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May 24, 2020 by Marc Reinsdorfer | Medium

How antidepressants destroyed my life

This is a story of how I went from working as a frontend software developer in a exciting city to living in my parents basement for the last 1.5 years.

Innsbruck, the city I was working in back in 2018

I just started a new job as a junior software developer, and the the stress from my new job as well as problems with loud roommates led to insomnia, from which I desperately tried to get relief with “natural” remedies, like working out, meditating, taking magnesium and CBD oil.

When this didn’t work, and I still couldn’t sleep through the night (I got max 1–2 hrs of sleep during this time), I decided to see my GP. At first, he prescribed me some mild sleeping aids, like anti-histamines (Diphenhydramine). When these didn’t work, the doctor prescribed me Trazodone HCL which is an antidepressant, used off-label for insomnia. The doctor told me its completely safe and even safer than benzodiazepines, which can cause dependence quite easily.

The Trazodone HCL pills I took (“Trittico” or “Flower Pills”)

I was told to start with 1/3 of the tablets, which is 50mg Trazodone HCL. At this dose it should only sedate me, so I can finally get my sleep. The doctor told me the antidepressant effect would only start at 150mg so I don’t have to worry about the side effects.

At first the pills seemed to help with sleep a little, but after taking the 4th third of a pill, I woke up one day unable to move, it was like I was overrun by a train. I started to be in a constant state of panic 24/7, I had to go to the toilet every 15 minutes, and started to have even more insomnia. My memory started to fail and I became unable to do the simplest tasks of daily life, like cooking.

My cognition stopped working and I was fired from my job, because I was unable to perform in this state. I was pretty much bedridden at this point and had to move back in with my parents. The panic state continued for months, me only getting maybe 1–2hrs of sleep a night. At this point I didn’t attribute all of those symptoms to the pills I took.

I thought my mind finally broke from the stress of getting fired, and I was officially depressed now. My parents told me to see a psychiatrist, which I did, and to help with my very bad insomnia, the first psychiatrist I saw prescribed me Mirtazapine, an antidepressant, again only to “sedate me” and help me sleep.

Little did I know the “Flower Pills” already caused a paradoxical reaction in me, leading to the first iatrogenic damage I got from psychiatric medications.

So I continued to take Mirtazapine, which made me even more of a zombie, and quit after 3 weeks.

The panic state stayed for months, and in this time I tried every natural remedy imaginable, to escape this prison of my own mind. It just wasn’t getting any better and my family convinced me to see another psychiatrist, this time combined with talk therapy.

After my first session, I left the psychiatrists office with a script of Effexor (SNRI) and Zoldem (Sleeping Pill).

I informed myself about the Effexor in the internet and by reading the leaflet, and figured the side effects and especially the withdrawal is very dangerous. The effexor package was laying unopened on my desk for weeks, but after about the 6th therapy session with my new psychiatrist, he convinced me to go on the pills. I told him my concerns about the devastating withdrawal effects and the bad reviews it gets on the internet. He downplayed the antidepressant side effects and told me they rarely ever happen, and the reviews on the internet can be made by everybody and are mostly fake.

Effexor XR Capsules

After 2 months on the Effexor I figured it only made me worse, it completely warped my time perception, feeling of hunger, thirst, and gave me sexual dysfunction, anhedonia and genital numbness and complete loss of libido.

The real horror came when I went off the Effexor pills, the antidpressants side effects were persisting. Even 1 year after coming off these pills, my sexual dysfunction as well as many other symptoms that the antidepressants gave me are persisting.

After googling “antidpressant sexual dysfunction” I came across Post-SSRI-Sexual-Dysfunction (PSSD).

The name for this condition is PSSD. Although it seems to be quite rare, there are thousands of sufferers like me. There is a subreddit aswell as a support forum.

As of now there is no cure for this disease, and many suffers are left with permanent (not only) sexual dysfunction. One of the most life-disabling symptoms of PSSD is Anhedonia, the inability to enjoy anything.

More than 1.5 years after my first contact with psychiatric medications, I’m still an empty shell, a complete shadow of my former self, left with no personality, interests, and libido.

There is no research for this condition and sufferers have this for years and decades.

In the movie The Mummy, as a result of his sexual expression the High-Priest Imhotep is told there is something worse than death, the Hom-Dai, and is buried eternally alive. PSSD is a modern equivalent of the Hom-Dai. We need to find an answer. (DH)” — RxISK.org

After some temporary life problems, a natural reaction to stress was made chronic in my case by psychiatric medications. I can not work, I have no interests or hobbies any more, I can’t feel love towards my own family, and I have zero interests in the other gender. Chronic fatigue, loss of muscle and penile shrinkage and numbness are just some other symptoms of this madness.

So far there is a $66k prize (May 2020) by RxISK.org for whoever finds the cure for PSSD.

Unfortunately this amount of money isn’t remotely enough to find a cure for PSSD, if there is one.

There are many theories about what happens in PSSD, the most popular one being that permanent epigenetic alterations happen.

Over the last years, sufferers tried many treatments, supplements, even illegal drugs like LSD or Ayahuasca to get relief from this treatment-resistant condition.

I got PSSD when I was 21, now I am 23 and still have all the symptoms. My life’s purpose is now to find a cure for this condition, mainly by raising awareness.

There are similar syndromes, the Post-Finasteride-Syndrome (PFS) caused by Finasteride, or the Post-Accutane-Syndrome (PAS), caused by Accutane. Similarly people have been trying many drugs to find relief, including hormones, research chemicals and more. We are thousands of sufferers, there are many suicides each year and this shows how desperate people are for relief.

Please join these forums if you are affected in similar way as I am from psychiatric drugs. We need to collect all sufferers together for maximum visibility and evidence.

If anyone reading this, has knowledge in neuroscience, epigenetics, etc, and wants to contribute to solving PSSD, please message me.

PSSD sufferer, searching for a cure, email me at pssd.marc@gmail.com

 

 

 

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