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Transforming: Need help with a plan of action


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I have never been on meds but I know someone who has been and is currently suffering from the negative side effects. I joined this group so I can help her. I am just starting to familiarize myself with the negative short and long terms effects of meds and appreciate any support so that in turn I can support her. A few years ago she took Zoloft for anxiety for about two years and claims it helped her, she was on 37.50 mg. About a year ago she stopped abruptly without tapering off and without any support. Six weeks ago she started taking Zoloft again. She started with 25 mg, and started going up to 50 mg as per her psychiatrist instructions. About three weeks ago she started having really bad reactions as she started going up and down for about two weeks. This was really bad. She fragmented even more, is very emotional, sensitive, and in a lot of pain and agony. She's been on 50 mg for the last eight days. I would like to help her taper off but thought she needed to stabilize. She is super scared but is hearing me. But I don't really know for how long she should stay on 50mg until we start tapering her off. This is a question I have for the group. It is a challenge because I am supporting her and of course she is scared and not sure who to believe and follow, but the very least I can do is educate myself and educate her.  But I would like to suggest a plan for her. What do you recommend? Should she stay on 50 mg for some time? For how long? What does it mean that she needs to stabilize before she starts tapering off? When should she start tapering off? Thank you! 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Transforming,

It sounds like your friend is on a too high dose and having a bad reaction. Jumping around in dose is also not a good idea because it destabilizes the nervous system. Did she feel better on 25mg?


Could you give a little more detail about the symptoms she is having? ... and when they started?


When we have a few more details, we will be in a better position to offer support and suggestions.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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Thank you Petunia for your prompt reply, I really appreciate it. I do think she is on a high dose. It felt to me that she was better at 25mg, but my fear is that going back down right away will continue to destabilize her? I noticed that when she started going from 25mg to then 37.5 to then 50mg the symptoms started getting worse. To begin with she is having a depressive episode due to a work situation that started 6 weeks ago. That led her to start taking the meds. So she was already pretty depressed but I noticed that the meds made her much more emotional, she is crying a lot, she is much more depressed, has a really hard time making decisions, doesn't feel like herself, can't value herself (this is in big part because of the trauma from the job situation) says she wants to come off the meds, or try a different med (she still is not sure she should be off meds altogether), is having headaches at night, thirst, and is super scared that the symptoms are not going to go away. She is in agony. Those are some of the obvious symptoms. Should she go down to a lower dose right away and then start tapering off? She's been at 50mg for eight days. 


Thank you so much! Hope this is enough info?

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Were her symptoms worse at the 37.5 mg or the 50mg?  I'm not a moderator or staff...but I've walked (and am still on!) the horrible road of CT and too fast tapers off of Zoloft.  My heart goes out to your friend.

On Zoloft for 10 years (50 mg) for GAD & panic attacks

Weaned off fall of 2013, terrible set back in Feb '14 back on 100 mg & trazadone to sleep.

Did CT off of Zoloft in May 2014 - bad decision!

Back on 50 mg Zoloft & Xanax as needed (was upped to 75 mg by doctor in Feb 2015)

Started to wean off of Zoloft in April 2015 ~ totally off Zoloft in Oct 2015 and now am on Buspar 11.25 mg to help.

I was on a 50 mg pill & 25 mg pill - I cut the 25 mg pill in half (12.5) and took that with the 50 for 6 weeks - 1st week June 2015

 50 mg for another 6 weeks. 25 mg in half and the 50 mg in half (37.5), 25 mg mid Sept for about 2 weeks.,1/2 of the 25 mg last week of Sept/1st week of Oct then off.

Update** 9 mg Zoloft reinstated early Nov 15, along with 1.5 mg Buspar daily. On .50 of Buspar & 9 mg of Zoloft. Oct '16 - off of Buspar, Nov '16 - down to 7.5 mg Zoloft. March'17 - 4 mg Zoloft. July'17 - 2 mg, Sept 1 mg. Oct'17 - off! Done!

I also take magnesium, L theanine, Gaba Calm, L Glutamine, Vit B complex(for methyl issues), Liver & Gall bladder support, Zinc, Whole Food Vit C & Fish Oil. DARE & the bible are the tools I use to help navigate this  process.



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  • Moderator Emeritus

It sounds like your friend was on too high a dose. We often find that people's nervous systems are really sensitive after a CT. I would drop down to 25 and then wait it out for awhile to see of her system calms down. I would also start to implement non drug ways of dealing with emotions, find ways to soothe her system - here is a link on that - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/


What are the options to address the work issue? Piling ongoing trauma on top of a destabilised nervous system is really harmful.



Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.


DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017


>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It would help so much if she could come in here herself.  We sometimes help parents with their children - but parents can help with regimen and regime.  You are just a "concerned friend."  You can only do what we do - suggest.  It's up to her to make her own choices.


While I appreciate your desire to help your friend, you cannot heal her for her - she has to take responsibility for her own choices and tapers.


We have lots of questions that you may not be able to answer - like:  how did she feel at 25 mg?  How long was she on that dose?  When she went up to 50 mg (per p-doc instructions) what were her symptoms?  How long was it between each dose change?  When was her last dose change?  How long was she on each dose?


As you see from our signatures, sometimes this is detailed information that you may not have access too.  


You may be able to relay some of this information, but it would, realistically, be better for her to answer herself.  This is a site for minimizing, reducing, and eliminating psych drugs - we cannot advise for "ongoing protocols."


You're a good soul for trying to help your friend - and she will thank you for it someday (but it may get worse before it gets better).  We'd love to help, but it would be a clearer path to help her, than help you help her.  If she is open and receptive, she should be able to come here.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna


Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.


My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.


A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.

The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/



I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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