No wonder I'm feeling crazy!
Withdrawal symptoms for tricyclic antidepressants include:
excessive anxiety, restlessness, hyperactivity, insomnia, disturbing
dreams and nightmares, flu-like symptoms (headache, sweating,
diarrhoea, stomach ache, bowel discomfort, nausea, vomiting,
hot and cold flushes, goosebumps), fast or irregular heart beat,
low blood pressure, and increased libido. Psychiatric effects include
hypomania and mania, apathy, social withdrawal, depressed
mood, panic attacks, aggression, delirium and psychoses.
When describing the symptoms of withdrawal from SSRI
antidepressants, David Healy breaks them down into two groups:
• symptoms ‘unlike anything you have had before’
• symptoms that ‘may lead you or your physician to think that
all you have are features of your original problem’.
The first group include: dizziness (when you turn your head you
feel your brain gets left behind); ‘electric head’ (strange brain
sensations which have been likened to goose bumps in the brain);
electric shock-like sensations, other strange tingling or painful
sensations; nausea, diarrhoea and flatulence; headache; muscle
spasms and tremor; agitated and vivid dreams; agitation; hearing
or seeing things others can’t.
The second group include: mood swings; irritability; confusion;
fatigue, malaise and flu-like symptoms; insomnia or drowsiness;
sweating; feelings of unreality; disturbed temperature sensations;
change in personality.
Many people taking SSRIs, especially paroxetine (Seroxat) and
fluoxetine (Prozac), have reported uncharacteristic feelings of
violence and suicidal thoughts and actions, and these seem to
be particularly associated with changes in dose.
Withdrawal symptoms for Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
are less well known than for other antidepressants, because they
are less commonly prescribed. There are conflicting reports on
the frequency and severity of withdrawal problems. Reported
symptoms include: anxiety, agitation, paranoia, being unusually
talkative, headaches, low blood pressure when standing, muscle
weakness, shivering and tingling, burning sensations, and mania.
Catatonic states have also been reported.