Question about Paxil???

Nurses General Nursing


I am coming to you all for some advice here because you have been so helpful and encouraging in the past. As I nurse I know all the signs of depression and at the risk of being accused of self diagnosis, I do believe this is my problem. I went from being a very out going person to wanting to stay at home all the time when I'm not working. Just going to the grocery store throws me into a panic attack. Our family has suffered many problems in the past 8 months. Each situation pulls me deeper into this hole that I just cannot seem to get out of. I have frequent crying spells, have taken to stress eating again and have gained back 25 of the 38 pounds I had lost. I have a wonderfully supportive husband so please don't think it's marriage difficulties. I tried to quite smoking which I think did add to my nervousness. My MD gave me Xanax which I am taking twice daily and it does help the panic attacks but does not lift my frame of mind. It treats some of the symptoms but is not a cure. I do not want to become addicted to Xanax. I have read about Paxil and I think it could help me BUT I don't deal with it much where I work so I am asking for input from any of you that either deal with it on your job or know of someone that has taken it. I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, I just want to ease my constant worrying and anxiety. Honestly, when I'm at work, I experience less stress than when I'm at home, most likely because at work I'm so busy I don't have time to think. I don't sleep well, but am tired and want to sleep all the time. When I lay down to sleep my mind races and I cannot relax. My husband says I worry all the time. He even tried to make me laugh by saying if I wasn't worried about somethng, that worried me because I knew I was forgetting something. He is wonderful but he is asking me to get help. Most of my worries come from situations with my family outside my home, which could explain why I just want to stay here with my husband where I feel safer, I don't know. I'll welcome any input, advice or ideas. I just know that things aren't right with me any more, I went from being the "class clown" so to speak, to being trapped inside my own mind and I don't like it here. I'm so tired of being sad, fearful and worried.


111 Posts

I had the same troubles with depression several years ago. Don't be discouraged if you try Paxil and it doesn't work. I went thru Paxil, Elavil, Wellbutrin, and finally found that Zoloft worked for me. You may have to try several until one works for you. As you know, we are all different. That is why there are several antidepressants on the market. Just like antihistamines. The one that works for you may not work for your friends. Talk to your Doctor about the different medications. I actually found out about 6 years later that I had hypothyroidism which can have the same symptomology as depression. Explore your avenues and I wish you luck. Depression is a fog over your day to day living. And the right medication will help you live again.

rebel charm

9 Posts

Duckie, I hate that you're going thru a bad time. I too have been where you are, and I want you to know that you CAN get thru it. It's not easy but it sounds like your husband is a good support system for you.

I don't know much about Paxil. I started on Zoloft and then changed to Prozac, which is what is working for me. But only your Dr can help you with that. You really do need to get in to the Dr and get evealuated. But the meds only help so much- counciling is also important. The meds and counciling combined is the way depression is usually treated- around here anyway.

I wish you luck. Just know that you DON'T have to feel this way. There is help out there. It's not easy sometimes, but it IS worth it. Good luck- and let us know how you're doing.


1,326 Posts

Hi Duckie,

First, I will be praying that you will get better.

Second, I know exactly where you are coming from. A few years ago I became depressed. Not from any "one" thing but a lot of different things. It was stress mostly; graduating college, getting a job, money, family illness, etc. I had a lot of your symptoms. I had trouble sleeping because my head would race and I would become very anxious. Yet, after I finally did fall asleep it was so hard to get out of bed in the morning. I can honestly say that I was "walking around in a fog". What finally made me go to a doctor is I was sitting on my living room couch one afternoon waiting for my next set of classes to start. I started starring out the window and before I knew it 2 hours had passed by and I had missed most of my classes. I had know clue that much time had gone by. After that I went to a doctor on campus and he put me on Paxil. It was supposed to take about 4 to 6 weeks before I would start to feel a difference but I swear I felt it in about 2 weeks. Like other posters said, everyone is different and I got a reaction from it rather quickly.

At the time I had 2 roommates who were psych. majors. They explained to me that if you listed drugs for depression by strength (like Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) you would see that Paxil is relatively low strength. That made me feel better about taking it.

From my experience Paxil was a god send. I didn't have any side effects and I didn't become hyper or overly happy. I'm pretty nice and an outgoing person to begin with and after taking the Paxil I was back to my normal self. Went back to normal sleeping patterns. After the first few weeks of taking it I even reduced the dosage. I believe I took it for about 3 months and then weened myself from it (per Dr.). After that I was myself again and I haven't needed to go on it since.

As far as counseling goes I attempted to see counselor on campus but they weren't really that interested in helping me so I only went once. Since my roommates knew what I was going through they were really great in talking with me about what I was feeling.

With so many treatments out there, there is no need for you to feel as miserable as you do right now. And if the first one doesn't work, don't become discouraged. Everyone is different and different things work for different people.

Don't wait a minute longer. You should be living your life right now.

God Bless!



266 Posts

:kiss There, I hope that helps.......just alittle.

I'm actually feeling better reading all these......thought I was the 'only one' with feeling this way.

I've been on Prozac (after both my parents passed away within months of each other), Elavil (mainly for chronic pain d/t Fibromyalgia) Xanax......still looking for a cure. I do have a couple of pts who are on Paxil and it is working for them. I'm considering being part of a 'control group' for a study on Depression. I really hate to, but you know we all need help, right?

I don't have the 'panic' attacks you describled Duckie, but the weight gain, tired all the time, etc...the not sleeping part really drives me nuts.

As some of the others stated, you may have to try a couple of different medications before you find one that helps you feel better. We'll all be thinking of you, praying for you.

You know, we are all so 'in tune' to others needs, caring for others...that we often put ourselves aside. We put on that 'Super Nurse' persona....aren't we great??:cool: Anyway, hang in there and remember....YOU ARE SPECIAL-- YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!:kiss

Mary Dover

204 Posts

Specializes in Psych, hospice, family practice.

Oh Duckie, bless your heart.

I have been a psych nurse for 12 years, and believe me, that doesn't make me immune to mood disturbance or anxiety. So I want to address your post from a professional as well as a personal perspective.

First of all, hang in there - many tx options are available, and with some trial and error perhaps, you will find one that works for you.

First, let me suggest therapy. Talking to someone, who can be totally objective, can be an awesome relief as far as dealing with stressors. And all the pills in the world won't change other people or your situation. What therapy may change, is the way you deal with stress.

Regarding medication - any SSRI i.e. Paxil can be effective for anxiety and depression, but of all the SSRIs, in my experience I have found that it seems to have the most side effects, including a syndrome of sorts that could be compared to withdrawal when you try to discontinue it. I believe the 'jury is still out' on that so I wouldn't suggest it as a first line of treatment for depression/anxiety.

Now I will share personal experience regarding Paxil. I have been on it for more than 3 years. The reason I went on it, was because of feeling extremely stressed, irritable, just kind of miserable. What it has done for me is to level my mood, make my outlook much brighter, I can deal with stress much more effectively, and I'm generally a more positive and outgoing person. I feel much more competent in my work - as all that CRAP can start to affect one's self esteem as well. In looking back at my family history, it has become quite evident that at least my maternal grandmother and my mother have both experienced anxiety and depression, so I say I came by it honest, as it is fact that there is a genetic component to emotional/mental disorders. And not to mention HORMONES which I feel played a big part in my stuff.

The down side for me with Paxil was that I gained 40# within probably the first year of taking it. Any SSRI (or other antidepressant for that matter) can affect the part of the brain that deals with appetite satiety, I guess because loss of appetite is usually one of the target sx when treating depression. I managed to lose about 30#, but geez I still love to eat. Also, I have tried to stop Paxil a couple of times and hated the way that made me feel, so I decided - hey, stay on it, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I figure I am a much more likeable person ON it, LOL.

If you have smoking issues (which by the way, may not be the optimal time to deal with, at least until you're feeling better), Wellbutrin is often used for those with sx like you describe, that may want to address the smoking as well.

I suggest only SHORT TERM use of the Xanax - yes it's good for the immediate anxiety/panic feelings. but really has only a bandaid effect, won't be good in the long run, especially for the mood stuff - and is quite addictive.

Duckie, see your doctor or a mental health professional ASAP. There is help and hope. Please keep us informed on how you're doing. Hang in there and God bless you Duckie.



47 Posts

First, I hope that the stressors in your life ease up. When it rains, it pours.

Depression is tricky because it can be environmentally caused; yet I have a pet theory of my own that if one is hit by stress factors, one right after the other over a long period of time, that it does cause changes in the brain chemistry, maybe permanently.

I've had bouts of depression all my life. For a long time, I'd deal with it by partying and drinking. When I quit drinking, I did notice the depression big time. My family doctor prescribed Paxil (20 Mg.).

About a year and a half ago, I was hit with big stressors - husband wanted divorced, my elderly father was incapacitated by a stroke, because of the divorce, I had to move from one state to another, and I was fired from a job (had never been fired because of work performance; it was a terrible blow to me and I think the other stressors may have affected my work performance, although I know I tried as hard as I could). Anyways, even though I was taking the 20 mg of Paxil, it was like I was in a nervous breakdown. I couldn't do anything - putting dishes in the dishwasher was comparable to climbing Mt. Everest to me. Sometimes I wished I could just go to sleep and never wake up.

I went to a counselor and she admitted me into the psyche ward at a local hospital for a week. They adjusted my medication and I went to outpatient aftercare during which my medicine was monitored and they tried different drugs. I stayed with Paxil although it was increased to 60 mg. I also was on Wellbutrin and Clonepen (sp.?) and another drug (the name escapes me now) for sleep. My family doctor urged me to take some time off from work till I felt more stable. Fortunately, my dad could afford to buy me food and needed stuff and I am living in the house I grew up in.

Now that I am working in a very physical job instead of sitting at a desk staring at a computer, I've been able to decrease (on my own) my dosage of Paxil.

Anyhow, to get back to your situation, I find that Paxil works best for me. But you may have to work closely with a doctor who has expertise in these types of drugs and a counselor to get you through the rough times.

The major side effect I've noticed with Paxil (and I've heard of this from others who take it) is that I would wake up a number of times through the night. That's why the doctors prescribed me with some sleep aids. Now that I am working in a different type of job, once I get to sleep, I'm conked out. Paxil is the only psychothropic (I think this is the correct term) that I take now.

I recommend using a counselor who has a good working relationship with a psychiatrist. That way you can find out if this is just a temporary depression or it is long-term.

Best wishes for your recovery.


22 Posts

:D I would recomend getting your thyroid checked immediately, it sounds like everything that i went through, you will be suprised at what your thyroid controls! I went through it too, only to find out, I have hypothyroidism............and you become weight gained, can't think clearly, can't sleep is a big sign, your skin is very dry, depression is a huge factor...........get checked!


1,041 Posts

I wish for you to feel better duckie. It's okay to be depressed from time to time. Like an immune response, sometimes stessors in life can act like a virus. And sometimes you can be taken down by certain viruses :-)

I don't know anything about these meds for depression, but you should value who you are, and maybe not attempt to change the way you are. If your depressed and a worry-wort...embrace that part of you. It's just you!! It's fun to be Duckie!

The dr prescripted Paxil to my mom after my dad died. I noticed a change in her. She quit taking them on her own, because she also could see how it changed her. She liked the way she was feeling more than the relief Paxil gave. I liked the change, because she was more relaxed and easy going. But, I wasn't on the receiving end of the meds.

I don't wantto sound like yer old grandma here, but yawda just consider diet and exercise. Try eating nutritious foods and sweating once in awhile, for about 3-4 months, and then tell me if you don't feel any better. I'm sorry because I know no one wants to here a preacher. :-(

Mary Dover

204 Posts

Specializes in Psych, hospice, family practice.

"yet I have a pet theory of my own that if one is hit by stress factors, one right after the other over a long period of time, that it does cause changes in the brain chemistry, maybe permanently"

Janmae- you are right on the money, it's now a proven fact!



1 Article; 2,334 Posts

Originally posted by Mary Dover

...Paxil... including a syndrome of sorts that could be compared to withdrawal when you try to discontinue it. Mary

(quote edited for space)

YES...Paxil has withdrawal...I was told it is the 'only' SSRI with withdrawl sx but have experienced the same with Effexor discontinue Paxil you need to reduce slowly to 10 mg QD, then QOD, then Q3D.

DO NOT Paxil (or any other SSRI) if you are taking Ultram, it can cause a seritonin syndrome.


1 Article; 2,334 Posts

Originally posted by Mary Dover

...Paxil... including a syndrome of sorts that could be compared to withdrawal when you try to discontinue it. Mary

quote edited for space)

YES...Paxil has withdrawal...I was told it is the 'only' SSRI with withdrawl sx but have experienced the same with Effexor discontinue Paxil you need to reduce slowly to 10 mg QD, then QOD, then Q3D.

DO NOT Paxil (or any other SSRI) if you are taking Ultram, it can cause a seritonin syndrome.

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