Citation: Pink. "Atypical Reaction Requiring Hospitalization: An Experience with Paroxetine (exp28683)". Erowid.org. Dec 6, 2004. erowid.org/exp/28683
Let me start off by saying that I will NEVER touch another antidepressant ever again.
Several years ago I was suffering from rather bad anxiety, insomnia, and several months prior I had had my first panic attack. Luckily, since I had had extensive experience in the field of clinical psychology (Never did get the degree but came close) I recognized that I wasn’t dying, wasn’t going to live my last few minutes at work and was able to calm myself down without anyone around me even noticing that anything was wrong with me. In any case I calmed myself down, finished out the day and went home.
The next obvious step was to contact my physician and make an appointment because even though there was physically nothing wrong with me my mind didn’t agree with my body. So I go to his office and within 15 minutes of my visit with him I am out the door and 15 minutes later I have my Rx for one or the other antidepressants of the day. I started taking them as prescribed, let me just say that I was nowhere near depressed, and within a few days I noticed that I had lots more energy. That might sound good, the only thing was that I had the kind of energy like a hamster in a hamster wheel type of energy. Way too much energy to use up, on top of this I developed tremors in my arms and legs, I couldn’t even hold a glass of water steady enough to drink from it.
So I go back to my doc, and he prescribes yet another antidepressant, this time I didn’t have the “Energy” problem but my tremors remained and actually got worse. So I went back yet again and this time he writes me an Rx for Paxil, I kept telling him that I was not depressed but nevertheless he said that this would do the trick. Well, let me tell you it certainly did do a trick, it landed me in the hospital.
Here’s what happened, I started taking the Paxil as prescribed, it did nothing for my anxiety, it slightly diminished the tremors, I still had more nervous energy than I knew what to do with and after about a month and a half of taking it came my first disastrous encounter.
I’m sitting at work one day and all of a sudden I notice that I’m losing vision in my left eye. Not exactly blind but certainly altered vision. This is best described in this example, the Television that was in the room was made by Zenith but for some reason I could only make out the letters Znit or Zeih. That’s just the tip of the iceburg though, I suddenly started developing memory loss, I started trying to mentally say names of people I knew and compare the names to the faces with great difficulty. I was dizzy, I was half blind, my memory wasn’t working and my mental faculties were shot. I shouldn’t have driven home in that state but I was in a panic so I left work early and somehow managed to drive myself home. The rest of that evening was horrible, I not only had the symptoms of what I had described above but I was also losing my ability to talk. I knew in my mind what I wanted to say but my mouth wouldn’t make the words come out, and in between bouts of severe vomiting I tried to stay hydrated and just ride out the storm. 6 hours later I was more or less O.K.
I thought that perhaps I had gotten food poisoning and chalked it up to that. Well, the story gets even stranger. I was at my parents’ house one weekend and I came downstairs on a Sunday morning and noticed that once again I was starting to lose my vision in the same way. While I still could I told my mom “I am going to be extremely sick today” and boy was I right.
All the symptoms as described quickly returned only this time they were far more serious. I couldn’t keep anything down for more than a few seconds; I couldn’t remember who I was, where I was, what was happening. It was so bad that at one point I needed to run to the bathroom but instead ran downstairs into the kitchen slamming into several walls along the way. I was going in and out of consciousness, what little bit I could see had no depth perception so instead of sitting down on the bed I missed it by 3 feet and sat down hard, from a standing position, on the floor.
Finally, I somehow ended up in the bathroom and at this point I was just vomiting up bile. I had nothing left inside of me to vomit out so my body was vomiting up itself. My dad, who’s always the calm one and great in a crisis, was trying to ask me if I had taken anything or what I thought was wrong but I couldn’t answer him because talking was impossible. Oh, my mind knew the words it wanted to say it’s just that the message wouldn’t go from my brain to my mouth. EXAMPLE: He asked me if I wanted to go to the Hospital and I wanted to respond yes and how sick I was but was unable to speak so in my mind I thought I could maybe write on a piece of paper of what peril I was in but when I asked for paper my words came out as the following, “I, you, paper, help” and I just kept repeating that until it was obvious that I needed to go to the ER ASAP. My parents managed to walk me outside and lay me down in the back seat (at this point I was unable to walk) and we were off to the ER.
I don’t remember much after this for several hours but I do know that the ER docs had no idea what was wrong with me, they tested me for drugs and nothing, they tested me for virus and nothing, they tested me for everything they could think of and decided that my condition was so bad that I needed to be sent by ambulance to the Hospital. They rolled me out on the gurney, with two IV solution bags in each arm and got me to the hospital. Once there the docs were stumped, I was fading in and out of consciousness but at least with the IV solution I wouldn’t dehydrate. I couldn’t tell you how many bags of the stuff they pumped into me. Anyway, they tested me for everything they could think of, my condition was so bad that they even did a spinal tap on me to see if maybe I had Meningitis.
I also had an MRI done of my brain but all tests showed nothing unusual. So their answer was to sedate me and wait and to just keep pumping fluids into me.
Many many hours passed and I finally came to, sort of, and the first thing I see is a doctor standing over me asking me if I know where I am and I don’t remember what I told him but I was way off. This happy little experience lasted 18 hours, my parents brought to the hospital every and any supplement, vitamins or Rx bottle they could find of mine but none of that was helpful to the doctors. I was never a drug user so that was of little help too.
Finally, the next day when I was back to reality, still with residual mental effects but for the most part “normal”, I had myself released from the hospital. I on my own realized what happened; I had an atypical reaction to at least the Paxil and at most to just about all antidepressants. My official release chart says that I had an “atypical” migraine, they simply had no idea what had happened.
Anyway, I abruptly stopped the Paxil by myself, had a near nervous breakdown from the withdrawal but at the very least I have never had anything resembling this sort of experience since.
I don’t know about anyone else, but if I ever need to take something to relieve anxiety again I’m going to either get some herb or some sort of sedatives or something that doesn’t try to fry my brain and kill my body.
I’m very much against antidepressants, I don’t recommend them to anyone, and I will never ever take one again. I hope this review helps someone who was hit by the same train I was and is searching for answers.
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