil and tapered for about 2-3 weeks to 10 mg. Having only 3 pills left I’d have to cut in half, I decided enough was enough and stopped. I’m not going back to the pharmacy for more of that crap to have a nice easy weaning period because I don’t want to spend the money or the time at psychiatrists office to be told I need the paxil. I read last night the symptoms of withdrawal from paxil last 2 to 3 weeks. I’m really hoping that’s the case. I don’t know how any others have suffered withdrawal effects for years. I hope all of you suffering are able to overcome this problem, the sooner the better.

    I decided it was time to quit paxil because I found I just couldn’t think clearly, any hope of being able to argue or rationalize things clearly went out the window. Rather than save my money I’d go on uncontrollable spending binges after paying my bills. I’m hoping off the meds I’ll be able to think and rationalize more clearly. Also massive weight gain is another concern I’m facing. I’m prediabetic and felt heart pains regularly before I started my diet and quit the meds. I needed a complete drastic 180 turn to take care of myself. If I need an antidepressant I’ll be trying St. John’s wort. I’m off the zyprexa also which I was taking 5 mg to be stable. That was tapered from 20 mg. I’m hoping natural remedies and vitamins can prevent future psychotic episodes and depression.

    I know my struggle hasn’t been as severe-as others, but I just felt compelled to share my experience. If you actually read through all this, thank you for reading.

  51. I have the opposite problem. Took 6 different meds, one of which was an antidepressant, all made me sleepy; took 6 that gave me diarrhea; 2 dizzy; a lot of meds, but some side effects are overlapping here. Also have bad case obstructive sleep apnea that’s being treated with a BIPAP going on 12 years now. It’s like I’ve not slept in years. I’m almost off everything now, (only 7.5 Buspar & Elavil for migraines)and I’m so sleepy in the morning and during the day, I can’t get up. No alcohol. Sleeping 11hrs. total each day. Is there such a thing called “Catch-up sleep” because you’ve not gotten “real quality sleep” in years?

  52. I tapered down from 20mg lexapro. I did it slowly and was doing great. I jumped off at 2.5mg. Still felt fine. But two days after I quit I just stopped sleeping. Started taking 5mg ambien for sleep. After a few days I had to up it to 10mg. After another couple of days I wasn’t sleeping on 10mg. I continued not sleeping any more than two hrs per night for a month. I ended up going back onto 5mg leaxapro as I don’t do well with insomnia. After a few nights my sleep returned. Now I’m stuck on lexapro unless I can deal with severe insomnia which I can’t.

    • Jumping off Lexapro at 2.5mg is way to big a jump. I am not at all surprised you went back on. I made the same mistake and had to go back on. I switched to liquid lexapro and tapered every three weeks or longer depending on how long it took me to stabalize at the new dose. Once I got to 1mg I got a different syringe to measure the liquid in milligrams and went all the way down to .01 mg. I know it sounds crazy but it is the only way I got off. It takes a long time but it is worth it. BTW, 2.5 mg of Lexapro is equivalent to 10-15mg of other antidepressants. You are not stuck on Lexapro but it takes a real commitment to get off.

    • Are you taking the ambien too? And if so does this help with Lexapro? I am weaning celexa soooloo slow but have insomnia lately and haven’t even changed dose in a month🙄. I was given belsomra but didn’t work last night

  53. I am tapering off paxil now. I took 10 mg for 2 years then it was increased to 20mg 4 months ago. The side effects with the increase consisted of emotional numbness, weight gain, brain fog, anorgasmic. I then ran out of medication with this covid 19 stuff. I had discontinuation syndrome bad after just 3 days without it that I called a pharmacy and begged for them to help me. I have decided to get off this medicine. I went from 20 to 15 for a week then down to 10. That drop was too much and I started having withdrawal so I increased it 12.5. I have been here for two weeks but don’t feel stable enough to drop it further.
    As far as sleep goes, I can’t keep my eyes open. All day long I am fighting sleep. I started exercising and have eliminated all foods that aren’t “whole” foods from my diet, except chocolate coffee creamer for my cup of coffee in the morning. I drink only water and 1 cup of coffee and 1 green tea.
    The whole discontinuation syndrome caused me to reevaluate everything I put into and onto my body. And the dude has to be increased to remain effective is scary to me. I am actually trying all the natural recommendations, like affirmations, exercise, limiting screen time, healthy eating, social interaction, therapy, ( I have become the poster child of beating trauma and depression without medication!) going to bed at a decent time and allowing myself 9 hours to sleep (and I do…I sleep as many hours as my 3 year old and still can’t stay awake during the day!)
    I know going back to my dosage will only prolong this. I have to face the discomfort sometime or surrender to a lifetime of ssri’s.
    Another concern was I am still producing breast milk. I breast fed my youngest for a year but he has been weaned for 2 years now and I am still producing. After some research I learned paxil can cause this and along with this side effect it brings an increase in breast cancer. Another reason to not take the easy way out and just keep taking it.
    My quality of life is better withdrawaling than it was stable on paxil. Looking back I can see how much I changed. I was indifferent about everything. I was unmotivated. I read somewhere a doctor said paxil makes people “fat, lazy, and anorgasmic”. That was me and that’s not me!
    I hope my sleep returns to normal when I finally get through this taper.

    • Cami have you had your thyroid levels checked?
      I was also sleeping a lot and even feel asleep driving and it ended up being hypothyroidism.

  54. I have been off Zoloft for 4 years now and I am better today than a few years ago. The dizziness is gone. The brain fog is also gone. I am actually able to focus again. Unfortunately the insomnia, agitation , worry and fear are still there. I am grateful for what I have that’s good and hope that eventually I will sleep without agitation and worry.

  55. I was switched from Effexor to Cymbalta. I had a hard enough time getting off the Effexor, and now getting off the Cymbalta is even harder. I believe I had an allergic reaction to Cymbalta and then had to get off it so it didn’t matter if I weaned myself of not, I was just sick either way.

    I would not recommend the medicine at all!

    Now I am having a VERY DIFFICULT time sleeping!

    It’s a nightmare!

    • I’m so sorry Kelly. How long has it been? Your experience sounds most similar to mine. I hope we can all get our sleep back. I go multiple days without sleep and when I sleep I wake constantly with no deep sleep. Is that similar for you?

  56. I taek Escitalopram and I stop it I have sleep disorder I have brain zap I don’t know when thes sied effects go away.. I sleep and sleep vivid dream and wake up .. always I waek up after 3 hours sleep.. soon time I fee dizzy parlance lost

  57. Severe akathisia from Latuda (akathisia then misdiagnosed as anxiety).
    Latuda increased and symptoms persisted (Barnes level 5)
    Given Propanolol
    Got off Latuda and symptoms decreased
    Anxiety and insomnia persisting after three months of withdrawal
    Sleeping 2-5 hours per night. First broken then consolidated with Cognitive Behavior
    Therapy for insomnia.
    Tried melatonin, Benadryl, CBT-I,
    Afraid to take any kind of prescription medication, afraid I’ll never return to normal, not sure where to get help

    • When I tried Latuda,

      I had sleep terror, paralysis. I was awake and felt like a demon was there in my room during the day it was very sunny in the room and I was terrified. I couldn’t move and was sweating all over trying to turn my head. My bed was completely soaked.

  58. HELP. OPPOSITE ISSUE HAPPENED>… Zoloft 25mg the first week. First day of taking it I was pacing and such. Got worse but I tried to brush it off. Sleep got bad. Second week 50 mg. Took for a full week even tho all sleep stopped. What is odd is that I took it for 20 years. I was off it for a while and re started it.. That is why I was confused …. I told them what was happening.. and no one told me to get off it. I had no mania or anything else. I only met a total of 3-4 people similar to what happened to me. This happened over a year ago. Over 20 pills tried on me to “fix” this. Nothing worked.

  59. I’m 24 years old female and I’ve been taking many different medications for Bipolar disorder , generalized anxiety disorder and such.

    I just stopped Venlafaxine it’s been approx. a month. I had stopped dreaming for years and now it’s back and I don’t feel rested when I wake up and I remember my dreams and most of them are very suspenseful. I feel tired all the time no energy and I’m very stressed out. I stopped because I couldn’t go under the sun anymore or enjoy my life. I don’t know if i’m going to feel good one day. My psychiatrist is gone bc of covid. I’m on a waiting list. Pray for me.

    • Forgot to say I was losing all of my hair because of buspirone and venlafaxine. I stopped everything gradually (After approximately 4 years) 75 mg Venlafaxine and 30mg buspirone. with the “help” of my family dr who doesnt give a **** about me. I don’t tolerate any medication. The best for me was Lithium but I was going to pee 3-4 times during the night and it was painful. Now I only smoke weed and it’s so expensive. The only person who can help me is my boyfriend with massages during the day and him telling me to calm down because he’s scared I have a heart attack. My scalp still hurts very much like i’m still losing hair. . I really don’t know what to do now.

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