difficult children physical maladies - physical or psychiatric?


Active Member
OK - So I need some insight from this wonderfully knowledgeable group!

In the last 6 months my son has gone through some radical medication changes. He went off of Depakote, Seroquel, and Effexor - and started Clonidine. Two months ago, this change was complete. It has been 9 years since he has been off of an anti-psychotic like Seroquel, and although mentally he is doing extremely well, physically he has developed all of these physical maladies. Some seem like sensory issues, others are actual physical complaints. When he was younger he did have some Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) issues, but not this complex of symptoms.

I am going to list the "issues" for you guys, if that is OK
-his skin is always dry - he cannot stand it he says - and it makes him very upset that his skin feels so tight - he cannot have the fan on because it "hurts" him
-a lot of kinds of food are "wrong" - it either "gives him a headache", or "tastes bad"
-every smell drives him crazy - I cannot clean with any cleansers, or use perfume, or cook certain things
-his pants always feel wrong on his legs - if he gets really upset he cannot wear his clothes because they feel "so wrong"
-daily diarreah ( I think we might have narrowed this down to dairy products)
-daily headaches (we have just gone on a migraine trigger foods diet to see if the headaches are diet related)
-back aches
-any aspirin, tylenol, or advil I give him for his maladies makes him feel "hot, horrible, my heart races, my skin gets too dry, and I feel like I am going insane"

I could probably go on and on, but I will spare you. What are your thoughts? Can a 16 yo have sudden onset of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID)? If so, what do you do? Or do you think he is just being melodramatic? Or could he have some physical problems like an auto immune disorder, i.e. the constant aches and pains.

I am just bashing my head against a wall trying to figure out what is wrong - and he has been to 2 gen dr and his psychiatrist who all have no idea what it could be. It is like his whole body is out of wack......

Thanks for any help.



Just a guess here (cause clearly I'm not a doctor), but I'm thinking he's having withdrawal symptoms from Effexor. Withdrawal from an antidepressant can include all of the symptoms you're describing, and it can take several months for the symptoms to subside so you may need to give it some time. Effexor is one of the worst antidepressants to wean from. Google Effexor withdrawal, and you'll see what I mean.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #CC0000"> okay, i can totally relate to the fan & pants issues. when i go to sleep i pull the blanket up & have the fan directly on me. i can't stand being hot but the feel of the air blowing across me beyond belief.

my son in the past year....he's 20....has developed a lactose intolerance. sarah a mild allergy to eggs. for the past few months cheese can give me a very upset stomach....really tough when you like things with-mozzarella & ricotta lol.

none of this, however, i medication related. how long ago were his medication changes complete?

</span> </span> </span>
Oh that poor kid.

I really have no advice. I just SO feel for him. To me, it does not sound melodramatic...I may get flamed right off this board for saying this, but I would possibly question it if you had a girl. I know my older daughter was a total drama queen.

Now, I know I developed a sensitivity to smell when I was pregnant. Of course, your son is not pregnant, but my point is, I was an adult. Hormones?

Eucerin Calming Creme (it is a body lotion) is a product that I just started using. It really helps with the "tight" feeling your skin can get.

Good luck with this, Amber. Hugs and prayers.


Active Member
<span style="color: #003300">He was completely off of the Effexor about 3 1/2 months ago. He ended up in the psychiatric hospital right after going off of Effexor due to the fact he became really depressed. It was hard to determine though, if it was the Effexor or the sudden diagnosis of his grandpas brain cancer that made him depressed - maybe both. While he was there at the psychiatric hospital they took him off of Seroquel which is really when I started to notice the bulk of these physical symptoms.

Do you think it could be both the Seroquel and the Effexor withdrawal reeking havoc with his system? I don't know. Or maybe the Seroquel was suppressing his sensory integration issues? Or maybe it is still the Effexor 4 months later? Or maybe the Clonidine?

It is really frustrating. Especially since docs have no answers. I will get that cream for him though, thanks kris. </span>


My other thought is that both Effexor and Seroquel treat anxiety, and that Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) symptoms and somatic complaints can both emanate from anxiety. Furthermore, Clonidine (according to my son's psychiatrist) can increase irritability.


Active Member
mallworld - perhaps you are right!!!!!!!!!!!! I had not thought about that!

I noticed in your profile that your son takes Propanaol (sp?). Just curious, is that for anxiety or blood pressure? How effective do you think it it? My son has both anxiety and high BiPolar (BP), but the Clonidine only addresses the blood pressure. Perhaps I will mention the Propanaol to the psychiatrist.

Any other thoughts out there? Thanks all!


My son takes Propranolol for migraines. Believe it or not, this blood pressure medication is prescribed off-label as a migraine preventive, and it works wonders for him. He's been on it for 4 years with a dramatic decrease in headaches (I was giving him Motrin 5 to 6 times a week before Propranolol). Although Propranolol is also prescribed off-label for stage fright, in my son's case, it hasn't been all that helpful for anxiety. But his anxiety is sky high. We're currently working on increasing his Lamictal and then possibly Lexapro over the summer.


Well-Known Member
Effexor is one of the hardest antidepressants to withdrawn from. Only Paxil is worse. It is possible to have irritating to horrible symptoms months after withdrawal. I found this info:
Effexor Withdrawal
Symptoms and Strategies

Be prepared for the effexor withdrawal symptoms by learning techniques and strategies for dealing with the pain.

Effexor withdrawal symptoms, along with paxil withdrawal symptoms, have truly set the standard for pain and suffering from an antidepressant.

As you continue to read, here's a few things to keep in mind about effexor withdrawal symptoms:

* Severe withdrawal symptoms can develop from patients on any level of dosage, so if you're taking a low dose don't think you're necessarily safe.

* Effexor withdrawal symptoms can easily last two months or more, and some people don't feel back to normal even after a year of discontinuation.

* Because effexor has a 'half-life' of about five hours, withdrawal symptoms can develop from missing only one dose.

(The half-life refers to the amount of time it takes the body to metabolize one-half of the drug.) Five hours is a frighteningly short half-life for a drug of this nature. It almost guarantees problems.

* One Harvard study found 78% of patients experienced withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing effexor xr making it the only drug worse than paxil in this regard.

In the next few paragraphs you're going to learn just how serious this can get. You'll also learn about a valuable free resource that can help.

So what's the 'official' word on withdrawal?

Wyeth-Ayerst, the manufacturer of effexor and effexor xr, did a survey of all the patients in the clinical trial's testing program. According to their method of counting, 35% of the Effexor patients experienced withdrawal symptoms ranging from a flu-like syndrome to insomnia, nausea, nervousness, and loss of energy.

Also, from the FDA medical products reporting program, the list of withdrawal symptoms from effexor include:

agitation, anorexia, anxiety, confusion, coordination impaired, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, dysphoric mood, fasciculation, fatigue, headaches, hypomania, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, sensory disturbances (including shock-like electrical sensations), somnolence, sweating, tremor, vertigo, and vomiting.

One more common effect not mentioned above is long term vision problems.

Most likely, 35 percent is an underestimate of Effexor's withdrawal problems.

What's not in dispute is the high number of 'serious' side effects from withdrawal.

'Serious' events occurred in 201 of the 2,181 Effexor patients in the FDA's safety evaluation, or 9 percent overall.

What does this mean to you?

Withdrawal is nothing to play around with. Some people have been forced to open a capsule, count out the number of granules, and take one less granule every day. As a way to deal with the withdrawal pain.

(You can't just remove one granule, because some capsules have more granules than others. You have to count the number in each pill each day.)

HOpe that helped. I copy and pasted it.



Active Member
WOW - I had NO idea about Effexor!!!!! ! I will talk to psychiatrist Thurdsay about anxiety and Effexor withdrawal.


New Member
So sorry your difficult child is going through this, it is so frustrating and hard to see in your kid.

When my difficult child went off effexor he really never had problems with sensory issues. My son went throught the worst, violent rages and hallusinations he has every experienced: horrible language, threatening us with knives, seeing things that weren't there, night terrors,physical pain & really mean. We had to send our older easy child to my sisters for that whole week. Because the withdrawl & horrible behavoirs lasted about a week. Our psychiatrist put him on Risperdal (he has been on that every since). This was 9 months ago. The Risperdal really calmed the rages quickly....it isn't until now that we are experiencing some Risperdal side affects, possibly.

Big hugs & prayers....


New Member
-a lot of kinds of food are "wrong" - it either "gives him a headache", or "tastes bad"
-every smell drives him crazy - I cannot clean with any cleansers, or use perfume, or cook certain things
-daily headaches (we have just gone on a migraine trigger foods diet to see if the headaches are diet related)

This sounds like migraine's to me (being a HUGE migriane sufferer myself). Could be maybe triggered by medication withdrawl??? Who knows. Could be coincidence because he's 16 and hormones are going nutz in his body.

Just curious...on the foods that taste "wrong" and "give him a headache"....do they contain artificial sweeteners? Like aspartame, splenda, nutrasweet, sucralose, etc? If it's Diet, Lite, Light, Low Carb, No Sugar Added, Atkins Friendly, etc, it probably does. Those foods are a big trigger for me. Try eliminating those foods (and drinks) from his diet to see if it helps.

Strong smells are another big one...cleansers, candles, perfumes, foods, etc.

The other stuff....sounds like high aggitation. When I'm highly aggrivated my hair isn't right, my clothes aren't right, and I just want to rip everything off and shave my head. It isn't pretty.


When my daughter was weaned two summers ago from Paxil (the other AD mentioned as horrible to discontinue), she had nausea, dizziness, headache and diarrhea for several weeks. She was flat on the couch as if she had been stricken with the flu. If school had been in session, she would have missed at least two weeks. Her psychiatrist said her symptoms were consistent with Paxil withdrawal.