Paxil Free

A personal record of Paxil withdrawal.

Archive for the 'Sexual dysfunction' Category


#5: Sexual Dysfunction, Weight Gain and Hair Loss

March 17th, 2001. (Basic Facts – continued)

This list keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?

The sexual dysfunction and weight gain are almost-guaranteed side effects of taking Paxil. The weight gain may be particularly worse for women, but the sexual dysfunction seems to happen with everyone right across the board. The sexual dysfunction can gradually be dealt with (details are given in several postings throughout this site), but the weight gain, or I should say losing the weight, seems to be the most trouble even after getting off Paxil; it just takes time. As for the hair loss, or thinning of the hair, this may be a result of extreme stress or it may be because of the Paxil, but it’s something I experienced myself and have read other accounts of, from women as well as men.

The good news: 1) My hair seemed to return to its normal thickness a few months after I stopped taking the Paxil. 2) For many people, their sexual function and libido also return to normal soon after they stop taking the Paxil. (Again, more details are given on this in several postings throughout this site.)

P.S. (Sept. 2006): This may not be the most informative post. I suggest going to paxilprogress.org and doing a search for “sexual side effects.” For instance, I just found this discussion thread that began with a guy asking about sexual side effects while taking Paxil. Here’s an excerpt from one of the responses:

Delayed orgasm is ok for men, to begin with. On a low dose it’s not so bad. Unfortunately, after a while — and especially if you up the dose — it will degenerate into impotence. I mean, it might take a few years, but it will happen. And then when you come off the drug you may well find yourself having extremely bad premature ejaculation. Worst of both worlds.

I hear that.

Sexual Side Effects

Tuesday, July 11th, 2000.

Okay, here we go.

I’ve talked to several men and women who have been on Paxil and know exactly what the sexual side effects are (including myself) — and there’s one basic side effect:

Delayed orgasm or inability to have an orgasm, and/or: it takes a lot more work to have an orgasm.

That means — for both men and woman — “it” pretty much requires constant stimulation. Stop for more than five seconds and you’re going to lose it.

For women, it takes longer to get aroused “down there,” and for men it takes longer (and constant stimulation remember) to “get it up.” Sexual function is possible, but it just takes a lot more work (and some practice).

If you have an understanding partner, you can work through it (noting that, regardless, you don’t want to be on Paxil for the rest of your life).

And if you’re alone, you got all the time in the world to figure it out. In a way, being alone is an ideal situation in which to work out the kinks, if you know what I mean. Hope that helps.

“Social Anxiety” Sells (Day 42)

Wednesday, October 18th, 2000. Responding to something, though I don’t remember what:

Paxil should be an absolute last resort. Communicative therapy (a.k.a. talking) should be tried first. Then there are dietary changes that can make a difference to all kinds of anxiety. You can take vitamin supplements like B-complex to begin with. If you drink caffeine, stop now. Alcohol and cigarettes don’t help with anxiety either (but if you smoke, don’t try quitting while you’re trying to quit something else; trying to quit two things at once will wreck anyone). Making sure to get daily moderate exercise can make a difference. Try a herbal remedy. Listen to good music. Breathe fresh air. Get out in the sunshine.

Speaking from experience, these are basic things that can make a huge difference.

But it’s easier to pop a little pink pill than it is to actually make any real effort to take care of oneself (hence, we have close to two billion dollars in sales of Paxil last year).

It’s easier to take a pill than it is to actually face the fears underlying the social anxiety.

No offense to anyone suffering from panic disorder, but “social anxiety” sound like another made-up term by drug companies. I’ve been shy my whole life. I know what it’s like to be anxious around people and or large crowds. But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. I consider it a natural reaction to the madness of crowds.
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Don’t Just Sit on Your Butt

Wednesday, October 18th, 2000 (continued).

Doug said to a previous message:

This is an excellent response. I agree. However, I must state that I took Paxil for almost 3 years and it seemingly worked wonders for me… for a while.

The people I know personally (not through email or through paxilprogress.org) who took Paxil for extreme anxiety and panic attacks — every single one of them ended up taking on that “sedated” look I mentioned before. And there’s no way that can be good. All of them say they couldn’t live without Paxil, regardless of the weight gain and the sexual dysfunction it causes them. But neither have any of them done anything else except take Paxil to take care of themselves. They’re still living off coffee and cigarettes like they’ve always done. So, in a way, they got what they deserved. Nothing gets better in the absence of a willingness to change. Taking a little pink pill only delays the inevitable.

The calm that Paxil may provide can offer one the opportunity to work on the anxiety, but the anxiety will come back if one doesn’t actually work on it. This is something I see happening with many people, as well as having lived through it myself. It doesn’t take much to figure this one out.

I agree with you that Paxil can and often does make a difference at first. I have no doubt about it that Paxil did help me at one point; it helped me get through an extreme crisis situation, extreme stress, extreme anxiety, all during a time when my coping skills were not so good. For the duration I was on Paxil, I did everything I could to get my act together — and now, except for the anxiety related to the withdrawal, I do have it together (I hope). When I think of how I was, say two years ago, I am amazed at how far I’ve come, how effectively I deal with anxiety and stressful situations when they come up. I’m not 100% all the time, but who the hell is? (Nobody.)
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Bursts of Anger (Day 79)

Sunday, November 24th, 2000 (24th day of Paxil).

Sarah wrote:

I have been off Paxil for 10 months now, and I still get very upset for no reason. I would assume most people don’t after getting off Paxil, but I do! I had a very, very hard time getting off Paxil, and I never wish to go through that again.

Paxil changed my whole personality when I was taking it, but when I got off Paxil, I found it very hard to find the personality that I once had.

Through reports and research that I have done on Paxil, this seems to be a common factor. They don’t know why or how. But I will tell you, and you probably already know, Glaxo SmithKline has yet to accept any responsibility. Through reading and studying about Paxil, there seems to be many changes in personality that do take place. Read Medscape on the internet for any update information. It is a very informative database.
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Heightened Libido and The Paxil Window (Day 82)

Monday, November 27th, 2000 (27th day off Paxil).

I just got back from my seeing my doctor. Today is my 82nd day of weaning off the Paxil. I don’t know how long I’ve been down to zero; two or three weeks, I suppose. I’ve been seeing this psychiatrist because I needed someone who supposedly knew what they were doing to supervise my weaning off of the Paxil. So far he’s done a good enough job. But as far as therapy is concerned, my sessions with him have never been a catharsis of healing. Occasionally, though, I manage to have a conversation with him, like I did today, that does provides some insight, or maybe it’s hope. In the midst of all this, hope can go a long way. So anyhoo…

I mentioned to him today how my libido went through the roof a few weeks ago and stayed that way for about two weeks, but how that peak period of vitality has since come and gone. This was around the period in the weaning when I was almost off the Paxil completely. It might have kicked in during the last few days I was on 5mg. That peak period lasted about two weeks after that and now it’s gone.
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Sexual Question

Tuesday, November 28th, 2000 (continued).

I’ve been Paxil-free for a few weeks now, but certain symptoms have not completely gone away, namely the short-circuiting electrical disturbances connected to my eyes. Last week I was went through a dull stage where my emotions were almost non-existent. A week or so before that, for about two weeks, I went through the Paxil window, or a peak period of increased all-around vitality. This included sexual vitality as well. I’m 30 years old, but it was like I was in my teens again. No complaints there. That peak period passed, then I had my dull week, and now I’m having a week where things seem to be normalising. At least my emotions seem to be normalizing. The paresthesia and the brain zaps, although still lingering in my eyes a bit, are subsiding. Or at least I hope so. As a result, emotionally I seem to be more stable. I’m still not ready to jump up and take on the world full force, but I’m better (this is an extremely slow process).

So I guess I’m getting better. But what I don’t like is the sexual condition I’m in right now. When I was on Paxil, like many people who take Paxil, I experienced some sexual dysfunction. I had difficulty getting it up and keeping it up, and it took a lot of work to have an orgasm (the female equivalent seems to be exactly the same). Eventually I managed to work around this to where it wasn’t a major problem. Then, like I said, I hit that peak period for about two weeks when I was close to being completely off the Paxil. And now, going through this period where I feel like my emotions are beginning to normalize themselves (e.g., none of the weepiness that I experienced earlier in the withdrawal), my sexual function has disappeared again. Oh joy oh bliss.
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The Paxil Window

Wednesday, December 6th, 2000 (continued). Responding to a message on paxilprogress.org:

If you’re down to 5mg and feeling really good, you may be experiencing the mysterious “Paxil window” where one’s vitality and overall sense of well-being feels about as good as it gets. It seems that for some people the window never closer; they get off the Paxil completely and things only get better. But for others it really is a window and it eventually closes.

That’s what happened to me. When I was at the dose you’ve got yourself down to (around 5mg), I was feeling really good. Specifically, I experienced a sexual rejuvenation that made me feel like I was in my teens again. No complaints there. But eventually the window closed (it was open for about two weeks) and I became completely impotent. I got worried about that, but luckily it didn’t last too long. It’s been about two weeks since things became… limp? (Whatever adjective suits you.) But within the past three or four days things have returned to normal. I don’t think they’ll ever reach the peak I experienced during my “Paxil window,” but I can at least step up to the plate again. While I was at the stage you are right now, though, I was hitting a home-run every single time. Nice.
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A Story

Friday, December 8th, 2000 (38th day off Paxil).

From Joe:

I took 20mg of Paxil for three years for panic anxiety disorder. I only had a few weeks of side effects at first (nausea, vivid dreams, and then of course the sexual side effects), but then it was great. Not obsessing about things, everything was brought into a healthy perspective. However, as time went on I started not to care about anything. It went too far — a real flat effect, chronically fatigued and, of course, the worst for me, I gained 45 pounds.

I had no idea about the withdrawal. The drug company, GlaxoSmithKline, does not warn you about that. If I would miss a pill, I noticed I couldn’t even turn my head, my eyes wouldn’t follow — it was awful. I couldn’t wait until my next “hit” of the drug, and then guess what? — all the symptoms would disappear. (I should have known my body was addicted then, but on Paxil you just go through life not giving a damn about anything, so who cared?)

I think the longer you are on it, the worst these symptoms are. Coming off has been very rough. It has taken me since September to get to 3mg a day. I usually tell people who visit paxilprogress.org that at least you know somewhat ahead of time what to expect. I knew nothing but what my MD and pharmacist told me: “It’s a safe, nonaddictive drug. You won’t gain weight. It won’t effect your blood pressure.” (I’m hypertensive.) All proved not to be true.

Having said all that, however, if you are having trouble with depression, anxiety, panic etc., and it’s acute right now, paroxetine can help you to get relief from those symptoms and to lead a normal life for a time. And when it’s time to go off, just wean slowly. This gives the poor brain a better chance to adjust to “life without Paxil.” Good luck.

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