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BringMePeaceBringMeComfort - 6 months off Zoloft and at my worst


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Hello all, I suppose I am writing to see if I am crazy or not, if others have had the same problems, or if it is like the psychiatric community says and I just need to be on an SSRI. Is this really me? Or is this still the Zoloft?

I was put on Zoloft when I was 18 for anxiety relating to going to college. I had always been an anxious child, and suffered from some depressive episodes in highschool. I wasn't awesome, but it wasn't until I went on zoloft that I feel I really got out of control. For the most part, it did a pretty good job of numbing me out, but when I blew, I BLEW.

I was on it for 12 years. Tried to wean off at least five times as I did not feel it was doing much, maybe even making me slightly more unstable, and of course the sexual dysfunction and weight gain weren't fabulous either, but I could never get through the initial withdrawal.

Finally I gathered all my courage and took the plunge last year and was completely weaned by October. I made it through the weaning months of physical hell and some emotional roller-coastering and thought I had it nailed, once I was completely off things seemed to be getting better. Then since the beginning of this year things have been a complete mess. I have lost my job, lost my friends, my romantic relationship is hanging by a thread. I also suffer from Lyme, so I am constantly unsure what physical symptoms are due to that or the zoloft. But the emotions are another thing entirely. I can barely function, my anxiety keeps me in the house most days. I have regular panic attacks over the silliest things and I cry ALL THE TIME. I couldn't make it through San Andreas the other day without bawling. I had my ups and downs before, but the downs, though more severe since taking the Zoloft, also revereted themselves within a few weeks and didnt happen except maybe once or twice a year.

Now, my nerves are shot, I am exhausted all the time, I have horrible acne, I feel week, nauseous, headaches. I've developed obsessive disorders and worst of all, because of all this, I have become severely depressed and suicidal at times(not sure if I am allowed to say that on here, but it is the truth).  I can't describe the total sense of loss of control. The loss of myself. 

Some days I have it a little together, but most days I dont. The littlest stressor will send me completely over the edge.

I am seeing a nutritionalist and holistic medicine doctor to try to rebalance my completely depleted adrenals, I go to meditation class, I see a therapist, I exercise three plus days a week, I eat all organic all homemade meals, I even started acupuncture, I basically do everything by the book but am still about as messed up as you can be.

My therapist believes I need to go back on medication, that I am wired this way and my only hope is drugs. My mom (who is also a shrink and who I currently live with) believes drugs as the reason I am like this now in the first place and feels hesitant about me throwing my system back into another chemical upheaval. I agree with each of them depending on the day and time.

Everything I have read online says you are supposed to be back to normal after three months, maybe four. I am going in month six and things seem to be getting worse. Is this common, is this still withdrawal? Is the withdrawal worth it? It wasnt great on Zoloft but I DEFINITELY, DID NOT, SHAKE AND CRY while watching a movie like San Andreas. I've cried more and been more upset these past few months than I did while watching my dad slowly being eating away by cancer and dying a terribly painful death. To be honest, it is ridiculous and it is incredibly hard to think how I can possibly get through it.

Thank you.

Zoloft 75mg: 12 years on, 6 months off

Trazodone 25mg: 12 years ok, no plans of going off as I am so unstable


Zoloft Taper: Decrease 25mg every three weeks. Last dose October 20th, 2015.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello BMPBMC (easier that way!), 


Welcome to SA!  I'm glad you have found us.  You are definitely in protracted withdrawal!  You will find many people on this forum with stories similar to yours.  I was off of Effexor for 10 months and it just got worse and worse as time went by.  The 6 month mark is a common one for things getting "worse than ever before" emotionally.  It is likely that you came off Zoloft much too fast, and your nervous system was destabilized and still is.  Here is an excellent description of what is happening with your brain:


Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)


More on withdrawal syndrome:

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist


Thank you for filling out your signature block.  If you could add a little more information such as what your highest dose was, what dose you were on when you tapered off, and how you accomplished the taper, that would very helpful.


Your mom was right; the medication is causing this, for the fact that your brain built itself around the drug and is now struggling to function without it, as Rhi's description explains. Usually we recommend reinstating for people who have very recently come off their meds, either cold turkey or too fast, as that is the only way to really get relief from the withdrawal symptoms.  Further out, reinstatement becomes trickier and may not work.  We leave it up to the member to decide if they want to try it or not, and if so we will help determine a reinstatement dose.  Usually, this far out, it would be 1-2 mg.  Here's a thread on reinstatement that should help:


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Your therapist is wrong; this is not about your wiring such that you have a chemical imbalance and need to be on meds.  Well, at least she's partly wrong.  You do have a chemical imbalance, but it is one caused by having BEEN on the drug, and the only reason you would need the drug is to fix the withdrawal the lack of the drug is causing!


Have a read of the links I gave you and come back with questions!  I'm sure other mods will add more.  You will find lots of support here on SA!



Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor


My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Hello BringMePeaceBringMeComfort.   Welcome.    I'm glad you found your way here. You will find a lot of support and information. What you're experiencing is withdrawal, and it's not the real you . It's your brain trying to reach homeostasis after having the drug that it had adapted to removed very quickly. There is a good explanation of that here  :

Brain Remodelling


When you tapered off Zoloft in October, how did you taper and over what period of time?  Did you alternate doses?


Sometimes, it can take a few months for the full impact of withdrawal to make it's presence felt. I'm sorry that you have had losses, as a result. However, It's great that you have support with a Nutritionist and already practice Meditation and other self - care. I don't know what supplements you are already on, but many of us find Magnesium and fish oil beneficial .


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)


These links will help explain a little more :


What is withdrawal syndrome?

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist


This is your thread to journal your progress and ask questions.


Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014


                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014

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Thank you both for your responses and reading suggestions, 


I guess I did taper quickly. In the past I would try going down 5mg every month or so, but the withdrawal was so unpleasant I thought I would just do the recommended taper and get it over with faster, so this time I did 25mg every three weeks and just banged it out. I just did not think it would affect me so badly continually down the line, as no one talks about it. 


I guess I am just in it for the long haul. I'm not sure I would be a good candidate for reinstatement, as I am so far along. 


I take fish oil and magnesium, as well as a whole host of APEX supplements that include nutrient rich enzyme supported neural and gut support.


Has anyone else found they have had severe intestinal issues since going off SSRI? I have gut issues because of surgery complications from years ago, but they have definitely gotten worse, which I imagine is because 80% of your serotonin is in your intestines.


I just had a follow up with my holistic doctor and she mentioned something called SAM-E. Was wondering if anyone had had any experience with this? 


I tried 5HTP but had very adverse reactions to that.


I was also wondering if anyone has tried Ozone Therapy, a friend of mine is using it for his auto-immune disorders but mentioned that it has been pro-ported to help neuroplasticity. 


I may be going a bit a neurotic trying to find solutions where there are none, and I am not sure what the rules are on talking about supplements etc, but I thought I would ask.

Zoloft 75mg: 12 years on, 6 months off

Trazodone 25mg: 12 years ok, no plans of going off as I am so unstable


Zoloft Taper: Decrease 25mg every three weeks. Last dose October 20th, 2015.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey there BmPBmC,


You're in a classic state of w/d alright - that sure was a fast taper.  Sorry it's got so rough now. 


Here's our threads on supplements:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2836-supplements-what-helps-what-doesnt/

which should provide you with plenty of reading material.  Generally though, as AliG pointed out magnesium and fish-oil are the most useful.  B Vitamins are the ones likely to cause over-activation of your symptoms. 


SamE is not recommended as for many people it causes complications. 


And yes, antidepressants can and do cause gut issues.  It's because our brain, gut and heart are all linked (by the vagus nerve).  Healing your gut alongside your brain is a very good idea.  There's lots of discussion here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3413-digestive-problems-nausea-diarrhea-bloating-gerd/ and here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3173-vagus-nerve-stimulation/


You'll also find lots of other information by browsing around in the Symptoms Forum.  Building up your self-care is vital to getting through this.  Wow, that's lots of reading for you - hope you have a rainy afternoon soon :).



2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

2023 Now on 7 micro-beads of Effexor. Minimal symptoms but much more time needed between drops.

 'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Welcome BMPBMC

Nothing more to add to the great stuff already given.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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Gut issues? Oh yeah. Every day It's like my body is trying to purge itself. At least in the morning. All in all, yeah- serotonin is a component in the gut- so it's not just our brains that are in flux during withdrawal. 


I'm in month 11 (just started) of mine withdrawal. And I'm on the same level- many are the times I want to go back on, but it'd take months to stabilize at this point. But it's easy to romanticize the past. I did write down the reasons for getting off of the stuff- and I remember that even though I'm going through problems now- A) they're still not as bad as the crap while I was on them, even though they're different crap. and B) it does get better. I get the occasional window.


Just be glad that you didn't go cold turkey. Which I did- the first time around. Big mistake.  And looking back that may have been the deciding factor for my inevitable gall bladder removal. 

1)Zoloft- 6/99 to 8/04 2)Escitalopram- 8/04 to 8/10 3)Citalopram 8/10 to 4/14 (C/T), 4)Paxil a week or so, 5)Wellbutrin a week or so, 6)Reinstated Citalopram- 9/14 to 7/15

Before Taper- Celexa/20 mg....Taper Start- 04/21/15- 15mg....05/26/15- 10 mg...06/22/15- 5 mg...07/18/15- 0mg. http://tinyurl.com/qjfoqe9 Ativan/Lorazepam use/taper 10/14 to 2/15- http://tinyurl.com/ljebp84

Baclofen- Intermittent use of from 2008 till 2014. Some use of Promethazine. Some use of Zofran. Clobetasol Propionate- for Lichen Planus. Some Flexeril use. 

Ativan- GABA,A receptor Agonist., Baclofen- GABA,B receptor Agonist., Celexa/Lexapro- Serotonin 5-HT1A Receptor Agonist., Zofran- Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Agonist..Promethazine- Histamine H1-Receptor Antagonist. Flexeril- Serotonin 5HT2a Antagonist.


My self imposed Amino Acid Therapy: Tyrosine 500mg 1xday, Theanine 200 mg 1xday, & Taurine 500 mg 2x day. (All neurotransitter pre-cursors)- seems to have helped me immensely. And of course- eating healthy, including Black Beans for the oligosaccharides for gut health.


The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of trick learned while mastering the Art of Living. - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning.




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