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Old 04-05-2009, 03:05 PM   #1
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I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Hello, I'm new here, my name is Steven.

I'm starting taper too, but I'm 60 mg, I've been taking this for 5 years. I tapered down to 45 mg, and it's been giving me problems with anxiety and oversleeping at nighttime (hypersomnia). I also have sexual side effects, but it seems to be from the Lithium, since I'm bipolar too. But Lithium and Paxil interact with each other, so while I went from 60mg to 45mg, I noticed my sexual dysfunction has decreased.

I'm on 1500mg Lithium, and 60mg Paxil. The Lithium seems a bit high but since Paxil makes bipolar worse, i.e. puts you into manic episodes. Mania needs to be controlled for me by Lithium.

I don't know if my anxiety/OCD is concurrent with my Bipolar or a symptom of my Bipolar. My psychiatrists haven't even tested for this. I am going to talk to other psychiatrists and psychologists, we haven't been able to figure it all out. I have read that Bipolar is comorbid with OCD, but where does my anxiety figure in all of this?
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:07 PM   #2
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Welcome, Steven!

So, are you currently on 60, or 45 mgs of Paxil? You said you tapered down to 45 mgs, but then you say you're on 60 mgs.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:25 PM   #3
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

What's your lithium level?

What's your battling is paxil is making the mania worse, for the life of me I don't get the addition of a drug that makes mania worse.
60mg of paxil is the maximum dose. You'll probably feel much better as you go down in dose.
If you were diagnosed with bipolar "prior" to paxil then lithium should be given alone. If you were diagnosed after paxil started, then it's the paxil causing it.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

LCrawford, I went back to 60mg after I tried to taper down to 45mg, so I'm on 60mg now.

scotty, I was diagnosed bipolar after the paxil started it, but I think I've been bipolar my whole life. I need to get a an easier method of tapering down, I'm using 30mg Paxil tablets and I'm cutting it in half with a pill cutter.
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by McLiberty View Post

scotty, I was diagnosed bipolar after the paxil started it, but I think I've been bipolar my whole life. I need to get a an easier method of tapering down, I'm using 30mg Paxil tablets and I'm cutting it in half with a pill cutter.
Ah, I think we're all bipolar is some form....it's just human nature! Once you're safely off the paxil you may want to revisit that diagnosis.
I'll go out on a limb and say that the majority of people are diagnosed after started an ssri
You're going to need 10mg tablets or liquid to wean slowly.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:09 AM   #6
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

I am willing to bet that a lot of your "bipolar" was caused by the Paxil. I know that if I had been honest with my behavior and mood swings then I would have been slapped with the bipolar diagnosis and would probably be on a ton of meds right now instead of none.

How long were you on Paxil when your doctor "diagnosed" you as bipolar? Does your doctor do any talk therapy or CBT or does he just write prescriptions?
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:30 AM   #7
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

I have to agree with Scotty. I think a lot of us have bipolar tendencies. Bipolar is being way over-diagnosed right now. I think it's the mental condition of the day. Whether we are truly bipolar or whether deep down in our psyches we have this tendency somewhere, one thing is for sure -- if you take Paxil it will take the genie out of the bottle, if you get my drift. Paxil is really good for creating sexual dysfunction all by itself, as I'm sure you've read by now. It's really pretty bad.

Did you have the OCD and the anxiety prior to Paxil? If you didn't or they've become worse, then Paxil is most likely the culprit there, too. I only speak from my own experience.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:36 PM   #8
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

I went down to 45 mg (two 30mg pills a day) and it didn't work out, I got anxiedty, depression, and oversleeping too much. Not waking up when my alarm clock goes off in the morning.

I went back on 60mg paxil, but it's not working anymore. I've been on 60mg for a 4 days, I still get overlsleeping, anxiety, and depression. What's wrong? Does it take a while for it to work at 60mg? I need to see a good psychiatrist in the Los Angeles area about this. does anyone know any good doctor with experience in Paxil withdrawal or Paxil tapering in the Los Angeles country in the 818 area code? Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

You've only been back up in dose 4 days, it can take several weeks to fully kick back in.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:46 PM   #10
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

I seriously cannot wait for 3-4 weeks for Paxil to kick in. Is there a way I can mitigate the side effects I've having now? I have depression, anxiety, hypersomnia (oversleeping), OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.

I don't know if this is part of the Paxil withdrawal effect or not. Why would taking 45 mg Paxil and not the 60mg Paxil that I've been on for like 6 years be doing this?

Anyways, I am seeing a psychiatrist so I can taper off slowly, I just don't know which one, I don't think my current one is good. I've seen so many, I'm afraid that I'll run out of psychiatrists in my area.

In the past, even while on Paxil, I would have a hard time doing things such as going to appointments on time, cleaning up after my mess in the house/bedroom, hard time starting complicated tasks, or an aversion to complex tasks. I don't understand these behaviors and they make me seem lazy or "don't care" attitude. I do care and I'm not lazy. Does anyone know why Paxil would cause "laziness" and/or dull of emotions?

My grandmother died 2 months ago, and I wasn't even sad and I didn't even cry. I tried to be sad and I tried really hard to cry, but the tears wouldn't come out.
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:37 AM   #12
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by McLiberty View Post
I seriously cannot wait for 3-4 weeks for Paxil to kick in. Is there a way I can mitigate the side effects I've having now? I have depression, anxiety, hypersomnia (oversleeping), OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.

I don't know if this is part of the Paxil withdrawal effect or not. Why would taking 45 mg Paxil and not the 60mg Paxil that I've been on for like 6 years be doing this?

Anyways, I am seeing a psychiatrist so I can taper off slowly, I just don't know which one, I don't think my current one is good. I've seen so many, I'm afraid that I'll run out of psychiatrists in my area.

In the past, even while on Paxil, I would have a hard time doing things such as going to appointments on time, cleaning up after my mess in the house/bedroom, hard time starting complicated tasks, or an aversion to complex tasks. I don't understand these behaviors and they make me seem lazy or "don't care" attitude. I do care and I'm not lazy. Does anyone know why Paxil would cause "laziness" and/or dull of emotions?

My grandmother died 2 months ago, and I wasn't even sad and I didn't even cry. I tried to be sad and I tried really hard to cry, but the tears wouldn't come out.
That's what Paxil does. It changes the chemistry in your brain and dulls your emotions. At the high dose you're on, the drug is doing exactly what it's suppose to do.

As far as waiting, you have no choice. The reason you feel the way you do is because 60 to 45 mgs is a 15 mg drop and just too much.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:07 AM   #13
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

<<In the past, even while on Paxil, I would have a hard time doing things such as going to appointments on time, cleaning up after my mess in the house/bedroom, hard time starting complicated tasks, or an aversion to complex tasks. I don't understand these behaviors and they make me seem lazy or "don't care" attitude. I do care and I'm not lazy. Does anyone know why Paxil would cause "laziness" and/or dull of emotions?>>

McLiberty, this is what psych meds do.

Thanks to my cocktail of meds, my condo has become severely infested with roaches due to my not giving a darn. It crept up on me so slowly that I had no clue what was going on until the apartment became a screaming disgrace. I can't invite anyone over as that is how bad it is.

I now fortunately have money to fix it but thanks to these continuing withdrawal symptoms, i can't get myself organized to figure out what I have to do. Also, believe it or not, I have a million other priorities thanks to my med induced "don't give a damm" attitude.

<My grandmother died 2 months ago, and I wasn't even sad and I didn't even cry. I tried to be sad and I tried really hard to cry, but the tears wouldn't come out.>>

I have had similar experiences with the death of my mother a year ago. I have been able to cry but I am concerned that once I experience true recovery from these meds, that I am going to have a delayed reaction.

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Old 05-05-2009, 03:15 PM   #14
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by McLiberty View Post
In the past, even while on Paxil, I would have a hard time doing things such as going to appointments on time, cleaning up after my mess in the house/bedroom, hard time starting complicated tasks, or an aversion to complex tasks. I don't understand these behaviors and they make me seem lazy or "don't care" attitude. I do care and I'm not lazy.
My husband had this same problem. Was a complete disaster, forgot appointments, was late, never cleaned up after himself. It's the paxil. It makes you not care about anything.

He's much better now that he is off of the paxil. He cleans up (although he isn't as tidy as I would like him to be), remembers appointments, isn't as "lazy" as he used to be. He could sleep all afternoon and then again all night long while on paxil. Now he rarely naps.

You will get there too but you need to stabilize at one dose. All this bouncing around will not help. And although you say you can't wait 3 or 4 weeks to stabilize, what choice do you have?
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:53 PM   #17
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Hi McLiberty. You'll see by the signature that my partner has been through the Paxil and lithium routine, and is now Paxil free but still on 500 mg lithium and scared to drop it, not because he thinks he needs it, but because he's afraid of possible withdrawal side effects, especially feeling suicidal (which is apparently fairly common when dropping lithium). Lithium acts like molassas in your brain, slowing everything down. Paxil, on the other hand, is an activator. They both affect brain and body function, and affect the serotonic system. The best advice I can give is work on one at a time and drop slowly, slowly. (Lithium is also very hard on your kidneys, and possibly liver and thyroid; presumably you are getting regular blood checks.)
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:48 PM   #18
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Paxil is not an activator for me. I had the same problem of finding it hard to do anything, even tidying the house, not because I didn't care, just because it gave me low energy and motivation, it all just seemed too hard. I think this side effect is worse at higher doses and gets a little better as dose tapers down.

The reason your brain can't handle going from 60mg to 45mg is your brain has got used to the 60mg and when it is suddenly 15mg short, it cannot cope. That is why they recommend here only 10% cuts in dose. So from 60mg, a 10% drop would be 6mg giving a dose of 54mg.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:27 PM   #19
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by LCrawford67 View Post
That's what Paxil does. It changes the chemistry in your brain and dulls your emotions. At the high dose you're on, the drug is doing exactly what it's suppose to do.

As far as waiting, you have no choice. The reason you feel the way you do is because 60 to 45 mgs is a 15 mg drop and just too much.
I'm so sorry. I'm slowly remembering what went through my head when I wrote this thread. I didn't even remember going off Paxil in Jan 2010, I thought I went off it in Jan 2009 before I came back to this forum a few days ago.

Last year when I wrote this thread, I had severe mania on Paxil, and I wish I could've tapered it slow but I remember having mania even on the last few liquid drops of Paxil, 5mg Paxil. Only completely off Paxil in Jan 2010, mania stopped.

A brief recap: I took 100mg Zoloft mid-'02 to '06, 80mg Strattera '02-?'09?, (both Strattera and Zoloft at maximum allowed doses) then 80mg Paxil for 8 months, then 60mg Paxil from '06-Jan '10. I don't remember when I went off Strattera but it was before tapering Paxil. 1500mg Lithium was not enough to stop 24/7 rapid cycling mania to agitated anxiety (but not depression).

I remember the only emotions I had were super euphoric, manic, or super agitated worrying/anxiety. I was desperate to stop the mania because it destroyed my social life completely. If I had tapered Paxil slow, I would be manic 24/7 and I couldn't deal with that.

I still don't remember my complete history yet. I took around 15 meds, but only 4 I took long enough to remember, Zoloft, Lithium, Paxil, and Strattera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty View Post
What's your lithium level?

What's your battling is paxil is making the mania worse, for the life of me I don't get the addition of a drug that makes mania worse.
60mg of paxil is the maximum dose. You'll probably feel much better as you go down in dose.
If you were diagnosed with bipolar "prior" to paxil then lithium should be given alone. If you were diagnosed after paxil started, then it's the paxil causing it.
My lithium level at the time was around 1.0 for the majority of the time from 2006-June 2010. I'm scared because a doctor said that the normal range is 0.6, but at the time I was so "high" and "euphoric" (mania 24/7) that I couldn't process that in my head, the 3-4 meds kept in a zombie mode.

Is 1.0 Lithium blood level high? I’m scared, and the antipsychotics that I took during the time probably messed with my brain Lithium levels, the blood levels were the same 1.0 but who knows what kind of interactions took place in my brain.

I even was too happy and smiling at my grandmother's funeral, which makes me cry today, and I cried a lot when I went off Paxil since Jan 2010, it was the first time I cried in nearly 8 years.

This was really a sad period of my life. I went to too many psychiatrists, and I went to the wrong ones for too long. I finally learned this weekend from talking to people that I should've stayed with 1 good psychiatrist.

My advice to everyone: Most psychiatrists trust the past one and keep patients on past meds because they don't risk taking patients off meds without stabilizing them first. If you find a good psychiatrist stay with one, and ask them to taper you off slowly, don't switch to new doctors who don't know your past history well enough. Most psychiatrists never request records or call the previous psychiatrist, they request you sign the release of information paper but they are too busy to call or read up on your complete history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samalabear View Post
Did you have the OCD and the anxiety prior to Paxil? If you didn't or they've become worse, then Paxil is most likely the culprit there, too. I only speak from my own experience.
I don't want to diagnose myself with labels but I had an addictive personality my whole life and aggressive/irritability/overfocused issues when I was younger, which caused Accutane abuse that led to cognitive problems and loss of memory/concentration, and ultimately led me to the path of poly-drug history: http://www.paxilprogress.org/forums/...ad.php?t=49868

Suzi, I finally found out that Lithium slows people down a few months ago, I got off each drug one at a time, but I should’ve got off Lithium as soon as I got off Paxil in Dec 2009/Jan 2010, I tapered Lithium in the summer 2010. I’m scared damage done to my brain from years of being super manic all the time, and while on Lithium.

I don’t remember the last 10 years of my life much, I only remember a few things.

(I had to edit this post several times before posting it because I had repeated myself a few times, so it makes the post bigger than it needs to be. It took me about 2 hours 45 minutes to write this post on Microsoft Word and here. I'm timing myself because I'm so slow.)

Last edited by McLiberty : 09-30-2010 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Edited a typo, forgetting stuff, and incorrect data.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:38 AM   #20
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Re: I'm on Lithium + Paxil for Bipolar/OCD/anxiety

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Too bad you could not find out the doctor who treats the actor , "Sonny" on General Hospital-the soap opera= he has confided to Oprah that he is Bipolar. I just dont understand how this amazing gut is able to remember all his lines and do a great job while bipolar and on meds.He did say that at some times at home he just crawls under a blanket when having symptoms.

I went to a doctor in Manhattan who was totally into getting peple off paxil but at 250.00 an hour -he did not take insurance that was a bit steep for me and who knows what did % in drops were they could hae been less than 10% and It would have been of no use.
That is amazing, Pokie. I was thinking of the years I attended The Acting Studio, about seven years before Paxil, and I had to remember so many lines, and I was working with a private coach before that, and had to, of course, remember monologues. And know I look at my memory while on Paxil, and the major hit I've taken since Paxil -- wow, what a mess. I mean, I realize that I am several years older now, but this is, I believe, far worse than it should have been had I never touched the stuff.

As far as the doctor, I really wonder what a doctor can really do that's any better than the advice here. What happens during withdrawal, taper, and aftermath, is so individual. Getting the psychological help with the whole process I think is vital, learning coping mechanisms such as CBT is definitely helpful, but if you're paying $250 an hour for someone to taper you off? I don't know, I'm not sure if that's a worthwhile expenditure, even if you could afford it. Really, what could this doctor have done for that you haven't tried? There are some who are going to make a killing on this. Does the doctor do something else in the hour besides just saying how are you feeling after the X percentage drop? Interesting.
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2003 start poop-out
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Am I better? I got through the worst of worst in three years. Still living with the damage, financial, creative and otherwise, that Paxil left me with.
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