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"Have you experienced lack of motivation, a lower energy level, a 'Don't worry be happy' attitde, short term memory loss due to your antidepressants? I have been on Effexor XR for 5 years now and have experienced all of the above. These side effects are so subtle I can't say when they started but at least 2 or 3 years ago. I recall reporting my car as stolen because I didn't remember where I parked. :-) Funny but true! Other incidents have been of less importance; but, nevertheless, have created problems as a result. Not at all sure this should all be blamed on Effexor, maybe other ADs do the same. My motivation has dwindled big time and the 'Don't worry be happy' syndrome has had a huge impact on my business. This would have been so unlike me prior to Effexor." --Ladyann655

Do you think that antidepressants have insidious side effects that perhaps sneak up on you before you really realize what's going on?  Do you think that "Don't Worry, Be Happy" Syndrome is a real phenomenon?  Please share your experiences below if you think this is a problem that doesn't get enough attention.

Comments
June 20, 2006 at 9:59 am
(1) Melissa Shanahan says:

I was on Effexor, and Topomax for about 3-5 years. I recently within the past year switched to Lexapro. I am currently in a personal injury trial that I had to recall information from the past. I have not been able to remember many things. I did some research online and found that many antidepressants cause memory loss and I am not alone. I was getting really scared, and thought it was just me.

July 9, 2006 at 10:12 pm
(2) Lindsay says:

I was on Lexapro for about 2 years and recently switched to Effexor. I find myself forgetting every day things. I thought I was alone, but I guess not. It always has to be something in return doesn’t it?

February 15, 2007 at 10:03 pm
(3) ashley says:

i had the exact experience, and i really appreciate your expressing it so well. i have been on wellbutrin for 3 yrs or so to counter the affects of nicotine withdrawal and the subsequent depression. i have hardly held a job since then, and at the end of my last project was told that maybe i “just wasn’t cut out for that type of work”, though the project was something that i had been able to do with both hands tied behind my back for years. after that i cut my dosage in half (medically supervised), and plan to do so again, until i am completely off, or without side affects, if possible.

January 8, 2008 at 9:18 am
(4) Michelle says:

There is no doubt in my mind that being on Effexor (for 2 years now) has caused me to experience some short-term memory loss. I just started noticing it about six months ago. Primarily, I forget little things, like whether I completed a task or not, where I left things, people’s names, etc. It is disconcerting though, because I always had a better than average memory, especially for names. I wish that there was more information available about memory loss with antidepressants….it would make those of us who are suffering with it feel less crazy!

February 21, 2008 at 10:31 am
(5) Ger says:

I have been on Lexapro for 4 years now and I have found that over the past year or maybe more I’m having memory problems. I forget people’s names, etc etc and thought I was losing it. The doctor is telling me it’s anxiety but is the anxiety caused by me worrying about my memory? Doctors don’t say much especially when they don’t really know the answer …. it’s very annoying really. I have tried coming off Lexapro but ended up going back on 20mg a day as started getting anxiety attacks again. I want to get off these big time but not sure how. Don’t have much trust in doctor’s as they don’t listen when you tell them about withdrawal symptoms! Anyone out there who got off them reasonably symptom free???

September 4, 2008 at 3:33 pm
(6) TigerMoonk says:

I’m new here & I’ve been taking Effexor XR for about 6 yrs,maybe a little longer.I’m at the max dose of 375mg.
My memory is HORRIBLE! I’ve left the house with candles lit, & yesterday I forgot I had a lit cig in my ash tray!
I forget lot’s of things, even something someone has just told me. I hate this med & have tried a couple times in the past to get off of it, but I couldn’t handle the withdrawls.
I also got high blood pressure from Effexor.

September 8, 2008 at 7:51 pm
(7) LottGemetat says:

Hi,
I am a 25 years old lady, in love wth life, so I have many hobbies: going out with my girlfriend,practice some sports (swimming), go our in the evening to a disco, so all the things that girls like me do always. I also have a great love for cannabis . It’ a recent passion but very strong.I like to stay home an
d smoke a lot. I hope that one day we will smoke all together. What do you think about it?
Kisses,
Lana

February 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm
(8) Janice Hartness says:

Has anyone else out there experienced a sudden rise in your bloodpressure? I took effexor 150m for 9 months and lately I have been experiencing high blood pressure. It is 168 over 108 on Sunday. The doctor said that I needed to come off the effexor and start a lower dose 75, for 4 days and 35 for 4 days. He also put me on Zolof while I’m coming off of the effexor. I have been having really bad headaches and monitoring my blood pressure. This stuff is awful and I can’t wait to get off of it and get my blood pressure under control. Has anyone else had this problem with their bloodpressure? Let me know.

March 25, 2010 at 6:35 am
(9) Dewey63 says:

I have been on Effexor XR at 374mg for about a year and a half and it has not given me any memory loss or side effects at all. It works brilliantly for me and we only came back to it after trying different combinations of anti depressants and anti psychotics for about 7-8 years. I also take 30mg of Neulactil and combined with the effexor I sleep for about 6 hours a night which suits me fine. I hope those who are suffering side effects can keep on trying with Effexor because I really believe in its effectiveness with the right people.

April 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm
(10) anna jan says:

I have gone off Lexapro twice. It is a long process. It is hard to get off of. My main symptoms are tearfulness and brain freeze (feels like your brain moves from one side of the head to the other – weird and not uncommon in withdrawal). Have looked up all this on wikipedia and there are many symptoms and side effects. I’d say get off it and be willing to go through or otherwise treat the depression. Effexor, by the way, inhibits sleep, for me. Zoloft eventually leads to daytime sleep. I have tried several.

April 12, 2010 at 11:11 am
(11) suz says:

Lexapro helped my anxiety but not the depression. I am lacking motivation and want to sleep the day away

June 14, 2010 at 11:49 am
(12) Holly says:

I have tried many many antidepressants. My ex-psychiatrist changed my meds about every 6 months. I have been on every med mentioned here plus some. I took myself off antidepressants after 5 years of hell. After which my memory has been totally shot. I will not remember something I have to do, even if it’s right in front of me. Sometimes when people talk I have to repeat what they say in my mind as if my mind lags and it doesn’t understand things right away. I really thought I was alone in this. Thank God I’m not crazy for feeling this way!

October 5, 2011 at 9:14 am
(13) paigangel says:

im right there with you. if you are crazy, then i am too!!lol..

January 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm
(14) serenity says:

I am glad I found this thread. I am 31 and I was on anti-depressants from 19 until i was 27 and I said enough is enough. The pills gave me horrible side effects. From losing my hair, eye sight, muscle tremors, mild heart attack, and I think the worse is my Memory lost. It drives my husband nuts I think at times. I am trying to get my teacher license and pass the state test but I cant remember even simple things anymore because of the medication. It is so frustrating. I forget sometimes when I am out where I was going and I have to ask my six year old daughter to remind me because my short term is shot. I wish I could sue the makers of these pills because my life is hell now because of them. I have to read something 20 times just to remember it a little bit in my head. It makes me feel dumb. And the frustrating part is the pills never helped I have literally been on every pill on the market all they did was make me numb and hallucinate because I feel I was being over medicated. So now my daughter has the same problems I do I am bi-polar and OCD and she is OCD and ADD. My husband wants the pills because she is failing at school because she cant concentrate or set still I just cant bring myself to put her through the side effects and the permanent effects these pills have. So no to everyone who thinks they are crazy pills suck.

February 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm
(15) Lynn says:

I have been taking antidepressants for about 20yrs. Every combo of everything you can imagine. My short-term memory is totally shot. In addition, I can’t remember alot of spelling and grammar. I’m embarressed to write anything. I used to be a lawyer and now I appear very stupid at times. I easily forget that I just asked the same question. My husband thinks I am losing it, but I am sure it is the drugs. Is this permanent?

March 8, 2011 at 7:28 am
(16) Alice says:

I’ve also been on Efexor, for a year or so. It didn’t help fight my depression though. I do suffer from short term memory loss. When friends tell me what they did yesterday, I have to repeat it or write it down, or accept that I will have forgotten it an hour later. Sometimes my boyfriend tells me he’s going to do something awesome the next day, and I will have forgotten all about it then. :(

I also had Lexapro for a year. I was wondering if short term memory loss had anything to do with taking AD’s, and this thread is at least something.

April 18, 2011 at 8:14 am
(17) Julie says:

I have been on Paxil for 1.5 years now. I am so glad to have found this information. I have been thinking I was losing my mind!! I have definite memory loss, both short and long term. The other day I forgot I had been friends with someone a few years back. I had NO recollection until I found a ton of emails I had written to them. Apart from that I do have a hard time with details and day to day things. Mostly manageable but very irritating.

May 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm
(18) Hope says:

I was on zoloft for two years and a handful of other psych drugs for insomnia and anxiety. On the drugs I struggled with memory loss and poor memory recall. For example, I could not remember what i did the day before. By dinner I could not remember what I ate for lunch. I could not recall if something happened a day, or a week or a month ago. My concept of time was horrible. Memories I did have felt more like a movie I was watching rather than something I had actually experienced. Also, there are some things, events I seemed to form no memory of at all. For example, I have no memory of moving into my first house. I can try to remember and think back but I come up with nothing. Almost as if I was black out drunk (but I wasn’t). I don’t know if or how zoloft caused these things but since I have stoped taking the drugs (9 months ago) I have not had any new issues with memory loss. The time period when I was on the drugs is still a blur but everything since then is clear and memorable. Hope this helps!!

June 27, 2011 at 1:55 am
(19) Anne says:

I am nearly 38yo and have been taking anti-depressants on and off for about 15 years. None of them agree with me. Because of my memory loss I couldn’t even tell you which ones I have been on. I do remember zoloft and the most recent Lexapro. I was put on them due to having the “Mirena” IUD. Please no-one ever get that thing done!!! It was the IUD that caused my so called anxiety and made me angry all the time – then the docs put you on Lexapro because they say it is anxiety. But long story short – antidepressants do cause both long and short term memory loss. I am no longer on them, but can still feel the effects. Hate being at a loss for words – mind just goes foggy and you forget what you were saying in the middle of a sentence. At the age of 37 I was getting my mum to make phone calls for me because I sounded stupid. I ring mum at least a couple of times a day to tell her stuff so someone will remember. Makes me feel old and stupid.

November 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm
(20) animallover says:

I am truly grateful for all these posts. I have been on and off antidepressants for about 16 years and have tried many different ones and settled on the one that worked best with the least amount of side effects, which was cymbalta. This depression has defintely affected my confidence, especially with short and long term memory loss, foggy thinking, lack of motivation and fatigue. It feels like a lot of work to match my thoughts to my words, which makes me insecure in social situations. I have been working hard to correct this since I need to be on medication and there really isn’t any other alternative. There are different things I have found helps me with my confidence in this area. I am in a 12 step program where I force myself to speak a lot. My relationship with my Higher Power has gotten stronger through these challenges and I pray a lot for guidance, strength and courage to say the exact words I need to say. I try not to be so hard on myself if I forget to say something I wanted to. I just know that for whatever reason it wasn’t meant to be said. Also, I’m in Toastmaster’s, which is a public speaking group and that helps a lot to think on my feet and speak in front of a group. I play Scrabble which works my brain as well. I force myself into social situations. Knowing that I am doing what is in my control to do, and letting go of what I don’t have control over, knowing I’m doing my best, helps. I also spend time with people who are dealing with depression and on antidepressants. We support each other and it helps to know I’m not alone in my struggles. Thank you all for your sharing. It has helped me to know that I’m not alone and many others are dealing with the same issues. peace and blessings

July 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm
(21) Tiger says:

This is very scary… I am the same as most others..

Im in my mid thirties,I have been on for 5 yrs and feel my brain slowing down on a daily basis. My wife is always having a go at my memory. I wonder if it is time to try something different.

October 5, 2011 at 9:12 am
(22) paigangel says:

this is me too. i am going to ask my doctor about it. when i first started 11 years ago, i had some memory issues. i just found out i was pregnant. i had post partum first instead of after the baby. all the hormones caused a chemical depression and ocd. he said that i was depressed. when i told him initially about the memory loss, he said that it would go away when the meds. started for work. it was fine for most of the years, but the last year, it is really bad. i have been reluctant to talk to my doctor, because i finally found a combination that works, and previously i had to switch every 6 months. my husband has said that i have always been like this, but i know it wasnt this bad. when you recognize it because it is so bad, then it is a problem. i am going to talk to my doctor soon. i feel like i am getting early alzheimer. its scarey. like a previous post here, luckily i have my 11 year old that reminds me of things.

December 16, 2011 at 5:53 am
(23) sally says:

Thank god for these posts. i too have been having serious memory issues. I am a professional always top of their game but recently having embarrassing lapses, am seriously struggling and feel I am demanding more of my brain than it can handle. Have been on mirtazapine (Avanza) for depression for 5 years. 30mg at first and 45mg for last 2 years. I was so worried by my memory issues that I have recently had neurological tests and an MRI (which showed I have experienced numerous small ‘strokes’ but nothing excessive for my age. Apparently we all get them as we age…) I am 55. had mild depression for a brief period during a stressful phase and now nothing at all. But anxiety, so could not sleep. I took the pills for sleep. My husband questioned whether the pills were causing my shot memory. Now i think he’s right after reading your posts. i am very fit for my age, cycle 20 kms a day, gave up smoking in my 20s, eat really well. so i feel that the anti-depressant is the culprit. On a neurological test I did okay with no symptoms of a dementia and for the mini mental I got 100%. there is only one answer so I’m going to wean myself off starting 2nite and hope that I can recover. Thankyou Ladies.

December 29, 2011 at 3:32 am
(24) AusD says:

I think I am kind of on the flip side of this and if anyone could explain or give their poinion it would be much appreciated?
I was on anti-depressants for 15 years… This is aged 13-28. A whole bunch but mainy Zoloft for about 5 years & for the last 5 Lexapro.
I have weaned myself off them & in the last month I have been without them completely…. I am familiar with the dizziness, lighheadedness fever etc. and these have finally passed.
Now, when I was on the Lexapro right up to a couple of months ago, I was quite sharp & truly prided myself on having a great memory – My memory was actually one of my strong points.
However, since coming off these I now feel vague, distant & unable to concentrate on even the most simple of things.
I know it is still early days for me to have come off my medication, but I am desperate to stay off them after all this time because I don’t want the long term side-effects & I want to be myself for the first time in my life (15 years on meds is better then 50 right?)

SO my question is this:
Do you think that my memory might improve or do you think that 15 years of anti-depressants has “shot” my memory to pieces?

January 6, 2012 at 8:46 am
(25) ZippysMom says:

I am on Celexa and Lamictal. Until recently, my memory loss was manageable. Things like forgetting a book I had read, and not being able to summon up an author’s name. I loved the fact that I could be given a title of a book and I immediately knew the author’s name. But the WIERDEST thing that has happened is a horrible and heated argument with my husband where I told him “I was embarassed by him”. I don’t remember one moment of it.
I have been stressed out with the holidays and especially a visit from my mother for 5 weeks (lots of problems with Mom……) husband lost his job (found another at 1/2 salary, sold house, found a smaller one, very fortunate to even HAVE a job) Lots of things that downright scare me.
I don’t like the thought of changing meds – these are the only ones that help with my depression and anxiety – other meds had horrible side effects, and really had me thinking about suicide.
I don’t want to feel like that again. Is the memory loss just something I have to live with? What do you all think?

March 17, 2012 at 11:55 am
(26) Jai says:

Okay now I’m just pissed off!! I was unsure if my memory loss was due to the meds I have been on for years.. Currently I am on celexa and wellbutrin but i have been on effexor, seraquil, and more but cant seem to remember the names!. I talked to my doctor and told him my memory is getting really bad and i want to know if its from the meds and he shrugged it off and avoided the answer.

I used to be able to finish crossword puzzles and do soduku in seconds and i rocked at scrabble… Now if i cant remember a word to put in or finish a sentence i have to change it to fit around a new word an easier word.

April 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm
(27) CathyB says:

Have so much in common with all other anti depressant users. Memory has been very much affected. I will have to go off them and try and alternative way to deal with my depression. I’m so glad that I have found other people in the same boat as me.

April 24, 2012 at 11:39 am
(28) Carla says:

Been on lots of meds and have found most cause me to have some memory loss. Recently I started Nuvigil and it seems that the memory issues are increasing. It is very upsetting and frustrating not to be able to do something as simple as thinking. I hope these episodes of memory loss taper off. At one time I was going through a tough time and actually drove down the road on the wrong side for about 1 mile before it clicked that I was on the wrong side.

My heart goes out to all working so hard to make it through the sluge of depression and anxiety,

PS> For those of you trying to stop the Effexor I have found that if I miss a dose that fresh strawberries from the store really helps with the withdrawls.

June 28, 2012 at 11:56 am
(29) Sheryl says:

I was hoping that somewhere in this thread, somebody would say, “This particular medication does NOT make you lose your memory.” No such luck, I see. I have been on a few – Celexa, Zoloft, Pristiq, and some others I can’t remember. I would tell my dr that very orfen I can’t remember what I am saying in the middle of a sentence. She just writes down that it’s common, don’t worry about it. I’ve asked to get off meds & she just gives me something new to try, but I still feel the same – STUPID. The last one, Zoloft, also made me so sleepy that I just tapered down the dosage myself & have been off AD’s for a couple of months now. My memory still sucks, AND I feel shitty on top of that. I should also mention my husband is complaining about my mood, but he also complains like hell when I forget what I’m in the middle of doing or can’t find the right word to comlpete my sentence. The doc says I should be back on something, that the benefits for mood outweigh the side effects. So far I have resisted, but I have said that I’m risking my job by getting dumber. Shit, I think I’m gonna have to go back on something… and just make sure that it’s somewhere in my medical records – if there were some effects at my job, I can try to pull the “but I have a medical condition” card that everybody else does when they’re messing up.

July 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(30) Janine Peuter says:

My memory is worse than my 90 yr old fathers. I’m on Effexor xr 175 and I lack motivation for anything. Thought my depression was getting worse. When I was trying to get off it by taking a smaller dosage I started planning mine and my dads funeral in my head. Not that I was going to kill him or myself but just that feeling of doom so I’m scared to go off them. Will talk to dr now I have read your posts and I can say I’m not stupid or lazy it might be the meds yeh

November 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm
(31) bloosky says:

I’m not sure if you are talking about what I think you with “Dont’ worry, be happy” syndrome, but I did have this weird thing on ADs where it just seemed like I didn’t worry about things as much as I should have, if that makes sense. Like if something happened that a normal person would worry about and use that worry productively to be proactive about a problem, I didn’t have that normal level of worry so I let problems build up because I didn’t take any steps to correct them. I hope that makes sense. I saw it as a problem really because maybe I wasn’t depressed, but I also didn’t really care enough about things and it hurt me in my job.

December 10, 2012 at 2:25 am
(32) Emanon says:

I was on Zoloft for somewhat over a year, starting from when I was thirteen. Maybe how young I was is what made the memory loss particularly severe.

I don’t remember much from that time. Most of what I do remember is me realising I’ve forgotten something. Many arguments with my parents left me in tears, and after crying it out I’d forget what it was about and even whom specifically it was with. But it never really bothered me. I went along with it, assuming it was best I don’t remember anyway. Then I went to sleep. That’s how every day went. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t content like that, passively surrendering all my memories, and thus all the emotions, pleasant and unpleasant, tied to them.

When I was seventeen, I was seriously contemplating suicide just like before. I asked my mother if I could go back on my medication. She was horrified. She said it was like I wasn’t even fully conscious, I would forget everything, even if it happened a day, an hour, a minute before. And I would sleep so much.

On that note, in my case I don’t think Zoloft actually made me sleepy. Initially, for the first week, it did, but afterwards my body had adapted and adjusted to those effects. It was my contentedness and lack of drive that led me to sleep so much.

December 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm
(33) kiki says:

Really glad I found this information. I have been taking prozac for twenty years and just recently my memory has started to fall apart. I cannot remember if I have done things or not so I have to keep checking. I feel fuzzy in the head. The prozac has been great but I think I am about to start paying the price .

January 3, 2013 at 11:11 pm
(34) Sara Bellum says:

I have been on Celexa -LexaPro’s generic brother for many years. Motivation. Awful. Isolate, and have lost interest in reading and working out and painting. It takes Soo much effort to attend to the basics.

No longer believe these pills are the answer but rather the Problem. Most of these doctors, and decent as they seem are just being worked into what little profit they can pull out by prescribing the latest and greatest AD. Truth is, the ALL suck. Unless someone is psychotic or schizophrenic, these meds are just plain Unproven Long term and more harm to the brain than good. Add in other medications and you have a serious serious issue.

I have weened myself off before but was not patient enough and restarted. I will be much more prepared this time. Very gradual, with good food and lots of water and rest.

Doctors have a LOT at stack if they do not push Big Pharma. They will loose first dibs at new meds. Besides, I really think this is one of the ways they control the populace: numb them out on medication, dope or alcohol. Easier to Incarcerate or bury than fight a fully engaged citizen.

February 6, 2014 at 11:18 pm
(35) Margaret Atchinson says:

Hi. I am so relieved. I have been to the doctors three times out of worry regarding my memory. People joke about walking into a room and forgetting why they went in and will use that analogy when I try to mention my memory worries. My memory loss has been scaring me over this past year or so. I have been taking citalopram for a few years now. I have also felt tired, disinterested and worthless. Has anyone tried a new antidepressant and had good results?
I am so grateful to find this site and hope it is still active. Thanx

March 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm
(36) Louise says:

So so pleased to have found this thread!! I have been on venlafaxine since I was 18 I am now 23. (5 years on meds) I have also been on and off quetiapine, an antipsychotic. I was on it for about a year when 18 and have just recently been prescribed it again. Well, joining the crew, I too have a TERRIBLE memory!!

I have just started to really notice this over the past 6 months.. but looking back over the past 5 years, it is sooo patchy. I feel like the whole 5 years was a blur. I just don’t know where it has gone. My short term and long term memory has been effected. I have very few memories from this time and I am struggling to make new memories. I am so much slower than I used to be. I used to be such a quick learner with a great memory and now I struggle to process information and understand simple concepts. I have no concept of time either.. I do not remember whether something has been said to me an days, hours or seconds ago.

I have been at university but I am unable to complete my final year due to having such poor cognitive skills. Even general thinking is a chore and never name problem solving!

I was blaming this all on several things including alcohol and a self harm incident.. but having read all these comments, it all makes sense now. I feel both relieved and angry. Relieved because I am not the only one experiencing this but angry that so many people are suffering and despite having spoken to numerous doctors about this, it has always been shrugged and more tablets given. I have even planned to end my life because I thought I can’t be ‘fixed’.

Under supervision I will be weaning off these pills asap.

Thanks and good luck to everyone. Keep faith!

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