Letter Re: When the Antidepressants Run Out

Hello Mr. Rawles,
In response to the Dr. S.V.’s article, which I thought was fantastic, I would like to take a moment to describe my experience with Effexor, which as the Doctor points is in a different class of medication than Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro. That being said, the withdrawal symptoms are just as devastating and in my case began within 24 hours. My fiancé and I were on a short weekend trip to see her folks and in our rush to get on the road, I forgot to pack my Effexor. At the time I was currently taking 150mg once per day. The next morning when I woke I realized I had forgotten my Effexor and rather than make a call to my doctor or pharmacy I decided I would just tough it out. Before noon I started to experience the Neurological, phenomena called “paraesthesias”, which The Doc said feels like “electric shocks”. I and others, who have experienced this, call it “The Zaps”. Over the course of the next 12 hours I experienced the full gamut of everything from headaches, to sweating, nausea, insomnia, tremors, confusion, nightmares, vertigo agitation, anxiety, irritability, decreased concentration, slowed thinking, confusion, and memory/concentration difficulties. It was a nightmare.
It was at that moment I decided I was getting off Effexor. I got on-line and found that my experience was far from unique. My story of withdrawal was very common. I blame two people for my situation. First, myself; although I had taken this drug successfully for 3 years I had no knowledge of its side-effects. I was completely ignorant of what I could be looking at during withdrawal. Second my doctor. My doctor never explained the down-side of coming off the drug or warned of what an abrupt stoppage could be like. Furthermore, I’m not even sure I was a good candidate for the medication. It was prescribed to me after I had a bad week at work and was feeling down. There isn’t a person on the planet that hasn’t experienced that.
I can only imagine would happen in a TEOTWAWKI survival situation where stress is high and you are trying to make good, sound decisions for you and your loved ones and on-top of that dealing with the harsh withdrawal of these medications.

I am no doctor and I know everyone’s situation is different, but a word of caution. If a doctor wants to put you on any of these medications, push him for both the good and the bad. With my doctor’s guidance I successfully stepped down off Effexor and have been free of it for almost six months, however, it was months before I regained full motor skills and clarity of thought. These drugs can be helpful to many, but they would be a nightmare for all if they became unavailable overnight. – West Texas Prepper