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BeckIsBack: prolonged sertraline withdrawal or am I just like Tthis


BeckIsBack

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Hello, 

 

When I was 17 (19 now) I was put on 50mg Sertraline in late 2020 because of a stimulant overdose that triggered an intense OCD episode about the effects on my body. I believed I was going to die due to my overdose symptoms (chest pains, loss of feeling in left arm, heart palpitations) but with time and meds it faded away. 

 

I was on Sertraline for a year and a half and I was overall fairly stable, however I did experience multiple suicidal episodes and other issues.
 

I started tapering off in April of 2022, and had a rough but overall functional summer until I took my last dose of 1mg in August 2022 (under supervision of psychiatrist the whole time) after which I experienced quite acute and intense withdrawal with intense and uncontrollable obsessive thoughts. This lasted a few weeks, and after I went back to college in early September 2022 it faded away and had a month after my taper ended where I felt somewhat stable with somewhat manageable symptoms.

 

In Early October 2022 after being off SSRIS for about 1.5 months I had a single breakdown that kicked off another insane OCD episode with very graphically sexual themes. It’s been almost 2 months now and I am hardly getting any better and I’ve accepted my state as one of constant obsessions and only feeling at peace for a few minutes at a time. Progress is very slow and I feel maybe 25% better since the worst.
 

Anyways, is it possible that I’m still experiencing prolonged effects of my taper? I did feel good for a while but it feels like I’m back in early withdrawal but without brain zaps and the like. Before I ever took meds I did have some obsessive thinking, but it was always explainable and related to things that actually pertained to my real life. These days, I can scarcely hang out with people or go to class or even use my phone without being triggered by something completely irrational that leads me into a sometimes days long spiral.
 

I just feel messed up and insane now. I’m in therapy and it helps but I just don’t feel like myself, ever. My intrusive thoughts take up so much of my day and energy and I can’t tell if this is just how my brain is wired or if I’m still going through prolonged withdrawals.

 

Any advice/guidance is appreciated.

Oct 2020 - 50mg Sertraline 

Early Jan 2021 - Cold turkey

Mid Jan 2021 - Reinstated at 50mg

Late Jan 2021 - Attempted taper too quickly, 50mg -> 12.5 in a month

Early Mar 2021 - Reinstated 50mg

Apr 2022 - Attempted taper again with liquid solution

Aug 7 2022 - Last dose 

Oct 6 2022 - Protracted withdrawal begins

Nov 24 2022 -  Painfully slow recovery. Considering reinstating.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to BeckIsBack: prolonged sertraline withdrawal or am I just like Tthis
  • Moderator

Dear @BeckIsBack

welcome to SA. It seems like you are suffering from PAWS - post acute withdrawal and you are suffering quite badly with it. OCD like symptoms are quite common in withdrawal and SSRIs are known to cause suicides and suicidal ideation esp in young adults - the FDA has a black box warning for sertraline prescription for people under 25 - your doctor should never have prescribed them to you. 

 

You could reinstate 1mg of the drug to see if it relieves some of the symptoms (it often does!)

 

Can you pls create your drug signature with these instructions? It will help us help you better.

 

You can also search for your symptoms and see how others have managed them. There is a thread on OCD like symptoms. 

 

Hope you feel better soon, 

OMW

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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hello, how are you feeling now?

2021/2 - 2021/5: Xanax 1mg, zopiclone 3.75mg; 2021/5 - 2021/8: Xanax 1mg, zopiclone 3.75mg, venlafaxine 225mg; 2021/8 - 2021/11: Clonazapem 2mg, venlafaxine 225mg, rexulti 2mg, mirtazapine 30mg, zopiclone 3.75mg; 2021/11 - 2021/12: Clonazapem 2mg, venlafaxine 225mg, rexulti 2mg

Crashed, mirtazapine WD(didn't know at that time)

2022/1 - 2022/3: Clonazapem 2mg, venlafaxine 225mg, bupropion 300mg; 2022/4 - 2022/5:Clonazapem 1mg, venlafaxine 187.5mg, trazodone 100mg

2022/5 - 2022/8/15: Clonazepam 0.5mg(wean off), trazodone 100mg, lexapro 20mg(cross taper), rexulti 3mg

Crashed, suspect to be benzo WD

2022/8/16 - 2022/9/7: Clonazepam  0.5mg, venlafaxine 150mg(side effect this time), rexulti 3mg, trazodone 100mg, seroquel 25mg; 2022/9/8 - 2022/10/1: Clonazepam 1mg, trintellix 20mg(cross taper), rexulti 3mg, trazodone 50mg, seroquel 25mg; 2022/10/2 - 2022/11/8: Clonazepam 1mg, trintellix 10mg, trazodone 25mg

Crashed since 10/9

2022/11/9 - 2022/11/15: Clonazepam 1mg, trintellix 5mg; 2022/11/16 - 2022/12/2: Clonazepam 1mg, trintellix 5mg, dayvigo 5mg; 2022/12/3 - 2022/12/21: Clonazapem 1mg, trintellix 5mg, dayvigo 2.5mg

Fly back to China from Canada, 13hrs jet lag triggered severe wave til today.

2022/12/22 - 2023/3/21: Clonazepam 1mg, trintellix 5mg, dayvigo 5mg

2023/3/21 - now: Clonazepam 1mg, trintellix 10mg, dayvigo 5mg

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5 hours ago, angela9985 said:

hello, how are you feeling now?

Thanks for checking up!

 

Still in an OCD symptom pit, reinstated 7.5mg of Sertraline (Was originally on 50mg) 2 days ago and hoping for the best. No adverse reactions or real improvement so far, but I am going to give it some time. Scared that I'll want to jump off again if it doesn't help then go through more withdrawals.

 

I cannot stop obsessing over every single thing I do, my OCD symptoms seem to have no specific fixation anymore, making it them hard to deal with and I can't even distract myself because triggers are always around the corner. I'm functional to some extent, but utterly miserable while doing it. It doesn't help that I also obsess about my current situation a lot. 

 

Working through it.

 

Oct 2020 - 50mg Sertraline 

Early Jan 2021 - Cold turkey

Mid Jan 2021 - Reinstated at 50mg

Late Jan 2021 - Attempted taper too quickly, 50mg -> 12.5 in a month

Early Mar 2021 - Reinstated 50mg

Apr 2022 - Attempted taper again with liquid solution

Aug 7 2022 - Last dose 

Oct 6 2022 - Protracted withdrawal begins

Nov 24 2022 -  Painfully slow recovery. Considering reinstating.

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  • Moderator

Dear @BeckIsBack

when you say that you obsess about everything what does that really mean? Are you fearful of things happening to you or are you fearful of things you might do wrong? 

OMW

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi BeckIsBack and welcome aboard,

So you reinstated 7.5 mg of sertraline on what day?  I'm guessing November 30th?

Did you get a chance to review the reinstatement topic and the posts made to you?  I agree with Onmyway that 1 mg would have been a good reinstatement dose, after all this time.

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft(sertraline)

this is the tapering topic, but also gives ideas on how to get non-standard dosing

 

Try now to stick with it for 4-7 days at least, unless markedly worsening.

Take your dose at the same time each day, same measurement method.

If it begins to help, even a little bit with WD symptoms then stay put, I'd stay put for at least a couple months, definitely through the holidays, and then when you do taper, taper using the 10% method, harm reduction after all.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

And keep us posted.  You don't have to do this alone.

 

Non-drug coping to OCD, health anxiety, etc:

Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD: Repetitive intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviours

Health anxiety, hypochondria and obsession with symptoms

Ways to cope with daily anxiety

 

Any other WD(withdrawal) symptoms:

Dr. Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

and look at the downloadable PDF to see the extensive list of symptoms, and then which you might have

 

Here's more on: Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS(post acute withdrawal syndrome)- How long does it last?

 

Okay, and best.  Keep us updated.

 

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

 

Edited by manymoretodays
added in PAWS link

Late 2023- gone to emeritus status, inactive, don't @ me, I can check who I've posted on, and I'm not really here like I used to be......thanks.

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021. Lapsed.  Redo of quit smoking 9/28/2022.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider.  My success story:  Blue skies ahead, clear sailing

 

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Hi Beck,

 

Hello! I’m slowly going off sertraline.  Even with a reduction I’ve experienced times of ocd/intrusive thinking after a drop.

 

I’m not particularly like this honestly. I think it’s the withdrawal.    Might be true for you also.

 

For me avoiding stress & certain foods that I’m mildly allergic to helps.

Zoloft 50 mg since 2019.   

2023. January 33.75 mg  February 32.5 mg March 30.0 mg April 27.5 mg June 50 mg August 40 mg September-December 37.5 mg December 33.75 mg 

2022. January 50mg February 45 mg March 40.5 April-November 37.5  December 33.75 mg

 

Prior to discontinuation:  20 years of a variety of antidepressants & anti-anxiety meds from months to  years at a time (fluoxetine, nefazodone, venlafaxine, clonazepam, hydroxyzine).  I was unknowingly experiencing discontinuation and was frequently diagnosed with anxiety/exacerbations of previous illness as opposed to discontinuation. 

 

Supplements: Fish oil, Vitamin D3, magnesium,  B complex, l-theanine

 

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Hello guys,

 

It’s been about week since I reinstated and my OCD has been a lot better.


However I do feel very emotionally flat and i feel very unbothered about everything even when I know I should be feeling something. Haven’t really been able to laugh or cry.

 

I don’t remember this really happening when I was on 50mg Zoloft originally, will this stabilize eventually?

 

Thanks.

Oct 2020 - 50mg Sertraline 

Early Jan 2021 - Cold turkey

Mid Jan 2021 - Reinstated at 50mg

Late Jan 2021 - Attempted taper too quickly, 50mg -> 12.5 in a month

Early Mar 2021 - Reinstated 50mg

Apr 2022 - Attempted taper again with liquid solution

Aug 7 2022 - Last dose 

Oct 6 2022 - Protracted withdrawal begins

Nov 24 2022 -  Painfully slow recovery. Considering reinstating.

Link to comment

Hi Beck,

 

I'm glad you're doing better!  Are you back on the 50 mg?

 

I have had the same emotional flatness on Zoloft.  I can't say that it stabilized, as much as that I got used to it.

 

By the way, I wanted to share, I did have OCD symptoms when I was in my 20's and it was due to hypothyroidism.  OCD is occasionally a symptom of thyroid disease in women -- if possible, could you get your thyroid checked?  You may want to rule out any biological contribution to the symptoms.  

 

Hope the rest of the week goes well for you!

Zoloft 50 mg since 2019.   

2023. January 33.75 mg  February 32.5 mg March 30.0 mg April 27.5 mg June 50 mg August 40 mg September-December 37.5 mg December 33.75 mg 

2022. January 50mg February 45 mg March 40.5 April-November 37.5  December 33.75 mg

 

Prior to discontinuation:  20 years of a variety of antidepressants & anti-anxiety meds from months to  years at a time (fluoxetine, nefazodone, venlafaxine, clonazepam, hydroxyzine).  I was unknowingly experiencing discontinuation and was frequently diagnosed with anxiety/exacerbations of previous illness as opposed to discontinuation. 

 

Supplements: Fish oil, Vitamin D3, magnesium,  B complex, l-theanine

 

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