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This is my first post on this board....or any pregnancy / mommy board for that matter.
I have suffered from severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder since my teenage years (I am 31).
I have taken Paxil for 15 years, and it has always helped me cope, to the point I now live abroad from my home country, have a husband, and a demanding job as a project manager. With Paxil, at 20-30mg, I rarely had to take any benxodiazepines, like Xanax.
4 Years ago I tried to wean off, very slowly, 5mg every 4 weeks. But at 5mg/day my anxiety got so severe, to the point I have had to take myself into a mental hospital for a few days because I was afraid I would kill myself. I then went back up to 30mg and got better.
Last Summer my husband and I decided we'd want to try for a baby, so I started to wean off again, very slowly, with the help of my psychiatrist. I was at 5mg Paxil/day with 20mg Nortriptyline for 3 months, but over the last couple of weeks the anxiety got so bad that I missed work and started having suicidal thoughts, and insomnia again because the anxiety is so horrible.
So I decided finally to go back up to 20mg Paxil/day and try to get pregnant while taking Paxil. I figured that the insane amount of anxiety I feel without the medication would be worse for an unborn child that the chances something goes wrong because of the Paxil. Plus; I wouldn't be sure if I could keep working with all the anxiety...
I feel guilty towards my not-even-conceived -yet child!
I know there is a chance of birth defects with Paxil, but I just couldn't take it anymore, the anxiety was harming me, my job, and my marriage!
I don't know what I am asking from this board....some support and understanding I guess. I know it has helped for me to read other women's experiences with mental health medication and pregnancy..,,
I'd talk to your doctor because anti-depressants including paxil have been known to cause birth defects..I have bipolar disorder and had to go off my meds when I became pregnant because there is literally a 50 percent that it'll hurt my baby..There are lawsuits against most of the major drug companies for this as well..
I did talk to my doctor and psychiatrist. The stats on birth defects with Paxil are around 3-5%. Of course not great, but compared to a 100% chance of severe mental breakdown if I quit (believe me, I tried, thrice), I am taking the chance.
I am almost two months pregnant now and with morning sickness and fatigue as well as 45 hrs work a week and living abroad, it's been okay but not easy. I am hoping to feel a lot better in the second trimester, and then want to cut down on Paxil as much as I can. My goal is to go from 20mg to 10mg.
It's funny to notice how different advice is in North America and Australia on the issue of antidepressants and pregnancy. The general advice in Australia is get off if you can but by all means stay on it if you need it. The advice in America is much more panicky. Doc says that is because of the lawsuit culture in the States. I wonder.