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Imgettingthere: Introduction and questions


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I've been lurking around this forum for about 5 months and reading information and success stories.

So my story starts back in November of 2016, when marijuana was legalized in Massachusettes (where my partner and I lived). Being young, and having a few friends who used it, we decided to give it a try. 


Long story short, it ended up being an almost nightly remedy for us for about 2 months. I realized it and decided not to use it anymore. About a month after I stopped, I was sitting in my cube at work when I was hit with a sudden panic attack like I've never had before. Since I had been upset with my partner when the panic attack happened, I associated it with relationship anxiety. In an effort to save my 7 year partnership, I scheduled an emergency visit with a psychiatrist who prescribed me Zoloft.


I was put on 25MG to start, and advised to bump it to 50MG after 4 weeks. It really seemed to help, but through those 4 weeks my partner and I unfortunately decided to part.


Having assumed that my high anxiety and panic attacks were due to relationship anxiety, I stayed on the medication for a month longer before deciding I didn't need it anymore. (I now know that what I was experiencing was PAWS from quiting marijuana) So I tapered of as suggested by my psychiatrist. I went from 75MG to 50MG for a week, then 25MG for a week, then 12.5MG for a week, and then stopped. 


As you're all well aware, exactly 4 weeks after my last dose I was sitting in my cube, and experienced a random spell of suicidal thoughts, followed by the most intense panic attack I'd ever experienced. I immediately called my psychiatrist who wanted to see me the same day. She advised that I just have "low serotonin levels" and needed some antidepressants to pick me up. She prescribed me Prozac which I actually never ended up taking. 

So since then I've experienced the same things as everyone else.


The first two months I had sky high anxiety and depression, along with torturing headaches, and pain throughout my body. I'm sure there were more that I can't recall. After the first 2-3 months I started to see some relief, and the windows and waves started. 


I'm now at 5 1/2 months out, and doing MUCH better than when I first started. I'm still experiencing the windows and waves, where some days are particularly harder than others. (I hope that gives hope to everyone, I definitely got much better!)


With that all being said, I'm still suffering from depression and anxiety that are quite a bit higher than I remember it being before I took this medication. I'm also not as "sharp" at my job, and I definitely get tired easily.  My question to all of you, is if you think it would be smart to reinstate the medication, and taper off with the recommended 10% method at this point? 


The reason I ask is because I'm going through a particularly difficult time with the separation as anyone can imagine. I'm having a rough time getting through it, I have no family close by, and only a few friends who don't care to hear my sob story, or be around me because I depress them.

It would be much easier to plan the rest of my life, and make my next moves if I had a little help healing quicker.


I thank you all for the great work that you do with this forum, and spreading the word on how to be safe with this medication. 

Edited by baroquep
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I started on 25MG of Zoloft in March 2017. I was raised to 50MG 4 weeks later, and 75MG two weeks later. I only took 75MG for 1 week, and went back down to 50, and then back down to 25 a week after that. After being on 25 for a few weeks, I decided to get off. I went from 25, to 12.5 for a week, then stopped taking it.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Imgettingthee: Introduction and questions

Hello Imgettingthere. Welcome to SA.  At 5- 6 months out , reinstatement can be tricky as it is best done sooner than later however you could try a small amount of perhaps 1 mg Zoloft and if you experience difficulty , you could stop straight away. A low dose let's you explore the option with less risk of being sensitized.


  • According to medical knowledge, reinstatement is the only way to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
  • Reinstatement is best done immediately upon appearance of withdrawal symptoms. The more time that passes, the less likely it is to work.
  • The length of this window of opportunity varies according to the individual. Sometimes people can reinstate successfully months after quitting. Others cannot.
  • Often a partial dose will relieve withdrawal symptoms. If, for example, you were taking 20mg Paxil and quit rapidly only a few days ago, 5mg or 10mg may be enough. Others find they need a higher dose.
  • Start low to see what you need. You can always increase if necessary. If you've been off the drug for a month or more, many people can find relief from antidepressant withdrawal symptoms by reinstating as little as 1mg-5mg.

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms



We ask all our members to fill in their signature with their dug and tapering history. Please follow the directions at the link below :

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature





This is your thread to journal and ask questions. Please read the links and once we have more information, we can suggest a starting dose if that's what you decide to do.



Edited by AliG

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 so much for your advice! I added the info to my signature as requested. 


I really am doing much better than when I started at this point, but I still am very sensitive to stress. With my life so up in the air right now, and so many stressful decisions to make, I'm really leaning towards the reinstatement option. 

For those that reinstatement didn't work, what was the end result? Do they just taper off the medication and continue their healing, or does it throw you right back to where you started?

When tapering off using the recommended 10% method, does is severely reduce withdrawal symptoms?

Is it a bad idea to reinstate with a different medication? I didn't really like Zoloft, but really feel that I need a "pick me up" through this tough time I'm my life (aside from the withdrawal).

I started on 25MG of Zoloft in March 2017. I was raised to 50MG 4 weeks later, and 75MG two weeks later. I only took 75MG for 1 week, and went back down to 50, and then back down to 25 a week after that. After being on 25 for a few weeks, I decided to get off. I went from 25, to 12.5 for a week, then stopped taking it.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you for the information, it is helpful to be able to see what we are dealing with at a glance.  Glad that you are feeling better and understand that you might still be sensitive to stress.  It is completely normal to feel this way after tapering off of Zoloft so quickly.  When a drug is removed abruptly or reduced too quickly it throws our central nervous system into chaos and results in the withdrawal symptoms (see: What is Withdrawal Syndrome at the link below) that you are now experiencing. 


If you do decide to reinstate, I would suggest that you stick with Zoloft as your central nervous system is already familiar with this drug and if you were to start another antidepressant you won't know if you have a start-up reaction to the new antidepressant (not uncommon) or if your problems are related to your quick taper off of Zoloft.  It's always better to stick with the devil you know in these cases.  As well, because reinstatement involves taking only a very small dose of the original drug, for all intensive purposes you are merely reinstating it to taper back off of it safely.  


Surviving Antidepressants recommends tapering by 10% of your current dose with at a hold of at least four weeks before your next decrease.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at an even more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.

Tapering by 10% per month won't necessary severely reduce your withdrawal symptoms but it will help to make them more manageable as you taper off.  Some people find that they may have to decrease at an even slower rate if they want to reduce the intensity and/or eliminate the symptoms.  


I thought the links below might give you a better understanding of the tapering process so that if you do decide to reinstate, you will have all of the information available to help you make the best decision for your own situation.


What is Withdrawal Syndrome?


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
What to Expect in Reinstatement (James Heaney article)


Before you begin tapering what you need to know

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tips for Tapering off Zoloft / Sertraline

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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Hello, Iamgetting there, I really like your name by the way. 


I hope you know, that we are a very friendly community and you are certainly are not alone. I really sympathized with you. Although our drug histories are quite different, I understand the anxiety, panic, and frustration that you are feeling.As someone who has been dealing with panic attacks for the past 5 years, I am here to inform you that if you ever need help or anyone to talk to I am more than willing to help. 


Best wishes. 

Cymbalta, Zoloft, Effexor: All during the past two years. When I was prescribed them, I would either take one pill a day for 2 days and the stop usage all together.

Pristiq: Taken for 2/3 weeks around April 2017. unknown dosage.  Discontinued cold turkey. 

Xanax: All thought 2017 here and there for panic attacks only. 

Focalin 10 mg: Taken on May 1st, 2017, discontinued after 3 days of usage. Cold Turkey.

Hospitalized May 13th, 2017.

Trazodone 10 mg: First doses around May 14th, 2017, The doses were taken sporadically for sleep along side Xanax and Triazolam. Stopped these cold turkey

Xanax & Triazolam: unknown dosage, used for sleep whenever I needed. Stopped usage cold turkey.

Paxil 40 mg: First dose around May 14th, 2017. Then I began having side effects so I found this website and began taper. 

September: Started Taper, dropped to 27 mg. Paxil

Beginning of October: Dropped to 24 mg. Paxil

October 12th 2017 & Current Dose: Dropped down to 21 mg Paxil. 


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Hi there & welcome to SA. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I also had paws from marijuana (back in 2011) which landed me on zoloft as well. I’m glad you weren’t on the medication as long as I was and figured everything out sooner than later. Your story interested me as we had similar starting points. Hope you feel better soon!

2011-2014: 25-50mg Zoloft then CT via doctors advice. Some mild physical sx but fully functioning, unaware that withdrawal was a thing. Dr didn’t know why I was chronically dizzy with brain fog & advised to try Zoloft again.

2016: severe adverse reactions to Zoloft (1 dose), Paxil (3 weeks), celexa (2 weeks), buspar (1 dose), lamictal (4 doses). Ativan 12 times within a month. Also tried Xanax & klonopin a couple times. Each reaction became more severe. Kindled. Became disabled from these meds.

Drug free 12-16-2016
Month 1-20: +5% healing every month
Month 21- present: setback to acute from amoxicillin antibiotic (1 dose)
Month 32- 11 months into setback from antibiotic. Seems I was floxed by amoxicillin somehow. Horrific.


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