Jump to content

Freyja: My sertraline story


Freyja

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone ,

 

Thank you for this website and forum. I can't believe I have only recently found you,(since viewing the Four Corners show in ABC TV in Australia. I shed many tears watching the show. 

 

I was started on 25 mg sertraline by a young GP back in 2006 after I was burnt out from a stressful job (and a prior 4 years full time study to be a naturopath), subsequently had lost some purpose/direction in life. I was not diagnosed with a mental health condition just given a referral to a psychologist. I did start to feel a little better, then she said to go to 50mg. Went along like this for maybe 12 months, they put me up to 100mg (can't remember why). No big crises, maybe I was still burnt out. It did give me a bit more energy and I felt more confident and I seemed to be able to do more. It took away my bodies internal barometer I always thought. I am by nature an introvert with less energy. Or more passive energy I could say. I felt very ashamed that I had to take such a drug, given I was a naturopath. 

 

Alongside my drug, I ate well, exercised, took herbs and some vitamins/minerals,  etc etc. I tried twice to come off in those early days (say 18months post starting), however got a few days in to 0mg and restarted with an instant relief from symptoms (brain zaps, irritability, worry). 

 

Jump ahead to 2019 and I reduced (25mg drops) from 100mg to 25mg over a few months. Started to get irritable , brain zaps, not feeling myself, so went back to 50mg with all settled again within a few days. 

 

I was so un happy about being on the drug for so long I wanted to have another attempt, more slowly this time with the help of another experienced naturopath/herbalist. I started reducing from 100mg then to 75mg, no symptoms of withdrawal. Then 2 months later I went down to 50mg, still smooth sailing with no symptoms. A few months later I went down to 25mg (i thought this was slowly!!) and this is when some symptoms started. Brain zaps, crying, sleep not so good. At this time I also had three major life stressors happen (financial, relationship, aged parents). I thought I was having an extended grief period. 

 

About 6 months on 25mg I suddenly had a week where I felt good for the entire week or so. So I thought I would go to 0mg! Here the trouble started. I cried for days in a row, which felt like an out pouring of years of not being able to cry or grieve "properly" while on sertraline. I continued to cry frequently. I kept pushing on. Brain zaps which finally stopped after 2 months. The neuro emotions were becoming worse, however. A black cloud would descend over me which were a frightening blend of fear, disconnection, anxiety, depression, doom, fear of dying, fear my animals would die. I had a day of violent nausea and gut cramping and crying at about 4 months on 0mg. Appetite had been waning for awhile. Sleep more disturbed. 

 

End of February 2023 I had to arrange for my old horse and goat to put to sleep. Leading up to this I had shocking anxiety and fear. I had an episode of panic/anxiety/fear that lasted 12 hours non stop. I couldn't stop the thoughts, chest pain, gut pain, numb lips. I couldn;t function until it stopped the next morning. 1 or 2 weeks later after the vet had been to euthanise my animals I had a worse episode (12 hours after starting back on 25mg sertarline)where I felt the needed to call ambulance.  I went to emergency  (they thought I was having a heart attack on my journey, so did several ECG's en route ) they kept me in for a few hours , I settled so they let me go home. I had to arrange someone to come and help me at home as I couldn't function to look after myself and my animals.  They gave me 2.5mg on valium in hospital which settled me for a an hour and yet again I was back into extreme inner restlessness , where I wanted to die as I felt so dreadful as if I was coming off some illegal highly addictive drug. Luckily  I wasn't shipped off to a psych unit, although I did feel I was having a "nervous breakdown'. It was living hell and I thought I was going mad. I have never in my life experienced such horror. I still had no idea it was protracted withdrawal. 

 

Other symptoms were diarrhoea, low sodium, weakness, nausea, early morning waking with panic/dread, anxiety, agitation, disconnected. It took my weeks/months to stabilise. I had sensitised myself to the sertraline. After taking each dose in the morning I would get worse anxiety, heart palpitations/pain, polyuria and other things I forget now. Brain way too active at night, sleep still bad. They wanted back to 100mg more quickly than I new I could tolerate, so I did my own thing and took longer between 25mg increases. Back to 100mg for a month or so. Felt too stimulated, so I went back to 75mg. No symptoms of withdrawal. During this very traumatic time I took maybe 12 doses of 5mg valium. I was so measured with it as I knew it would make things more complicated. I hated taking it except for the first few doses when it was the only thing that gave me a break from the relentless mental torture. 

 

Emotions/mood fairly stable on 75mg, found this group, plan is to taper (as per your guidelines) starting in a month or two. Plan to make my own liquid as compounding pharmacist too expensive here in Australia. 

 

Sorry for my long story!! Thanks for all your supportive posts I have been reading and other helpful information. I feel being on this drug so long, it has affected my unconscious mind and my psycho spirituality. I am grateful I am still alive and have not suffered as much as some of you have. I feel for you. 

 

Thanks for reading if you made it to the end. 

Edited by Emonda
Rearranged title to have name first

August 2006 - Sertraline 25, 50mg  then to 100mg  UNTIL June 2019 - Reduced from 100mg to 50mg over a few months

September  2019 - Reduced from 50mg to 25mg lasted a week,  then went back up to 50mg, after a few weeks back up to 100mg. 

October 2021 - Reduced to 75mg, December 2021 (mid) reduced to 50mg , March 2022 - Reduced to 25mg 

September 2022 - Reduce to 0mg 😳

February (end of) 2023 - In emergency overnight , reinstated 25mg sertraline , valium 5mg no more than 1/day, 2/week, over 1 month. 

March (end of)  2023 back up to 50mg (on medical advice)

April (end of) 2023 75mg 

May (end of) 2023 100mg 

July (end of) 2023 75mg to current  October 3rd 2023 

 

 

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Welcome to S.A @Freyja

Thanks for including your drug signature. 

 

The documentary on Four Corners (Panorama Documentary in the UK a few months back) was a real eye-opener, wasn't it. It's led a few people to S.A as a result...so I'm really glad it was shown here in Australia.

 

All the symptoms you describe after stopping your AD are classic WD symptoms.

 

Sorry to hear about your two pets. That is a stressful experience and would upset anyone. Add in the WD symptoms you would have had from stopping your AD cold turkey in September '22, I can understand why you felt the need to call an ambulance.

 

1 hour ago, Freyja said:

Emotions/mood fairly stable on 75mg,

 

That's good news.

 

1 hour ago, Freyja said:

found this group, plan is to taper (as per your guidelines) starting in a month or two.

 

Remember, the 10% per month is the maximum reduction. Plenty of us reduce by less. Also, it's 10% of the most recent dose....not the original dose, so the reductions get smaller and smaller. Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Make sure you feel really settled before you start.

 

2 hours ago, Freyja said:

Plan to make my own liquid as compounding pharmacist too expensive here in Australia. 

 

I make my own liquid, too, given the cost of a compounding pharmacist. How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

When you are ready to taper, some days you’ll feel good and others not so. Sometimes, the rough patches can last days, weeks, or longer. We refer to this as the  Windows and waves pattern of stabilization. Have a read of these non-drug coping strategies to help you on your journey.

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but two that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. Add one at a time and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

Avoid alcohol. It's unhelpful for your recovery.

 

Please post any updates here in your thread. It is helpful to keep everything related to your journey in one spot. You are very welcome to jump onto someone else's page and interact with them. The encouragement members give each other on this site is wonderful to see.

 

Sing out with any questions. 

 

Once again, welcome to S.A.

 

Emonda.

 

*Please don't send me PMs* My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

 

2017 – 2022:   Vortioxetine 15mg, Jan ’22, 15mg->5mg over 4 weeks, Feb ‘22 5mg -> 7.5mg due to WD, July ’22 6.75mg (found SA website), Aug 6.07mg, Sep 5.46mg, 11 Oct 5.00mg, 18 Oct 4.88mg, 25 Oct 4.75mg, 1 Nov 4.63mg, 8 Nov 4.5mg, 3 Jan ’23 4.39mg, 10 Jan 4.28mg, 17 Jan 4.06mg, 13 Feb 3.95mg, 20 Mar 3.85mg, 3 Apr 3.75mg, 10 April 3.65mg, 31 May 3.58mg, 8 June 3.50mg, 15 June 3.43mg, 22 June 3.35mg, 12 Jul 3.29mg,  19 Jul 3.22mg, 26 Jul 3.15mg, 3 Aug 3.09mg, 30 Aug 3.02mg, 7 Sep 2.96mg, 14 Sep 2.89mg, 21 Sep 2.82mg, Oct 11 2.75mg, Oct 19 2.70mg, Oct 26 2.64mg, Nov 2 2.59mg, Nov 23 2.53mg, Nov 30 2.48mg, 7 Dec 2.43mg, 17 Dec 2.38mg, 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg,  29 Feb 2.15mg,  

Link to comment
  • Emonda changed the title to Freyja: My sertraline story

Thanks for your helpful reply @Emonda

 

I am using this time to read everything I need to know in preparation for my taper. 

 

I forgot to mention that one peculiar symptom I developed after re instating 25mg and upwards was a burning, sore tongue (not tingling, not silent reflux, not a nutritional deficiency). It improved when I dropped from 100mg back to 75mg, however I still get it, more so when I am very tired. Although it can be anytime really. I have read the other posts here on burning tongue. 

 

Also during withdrawal my lymphocytes dropped drastically and I got 2 upper respiratory viruses that I haven't had for years. They are back up again to normal. 

 

I have always taken Mg, however only introduced the fish oil as I was reducing. Will stay on them. No alcohol for many years now. 🙂

 

Thanks again for the welcome to S.A. 

August 2006 - Sertraline 25, 50mg  then to 100mg  UNTIL June 2019 - Reduced from 100mg to 50mg over a few months

September  2019 - Reduced from 50mg to 25mg lasted a week,  then went back up to 50mg, after a few weeks back up to 100mg. 

October 2021 - Reduced to 75mg, December 2021 (mid) reduced to 50mg , March 2022 - Reduced to 25mg 

September 2022 - Reduce to 0mg 😳

February (end of) 2023 - In emergency overnight , reinstated 25mg sertraline , valium 5mg no more than 1/day, 2/week, over 1 month. 

March (end of)  2023 back up to 50mg (on medical advice)

April (end of) 2023 75mg 

May (end of) 2023 100mg 

July (end of) 2023 75mg to current  October 3rd 2023 

 

 

Link to comment

Hey Freyja, fellow Aussie here, welcome to the site. Glad you’re feeling stable at the moment and hopefully a slow taper will be relatively uneventful for you. Plenty of people here thought they couldn’t get off meds (including me) and are successfully tapering. Good luck! Feel free to reach out if you want to chat.

cheers

Age 16 (1995 - 2000) -Paroxetine
Age 21 (2000-2004) - Effexor 37.5mg
Age 24 (2004-2012) - Lexapro (70mg), Xanax minimum 2mg Xanax a day
About 32 (2012-2017?) - Every mood stabiliser under the sun (not at the same time) and minimum 2mg Xanax a day; occasional amisulpride 
About 35 (2017-current) - Lurasidone 80 mg, quickly titrated down to 40mg, Pristiq (50 mg), minimum of 2mg Xanax a day
About 41 (2020) Switched from Xanax to clonazepam and started tapering at 0.125 mg each reduction, tapered off Pristiq with a cross taper at the end, low dose of dextroamphetamine.
Age 42 (2021) Tried to taper off Lurasidone three times. Quick taper from 40mg to 0 mg over a couple of months the first time. Reinstated at 20mg. Tried twice more to taper from 20 mg to 0 mg dropping by 5 mg each reduction (about every 2 weeks).
Age 42-43 (April 2022) 20mg-18mg; May 18mg-16mg; June 16-14mg; September 14-12mg; September 12-14mg reinstated. February 2023 - hiccup with brand change, Back to Apotek brand and switch to homemade suspension.

Age 44 (August 2023 -restarted clonazepam taper). Start dose 0.375mg. 1/9/2023 - 0.365mg; 1/10/2023 - 0.324mg; 1/11/2023 - 0.264mg; 1/12/2023 - 0.25 mg (holding); 1/2/2024 - 0.232mg; 1/3/2024 - 0.221mg

Health regimen: walks, hot/cold showers, ice baths, breathwork, mostly healthy diet, therapy...... Open to ideas! Supplements: Milk Kefir, Mag, Omega 3, CBD/THC.

 

Link to comment

Thanks @Thorin

 

Nice to see some other  Australians here. 

If I hadn't of found this tapering advice, I would never have been able to come off them as each time I would have crashed. And I would have been blaming myself (as I did on previous unsuccessful attempts). 

Thanks for reading my story and reaching out! 

 

 

August 2006 - Sertraline 25, 50mg  then to 100mg  UNTIL June 2019 - Reduced from 100mg to 50mg over a few months

September  2019 - Reduced from 50mg to 25mg lasted a week,  then went back up to 50mg, after a few weeks back up to 100mg. 

October 2021 - Reduced to 75mg, December 2021 (mid) reduced to 50mg , March 2022 - Reduced to 25mg 

September 2022 - Reduce to 0mg 😳

February (end of) 2023 - In emergency overnight , reinstated 25mg sertraline , valium 5mg no more than 1/day, 2/week, over 1 month. 

March (end of)  2023 back up to 50mg (on medical advice)

April (end of) 2023 75mg 

May (end of) 2023 100mg 

July (end of) 2023 75mg to current  October 3rd 2023 

 

 

Link to comment
4 minutes ago, Freyja said:

Thanks @Thorin

 

Nice to see some other  Australians here. 

If I hadn't of found this tapering advice, I would never have been able to come off them as each time I would have crashed. And I would have been blaming myself (as I did on previous unsuccessful attempts). 

Thanks for reading my story and reaching out! 

 

 

I had the same experience. And while the psych I was seeing as a legend on a personal level he had no clue about withdrawal. He has agreed to prescribe me whatever I like and that I can take as long as I like to taper. But other than that he’s no help! This site and the people on here helped me get to where I am now. It’s a revelation when you realise there’s nothing wrong with us and it’s the medication at fault isn’t it. It’s also a really scary journey but it does get easier over time. I was a mess for a good while until my symptoms started to improve and I truly started to believe that it was all meds and not something wrong with me, and that I could get off the meds. It’s still hard (I’m at the tail end of a Benzo taper and have to finish tapering my other med) but I handle the difficult times better knowing it will pass and that it’s just a symptom of the med or withdrawal. Eventually we all get to a good place!

Age 16 (1995 - 2000) -Paroxetine
Age 21 (2000-2004) - Effexor 37.5mg
Age 24 (2004-2012) - Lexapro (70mg), Xanax minimum 2mg Xanax a day
About 32 (2012-2017?) - Every mood stabiliser under the sun (not at the same time) and minimum 2mg Xanax a day; occasional amisulpride 
About 35 (2017-current) - Lurasidone 80 mg, quickly titrated down to 40mg, Pristiq (50 mg), minimum of 2mg Xanax a day
About 41 (2020) Switched from Xanax to clonazepam and started tapering at 0.125 mg each reduction, tapered off Pristiq with a cross taper at the end, low dose of dextroamphetamine.
Age 42 (2021) Tried to taper off Lurasidone three times. Quick taper from 40mg to 0 mg over a couple of months the first time. Reinstated at 20mg. Tried twice more to taper from 20 mg to 0 mg dropping by 5 mg each reduction (about every 2 weeks).
Age 42-43 (April 2022) 20mg-18mg; May 18mg-16mg; June 16-14mg; September 14-12mg; September 12-14mg reinstated. February 2023 - hiccup with brand change, Back to Apotek brand and switch to homemade suspension.

Age 44 (August 2023 -restarted clonazepam taper). Start dose 0.375mg. 1/9/2023 - 0.365mg; 1/10/2023 - 0.324mg; 1/11/2023 - 0.264mg; 1/12/2023 - 0.25 mg (holding); 1/2/2024 - 0.232mg; 1/3/2024 - 0.221mg

Health regimen: walks, hot/cold showers, ice baths, breathwork, mostly healthy diet, therapy...... Open to ideas! Supplements: Milk Kefir, Mag, Omega 3, CBD/THC.

 

Link to comment

A week ago I started using the homemade liquid as part of my dose. So I took 50mg tablet and 25mg in liquid. Didn't notice anything. 

 

Today I started the 10% reduction, so I took 50mg tablet and 17.5mg in liquid. I made a 1:2 liquid with water. 

 

So far so good , but I will be waiting at LEAST a month , most likely longer on this dose. 

 

Forgot to say that I just finished reading the Are We There Yet?  post by @brassmonkey. Thank you for this detailed and coherent post. Very helpful. So grateful for finding this forum 💜

 

 

August 2006 - Sertraline 25, 50mg  then to 100mg  UNTIL June 2019 - Reduced from 100mg to 50mg over a few months

September  2019 - Reduced from 50mg to 25mg lasted a week,  then went back up to 50mg, after a few weeks back up to 100mg. 

October 2021 - Reduced to 75mg, December 2021 (mid) reduced to 50mg , March 2022 - Reduced to 25mg 

September 2022 - Reduce to 0mg 😳

February (end of) 2023 - In emergency overnight , reinstated 25mg sertraline , valium 5mg no more than 1/day, 2/week, over 1 month. 

March (end of)  2023 back up to 50mg (on medical advice)

April (end of) 2023 75mg 

May (end of) 2023 100mg 

July (end of) 2023 75mg to current  October 3rd 2023 

 

 

Link to comment
  • 3 months later...

I am down to 55mg from 100mg now doing the 10% of last dose taper . 
From 60 to 55 for 5 weeks . Still holding on 55mg . 
Yesterday after a very hot and humid day , I developed the ‘woozy’ head thing where your balance is affected. 
Still have it today … resting is helping at the moment . 
I usually get the brain 🧠’zaps’ but they have been fleeting this time , usually just before dose is due and infrequent . 
I am planning on holding until the head symptoms go . 
Do we know the exact physiology behind the brain zaps and balance / woozy thing ?

Advice/ thoughts welcome 🙏 

August 2006 - Sertraline 25, 50mg  then to 100mg  UNTIL June 2019 - Reduced from 100mg to 50mg over a few months

September  2019 - Reduced from 50mg to 25mg lasted a week,  then went back up to 50mg, after a few weeks back up to 100mg. 

October 2021 - Reduced to 75mg, December 2021 (mid) reduced to 50mg , March 2022 - Reduced to 25mg 

September 2022 - Reduce to 0mg 😳

February (end of) 2023 - In emergency overnight , reinstated 25mg sertraline , valium 5mg no more than 1/day, 2/week, over 1 month. 

March (end of)  2023 back up to 50mg (on medical advice)

April (end of) 2023 75mg 

May (end of) 2023 100mg 

July (end of) 2023 75mg to current  October 3rd 2023 

 

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator

I have moved your latest post here as we ask that you keep all questions, and updates, in your introductory thread.

 

We have a thread on brain zaps at Brain zaps and one related to balance/wooziness at Dizziness, vertigo, light-headedness, rocking or swaying sensations

 

Pre- October 2022: Wellbutrin, Escitalopram, CitalopramSertraline, Adderall IR, Vyvanse, Propranolol, Buspar, Ativan, and Latuda

Oct 13, 2022 - Oct 24, 2022 and Oct 31, 2022 - Present: Zyprexa (2.5 mg). Jan 14, 2023 -> Began transition to liquid suspension. Jan 29, 2023 = 2.375mg -> Feb 12, 2023 = 2.25mg -> Feb 27, 2023 = 2.14mg -> Mar 12, 2023 = 2.025mg -> Mar 27, 2023 = 1.93mg -> Apr 10, 2023 = 1.82mg -> Apr 23, 2023 = 1.74mg -> May 7, 2023 = 1.64mg -> May 21, 2023 = 1.56mg -> June 4, 2023 = 1.48mg -> June 19, 2023 = 1.4mg -> July 2, 2023 = 1.33mg -> July 16, 2023 = 1.26mg -> July 31, 2023 = 1.2mg -> Aug 13, 2023 = 1.14mg -> Aug 27, 2023 = 1.08mg -> Sep 13, 2023 = 1.02mg -> Jan 22, 2024 = 0.97mg -> Feb 4, 2024 = 0.92mg -> Feb 19, 2024 = 0.87mg

Oct 14, 2022 - Present: Prozac (40mg) upped from 20mg on Nov 1, 2022.

Oct 31, 2022 - Present: Gabapentin (300mg 3x day) -> May 3, 2023 = 300mg 2x day -> Oct 1, 2023 = 570mg -> Oct 15, 2023 = 540mg -> Oct 29, 2023 = 510mg -> Nov 13, 2023 = 484mg -> Nov 27, 2023 = 460mg -> Dec 9, 2023 = 436mg -> Dec 24, 2023 = 414mg -> Jan 7, 2024 = 400mg

 

Link to comment

Thanks FireflyFyte, 

 

I couldn’t work out how to add to my story . Sorry about that happening . 
 

Thanks will go to the thread on balance , brain zaps etc … 

 

 

August 2006 - Sertraline 25, 50mg  then to 100mg  UNTIL June 2019 - Reduced from 100mg to 50mg over a few months

September  2019 - Reduced from 50mg to 25mg lasted a week,  then went back up to 50mg, after a few weeks back up to 100mg. 

October 2021 - Reduced to 75mg, December 2021 (mid) reduced to 50mg , March 2022 - Reduced to 25mg 

September 2022 - Reduce to 0mg 😳

February (end of) 2023 - In emergency overnight , reinstated 25mg sertraline , valium 5mg no more than 1/day, 2/week, over 1 month. 

March (end of)  2023 back up to 50mg (on medical advice)

April (end of) 2023 75mg 

May (end of) 2023 100mg 

July (end of) 2023 75mg to current  October 3rd 2023 

 

 

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy