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  1. Hi there everybody, I was put on 50 mg Zoloft two years ago for situational depression following a traumatic development in my family. I was upped to 100 mg a few months later. I complained of panic attacks (no prior history) and was switched to Lexapro. I filled the prescription but just thought "to hell with all these pills" and quit cold turkey. I experienced tiredness, some light headedness and brain zaps. I had no idea what they were or why I was having them until I eventually had the presence of mind to google if there were any side effects associated with discontinuing Setraline. I had some symptoms for a couple of months, the first three weeks or so being the worst. I was functional. I ended up going back on 50 and then 100 mg of Zoloft about six months later and was probably on it close to another year. I had a pretty serious episode of depression for a couple weeks (again, not out of the blue but triggered by some serious family stuff related to the initial trauma). When I came out of it I decided to try going off Setraline since it wasn't treating my depression effectively anyway. Following development of the initial situational depression (and PTSD?) I started self medicating with alcohol. That could have had something to do with the panic attacks, but in retrospect I think the Zoloft probably played a roll. I was and am in treatment, but continued to have an on and off pattern of alcohol use for some time. My desire to do anything in my power to address this issue was the main reason I went back on Setraline. I also felt guilty for "self prescribing" myself off of them. It's been almost six months since I've abused alcohol, and in July (following the depression) I decided to try going off of antidepressants. Surprisingly, my doctor rejected it out of hand. I've had a second conversation with her where I told her I'd made up my mind to continue to tapper off. I complained of headaches. Her attitude was like "Setraline is prescribed for headaches. You should just take your meds or stop complaining." When I first started my tapper I cut the dose by half. I had brain zaps and debilitating exhaustion and headaches. I've adopted a much slower tapper and am now, over two months later, at approximately 25mg. I have good days and bad. Fortunately, I don't have anxiety, depressions (although being exhausted and in pain is pretty effing depressing), or intrusive thoughts. Some of y'all are really going through it. I do have tension, jaw clenching, headaches, really really bad headaches sometimes, restless leg, muscle aches, muscle weakness, dizziness, lack of coordination, exhaustion, brain fog, some insomnia, weird dreams and bad dreams. And lack of appetite. And twitches sometimes, especially when I'm resting. There's more to say about my interactions with doctors. More than anything I am angry and flabbergasted that there was NO discussion or information given to me prior to using these meds about Setraline discontinuation syndrome. There was no discussion about how long it would be appropriate to be on these meds, and it is apparent that the doctors are trained to permanently treat for psychological symptoms that result from temporary circumstances/ trauma. It's SO MESSED UP.
  2. Hi everyone. Thank you for reading my introduction. I've had an odd initiation to psyche meds. I'm middle aged and was rather healthy prior to my breakdown. I exercised five days a week, numbers were good, was generally 'relaxed' and comfortable in my skin and had a great marriage. Then, in the summer of 2015, I decided to try meditating. I had been studying Buddhism for awhile and a book I was reading stated that, if you really want to study Buddhism, you need to start meditating. So, that's what I did. I went to our local community meditation center and began a small meditation practice. About six months into it I started getting very anxious. I had no idea why. My blood pressure went up and I was put on the first regular prescription I've ever been on: Lisinopril. The anxiety continued and began increasing. My blood pressure kept rising. I asked my doc if it could be the meditation. He said "Not possible: meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety." I started seeing a therapist (first time) and asked the same question. I received the same response. I knew I should quit meditating, but everyone I talked to said that couldn't be the issue. So I continued. In the winter of 2016 I had what I call my 'Long Night' which was actually a week of altered mental states, completely unbalanced thought patterns and anxiety that went through the roof. I kept working and tried to keep my act together, but it was very difficult. The meditation teacher at the community meditation center said I was going through something called 'Dissolution' and congratulated me. He put me in touch with a more authoritative teacher (a person widely known in meditation circles) who confirmed this. Unfortunately neither of these people were much help. I looked all over the Internet and in books for answers, but the altered states kept occurring (even without meditation), my blood pressure was through the roof, I wasn't getting any sleep and my personal life was falling apart. I kept going to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. One morning my wife asked me if I was going to work and I broke down crying. She took me to the ER. The doctor there had compassion and said he thought he knew what was wrong with me and gave me an Ativan. For the first time in months, my blood pressure went down and I felt better. I went to see a psychiatrist in the spring of 2016. He put me on Celexa and Klonopin. He gave me some Ativan for my panic attacks. The Klonopin was needed until the Celexa reached a therapeutic dose. When I was ready to get off the Klonopin he introduced Buspar. Tapered off the Klonopin (no problems). I was on both of those for about two years after I quit the Klonopin. Everything seemed OK. In January of 2019 I started getting nausea and a headache. Just low-grade stuff, but consistent. And they slowly were getting worse. By the summer of 2019, it was pretty bad. I talked to my psyche doc about coming off and he agreed. We started with the Celexa and that taper went fine; however, Buspar was another story. I tried coming off that and I got very sick: felt like I had the stomach flu. I was home for three days. And that was just by cutting Buspar down to 30 mg from 45 mg. So we reinstated and decided we'd try Lexapro. I was sick on Lexapro, but gave it a couple of months. Quit it cold-turkey. He moved me to Zoloft in January 2020 (which I had high hopes for as my wife takes it), but that also made me sick. I decided to 'ride it out' for 3 months to see if the side effects went away, but they didn't. During this time I reinstated Klonopin (0.5 mg per day) as only the Buspar was treating my anxiety. I finally decided I was done with Zoloft and tapered off. My psyche doc retired. I got a new psyche doc. He decided we should wipe the slate clean and start new. He recommended I get off the Buspar as I may be experiencing 'Serotonin Resistance'. Began tapering that this summer (July 2020) and, after three months, I am off it (last dose 9/8/2020). I feel terrible, but not all the time. Depression seems to be 'soul crushing' around lunch, but slowly gets better. I feel anxiety when I wake up, That slowly gets worse, but kind of 'ebbs and flows' throughout the day. Muscle pains, cramps, dizziness, but no problem sleeping. Seems like I have problems breathing at times, but I actually don't. I feel bloated and full most of the day, but still manage to eat a bit. My chest hurts (I have a cardiologist so my heart is fine), guts burn and stomach is as hard as a rock at times. Other times (like now), not so much. I exercise when I can (was on the treadmill yesterday and took a long walk Monday). Evening and night seem to be OK. That is when I typically exercise (summer in AZ). My wife and I watch our shows and go to bed. I took 7.5 mg of Buspar this morning just to see what would happen. It seems like I had less physical symptoms such as my stomach, chest and gut felt fine most of today. The 'soul crushing' depression came and went. For that I usually just disassociate with the feeling, watch it as a disinterested third party and it eventually goes away. At least that is what works for now. The anxiety: that remains fairly consistent. Comes and goes in waves. I've been anxious since I was a kid, so I'm kind of used to it. I feel it a lot more since I had my breakdown. The depression SUCKS! I'm not used to that at all. Buspar withdrawals SUCK! Not used to those either. My marriage is still great. It would be nice to have sex again. That is my story. Thanks, again, for your time.
  3. Hi everyone, I’m a 18 years old boy from Italy. After a moderate depressive episode, I got prescribed Zoloft 50mg and EN (delorazepam, a benzo known in only a few countries, with a very high half life) from a psychiatrist. Took the benzo till the Zoloft ticked in, then tapered it without much trouble. It has now been 9 months, I’ve been feeling a lot better than before, but I now wanted to taper. Told my psychiatrist about it, he’s alright with it, and wanted me to take half a pill (25mg) from the day after, for two months, and see how I do. I made him aware of my concern about it, told him that I saw from this website that the best way would be to taper 10% of my dosage, and I ultimately said that the most I would do is taking 37.5mg (3/4). He said he's alright with it, but I would have to wait 2 months between each dosage reduction(never heard about that, let me know the reason if you know), so that would take a long time. My main concern is that either tapering 12.5mg every 2 months or following your advice to taper 10% every couple of weeks would take a long time, I would pretty much end up tapering for as long as I've been taking it, if not more. So, is there any suggestion for tapering faster for someone who has been taking an SSRI for a relatively short time? My main idea would be to reduce 25% of my dosage every 2 weeks. Thanks everyone. Kind regards.
  4. I had sporadic anxiety issues as a teen, maybe even panic episodes, but I didn’t attribute them to a disorder (I’d never heard of such a thing at that time). I just figured I was an ‘anxious person.’ In my early 30s, sometime after my wife and I had our first child, I began having panic attacks at night. I didn’t know what they were and my fear exacerbated the problem. Panic attacks began happening during work, waiting in lines, at theaters, in my car. Eventually, I started reading books about anxiety, saw my doctor, and then started counseling. I got lots of great non-med help, but still felt like my daily life was a fight from morning to night, so I finally accepted that I needed to try medication. I started on Zoloft and was on that for a few years, maybe 5 or 6. Then I switched, with my doctor’s suggestion to Paxil, which I was on for about 7 years. I don’t know my dosage history anymore, but for the last many years I was taking 10mg a day (half a pill). I can’t remember why I made the switch. Over this time anxiety got better. The daily fight dwindled to weekly and then occasionally and I even forgot it was an issue for periods of time, though I would be reminded when I had to be up in front of people, which my job requires. With my wife’s encouragement, I decided to try to wean off Paxil and, with my doctor’s direction, did so over the course of one and half months from November to December 2019. And...everything seemed great for 4-5 months. I couldn’t believe it. I felt just like I had felt under medication-no big issue at all with anxiety (and now I didn’t have any of those pesky side effects from the meds!). But in May 2020 (about 4-5 months after I weaned off the meds) i started waking up feeling anxious-pit in the stomach, like one feels when going to give a speech. There was no ‘thought’ or actual life worry-I just felt anxious every morning. I hadn’t had that experience since I was a teen/early 20 year old. I am 45 right now. Now I wake up nearly every morning at 3:30-4:30am and cannot get back to sleep, no matter how long I lay there. I either wake with the anxiety in my stomach or, if it’s not there right away, it comes on by the time I get up. That anxious stomach feeling can go all the way until 9-11am, sometimes longer, though it eventually is gone by midday. But even though it is gone by midday, it has triggered my body and mind and I feel so susceptible to anxiety throughout my work day that I feel I have come full circle once more and am seeing every work day as a fight just to make it to the end of the day. It’s so exhausted and I feel so helpless and worry that it won’t change. The Lord is my strength and He has helped me get through, but I hope, and it’s why I came to this site, that He may have taken me to this forum to get some insight here.
  5. Hi all, First off, thank you for reading this if you are! Second- nice to meet you, I really feel like I am at a dead end. So many doctors have failed me in so many ways and I'm so tired of dealing with this. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this website. Going to try to sum up my experience with my depression and treatment journey. To start, I've been anxious since I was a kid but only began to realize the weight of my debilitating depression in my late teens/early 20's. In December 2016 I began seeking treatment- therapy for a few months and eventually found a psychiatrist. He prescribed me Lexapro 10mg, since my mom is on it/has been for 10 years; but Lexapro made me feel crazy - like I couldn't be alone and I was scared to do anything and everything. Psychiatrist had me go off cold turkey after almost a full month, until my next appointment a week from then. I was the most depressed I had ever felt and it was scary but I knew it was all chemically induced from stopping the pill. A week later, first week of January 2017 he put me on 50mg of Zoloft which was soon upped to 100mg after a week of taking it. It brought me back to a neutral point emotionally, no longer wanted to die, etc. My sex drive was so low though, and i brought that up 3 more visits, when he put me on 150mg of bupropion/Welbutrin. This solved that problem and this medicine combination had me feeling myself for the first time in a very long time. But it really didn't last too long. A few months in I began getting almost daily headaches so my doctor raised my Zoloft to 150mg in July 2017. That would be lowered back to 100mg in September 2017. Much time has passed and I've been simply getting by on my meds, not paying too much mind but constantly wondering if I'm only on them because I'm physiologically dependent on them. In November 2018, I sought out therapy again, but no longer had a psychiatrist to manage my meds (I saw a few psychiatrists in the interim but they wanted to up my dosages and I felt they weren't taking into consideration any side effects I was mentioning that were now making my antidepressant experience quite miserable). In January 2019, I began experiencing absolutely debilitating migraines many times a month, and after monitoring it for over a year now I can't identify the exact triggers. In October 2019, I saw a primary care doctor for the feelings of dullness and emotional blunting I was thinking was from my meds. She upped my Bupropion to 300mg and I got a little more motivated for life again, but it was so short lived and felt very chemically induced. Like a manic constantly needing to be occupied by something, I'll be watching TV while playing a video game WHILE on instagram or something on my phone. It's wild how hard it is for my brain to just be calm since the dose has been upped. Problem is, she went out of practice literally months into seeing her. Every time I lock in a new doctor, they seem to no longer be at the healthcare facility anymore and it's so exhausting having to find a new doctor to explain all of this to every. single. time. especially when I don't even know if they're actually listening to what I have to say or if they just want to write me a script and send me on my way. In the last 2 years, I have dropped so many friends because i've lost all interest in them as people and I was kind of easily able to move on with my life and be okay with being by my lonesome. I feel less emotionally drained and less worried about social situations in general. I fight with myself about these feelings though, in my head, almost all day every day because I have never been like this. This isn't me. I don't know what I like to do anymore. I am so physically fatigued and I'm 24 and relatively a healthy individual with the exception of what I eat lol. Anyway, I hope this group can help me find some peace with this journey. Thank you if you've read this far.
  6. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  7. Hi--I'm so glad this site exists. I took my last dose of Prozac on December 15, 2018. 3 days later, what I call the Horror, began. I had been on ssri's for over 20 years during which time I had become constantly sick. It never occurred to any doctor that my illnesses were medication related. Eventually I began to link studies of the ssri's to my problems. I tapered over a 6 month span, and now realize with the discovery of SA that it was probably too quick. I'm frightened because I still don't sleep well, suffer from akinesia, bone-crunching depression, suicidal ideation, especially in the night and mornings, tinnitus, extreme weight loss, blurred vision, and obsessive ruminations. This mental state is a million times worse than anything I experienced before starting on Zoloft. At that time, my husband had been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, and during the first 2 years Zoloft did seem to help me cope. After that, it never worked the same, though the dose was consistently increased. Eventually my doctor had read that Zoloft was associated with an increased risk of stroke in those over 60, and he switched me to Prozac. Over these years I lost my hair, had an oophorectomy for cysts on my ovaries, had appendix removed, two heart attacks, and was put on Enalapril for HBP, Metformin for diabetes. I always had digestive problems during this time--including hiccups! And terrible sweating-- Three days after my last dose of Prozac, I was admitted to ER with BP of 250/150ish. Administered clonidine. Back to ER again about a week later with same high BP which had never gone down. My urine was pink. My body and mind could barely function. I was given a diagnosis of Serotonin Syndrome by the ER toxicologist. Since then I have tapered off the Ace inhibitor in 2019, and Metformin, the last dose being in March 2020. About 8 months in, it seemed I might be improving somewhat, but the final withdrawal from Metformin has set me back again. A couple of months ago, the mental nightmare had become so unrelenting I considered reinstating, but haven't. I still can't watch movies, read novels, or enjoy music the way I did. But the good news is that my blood pressure is now normal. This month I've slowly returned to my job part time after nearly a year away. Thank you for all that you all contribute here. I hope I can offer support as well. Your journeys mean a ton to me--life rafts, in fact. Zoloft: 1995 - 2015 Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from July to December) Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019 Enalapril: 2010 - 2019 Lipitor: 2017 -2017 Metformin: 2000 - 2020 Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019 Levothyroxine: 2000 - Happy to be here, Arbor
  8. Hello, I am new to the world of antidepressants but it has been a bad time. I was started on Zoloft in July and had a very bad reaction to the medicine. I was told to take 25mg daily for a week, then 50mg daily onward. Around the time I hit 50mg I started to lose my mind. I was basically set back several years mental health wise and have yet to recover. I had luckily had the foresight to have my dad take my gun before I started the medicine, because I would have killed myself if I hadn't. After explaining this to my psychiatrist, they relented and had me "taper off" the medicine by dropping to 25mg for 4 days then off it entirely. It's been about 2.5 weeks since then, and I have not been doing much better. I still have awful, dark thoughts and intrusive ones that are upsetting as well. My anxiety, which was annoying before, is now completely out of control. My personality has completely shifted. I am not the same person I was and it sucks. I can't enjoy movies, shows, video games, or anything. Every waking second is a new hell of emotional instability. Prior to the medicine, I had issues dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They would come and go and I was relatively alright. Since then, I can not relax even slightly. I have tried everything that normally works, and I am just lost. I even tried getting a medical marijuana card and the marijuana didn't help even slightly. My current life situation isn't helping, but I am unable to change it in the short and long term. Highlights include: -Being treated like dogshit in the military (out now) because my wife was an immigrant and I wasn't reenlisting, and had physical issues -Have to continually get surgery, can barely walk. Can't sit down almost at all, have to stand or lay down. Spend most of my day on my feet. -Wife borderline abusive (started my MH issues), not currently living together for a variety of reasons -Fired from job because my entire department wanted COVID-19 safety things and I was considered "the ringleader." -Denied unemployment (was owed $20,000) -Unable to live on my own due to income being too low (disability check helps but not enough). -FBI had to come and take some of my HDDs that I discovered had govt files on them that I didn't know about -Constant guilt/shame complex All that being said, I was managing things okay for the most part until Zoloft. My psychiatrist basically told me I was being dramatic because I was on it for such a short amount of time and for such a low dose, but it has completely and fundamentally destroyed me as a person. I am still experiencing things like clenching my jaw, nausea, extreme anxiety/depressive states, obsessive thoughts that loop, feelings of guilt / shame, etc. Many of these things did not exist prior to taking the Zoloft. It is supposedly "out of my system" by now, but I can still taste the metallic taste in my mouth and my jaw is in constant pain from clenching. TL;Dr I tried Zoloft for a few weeks and it has destroyed me. Looking for advice, support, and anything anyone is willing to offer. I have not been able to find where to update my signature but I will as soon as I do. Thank you!
  9. Hi everyone I'm Dane, Please scroll down to "Long story short" for antidepressant story or continue for the full picture. 43 year old gay male, from Sydney who has had a couple of years of unstable mental health after being successfully medicated on Zoloft 100mg for around 7-8 years. The dates are foggy. I notice people leave there hx (history) of medications and experiences at the bottom of the posts, if someone could advise me on how to do that, id be very appreciative. Id like to play by the rules. My main issue has always been anxiety. In 1995 I had my first horrific panic attack. And nothing has been the same. My life isn't awful or terrible. I have a lot to be grateful and thankful for, however as time goes on, I'm finding things more difficult. Ive seen this website many times, but felt it was best to join and contribute/learn. I generally have been anxious rather than depressed, however the anxiety and feeling out of control led to me feeling quite down and dark. In my 20's i climbed out of it but when any stress or changes were added like a relationship, a job, a responsibility - I would become overwhelmed with that was being asked of me and get easily stressed and feel like I couldn't cope with life's demands. This has been a common reason for my anxiety. When I hit 30 in 2008 I was really beginning to suffer. I felt very alone, I was job swapping a lot, starting jobs and quitting, very unstable and sexual experiences ramped up. Seeking out novelty and sex and also what's known as "cruising". I then started to feel difficulties just going outside. I was super anxious about even going to the local shops, it got worse and worse and had to be brought back home to live with family. I felt completely failed as a person. I felt i was a burden and couldn't understand why and what was leading me to not be able to cope with life. I developed agoraphobia. I went on Zoloft and that worked for many years. I got two degrees during that time, I graduated, i was working, had friends but never feeling 100 percent. The agoraphobia never really left me at all. Sometimes I could travel long distances and other times I couldn't leave my suburb. Its fluctuates a lot. However I learned to drive a car, and can drive locally and have a job. My issues are finding the right medication or therapist combo. Long story short: 2018 I noticed Zoloft not working as well, I had some challenges with resurfacing anxiety. Went to 200mg, no result. Went onto Lexapro (escitalopram) 20mg, no change really, some side effects. Maybe 20% better. Side note: Ive done pharmacogenomics testing for metabolism of meds (Lexapro a no go anyway). I checked into clinic to wean off it April 2019 and started Effexor at 75mg. Over the course of a year that was increased to 225mg. It would seemingly work for a time at each dose increase and then take a tumble. The other theory I have is that I'm not that depressed really. In April of this year (2020) I went back to switch to Pristiq 100 and Valdoxan was added at 25mg an evening. Pristiq was shown to perhaps work due to metabolism. At the 12 week mark id had mayve 4 or 5 days feeling great. The other times I felt speedy, emotional, numb, sedated, as if the norepinephrine side was working full force, but no the serotonin. I had the energy extreme without the mood. Not fun. I am now down to 50mg Pristiq for two weeks 4-18th of August. I have been given Seroquel 50mg XR to help with the DROP to 0 - in Australia you cannot get 25mg doses. Now Seroquel has worked as PRN but will it work coming off the Pristiq? I'm feeling very poly medicated. And feel I need a HUGE scale back. Medication Journey: 5 medications August 2020 Zoloft 100mg 2012 - 2018 (stopped working) Increased to 200mg (no effect) Escitalopram 20mg Dec 2018 - no noticeable effect except side effects Venlafaxine started April 2019: 75mg (6 weeks) 112mg (6 weeks) 150 (3 months) 187.5 (3 months) 225 (7 weeks.) Each dose increase it just kept failing after an initial boost/response Pristiq 100mg & Valdoxan 25mg (May 2020) Pristiq 50mg & Valdoxan 25mg (August 2020 - due to side effects)
  10. Dev1322

    Dev1322: Tinnitus

    I was on 20 mg of Lexapro and 1.5 mg of Xanax daily for postpartum depression. In February of 2020 I was down to 1.0 mg of Xanax. I began tapering both medicines as I was having some Serotonin Syndrome issues. Once I taped down to 15 mg and .75 mg I began having tinnitus. I am now on 100 mg of Zoloft and .25 mg of Xanax (I am tapering the Xanax still). I still have tinnitus and want any advice on what to do to help. Will it eventually go away? I have been on the 100 mg of Zoloft consistently for almost 7 weeks.
  11. My names Noman, 21. I took Anafranil Lexapro Zoloft Venlafaxine Prozac over the course of 1 year. Now i have SSRI and SNRI withdrawl. Putting aside the other withdrawl symtpoms, the worst one it eye It feels as if I cannot open my eyes, when I do my eye muscles from my brain to my eye feel like they want to force shut, and i get this irriation. This leads to eye pressure, eye blood rush, eye weakness, eye cant focus, etc. I know for sure its withdrawl symptom because wheni went on prozac, it went away. Has anybody else experineced this, if so, is it dangeros? does it go away? please share
  12. Hi All - Glad to have found this group. I have been taking anti-depressants now for almost 20 years. I am a 45 year old female from Washington state, USA. I'm gainfully employed, in a stable marriage, have a smart, funny kid, have a good social circle with supportive friends - and you would never know by looking at me (or my fakebook profile) the struggles I've had with anti-depressant medications. It is a subject I do not talk about, except with my doctor and therapist. I am at a point in my life now where I am seriously considering tapering off - but I am scared. Here's my history (note that this entire 20 year span I have been in counseling. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. I have switched counselors a few times but for the most part going to therapy has been pretty consistent - and has been a big help). Age 19 (1994) - diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder while in college. Suffered very scary panic attacks. Given xanax - 0.5mg - I never took it. I was afraid of it. I tried to calm my nerves through exercise, prayer, meditation, chamomile tea, nutritional supplements and talk therapy. It worked on and off - but about every six months I would have an episode of panic attacks that would last for a few weeks, then would subside. Depression / mental illness does run in my family - and I made note of that. Age 26 (2000) - Got married to husband #1. After wedding started having really bad panic attacks - debilitating. I was ready for an SSRI - desperate to feel better. Primary doc put me on Zoloft 50mg. It helped. I was panic free for about 2-3 years, but was gaining weight and did not have a libido. Weaned off the zoloft rather quickly in an every other day format (dr recommended) - and within a few weeks - my panic attacks were back. Went back on Zoloft - now up to 100mg. Age 31 (2005) - Got divorced. Still on Zoloft 100mg daily. Experiencing significant weight gain. A friend told me about "zoloft gut" which freaked me out and I decided I wanted to try something different. Doc put me on Wellbutrin. Tapered off the zoloft quickly, and onto the wellbutrin (don't remember dose, sorry) - the wellbutrin was horrible for me. My emotions were all over the place. Erratic behavior, mood swings, crying spells, very irritable, heightened sensitivity. Called doc and she took me off the wellbutrin - and put me back on the zoloft - now 150mg. Age 35 (2010) - Got married to husband #2. Got pregnant. Reduced zoloft to 25mg during pregnancy. No symptoms - felt good during pregnancy Age 36 (2011) - Post pardum depression hit. Upped zoloft back to 100mg. Age 38 (2013) - Very deep depressions, cyclical - PMDD - about a week prior to menstruation would drop to suicidal ideation, lethargy - coud barely get out of bed. Very scary. Found a new doc, a Psychiatric ARNP - she suggested I switch to Lexapro - so I weaned off the zoloft and onto the lexapro. It didn't really help - still having deep dips of depression (but no mania - not bipolar). She augmented the lexapro with lamictal - that helped in the beginning. It pulled me out of the deep dips of depression. However, the side effects were brutal. Age 40 (2015) - Still on lexapro and lamictal - Cognitive issues abound - my once quick as a whip, smart, high functioning brain - was forgetting the word for simple everyday things - I'd go to open a folder on my computer, and could not remember why - I'd look at a stapler on my desk and it would take me a few seconds to think of the word "stapler". It freaked me out. I went to a new psychiatrist (as I just didn't have a good feeling about the psych ARNP) - and she said "why did you go off the zoloft in the first place". She took me off the lexapro, and put me back on zoloft 100mg. She reduced my lamictal but didn't take me off - just to see if maybe a lower dose would help with side effects. Age 41 (2016) - Cognitive issues still there, but maybe a bit less due to lesser dose of Lamictal. Decided I wanted off lamictal. Dr. weaned me off slowly - and I didn't really have withdrawals. My cognitive function improved, but it is still not back to where it was prior to taking Lamictal in the first place. Went back to taking just 100mg zoloft. Age 43 (2018) - Have experienced significant weight gain. Made the decision to have weight loss surgery. Had gastric bypass and talked to psych about the malabsorbtion issues now that my stomach has been re-routed. She suggested I go up to 200mg zoloft. I was against it - I wanted to take it down... but I trusted her, so went up to 200 mg. Age 44 (2019) - My mother passed away - we were very close. I started having troubles with alcohol (a nasty risk of gastric bypass patients you don't hear enough about). So - in 2019 I made the decision to quit drinking. Sober now for 9 months and working the AA program successfully with a sponsor. Still on 200 mg zoloft. Age 45 (current) - For about six weeks I have been feeling depressed and physically lethargic (could it beeeeeee QUARANTINE!?). My counselor screened me for depression and I scored "moderate to severe". She suggested I go see my psychiatrist in case my medication needs tweaking. So - I saw the psychiatrist (virtually). She suggested two options - I augment the 200mg zoloft with 2mg Abilify or I go on Effexor. I am VERY apprehensive to do either. I don't want to be on either - especially Abilify. Deep down I feel like I should reduce the zoloft and very slowly work towards being off anti-depressants completely - but psych tells me no. My therapist tells me to trust my gut. I am telling me to trust my gut. GOD is telling me to trust my gut. But - psychiatrist tells me no. My gut tells me I can handle it and what once worked for me is not working for me anymore. I have grown up a lot over the last 20 years. SO - I am confused. How much of this is just grief from my mother being gone and the fact we are in a quarantine? Should I trust my gut here and reduce the zoloft? feel very trapped in this viscious cycle. I am in a much more stable place today - especially with my anxiety. I have not suffered a panic attack in well over a decade. I have done extensive therapy, EMDR for some childhood trauma, my weight is stable, I am sober, and I have confidence I can handle the hard things. I feel like I just have been listening to what doctors and psychiatrists tell me to do for years out of fear and out of mistrust of myself and the "what if I'm wrong" question that's constantly in my head... I just want some honest feed back from people who have been there done that. I know the decision is ultimately in my hands but if you relate, have experiences or thoughts on this please share. I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for reading!! -Freeburrd
  13. Mikefeelworst

    Mikefeelworst: Need help. I am so scared.

    Suffering depersonalization after Pristiq withdrawal I had been on Pristiq for a year I came off my last dose 12.5mg(1/4) pristiq.My doctor told me it was safe.Because I took it for two months. But I still starting develop depersonalization. Two weeks later, I know that I need to take it again. I called my doctor and he told me starting again from 50mg pristiq.I already took them for eight weeks. And my doctor added zoloft from 25mg to 50 mg around one week since last month 28th. My mind is blank and emotion is numb. Don't care about anything.I am just 18 years old. Now I Living like a zombie. Even I go to the gym every day. I don't know how many time it need to take to recover. Doctor don't believe me. Even my family. They think that I am thinking too much... I am really scare that I will develop Intellectual disability. I can't take care myself in the future. I need to pretend that I am fine front of them. I don't know How much time I have left. I am ready for develop to Intellectual disability.
  14. Mikefeelworst Hi everyone, I am Mike. I just joined here. I am 18 years old. I got diagnosed depression and anxiety one year ago. And I spent one year on Pristiq. When I get better, my doctor decreased it to 25mg, I remember that I spent two months on it. Then I came off it. The nightmare is begin. At the first few days I started insomnia, don't want to eat, those symptoms are not terrible. After that I starting to become a zombie.Everyday is getting worse. Emotion numb, mind blank,. So I know that I have to take it again. So I starting again on last month 1st and added zoloft on 28th until now. Now, I am still emotion numb and my brain is very bad. Few days ago I just met my doctor, I told him I 'lost emotion experience' he don't believe me. He said those symptoms is impossible to happen on me. My family don't believe me too they think that I really want to sick wtf. They think I am just depression , anxiety and think too much. I think that I have got schizophrenia negative after withdrawal. I am so scare now. My mind is blank and I scare that I will develop Intellectual disability. And I am worry that I can't take care myself in the future. I don't know is that the side effect or something. Anyone experienced exactly the same thing like me? I don't want my life end in here.
  15. Usedtolovelife I know everyone is different but can anyone tell me of their experience coming off of a high dose of Zoloft. I have been taking 150 mg for anxiety and depression for about a year. I do not want to be on it much longer as honestly I do not believe it is helping me. I of course plan to work with my doctor with regards to withdrawal but was just hoping to get some thoughts. Thank you.
  16. LocoLarry Hope im doing this right. Just wanted some info on what to do if a person has just up & stopped taking 100mg of Zoloft after 7 years of continuous use. Would like to learn if people have had similar side effects like uncontrollable crying spells etc.
  17. Expected810 Hello all! I have been reading a lot of posts on SA, and they have been very helpful and encouraging! I am grateful for finding this forum and am seeking help regarding my current mental health situation. I am somewhat stuck on what to do and would really appreciate any advice. So, on January 27th, 2020, I had my first ever panic attack, went to the ER, thought it was a heart attack and it took them over 2 hours to calm my heart rate down with intravenous Ativan. This was the first time I had taken a benzo drug or any anxiety drug. After that first episode, I went a full 3 weeks of having panic attacks and just bad anxiety (mainly at night), so I was taking one 0.5 mg Ativan nightly during those times, and during the day time I was taking my daily vitamins (vitamin d, centrum) along with omega 3 fish oil and GABA 250 mg supplement twice a day to keep me calm. I was convinced my body had become dependent on Ativan and it was just making my anxiety worse, so I decided to get off of it by cutting it in half for a few days after three weeks of use. After the three weeks, I had about one week of intense physical anxiety (stomach cramps, churning, agitiation, depression) after stopping. Then the following 3 weeks after the first week off, I had lots of dizziness after eating meals, and lots of nights with insomnia, where I would have to take hydroxyizine 25 mg for. But in that 1 full month after stopping Ativan, I had not had a real panic attack like my first one. Then my 2nd month off Ativan started and I started getting really bad churning in my stomach, and it led to a full blown panic attack which forced me to take hydroxyzine 25 mg as I didn't want to start Ativan again. After that I had full week of these panic attacks which lasted 5-6 hours daily becoming rolling panic attacks, with almost every physical symptom with numbing of my arms, choking sensation, churning stomach, dizziness, lightheadedness, high heart rate, and diffculty breathing. After my panic attacks returned, I went to a psychiatrist, and they diagnosed me with panic disorder and prescribed me Sertraline 25 mg. I started taking it daily on March 22, 2020. After a week my panic attacks subsided and haven't had one since the almost seven weeks I have been on it. However, while I am thankful my panic attacks are gone for now, I cannot handle the daily side Sertraline side effects from stomach pain, dizziness, tiredness, lack of motivation, lack of focus, mood swings, and bouts of depressive thoughts. Most of these I never had, especially the depressive thoughts. Its like I'm just waking up to wake up, I really can't function like a normal human. My psychiatrist has recommended I go up in dosage, but I have politely refused, because my goal was to only treat my panic disorder, which it has been and I don't want to go higher because I fear it might become more difficult to get off. So thats my story, I really need advice on how I should proceed, I want to stop the Sertraline and try to treat my panic disorder other ways, but I'm somewhat fearful of the withdrawal and unsure how to taper off a low dose like this. Thank you!
  18. Hi everyone! I'm 27, I've been going through Zoloft withdrawal for about a month and a half (been on them for 1.5 years) Withdrawal aside, my life is extremely stressful and depressing. WITH the withdrawal it is unbearable. I'm always busy and have so much to deal with. Has anyone ever started taking SSRI's again during withdrawal? I clearly made a mistake by tapering too fast and seriously regret it now ( I didn't know). If I took a small dose again for the following months would this ease symptoms? I've already spoken to my therapist, she doesn't know anything and thinks withdrawal is only like 4 days or something. Or should I just power through the next .... however long it will take....
  19. Lzieb

    Lzieb: Zoloft 25mg 6 days

    I took Zoloft for 6 days at 25mg. Been off 21 days today. I have had mild to severe symptoms but I don't want to go through months or years of this if there is a better/smarter way. The last three days have been really hard for me and so I want to at least try reinstatement of fluxotine at a smaller dose. I need help. I have 10mg of fluxotine and I figured I can do a switch from Zoloft to fluxotine. I need help to know how to do this. Will this help if I had an adverse reaction to Zoloft? I read that if I take a small enough dose I will know if it will be effective. I'd like help and thoughts. If it's an adverse reaction that I did have, will reinstatement of another drug help? Thx
  20. I was on Celexa 20 mg. for 10 months in 2015 for generalized anxiety disorder and mild/moderate depression, which hit me suddenly at age 65. Felt good enough to taper off over 32 weeks with no withdrawal problems, but 6 months after last dose, symptoms of anxiety and depression were back with a vengeance. Started Zoloft 25 mg in 2017 (probably should have gone back to Celexa). Increased dose to 50 mg within 4 months. Didn't like the way it was/wasn't working and didn't want to increase the dose. I'm really fearful of what these drugs can do. Tapered down to 12.5 mg over 19 months by 3.125 mg increments. Felt good until I hit 12.5 mg, then felt terrible and had to go back to 25 mg in August, 2019. Admittedly, I wasn't consistent in the tapering intervals. Some were 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 weeks, etc. depending on how I felt at each dose. I have been with a CBT therapist since 2017 which has really helped. Anxiety practically gone, depression is mild, but not like before. I really want to be off the Zoloft. Haven't slept well in 4 years and worry about what it's doing to my sleep patterns and who knows what else. I take supplements to help - phosphatidylserine, magnesium, omega fish oil. So.....I am now tapering again. Went from 25 mg to 21.875 over 10 weeks (decrease of 3.125 mg because that's the easiest way to cut my pills into quarters and eighths.) Just reduced again to 18.75 on April 14 and plan to stay there for 10 weeks. (My theory is it can take 4-12 weeks for an INCREASE in the dose to start working, so the reverse could also be true.) I think I'm sensitive to small changes in the doses. My question is - is 3.125 mg too large of a taper? I can slice my pills smaller with a scalpel if need be. Looking for advice about how to make this taper work so I can be successful this time. Any recommendations for doses and time line would be helpful. I don't care how long it takes, although at age 71, I don't want to take forever! Thanks so much!
  21. Has anyone ever felt like there neck is heavy (harder to hold it up) and their body too (slower movement)? Is that a symptom? Thanks
  22. My History I was originally prescribed Zoloft in winter of 2013 (age 15) to deal with unrelenting and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. I stayed on it consistently for 3 years. I don't remember the exact dose, but I believe I was up to 150mg or maybe even 200mg. On the advice of my doctor, I did a fast taper in spring 2016. A few months after getting off the pills, I began experiencing symptoms that I attributed to a relapse of anxiety. For the next three years, I went on and off the Zoloft at least 3 separate times in an attempt to manage the symptoms. I didn't understand what I was dealing with. When taking the pills, I experienced severe symptoms of sexual dysfunction. I was prescribed Wellbutrin to counteract this, but it didn't help me at all. Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I was fed up with the sexual side effects and scared they would become permanent. I quit cold turkey 250mg of Zoloft and 300mg of Wellbutrin in May 2019. I told myself that this was it. No more going off and on, I was done for good. Coping Without Pills I didn't have any immediate or obvious withdrawal symptoms when I quit cold turkey. After about 2 weeks after quitting the medicine, my sexual function was about 75% improved. However, starting about 4 months later (in September 2019), I began experiencing severe anhedonia, depressed mood, lack of motivation, suicidal thoughts, emptiness, and fatigue. My doctor interpreted this as a relapse in my depression, and recommended I reinstate SSRIs. I refused, but my symptoms only got worse. Just a few months later, in December 2019, I was experiencing dissociation, derealization, severe panic attacks, dizziness, nausea, trouble sleeping, restlessness, brain fog, lack of appetite, and memory problems. I developed symptoms of agoraphobia and could not leave my house due to fear of panic attacks. I could barely eat due to the symptoms, and I lost 15 pounds. I was sick and not functioning. First Reinstatement Scared, and feeling as though I had no other option, I reinstated 25mg of Zoloft for exactly one month beginning mid-December 2019. My symptoms improved dramatically on only 25mg. After just one week I was nearly back to baseline, but sexual function was back down to 0%. I began panicking about the sexual side effects, and chose to quit again in mid-January 2019. Within a month, the horrible symptoms I described above had come back, and my worst fear had come true: I developed full-fledged PSSD. In addition to severe anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and depression, I now have no sexual function. My libido is nonexistent, I cannot feel sexual pleasure, and I am unable to orgasm. I have had some small windows in the PSSD symptoms, but they have been fairly consistent for the past month or so. In addition, the panic attacks are increasing in both frequency and severity. I am losing weight again due to not being able to eat. I feel like I am in a living hell. What Next? I am at a loss of what to do now. The worst part of all of this is that my doctor and my loved ones do not believe in SSRI withdrawal syndrome. They believe that all of my withdrawal symptoms are actually symptoms of my mental illnesses, and they constantly beg me to go back on the SSRIs. My partner has discussed breaking up with me if I do not take the pills. I have tried to educate them on the dangers of these pills, but they will not listen. They tell me that it's just my OCD making things up. I have stopped trying to convince them of the real reason for my suffering. After reading this forum, I understand the horrible mistakes I made in quitting cold turkey. If I had properly tapered, perhaps this wouldn't have happened. But I simply was not equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision at that time. Now, I am considering trying to reinstate 25mg Zoloft and conduct a proper taper. At the very least, I feel that being on the Zoloft for a short time will give me a brief respite from some of the horrible symptoms I am experiencing. I am looking for advice on this matter. Is reinstatement followed by a slow taper a good idea, or will going back on the drugs do more harm than good? I truly cannot live like this for much longer. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this or offers advice or support.
  23. Lzieb

    Lzieb: Zoloft 25mg 6 days

    I had asked about switching to SJW to help with the withdrawal. I read I can also just take a single 20mg dose of Prozac (fluxotine). Does anyone know if this is accurate or if it will help. Should I try that over the SJW or just move forward. I'm on day 11 of withdrawal and it's not any better. Would love some help and wisdom. Also, would it be better to go back on the Zoloft and come off it slower? I was on 25mg for only 6 days.
  24. Hi, Im new here. Im a 54 year old male. Ive been on zoloft for the past 20 years for GAD. ( doses from 25 to 150). I was fine for 15 years or so, and then started having some sleeping issues (REMBD) as a result of the zoloft. I decided to quit the zoloft. I tapered over the course of about 3 or 4 months with no problems. Several months later, life circumstances led to my first bout of depression. I asked the doc if I could try wellbutrin because of the sleep problems with zoloft. He agreed - BAD IDEA! I experienced extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. The doc put me on Ativan. I soon reached tolerance and was having to increase my doses of Ativan. I knew this was a bad idea, even though my doc told me it was not addictive and I would not have withdrawals. I struggled to taper for close to a year before jumping. I have now been off for 17+ months. My depression comes and goes. I am on 50 mg of zoloft and do not want to increase my dose to battle depression. I want to taper off and battle the depression naturally. As I said, I never had it before I started taking zoloft 20 years ago for GAD. The depression has only occured in the last 3 years after the bridge to wellbutrin. Am I a lost cause or do I have a chance to live life depression free? Thanks, Fp
  25. Hi, I want to stop using this awful drug. My doctor wants me to try something else. I don't want to try anything but stopping. I have only been on 25mg of Zoloft for 6 days. Can I just quit? I need help
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