How to get off Paxil after 20 years? 

How to get off Paxil after 20 years?

The best way to get off Paxil after 20 years is dose tapering. 20 years is a long period of time for your body to become dependent on an antidepressant. Antidepressants change your brain chemistry with time and it can get well adjusted in 20 years. 

Antidepressants, including Paxil, can cause disturbing withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue it suddenly or abruptly. This is why antidepressants should always be gradually tapered off. The best way to do this is to consult your healthcare provider. 

Your doctor will suggest the most appropriate taper schedule for you, based on details specific to you like your age, weight, the status of your depression, current dosage strength, frequency, any pre-existing health conditions, and overall physiological well-being. 

The entire discontinuation process can take up to a few months, based on how well your body adjusts to lower doses. 

What are the dangers of stopping Paxil abruptly? 

Stopping Paxil abruptly could be your worst nightmare because of the disturbing symptoms associated with it. Paxil withdrawal symptoms include (1):

  • Emotional stress 
  • Nightmares 
  • Irritability 
  • Agitation 
  • Confusion 
  • Delirium 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headaches
  • Constant crying
  • Inability to concentrate or think clearly 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Awkward behaviour 
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Chills
  • Feeling suffocated with excessive sweating 
  • Insomnia or somnolence 
  • Relapse of symptoms associated with mental health conditions. 

These symptoms may vary from person to person, and depend on the overall duration of your treatment. This is why it’s important to ensure you don’t stop using Paxil or any other antidepressant abruptly. 

How to ensure safe Paxil withdrawal?

As I discussed earlier, the safest way to stop taking Paxil or any other antidepressant is gradual dose tapering (2). An appropriate taper schedule is determined according to the individual’s needs, duration of treatment, and medical history.

It is important to follow the tapering schedule as prescribed by your healthcare provider. The schedule typically involves gradually reducing the dose of Paxil over several weeks or months to minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

It is also important to note that some people may still experience withdrawal symptoms to some extent, but they are not usually expected to be extreme. However, each individual is different and can respond differently to weaning off Paxil. 

The withdrawal duration can also vary. Paxil can stay in your system for up to 5-6 days. Some people may not experience withdrawal symptoms within the first 3-5 days without the antidepressant, but they soon kick in. 

If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms or are struggling to manage the symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider may adjust your tapering schedule or prescribe medications to manage the symptoms.

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Haddad P. The SSRI discontinuation syndrome. J Psychopharmacol. 1998;12(3):305-13. doi: 10.1177/026988119801200311. PMID: 10958258. Available from:


Horowitz MA, Taylor D. Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Lancet Psychiatry. 2019 Jun;6(6):538-546. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30032-X. Epub 2019 Mar 5. PMID: 30850328. Available from:

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