Supermodel Paulina Porizkova"s "midlife affair" with antidepressants was "emotional Botox"

“I felt emotionally Botoxed”: Former supermodel Paulina Porizkova admits “midlife affair” with antidepressants

1:44 AM on 19th May 2011

Paulina Porizkova

Anxiety attacks: Paulina Porizkova has admitted a “midlife affair” with the antidepressant Lexapro

Two decades on from her Eighties heyday, Paulina Porizkova remains one of the world”s most beautiful women.

But while the former supermodel, 46, may look perfect from the outside, it appears things have been less so on the inside after she admitted that she was hooked on antidepressants for two years.

In an editorial published on the Huffington Post today she revealed that a series of crippling anxiety attacks prompted her doctor to prescribe the drug Lexapro.

The mother-of-two, who has been married to The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek since 1989, revealed that while the medication helped at first, she became increasingly numb to the world around her, describing how it affected everything from her ability to form opinions to her sex drive.

Likening it to “emotional Botox”, she wrote: “I found I had no need to actually say anything. This, for a writer, is akin to a cook who has no appetite… I no longer bothered to fight with my girlfriends, or husband.

“I could just shrug and walk away from situations that previously had me in endless knots analyzing and discussing.”

On making love to her husband, she continued: “It felt as though I was being touched through a barrier, or, in this instance, a thick and cumbersome rug.

“After a while, it seemed likebeing intimate was just too much work for too little pay.”

Ms Porizkova says she knew she had a problem when she began to feel guilty about her habit, sometimes even finding her herself lying about her dependence.

“When I had to have a physical for insurance on America”s Next Top Model, I truthfully wrote down the only medication I took, Lexapro,” she revealed. “Writing was admitting it, and I did so with a fair bit of trepidation.

“Unfortunately, this was promptly broadcast all over the ANTM production set. It seems I couldn”t be properly insured on a TV set if Iwas taking an antidepressant.

Flawless: Ms Porizkova pictured at the height of her fame when she was 26

Flawless: Ms Porizkova pictured at the height of her fame when she was 26

“I had just started taking it, and this reaction was exactly what I had feared. I was judged crazy. Unstable.”

She tells how it took three weeks to wean herself off the medication -and life without is something she is still learning to adjust to.

“The weaning was predictably unpleasant,” she wrote. “Three weeks of being tired and shaky from wrangling with awful dreams.

“And then anxiety came creeping back: the clamminess, the suddenly speeding heart, the heat flashes, the disorientation.

“But this time, I also became aware of something I may have previously neglected… with my career at crossroads,my children no longer needing me every minute and my face and body beginning to cave under the demands of gravity, I had something to be a little down about.”

In lieu of medication she turned to exercise, upping her routine to include daily workouts.

“I could finally understand thedrug addicts who had cleaned up but wrestled with the urge to use everyday,” she explained.

Ms Porizkova says that years of misery, soul-searching and learning have since helped her to come to terms with her problems.

“Emotional Botox”: Lexapro affected everything from Ms Porizkova”s ability to form opinions to her sex drive

She wrote: “I am on some sort of an accelerated life comprehension program I didn”t sign up for, but nevertheless must process.”

But, she realised, she is not alone. As she came clean about her problems with Lexapro, she found more and more women were suffering from similar plights.

“As I got braver and dared to speak more openly about what I perceived asa terrible weakness, my girlfriends, one by one, stepped up and admitted that they were also on antidepressants,” she revealed.

“At one point, I found myself at a girls” night out dinner and discovered all eight of us were on assorted antidepressants…The reasons were diverse, but what we had in common were our age ranges and being married with children.

“Was this the female equivalent of a male midlife crisis – Botox and antidepressants instead of the fast car and young chick … I”m starting to wonder whether antidepressants can often be the emotional equivalent of plastic surgery.”

She concedes that there is a place for antidepressants and she is not an anti-medicine crusader. But medication should not be treated as a shortcut.

“There must be a large percentage of people for whom an antidepressant makes the difference between life and death, or at the very least, the difference between a life worth living and a life to be endured.

“But I also think that those who try to take the shortcuts – the pill to lose weight, the pill to be happy, the pill to be smart, to sleep, to be awake, are just running up their tab. And there may not be a pill when you”re presented with the bill. Which you will.”