10 February 2009

Seroxat, My Experience.

The first thing I have to mention is that I was prescribed Seroxat because I was told that it would help with my social anxiety and my O.C.D (the secondary and minor problem).

I later found out that the symptoms I experience in social situations, were the same as someone who as Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder). A condition which Seroxat *wasn't meant for.

*GSK intended to market Seroxat for a range of conditions other than clinical depression. Chief among these was a condition the company identified as social anxiety disorder, although other forms of anxiety were also discussed internally. From the Guardian article:- Secret Plan To Push Happy Pills.

The Main symptoms of social phobia are:-

  • Difficulty talking, especially in groups and to authority figures.
  • Worrying about social situations a few weeks in advance (e.g, giving a speech).
  • Mind going blank.
For a medical and much better explanation, please see the article:- K.H Social Phobia (Even though the K.H social phobia article is meant for children, it's the best explaination I have come across) or also see the article:- social phobia (medic8).

When I first took Seroxat I was :-

  • 21 years old (2000)
  • Thin and in my weight range (11 1/2 stone). In fact, I was probably about a stone under my ideal weight (see pic).

  • Athletic & liked playing football (Used to run about 2-3 miles every day).
  • Had a youthful and cheeky attitude towards life. But because of Social Phobia, I found it difficult to be myself with people other than my family and close friends.
I thought that Seroxat would just make me feel more relaxed in social situations. It didn't. Instead it changed me. It is only recently when I got a glimpse of the emotions I used to have, that I realised this.
For a somebody else's view of Seroxat, please see the article:- What will be the long term effects of taking Seroxat.

To see a timeline of how I was affected by Seroxat (2000 - 2009) then please select "Timeline" in the articles section. You don't have to view this because I wrote the timeline to be therapeutic. But please read the newspaper articles on the left.

The chart below shows how much weight I had put on in the 9 years since I took Seroxat

Weight before I took Seroxat - Weight after I took Seroxat - Ideal weight - Weight I am now

I still can't believe how I ballooned up to 21 stone and that I didn't notice or care.

Apart from the weight gain, there are a few other things I have started to realise since I got a massive wave of my old emotions on new years eve (see timeline above 2008).

I didn't buy any clothes anymore until about mid 2007. Where as before I took Seroxat I used to buy something new once every three weeks (all the new clothes I used to get were given to me on my birthday or at Christmas).

I didn't play or have any desire to join a football team like I used to have (being able to play for a football team was one of the big reasons why I took Seroxat in the first place).

Apart from one person, the people who I know the best now are the people who I knew before I took Seroxat.

Although I am feeling a lot better now (March 2009) I am starting to get some of the same symptoms as when I first started taking Seroxat (although definitely not as bad).

I start to feel rushed and panicky on certain occasions ( eg, in some group situations).

I put the re-occurence of these symptoms down to my emotions returning. Where as when the symptoms first showed themselves (2000 -2001) Seroxat was masking my emotions.

A new symptom which as occured:-

I sleep a lot longer after social group situations (eg. recently, when I got home after being in a busy classroom, I ended up sleeping for 12 hours).

On the massively positive side of things. I am starting to feel like I did before I took Seroxat in 2000.

I am starting to feel the difference between the seasons (eg winter to spring).
I am starting to get my youthful outlook back.
I am getting more interest in sport.
I am starting to feel nervous before going into places (Social Phobia returning).

The bit about my Social Phobia returning may seem a bad thing, but it isn't. When I had Social Phobia, I wanted to do things like go to college, join a football team and try to meet new people.

I'm not saying that I would have done anything special if I hadn't have taken Seroxat. I'm just trying to get across that I would have done better trying to improve naturally.

I was already improving when I first decided to take Seroxat:-

I was purposely looking for a job which was to do with dealing with people (eg, cashier) to try and get better that way.

I was willing to try and start conversations with people I didn't know.

I really should have just kept on trying to get better naturally.

Just to recap how Seroxat can affect people, here are some quotes from some newspaper articles (linked to on the left of this blog).

Long-term side effects of taking anti-depressants include sleep disturbances, weight gain and sexual dysfunction (From, Dark secrets lurking in the drugs cabinet).

Britain's largest drug company drew up a secret plan to double sales of the controversial anti-depressant Seroxat by marketing it as a cure for a raft of less serious mental conditions (From, Secret plan to push happy pils).

The prescription of antidepressants to children and adolescents has become a contentious issue due to reports of addiction or suicidal behaviour among users. Seroxat was banned for use by children and adolescents in Britain last June (2003)..... In a press release issued in Britain at the time, the firm admitted it had seen "a difference between [Seroxat] and placebo in terms of suicidal thinking or attempts particularly in adolescents"(From spitzer forces Glaxo to publish drug trials).

Brecon Coroner Geraint Williams said he would be writing to Health Secretary Alan Milburn to demand the drug be withdrawn for further safety checks. He said: 'I have grave concerns that this is a dangerous drug........ I am profoundly disturbed by the effect this drug had on Colin Whitfield. It is quite clear that Seroxat has a profound effect on the thinking process of anyone who takes it.' (from Man slashed wrists after 2 weeks on anxiety pill).

To me though, the main quote is from the article:- Dark secrets lirking in the drugs cabinet.
The issue is not that SSRIs are overwhelmingly deadly but that there is a real danger in prescribing them for young people and emotionally sensitive individuals..............Last year European watchdogs also recommended extra care be taken in prescribing Seroxat for people under 30.
The reason why this is the main quote on a personal level, is because I was considered a sensitive person when I took Seroxat in 2000 (21yrs old). As well as having a younger attitude.

So with me being under 30 and a sensitive person it really shouldn't have been given to me. This is probably why I am starting to feel better now that I'm reaching 30.

It'll probably take a couple of more years for me to feel completely better. This is because with me having a younger than 30 attitude. It'll probably take a bit longer for me to mentally reach 30.

I have to stress one more time at this point. That I am feeling a lot better than I ever have done during the past 9 years. Writing this blog proves to me that I am feeling better.

It's going to take a while to get used to feeling like I used to feel (it's like a blinds being lifted). It is also going to take a bit of a while getting used to having no real emotional connection to the past 9 years of my life (apart from 2008 onwards).

At last! here we are at the end of the blog, but before I finish completely. There are 2 things I hope I have got across.

To the people who have met me during the past 9 years. It's my emotions and desires that have changed NOT my overall personality. Except in 2000 - mid 2002 when I really didn't feel well at all (see timline above).

I have made you aware of the adverse effects that can happen if you take Seroxat.

If you haven't read the articles linked to on the left of this blog, please do. Especially "Secret plan to push happy pills" and "Dark secrets lurking in the drugs cabinet".

Sorry about the length of this blog. I know I could have probably made it shorter. It's just that the more I wrote, the more therapeutic it felt.