SSRI/SNRI withdrawal symptoms and then Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms

The SSRI/SNRI symptoms are originally from this website on Effexor withdrawal.

I thought after this list I would also put a benzo withdrawal symptom list. Unfortunately there has not been enough study of other psychotropic drug classes to come up with comprehensive lists, though in my experience in all my groups I’ve seen there is a lot of crossover among all psychiatric drugs even when they have different methods of action. This is, most likely, due to the fact that they all effect the autonomic nervous system.

Certainly mood stabilizers and antipsychotics have all sort of similar issues and the withdrawal syndromes also can look quite similar.

I made a list last year of my symptoms but I did not look at these lists. Might be interesting to compare and contrast. I imagine I left stuff out. Here was my list which I’ve not revisited at this time. (my list got longer and more complicated later in the process: here they are revisited later)

For support and help in withdrawal visit these posts for information and resources:

Sadly, these lists are not exhaustive.


ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS.
(SSRI/SNRI)

1. Crying spells
2. Worsened mood
3. Low energy (fatigue, lethargy, malaise)
4. Trouble concentrating
5. Insomnia or trouble sleeping
6. Change in appetite
7. Suicidal thoughts
8. Suicide attempts
9. Anxious, nervous, tense
10. Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless)
11. Chest pain
12. Trembling, jittery,or shaking
13. Irritability
14. Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity)
15. Impulsivity
16. Aggressiveness
17. Self-harm
18. Homicidal thoughts or urges
19. Confusion or cognitive difficulties
20. Memory problems or forgetfulness
21. Elevated mood (feeling high)
22. Mood swings
23. Manic-like reactions
24. Auditory hallucinations
25. Visual hallucinations
26. Feeling detached or unreal
27. Excessive or intense dreaming
28. Nightmares
29. Flu-like aches and pains
30. Fever
31. Sweats
32. Chills
33. Runny nose
34. Sore eyes
35. Nausea
36. Vomiting
37. Diarrhea
38. Abdominal pain or cramps
39. Stomach bloating
40. Disequilibrium
41. Spinning, swaying, lightheaded
42. Hung over or waterlogged feeling
43. Unsteady gait, poor coordination
44. Motion sickness
45. Headache
46. Tremor
47. Numbness, burning, or tingling
48. Electric zap-like sensations in the brain
49. Electric shock-like sensations in the body
50. Abnormal visual sensations
51. Ringing or other noises in the ears
52. Abnormal smells or tastes
53. Drooling or excessive saliva
54. Slurred speech
55. Blurred vision
56. Muscle cramps, stiffness, twitches
57. Feeling of restless legs
58. Uncontrollable twitching of mouth

And for a list of benzodiazepine withdrawal symtoms from Wikipedia (I’ve seen very similar lists on benzo boards everywhere (you may need to google a medical dictionary)—click on the continue here link:

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms:

* Electric shock sensations
* Muscular spasms, cramps or fasciculations
* Insomnia
* Blurred vision
* Dizziness
* Dry mouth
* Aches and pains
* Hearing disturbances
* Taste and smell disturbances
* Chest pain
* Flu like symptoms
* Impaired memory and concentration
* Increased sensitivity to sound
* Increased urinary frequency
* Numbness and tingling
* Hot and cold fushes
* Headache
* Rebound REM sleep
* Stiffness

* Fatigue and weakness
* Hyperosmia
* Metallic taste
* Photophobia
* Paranoia
* Hypnagogia-hallucinations
* Nausea and vomiting
* Nightmares
* Agitation and restlessness
* Anxiety, possible terror and panic attacks
* Hypochondriasis
* Impaired concentration
* Elevation in blood pressure
* Tachycardia
* Hypertension
* Postural hypotension
* Depression (can be severe), possible suicidal ideation
* Tremor
* Perspiration
* Loss of appetite and weight loss
* Dysphoria
* Depersonalization
* Derealisation (Feelings of unreality)
* Tinnitus
* Paraesthesia
* Visual disturbances
* Mood swings
* Indecision
* Gastrointestinal problems (Stomach and abdomen)

An abrupt or over-rapid discontinuation of benzodiazepines may result in a more serious and very unpleasant withdrawal syndrome that may additionally result in:

* Convulsions, which may result in death
* Catatonia, which may result in death
* Coma (rare)
* Temporal lobe epilepsy
* Suicide
* Attempted suicide
* Suicidal ideation
* Self harm
* Hyperthermia
* Delusions
* Homicidal ideation
* Urges to shout, throw, break things or to harm someone
* Violence
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
* Psychosis
* Confusion
* Mania
* Effects similar to delirium tremens

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

25 Responses

  1. Jenny

    I second that and anyone who thinks people like us are malingerers should be given a taste of what we have had to go through which has been no fault of our own. These are PRESCRIBED medications not recreational drugs. Is it any wonder that people like us can totally lose our faith in the medical profession when we are prescribed “poisons” such as we have been put on Iatrogenic illness is what we have had to suffer i.e. DOCTOR CAUSED.

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  2. Ametyst

    People are people. I am at the stage whereby I cannot open up to people and tell them of my mental health history. People are on different path-ways. They do not understand, they are without the wisdom. One has to have been there and bought the teashirt to understand the stigma and the ignorance of people surrounding the issue of mental health. You and many others have come out into the open with your diagnoses and your fight to come off medications. Do not let these people upset you. I have a lot of pride and respect for what you and many others are doing in withdrawing from psychiatric medications. Your blog is a huge source of inspiration to many people. We are in a certain boat, it is a tough boat to row and keep balanced. There will always be others who do not understand what psychiatric medication has done to us. These people are to be pitied that they have no insight into psychiatric illness. Let them be, they have a right to their opinions, they are millions of light years away from the insight you have.

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  3. I totally agree with you about people dismissing our symptoms and illnesses and belittling us, it’s traumatizing. That’s part of the reason I am so scared about my upcoming doctor’s appointment. I’m afraid of what he might say to scare me or make me feel like a fool.

    I’m sending you lots of hugs…

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  4. Sloopy Cowbell

    I don’t keep in contact very much, but my brother regularly called me a malingerer. He said he was being kind to me. It was his way of encouraging me, so he said..

    He always boasted that he could spot a pity-partying lazy arse from a mile off.. He’d worked in mental health social work, and as an “expert” in the field, he knew all the tricks of the malingerer, so he said..

    When I got ill, and felt his wrath, it made me realise what misery he must have brought his clients with his lack of understanding and compassion.

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  5. Two additional withdrawal symptoms (not listed)

    1. (During recovery) Rage toward the “experts” who cause the above-mentioned symptoms

    2. (Both During and After recovery) Rage toward the ‘experts’ who continue to cause the above-mentioned symptoms to others

    Tough for me sometimes….the last one especially,

    Duane

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  6. “There is so much documentation on this blog that drugs make people sick”….

    ….You just gave the reason for the “drive-bys”….
    The truth is hard for people to deal with….

    Don’t let them get to you….

    You made a small mistake….
    Big-deal.

    Duane

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  7. Jenny

    Don’t take it to heart Gianna – as has been said others people in general who have not been through what we have can have absolutely no idea of the living hell of withdrawal from prescribed medicinal phsychiatric drugs. Your blog really helps people and good for you for having the courage to continue with it however ill you are feeling. How is the Valium switchover going? I know you and I are doing this for different reasons but I hope things are beginning to go better for you. I am feeling very tired and exhausted all the time but would rather feel like that than when I was going through the hell of the withdrawal for 3 years off the Fluphenazine/Motiden.
    I have an appointment with my GP on Friday and am going to ask her it if is now ok to start slowly tapering off the valium at 1mg every 2 weeks as I will have been on them for 4 weeks by then and would like to start coming off if she feels it is safe for me to do so.
    Love and best wishes to you – you have been amazingly brave getting off all those other drugs and I have huge respect for what you have achieved. Think of what you are doing now as the very last lap and then knocking on the door will be a new life for you.
    Take care
    Jenny x

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  8. Jenny

    Gianna yes I can totally believe it – really scarey. Img of Fluphenazine which is the evil drug I was on is 200 times more potent than 1mg of Valium so I know exactly where you are coming from.
    My heart goes out to you and the whole thing sucks big time but hang on to the fact that you are now in the process of coming off the very last of all those drugs and you are doing so very well. At least you have the comfort of knowing that when you do make the whole switch on to valium it lasts in your system 200 hours so when you are up to the right dose and stabilised you will find the withdrawal a whole lot easier as the blood levels will drop so much more slowly.
    I think if you have been used to a much stronger drug you may find it actually not as bad as you think being on valium – yes you will feel drowsy but to be honest I prefer feeling drowsy and relaxed to climbing the walls with stress, insomnia and sheer panic which is just a few of the withdrawal symptoms I got whilst I was withdrawing from the Fluphenazine. At least sleep comes now and that I know helps the whole body to begin to heal.
    I am thinking of you – you are very brave and I know you will do it
    Yours in solidarity
    Jenny x

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  9. Duane: I’m totally with you. How can anyone call this “not addictive”??? I thought, the lists would never end.

    “Rage toward the ‘experts’ ” isn’t just a withdrawal symptom. It’s a symptom of clear-sightedness in regard to the “experts” in general.

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  10. Shelby

    When I point blank asked my shrink about the long list of awful withdrawal symptoms I had he was perplexed. Surely I wasn’t the only client who reported this.
    Yes, I was furious at him for years. He got away with a crime. “Chemical Imprisonment”.
    Of course I can’t do one thing about it.
    I don’t mention my psyche history either. It’s over.

    Like

  11. Jan

    Gianna:

    Wonder if, in addition to people not understanding our w/d symptoms are ones who have never gone through it, that the person attacking you could be a psych or in the mental health field and takes extreme offense and that’s their extremely lame way of defending the entire psychiatric community. It was just a thought. I wouldn’t put it past those *#%&($#. Again, I’m sorry you’ve incurred that wrath. You certainly don’t deserve it – you do an incredible amount for so many people. I personally have learned so much from you, and your compassion shines through even on your darkest days.

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  12. yourst

    Cool, now I know I’m not the only one. Not sure if Prozac falls in this group but I was forced to stop taking it 2 weeks ago. I just lost my job and it was food or meds.
    Thing is… I do need them and just cant aford them right now. After the crap ive been going threw this week I will never go back on them again. Ive had people Ive know for years that have stoped having anything to do with me because of this, knowing what I am going threw. Make a guy want to say fuck everything…………

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  13. yourst

    Really thank you.
    The more I read this the more I dont feel like I am going crazy.

    Worsened mood, Low energy (fatigue, lethargy, malaise) Trouble concentrating, Insomnia or trouble sleeping, Change in appetite, Anxious, nervous, tense, Panic attacks (racing heart, breathless), Trembling, jittery,or shaking, Irritability, Agitation (restlessness, hyperactivity) Impulsivity, Aggressiveness, Homicidal thoughts or urges, Confusion or cognitive difficulties, Memory problems or forgetfulness, Elevated mood (feeling high) Mood swings, Manic-like reactions, Auditory hallucinations, Feeling detached or unreal, Excessive or intense dreaming, Sweats, Chills, Runny nose, Nausea, Vomiting, Abdominal pain or cramps, Hung over or waterlogged feeling, Tremor, Numbness, burning, or tingling,

    Electric zap-like sensations in the brain “THAT ONE WAS REALLY SCARING ME!!!!”

    Ringing or other noises in the ears, Feeling of restless legs

    This makes me feel so much better…….. 🙂

    Like

  14. yourst

    Thanks again and I am gona take your advice about getting ahold of some and going off a little at a time. I thought that 2 weeks would have been almost over?

    Like

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