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  1. Hi everyone, just wanted to introduce myself and share my history. I was on 200mg Zoloft for over 5 years, mostly for anxiety but also depression, and have been tapering for around a year now. I've frequently visited this site, which has been very helpful, but this is the first time I've actually posted anything. I started tapering last June at 25 mg per month and was off meds by January, 8 months later. Then the withdrawal symptoms started. In the first week I experienced what I think people mean by "brain zaps;" short periods of dizziness, disorientation and nausea. In the second week I became extremely irritable, anxious and depressed so I went back to 50 mg and felt better almost immediately. Although I didn't make it off the meds I did learn a few things and one was that in order to withdraw safety I needed more support, so I started attending a cognitive behavioral therapy group, and then started a second, slower taper (10 mg a month reduction.) Currently, I'm down to 10 mg a month, and although I feel OK, the withdrawal symptoms are kicking in - less intense than before, but I am experiencing mild head rushes and emotional sensitivity - a random thought can make my anxiety spike. But overall, I'm doing all right, I'm still able to work and to meet my daily obligations, and I feel comforted by the thought there are others out there who may be having similar experiences, and also grateful that there is a place to write about this stuff, because I know it might get rough. - Powerpuff
  2. Greetings forum members! Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Have been ingesting 100 mg of setraline off and on (mostly on) since 2001, when I had such gut-wrenching anxiety that I could hardly eat or sleep. But within two weeks of going on zoloft I went from a frazzled ball on the floor to a full-on party animal. I drank, smoked and snorted pretty much everything I could get my hands on. I even broke into a pharmacy and robbed it late one night with a friend after we'd done too much cocaine, taking away bottles and bottles of valium, xanax, vicodin and for some reason - because I had ZERO sexual side effects at this time - viagra. We didn't knock the place over out of need or craving or anything like that, but just for fun. Anway, looking back I'm 99% certain that the zoloft shifted me into a manic overdrive that I stayed in for about four years. The drug seemed to make me crave intoxication of any sort (even LSD!) and allowed me to indulge with very minimal consequences, i.e. hangovers, fatigue, etc. Oh, and I was working out (running, lifting weights) three times a week and was in great phsyical shape. Needless to say, I loved it. Then, in about 2005, I noticed I was no longer up but not really down - I had reached that infamous SSRI plateau. Then I didn't get a prescription refilled one day and just stopped taking the stuff all together. Went through around two weeks of the usual stuff and then was slammed with the whole slew of symptoms that made me go on the stuff in the first place. Took a few months for me to stabilze but just never felt quite like I did that first go round. Since then I noticed a gradual but steady decline in my cognition and sexual function. Nothing too extreme at first, but like the frog that doesn't know he's being boiled I just kept taking the stuff to avoid withdrawals as my both my brain and genitals became increasingly anesthetized. I finally decided that it was either go up on the medication and suffer through increased side effects with the hope of regaining that old spark, or coming off it altogether. I went with the latter. The idea of being on 400 mg of setraline 10 years from now did not sit well with me. So on Nov. 9 I went down to 75 mg per day and held there for two months. One odd thing I noticed is that while I had the usual nausea, dizziness, fatigue, etc., I had no brain zaps. Not a one! In the past when I missed a day or two it was like a bug zapper going off in my head, but this time it's been eerily quiet up there. My theory is that I probably burned up all of my neurons from years of both legal and illegal drug use so there's nothing to zap. Ha! Anway, on Jan. 1, as part of a New Year's pledge, I stepped down to 50 mg per day. Withdrawal symptoms popped up again but so did something else - I started getting morning erections again! I've even started having a lot more sexual thoughts that sometime result in spontaneous erections, which is kind of a new and funny feeling. I've still got lingering dizziness/vertigo, brain fog and some fatigue, but I'm hoping that will improve with time. I plan to stay on 50 mg for at least a few months and will probably go down by another 12.5 mg when the time comes. I know that's more than a lot of you would recommend, but I'd like to try tapering down using tablets before switching over to liquid dosages. Bottom line is that it still feels like a slog most of the time, but the little glimmers of creativity, clarity and sexuality are a wonderful incentive that keep me going day to day. I plan on checking in here from time to time to document my progress and also to share stories/info with anyone that is interested.
  3. Hi, About my experiences, well about 16 yrs ago my gp gave me zoloft because I had really bad fatigue and body pains. I willingly tried it, because I had no idea of the difficulty getting off of course, until I tried a few months later and had problems, so I just stayed on because I didn't really know how to get off or if I should. Then I moved a lot went to university and worked alternately in different places. With all the stresses of life I decided just to stay on. Finally about 5 yrs ago doctors gave me a hard time getting refills for effexor because I couldn't really explain why I was on it, so I went off and broke the pills apart myself. Well I was alright until about 6 mo's later I started getting really wonky, kind of bipolarish, and then it transformed into major anxiety and panic attacks for which I really had to get back on the stuff. I had never experienced any of those kind of symptoms before in my life. I previously had no idea what anxiety or panic felt like. The panic attacks came on in waves. Terrifying experience to say the least. So I really had no choice but to restart the drugs and of course to the docs and psychiatrist it was "relapse." So I'm really glad to find this forum and know that maybe it's all withdrawal. However, even if it is, I still don't know how I'll ever get off this stuff. I'd like to know also, if this is belated withdrawal, how can I explain it to docs who don't know about it, are there any studies or anything at all to back me up besides anonymous people on the web?
  4. Hello all, After having been on zoloft for 3 years, I quit cold turkey. A few months later, I had pretty bad WD symptoms - mainly insomnia, anxiety, headaches, and depression. My mom and psychiatrist were convinced that these were simply signs of re-emerging depression. So I got back on. By March, I was actually feeling pretty good. But there was still lingering depression, and I wanted to see who I really was off the drug. Without any knowledge of what withdrawal would be like, except that I could suffer from some symptoms for "6 weeks at most" (-my psychiatrist), I quit cold turkey, again. I had brain zaps for several weeks, and then I felt alright. The brain zaps stopped, and the sexual dysfunction I had throughout the course of taking the drug diminished. Throughout the summer, I got worse and worse, not knowing what was going on, since I had been assured that the symptoms I was going through could not be caused by withdrawal from zoloft. Some of the symptoms I've gone through have been insomnia, anhedonia, depression, suicidal thoughts, tinnitus, DP/DR, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive thinking, self-hatred, self-blame, self-guilt, brain fog, PTSD (i.e. hyper vigilance), migraines, psychosis, agitation/anger, lack of concentration, confusion, racing thoughts so severe that socialization is difficult because there is almost constant buzzing of thoughts flying around. I feel like I've lost my sense of self. I realized after using this site that quitting cold turkey was definitely not a good idea, but now it seems that reinstatement of the drug would not be very helpful. I have definitely had a number of windows, albeit a lot more waves. Also I just moved across the country (from the midwest to the west coast) and started college. I'm really confused about whether or not I even want to be in college, at least not now. Now I just want to move back home and focus on recovery. I feel so guilty for not wanting to attend any events or go to class or do anything besides lie in bed. Then I feel anger at myself for not being able to "snap out of it." And I feel anger towards the world. I feel angry at my mom for advocating an AD to a kid who hadn't even started high school yet. Looking back on how relatively small my depression was beforehand, I'm almost positive I could've completely handled it with exercise, diet, therapy, and meditation. Now all of those things are just plain difficult. I'm angry at the world for not standing up to the pharmaceutical companies who market these lies. Then I just feel powerless, and confused, and lost, and that I shouldn't be angry, I should just focus on recovery. I feel guilty for being an angry person. I feel disgusted that I could get so angry. I'm also trying to reconnect with God. I decided I was an atheist in middle school, and then I decided I was agnostic at some point, and then I decided I was spiritual but not religious. Now I want to reconnect with Christ and find peace and rest in Him. Yet I am so used to ridiculing religion, and I am finding myself to be unworthy and without much faith. I have been taking magnesium citrate, vitamin D-3, MSM (methylsulphonylmethane), and vitamin C, all of which seem to help (especially the magnesium). Yet I haven't taken them individually, so perhaps I should stop them all and add them all back in one by one. Although the magnesium helps so much I don't think I could remove it. I have also been trying to meditate time to time, but I am finding it very difficult. I realize that I should set a schedule and stick to it if I want the best results. One thing that I did yesterday and today which really helped was chanting "OM" for 15 minutes. Also, I have been exercising, and it seems to help a lot. I have some money saved up, but the out of state tuition I'm paying, even with financial aid, is 10x more expensive than what I would be paying at a college back home. And I'm not sure I even want to be in college right now. I want to take advantage of treatments like neuro-feedback, acupuncture, reiki, and maybe using a flotation tank, but I don't want to spend all of my money and not be able to make it back home. I want to go home, be stabilized, and then seek those treatments. I plan on going back at the end of the trimester (in December) since I've already paid tuition and housing, but I honestly can't see myself succeeding in college right now, so I'm just feeling lost. I've already missed 4 classes, and two assignments. I just really want to leave tomorrow and go home. And I am the first of my brothers (two older, one younger) to go to college, so my entire family is expecting me to do well. The only one truly supporting me is my little brother, a sophomore in high school. My mom just wants me to take more poison and so does my psychiatrist. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  5. HI all, My story begins when I was pregnant with my second child. We had decided to try for another one because we thought my parents would be moving to our city to help out. HOwever, the same day we told them we were pregnant, they also had news for us, there got a great job 1000s of kms from where we were. I went from feeling anxious to down to depressed. Baby came, I was actually feeling great. But then my in-laws came to stay with us for 2 weeks when baby as 6 weeks old. They were horrible to me. We kicked them out. Things got bad. I was extremely depressed with plans for suicide. It all came to a head when my husband heard me call Lifeline. I went on zoloft 50mg. Two years later, I changed my diet COMPLETELY. Got into health and fitness in a BIG way. Also regularly meditate, use counselling. I have now been Zoloft free for about 2 months. I tapered off gradually with the help of my doctor and naturopath while increasing herbs such Proxan (5HTTP) and B vitamins and special blend of magnesium. My symptoms have gone from 1. Sudden onset of anger completely untriggered but then finds a reason ..usually kids in the car 2. achey body 3. nightmares in sleep thankfully anger and other symptoms have subsided but now I feel like i am not old extremely compassionate self. Depression has really taught me to compassionate however, I feel a lot meaner and harsher like I have less patience for other people I remember being this way in my early 20s but i am surprised this has come back post Zoloft. I feel really uncomfortable about this so we will how it all goes.
  6. So, after about 7 years on varying dosages of Zoloft (varied during pregnancy), I've spent the last 9 months stepping down from 100mg to 75mg (no withdrawl symptoms then) to 50 (insomnia, irritability, visual twitches). My provider helped ease those symptoms with supplements: Thorne's cortisol manager and 5HTP --these made a HUGE difference for me. Simultaneously started a very low dosage of plant based progesterone (am in early perimenopause). I inadvertantly missed three doses of the Zoloft at the beginning of the week (I sometimes fall asleep putting my little one to bed and feel too sleepy if I take the sertraline in the morning). Since, I have been feeling pretty dizzy and irritable and somewhat weepy. I am trying to decide whether to just forge ahead with added Pharma Gabba and extra 5 htp supplements suggested by my provider or to reactivate the Zoloft at 25 mg. My provider has indicated she supports either decision as long as i "feel safe." I started on Zoloft in the first place because of post-partum depression and anxiety. I now have two young children, a middle school-aged boy and a rocky marriage resulting from poor choices I've made, I think, because I was seeking stimulation -- to feel something again. That's why I decided to get off the ZOloft. I am hoping that feeling some hghs and lows instead of stable -- but flat and dulled, will help me be more present in my life. While I trust and like my main health care provider and am in marriage counseling with my husband, I do not have an individual counselor or psychaitrist. Am I taking too big of a risk by not continuing to taper? I have a refill waiting for me of the 50 mg pills to break inhalf ...
  7. Hello everybody, I have been reading this forum for a while now and it has given me comfort in a very hard period of my life. Sorry for my bad English, but English isnt my first language and I´m feeling a bit groggy in the head right now I started taking Sertraline (Zoloft) last spring due to burnout at work which started a nasty rollercoaster of anxiety and phobia. Over a couple of weeks (maybe a month) I got up to 150 mgs (which in hindsight was a mistake by my doctor. I got the jitters from the Sertraline and my doctor said that it meant that it didnt work as it should). After about 4 months I decides to start tapering since I had realized a lot of things about myself and why I reacted the way I did to the stress at work. I felt that I could handle my "real" feeling and didnt think that I needed the medication anymore. So I started tapering 12.5 mgs every 14 days. The whole process took about 5 months and by the 10th of February I was completely off the medication. Up until this point I only had minor symptoms: The occasional brain zap, the occasional brain fog and a little bit of irritability (there probably was more stuff, but nothing serious). After about 15 days completely off the medication I started to get this weird feeling in my body and a bit of anxiety in the mornings which subsided during the day. After 30 days I got depressed for a short period of time and got some nausea and then they passed. The anxiety stayed. After 40 days I started to get crying spells and headaches. Then these went away, got a little nausea combined with shivers and obsessive thoughts (I REALLY hate those). The thoughts and anxiety stayed. After 50 days I started to get confused, my memory got worse and I got small muscle spasms in my body. The anxiety stayed, but the thoughts were gone... for now. After 60 days the anxiety is gone, but it got replaced by me feeling like a zombie in the head. And im tired all the time. And I want to cry. And I got the shivers. So thats my story so far. Im on day 63 which has consisted of muscle aches, shivers, feeling like crying, nausea and zombie feelings in the brain. I actually cant believe I´m having serious trouble with my English So.... thats my story so far. I dont know why I decided to write. Maybe its because I wanted to feel like I wasnt alone in this. My gf and mother are a great support for me, but they cant possibly fully know how I´m feeling during this horrible ordeal. But you guys know. Or, if you are someone who feels alone in battling SSRI wd, now you know that you are not alone either. Hugs to you all
  8. I've been on anti-depressants for 10 years. Most recently 200mg of Zoloft, trazodone, klonopin. I've been experiencing mood swings the last 9 months that keep getting worse. Assuming it was a side effect of my medication I asked my doctor if it was a good idea to taper off. I did as he directed and ended up barely sleeping for three weeks which culminated with a serious episode where I was violent threw my husband out of the house and barricaded myself in my bedroom which ended in self-mutilation (cutting). I'm 32 years old. I thought cutting was something teenagers did. I've never had mood swings before. I called my doctor and all he told me was to go back on zoloft. Needless to say I'm looking for a better doctor. I'm very confused. Did I not taper off correctly? Will I have to be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life? Was I in withdrawal? I'm back on my meds but I'm feeling all the reasons I wanted to come off them: I'm sleepy all the time, I have trouble with my memory, I have muscle spasms to name a few. I have felt clear headed maybe 8 times this year. This is no way to live! But I'm very afraid of what coming off my meds might do now. It was terrifying. I don't know what to do next. I have mild depression and insomnia. I shouldn't have gotten so wildly out of character.
  9. Sorry for my bad English but I use Google translator. I am a woman of 45 years old, housewife, living in Italy with her husband and parents who live in the adjoining. Before having psychiatric problems in 2006, I was found a leucoencelopatia vascular disease. In January 2006 I began to take Zoloft ( 1 x 50 mg) for generalized anxiety and depression. After one month and a half I was fine, I continued to take it until November 2006 when I had a relapse and I have replaced it with Cymbalta ( 1 x 60 mg). I took it up to July 2007 and then climb it in two months. In September 2007 I was fine without medication. In March 2008 I start to feel bad , they gave me Cymbalta again until January 2009 . From the middle of the month I took it every other day for two months to remove it completely to March 2009. In October 2010 I was sick again. For two months I took Cymbalta but this time I continued to get sick so I have given back to Zoloft starting with small doses because I was very bad and it seemed that my symptoms were dependent on this medication. I had anxiety , tachycardia, sweating . I also took a bit of Tavor and then Lexotan in drops. Finally I begin to get better and in April 2011 took only 1 pill of Zoloft 50 mg per day. In December 2011 I started to climb the taking Zoloft every other day for two months. In early March 2012 broke out strong anxiety so I have given back to Zoloft for about a month and then change it to Paroxetine ( Sereupin ). I started gradually up to June 2012 with 1 tablet of 20 mg and a bit of Lexotan. The anxiety was reduced but was still not well. During this time I started vision problems. I began to see I was bleary-eyed and puffy eyes. In August 2012 I see a new psychiatrist that I recommend to double the Zoloft. After 13 days I was getting worse so I stopped , switching to a pill and a half. In January 2013 I have another symptom: noise started on the left side of the head. In February 2013 I went back to 1 tablet of Zoloft per day, 5 drops of Remeron in the evening and a little Tavor. Then I took 13 drops of Lexotan but my anxiety was getting worse. In June 2013 I tried to take a half pill then every other day, then I went back to 1 pill. The symptoms were always worse. At the end of August 2013 I try to climb to 25 mg , add B-complex vitamins on the advice of a holistic doctor. I'm getting worse every day. CURRENT THERAPY : 25 mg Zoloft ( 4:30 pm ) Lexotan 5 drops in the evening Remeron 5 drops in the evening. SYMPTOMS HIGH ANXIETY : I do not know where I stand, do not leave the house, bad breath, wheezing constantly, I can not do anything, I am unable to follow any type of diet. I am underweight. BLEARY-EYED : I feel constantly wet and swollen eyes NOISE IN HEAD: Constant noise on the left side . TOOTHACHE : neuralgia sharp left, I have trouble talking. IRREGULAR SLEEP : even if sometimes I can get enough sleep, I always wake up tired. MY EXPECTATIONS I got to the bottom, do not take it anymore . I do not want my doctor to ask for help because I would admit. I do not want to be hospitalized in the psychiatric ward because I know that I will take even more drugs. I've heard of people ruined for life in this way. I do not trust most of the psychiatrists who are only able to dispense these toxic drugs. I asked for help from naturopathic or holistic doctors but nobody wants to take responsibility for me to climb these psychiatric drugs. Everyone says that I need a psychiatrist. I feel trapped, I tried to contact many people even within anti-psychiatry. Almost everyone advised me to call my doctor and get hospitalized. If I find someone who thinks like me, and tries to help me I can not follow his advice and I can only become more confused. How do I if for example you may want to go outside or do sports when I am not able ? Here in my country now I've tried everything, and the only hope now is you. Suggestions are truly appreciated. Thanks Terry
  10. Hi everyone, I joined this site because after 13 years of contributing to the pharmaceutical fund, and investing my retirement into the tuition of the children of my shrinks (eleven of them), only to mess up my brain chemistry and find no relief, I am tired of being on medication and looking for a way out. How it started. Fifteen years ago, I developed an eating disorder, which started as anorexia then after two years turned into bulimia. At the time, I had no other psychiatric issues. I was not depressed, did not suffer from anxiety (except relating to food) or cyclothymia... All of which I have been diagnosed with afterwards. I was started on medication immediately, before any other forms of treatment were tried. The doctor who diagnosed me with cyclothymia also had me on Topamax or Lamictal (can't quite recall), which can cause mood disturbances, mania, depression,etc. i am now convinced that I was suffering from the side effects of the drug. Also, my nutritional state was very deficient and affecting my cognitive abilities. This particular doctor was a nightmare. He had me committed to a mental institution for a month instead of considering that perhaps the drugs he had me on were responsible for my altered state. Before the medicines, I was mentally balanced. Two weeks after I started, I end up in a psych ward. The link is obvious. Its hard to keep track of what medications I have taken and when, so I will just list them, in no particular order: - prozac - zoloft - topamax - lamictal - zyprexa - cymbalta - welbutrin - xanax - effexor After six years of being a medical guinea pig, and finding no relief, I was prescribed wellbutrin, which helped significantly. At this point, I was very depressed. Wellbutrin helped me get out of bed i. The morning and helped me to get at a stable point, mentally and physically. It was the only drug that ever helped. However, after four years, I was still suffering from a chronic eating disorder I was functional but my quality of life sucked. I started working with a treatment team and the doc took me off Wellbutrin and put me on Effexor. I am now up to 225 of Effexor and wish I could go back in time and never have taken it, if I forget just one dose, the withdrawal is awful. If I go even one day without a dose, a migraine sets in. It is followed by dizziness, vertigo, brain zaps. Once the unquenchable thirst sets in, I begin to experience extreme moods that scare me and those around me. The worst part is that it hasn't really helped. I wanted so desperately to get better that I stuck out the initial side effects (anorgasmia, fatigue, nausea, dizziness) for months until I got used to the medication. Now I just sweat like I am going through menopause at 28, soak through my sheets at night, and feel blah all the time... Total apathy for everything. I feel trapped by this medication that doesn't help, but if I don't take it, I feel terrible. Slowly, my eating problems have improved, but that is through therapy, CBT, group therapy, mindfulness, yoga, and a variety of other tools. At first the Effexor seemed to help, since my eating issues were improving, but I now realize that it was a combination of the other tools I was using at the same time, which I had previously not been doing, I am planning on seeing a new doctor in two weeks to discuss going off Effexor. I would love to be drug free, but at this point I would be happy getting back on Wellbutrin or anything that is not Effexor. I am scared about getting of Effexor, since I have been doing so well despite it, but at the same time I am sick of being on it. I am happy I found a place where other people are going through something similar and appreciate your comments and thoughts.
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