Persistent Brain fog and anxiety


I am new here and this is my first post. I initially decided to stay away from internet forums but I am in desperately need of support now. I am a 23 year old male from India. I took 15 mg finasteride (over a period of one month) last year i.e. July 2019. I started cutting my pills into half after first five pills were giving me sides.

I gradually started developing symptoms from the 2-3rd pill but kept taking it because I didn’t want to accept it was an outcome of finasteride. I was trying to convince me it is all psychosomatic and will go away if I dont think about it. I only have mental sides, even that is limited to cognitive functions and anxiety. I feel my head is filled with something heavy. On the brightside, I dont have any sexual side effects. My orgasm may not be as strong but that can directly be an outcome of brainfog.

For the past one year Brain fog and anxiety remains on and off through the day. It has improved manifold and the progress to improvement has been non-linear (i.e. it gets a lot worse before it gets a lot better)

On this day, I feel a lot better, but I still don’t feel hundred percent and it is still affecting my academic studies which was completely shunted for the past year. Many times last year I Have felt that I have recovered 90% and it will only take another week for me to get 100%. But, I am really worried considering it has been happening for the last 6 months and I am starting to worry if it will ever be 100%.

I dont really have a job yet and I was looking for one before I took finasteride. I told my self lets take finasteride, deal with hairloss first and then I will focus on the job aspect. But finasteride changed everything.

I am badly in need of words of encouragement. So can the long time members of this forum, please help me on how to deal with this emotionally ?
Does it get 100% better for people, or does it only get better upto a point where people can function?
Do people who have PFS here have normal stable jobs and family life?
Is it wise to tell your family that you have pfs, considering mental health is a taboo in India and awareness about it is meagre.?

Please dont be negative and make positive respones because I am really in a panic mode. The better I get the more worried I become because I start comparing how my life would have been if I never took this drug.

Thank you.


You know, even if your post wasn’t asking for exclusively positive replies, I’d still post here saying how promising it looks for you.

To have improved gradually and escaped sexual sides to me looks and reads like many of the natural recoveries I’ve read about. Needless to say NEVER touch fin, dutasteride etc and be wary of 5AR inhibitors and maybe even antidepressants from this point on, but it looks for all the world like you’ll just recover now in time.

A common theme is ups and downs though. Watch out for that. Unpleasant though they may be they could be taken as a good sign. If you’ve felt 90% at stages then that’s just super. A few months or years maybe you’ll have forgotten about PFS or not noticed you’ve been ok for some time.

I myself run/ran the gamut of sides but mentally I am SO much better than I was and I’ve got every faith you will be too and you’ll leave PFS behind soon enough pal.

EDIT - I also DETEST posts that say “you don’t have REAL PFS so you don’t know what it’s like etc” but this is my kneejerk. Understand that is IN NO WAY intended to diminish your experiences and suffering; I have no doubt any taste of the horrors of this are terrible to face for all of us, whatever our symptoms, but I’m saying in nonetheless JUST because my intention is letting you know that, from all I’ve read over the years, it doesn’t seem like you’ve got something devastating that’s not improving on its own. I mean for you to take a bit of comfort in that, and feel like you’ve dodged/escaped the worst of what this condition can throw at a person. I hope that’s how it’s received too.

In any case I’m sure it’ll ease up in time, months maybe years. Take care out there, don’t hang around but tell us when you’re better please. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you so much. I obviously will never touch finasteride etc.

When you said “years” You meant 1-1.5 years right… And not over that?? :stuck_out_tongue:
To be honest on bad days I feel suicidal like it’s something that has to be done (morally justified) . I have no other choice left. But I always remind me that It will get better like it always does (not 100%, just better than where I am rn)

What were your side effects? Did you recover completely?
If you have, and not to sounds rude, why are you still active on the forum?

Please, keep replying guys, I just need a safe place to vent out and get through. Considering my improvement I am really hopefully it will get better really soon, maybe under 6 months. But I am in real need of some encouragement as I have been through a lot in the past one year and have no one to talk to.

1 Like

Most people here do see improvements if not get fully better by just staying away from finasteride and l trying to live healthy. I took finasteride twice for a period of about a year each and both gave me new symptoms. My last attempt left me with really bad anxiety that I’m now taking medication for and I feel A LOT better mentally. If things get too bad it might be worth seeking out a psychiatrist like I did and getting their advice. Do know that ssris are their likely first choice but you can always ask to try a different class of drugs first. I’m only saying this if you feel you really need it, I’ve been way worse off over the last 8 years of pfs but it can get better. And if you ever feel the need to talk to someone don’t hesitate to message me

How long before did you take your second attempt at finasteride?
Did they all subside and Are you able to perform all functions normally?
It really gives me the chills when I hear someone say they have suffered for something like 6-7 years.
I mean, I feel a lot better than I did last year. So it is only reasonable to consider that it will only get better. But, I am really worried that I will never feel like my old self again.
But good thing is, on my good days It’s like I keep getting glimpses of my past so I take that as a good sign.

I just wanna be better and Leave PFS behind like a bad dream which gave a lot of valuable lessons.

Thank you

I initially took finasteride from October 2012-February of 2014. I wasn’t so bad off as most here from my initial usage. My main problems were low libido, sensitivity, and almost no feeling from orgasm and feeling unrefreshed from sleep. None of these got better really and I just learned to live with it. Took finasteride again from February 2018 until January 2019. Sexual problems stayed the same but I started getting severe anxiety, derealization and depression. Stopped and started to feel a little better in some aspects but anxiety has been unbearable over the last few months so I started medication and it has completely alleviated this anxiety. I think in my case that finasteride depleted certain neurosteroids low enough that it triggered psychiatric problems that I’m susceptible to but probably wouldn’t have been as bad without the finasteride usage

At first instance of finasteride use, there were no mental side-effects?
Also what medication do you use for anxiety?
Is it just anxiety or brain fog and lack cognitive abilities as well?
If lack of cognitive abilities as well, was it relieved as well with medication?

I didn’t have mental problems on my first go with finasteride until around the time I quit. I noticed I was getting anxiety and close to panic attacks but this all normalized a month or so after stopping.

Cognitively I don’t feel at my best, but I’m good enough to function at work. In my case I think my anxiety was making cognition worse, as I was close to panic attacks most days which sent me into a state of feeling derealized and dizzy. Once I got my anxiety under control, I felt way better cognitively but I still experience a bit of brain fog at most times where I don’t feel 100% normal, but it’s livable.

As for medication I’ve been taking lexapro for the last month which completely obliterated my anxiety at a low dose but left me more depressed and apathetic so I was switched to Trintellix a week ago. Right now I’m a little bad off anxiety wise but it was like this with the lexapro until my brain adjusted. One benefit of the Trintellix is that it’s been shown to actually improve cognition in a few studies. One thing that worries me is that it functions inversely to fluoxetine in the sense that it inhibits Gaba somewhat while fluoxetine increases allopregnanolone and Gaba activity (which is why some people on here have taken it for brain fog) I’ll just have to see how it plays out for me I guess

I don’t want to come off as saying anyone should take these meds, as a popular theory is that if you’re predisposed to pfs you’re predisposed to pssd. I hope this isn’t the case as I’ve actually been better off sexually since starting the meds, but I didn’t see many other options in my case.

I’ve also used benzodiazepines for anxiety but they aren’t supposed to be used long term, so it’s also an option if you really need it short term. But addiction and withdrawal from them can be pretty brutal

To be honest, I don’t want to take any more pills for anything.
I am only trying to live healthy, exercise and keep my gut well functioning as suggested by the forum members.

My only question is have you in your experience on the forum… Seen full recoveries, people going one 100% normal like there older versions. I can give it some time a year maybe little more than that.

Because I really want to be like that, I have dreams and aspirations which I am not willing to give up on. :frowning:

Did you also have mental side effects, because your form suggests you only had sexual side effects. ?

Did they subside?

I’m not suggesting you should take anything. I’m just throwing out my personal experience to you or anyone that listens in case they have tried the diets and exercise and supplements like I did and are at their whits end mentally and need to resort to that.

As far as recoveries, there’s stories on the site of plenty of people recovering from various symptoms but in my case I’ve never seen anyone saying they’ve gone from zero feeling from orgasm back to normal. But as far brain fog and what not there are plenty of stories if you use the search function. Thing is, it’s hard to believe some of them because 1. It’s the internet and 2. A lot of them disappear forever right after posting they recovered so you can’t get any info out of them

Also man once you hit 3 months off the drug and if you still have symptoms please take the site survey, it’s important for those of us who don’t get better

1 Like

Okay I will.
Yes, I do understand that it’s the internet, but it’s good to be hopeful that I will recover considering my symptoms are improving. I hope they do.

Hello again - yes, started out with just sexual then the insomnia set in, the “tired but wired” feeling, the very shut-in and panic feeling, all emotions bar the ongoing horror stopped. Exercise gave me a sort of searing “sour headache” feeling which was always there, but made it worse. As did masturbation.

EDIT - also recently had to stop gym. Joints hurt.

It would be against the rules to tell you something fixed sleep, disconnection from the world (largely) and a whole bunch of mental unhappiness and “world immersion” feelings, so I won’t. But I can say that at the same time as I was taking the PCT from a steroids cycle (clomid, nolva and HCG) these symptoms improved hugely. Hopefully they stuck too, still experimenting.

Okay, I hope you keep getting better.

I was so optimistic for the past one year. After half a year, I was like one more month and I’ll be fine… Just one more and I’ll be fine. And now it’s almost 1 year (5-10 days short) and I am freaking out. Despite the fact I have gotten a lot better overtime.

Coming on this forum is also making me anxious reading stories of people suffering for so long. I don’t want that for me. I know I shouldn’t have taken the pill in the first place but I can not turn back time.

Do you think staying away from the internet is a good idea??

Also, the other commenter said full recoveries are rare and unverified. Do you think that is true?

I just want to get better and leave PFS behind.

Please keep replying.

Yeah don’t read too much into that. Recoveries happen often enough. I’d also say if you’re improving to the extent you feel like you’re one month away and it’s only been a year you’re on the right road. Also back to my previous edit on “real” PFS vs the sort people bounce back from. You got no sexual sides. And again, although I don’t want to be telling you “you’re lucky you don’t have REAL PFS” because of that, I do mean it but only as far as I’d say “I think you have something you’ll get better from” rather than attempting to diminish or invalidate your experience and suffering.

In short, having been a sufferer for nigh on 2 years and read the majority of this and other fora in my opinion it looks good for you, and if you feel like staying away would do some good then definitely do so.

Although come back one day and tell us when you’re fully recovered, if you can. Be another recovery story. :slight_smile:

I wasn’t trying to tell you recoveries are impossible, just saying that for a lot of us waiting around doing nothing doesn’t really fix anything. For some it does though

Thanks a Ton man.

For the entire last year, I never considered me a PFS sufferer. Mainly for two reasons:

  1. I don’t have any symptom below the neck… Not even neck it’s just my forehead that feels heavy which makes me delusional and in a ‘Zombie’ like state.

  2. I never had a crash after quitting finasteride. I had symptoms while I was taking finasteride which progressively increased, and started to improve when I stopped.

The only reason I freaked out was that I am inching closer to 1-year mark and I started to worry a lot. I came here and my anxiety increased even more.

You’ve been a real sport man. I am saying adios to this website. When I am recovered (and I deliberately use the word when and not if :P) I’ll take a month or two of cooling period and come back.

If I need encouragement in the process at any time i’ll come back again.

Right now I am saying adios to this website because I feel It’s the best for me. Thanks a ton again. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I know, and I really hope you keep getting better. I really appreciate you replying in pretty much the hardest part of my life. See you later :slight_smile: