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Optimistictoheal: 50mg Sertraline Withdrawal PAWS


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Hi everyone,

I’m new here, (22 y/o Male) and I have been reading all your threads on this forum for quite a while and it gives me great hope. I have a story off my own that I would like to share with you. It’s a long read and I would really appreciate your feedback back on it and where I can go from here. 


My story starts in 2021. 

To start I struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and have done since I was 11 years old, I am now 22. In 2021 after 8 years of suffering and sweeping my problems under the rug they finally blew up in my face and I had to deal with them. This included horrific intrusive thoughts, rumination and anxiety all day everyday for about 3 months straight so much to the extent that I had a nervous breakdown and couldn’t do anything. It affected my eating, sleeping and work life and I don’t even like talking about it to be honest. I had heard about ssri’s for many years but never considered them until my back was against the wall and I had no other choice.


With much hesitation I started Sertraline in August 2021 (at age 20) and to be fair it did provide a lot of relief. I went from 25mg to 50mg and was on the medication for roughly six months, August 2021 to February 2022. Somehow or other the first time went alright and I successfully cold turkey’d off 50mg in feb 2022 because my prescription ran out. I didn’t have any prolonged withdrawal symptoms or sexual side effects. I also once took 25mg for a day or two in August 2022 but stopped because I didn’t like the spaced out and drowsy side effects.


Now this is where I’m getting round to the not so great part. In January 2023 I was resuming my college degree after working for six months. I was anxious being in a new house with new roommates, and was looking for something to help me calm down and settle in. I knew I had left over Sertraline from the year prior. And while giving it some thought I foolishly decided to reinstate by myself and treat them as if they were benzodiazepines. This is where trouble began. I started 25mg again in late January 2023 jumped to 50mg and quit them cold turkey again roughly in around mid April 2023. The reason for doing so is because I was having severe headaches which very well may have been an adverse reaction.


I feel very foolish about this because I unintentionally did this to myself when I really, really didn’t need to take the medication. And because I successfully quit cold turkey the first time round I thought I could do it again and was completely unaware of withdrawal symptoms. I was quite wrong, I guess this is what I’m getting to now. I have most the textbook PAWS symptoms I.e. poor to no emotions, anhedonia, lack of motivation/drive. Not to mention the sexual side effects numb genitals,watery semen, no real effect on libido however (thankfully). It’s now roughly 12 months since I last took Sertraline and while I see small windows there’s not much real improvement.


I guess what can I do now?. I have heard about reinstating small doses of the drug to alleviate withdrawal symptoms but to be honest I’d rather not touch it with a ten foot pole after what happened. I’m probably outside the reinstating period anyway but I am open to suggestions. So what should I do, I’m no stranger to hard times and I know that this is just another bump in the road and will pass as it has for many others, but it’s starting to drag on a bit. I have often heard that it takes between 12 - 14 months for your dopamine receptors to reset so that gives me hope.


I know I am slowly healing as I am getting very small windows but it’s still slow, is there anyone else who was in a similar situation as I am currently?. How long did it take you to recover and is there any feedback you could offer me. Considering that I only took it for 2 - 3 months shouldn’t that mean that I should recover a lot quicker and more linearly?. Can I 100% recover from this, and be even better than before?. Like said I’m hopeful and optimistic and know I will get there. I would just like to know where to go from here. Thank you for reading my story and I look forward to hearing your responses.

Edited by Emonda
Name to title
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  • Moderator
Posted (edited)

Hello, and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. We are a peer support forum to assist in tapering off psychiatric drugs safely, or recovering from psychiatric drug withdrawal.


Your first task is to create a drug signature, with the following:


  • All current medication you take, the dose you take, when you started the drug, and when you made dose changes
  • All current supplements you take
  • An accurate history of recent drugs, taken in the last 12-24 months
  • Dates for recent should be written as 7 Oct 2023, or Oct 7 2023, or early Oct 2023, or mid Oct 2023
  • A history of drugs taken 24 months ago and beyond - if applicable
  • Dates for historical drugs can simply be listed as start and stop years
  • Please do not use 07/10/23 // 10/07/23 as this is intepreted differently around the world


  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. See my signature for example of clear and concise information.



Given how deep you are into withdrawal I personally would not attempt reinstatement. It's important for you to understand that from now on you have to be careful with any medication you take in the future, as your system is now sensitised. Recovery is likely if you steer clear from psychiatric drugs, psychotropics, and common drugs like alcohol. What we don't know is how long it will take. Please read about The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization , if you haven't already done so. Familiarise yourself with the success stories section of the forums, as well.


This topic is for anything relating to you, and any questions you have. Please do not start another topic.


We only recommend two supplements. Omega 3 Fish Oil and Magnesium. Both should be introduced separately and increased slowly.




Edited by Erimus

Active Monday-Friday UK time



1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021; 55mg - 23 Feb 2024; 60mg - 20 March 2024; Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 57.93mg  (15 May 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020


Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

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  • Emonda changed the title to Optimistictoheal: 50mg Sertraline Withdrawal PAWS

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