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  1. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  2. Hello everyone, Ever since my first manic/psychotic episode back in October of 2012, I have been using a variety of psychiatric drugs, most of which being antipsychotics. Up until late July of this year, my drug regimen included 5 mg of olanzapine and 0.5 mg of lorazepam nightly; I had actually stopped taking lorazepam from March to mid-July, but restarted taking it due to the presence of stressful circumstances in my life. However, the same stressful circumstances led me to a state of anxiety for which my psychiatrist prescribed me sertraline. After reading a bit about antidepressants online and seeing how long-term use of these drugs can be troublesome, I'm not too interested in continuing taking sertraline on the long term. Right now, I've been taking 50 mg every morning for 8 days straight, and I'm not seeing my psychiatrist until August 19th, nine days from now. What would be the safest option for me to stop taking sertraline? My guess is I should wait to see my psychiatrist in order to discuss tapering methods with her, but I thought that receiving input from people on these forums would be beneficial.
  3. Hi, I am 35 years old - nearly 36 and been on Sertraline since age 22. I tried to stop once and had a complete meltdown. I am very scared of that happening again so am only tapering by 10% since Monday. I am cutting the tablets so exact amounts are difficult. I bought a mg scale, which hasn't arrived yet but don't know if it will be sensitive enough. Anyway - I am going to stay on 45mg for a few months at the moment as I have a very stressful job, stopped smoking a year ago (but still using Nicorette!!) and I am trying to cut down on my alcohol consumption, which has become steadily worse over the last few years as it makes me feel very anxious about my health etc etc. I have developed an eye condition (called Azoor) and I blame Sertraline, though I could be wrong. I am finding many posts on here very inspiring because I am so afraid that I will never be 'normal' if I stop taking Sertraline. I also feel a huge sense of resentment towards the psychiatrist who put me on the drug (I know this isn't helpful). My mother is convinced I have to stay on this drug for the rest of my life and last time I tried to taper I told her, which in retrospect, was a big mistake. She kept saying things like "I can see a difference, are you sure you are doing the right thing … etc." which served to make me quite paranoid about the process. My fiancé says I was much better off the drug (until I went a little nuts for a while).
  4. Hello all, long time reader first time poster. Firstly I just wanted to say how awesome it is to have such a place to go and receive help for what can only be described as a nightmare that thousands of people seem to go through. So here is my story which I will end with a few questions I have. As you can see from my signature, I was placed on 50mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) in September 2009. This is when my life was turned upside down. I was originally placed on this drug because I visited my local doctor comlaining about some anxiety that I was getting after I drank alcohol. I must say that for a period of about 8 years I was a heavy binge drinker. I was a typical 18 year old who went out every weekend and got blind drunk with his mates. This was obviously starting to take its toll on me once I hit 25 years of age and that is why I visited my doctor. Well I was in there for a total of about 10 minutes before he prescribed me 50mg of Zoloft telling me this would help with taking the edge off of my anxiety. I did what he suggested and this was the worst mistake of my life. I returned to the doctor within 10 days of starting 50mg complaining of the worst symptoms (severe agitation, anxiety and now depression). Unfortunatley I could not see the original doctor so I saw another doctor there at the time. He said I must need a higher dose and that 100mg was the normal dose he puts his patients on. He also prescribed valium to me (which I took a couple of times). The next 3 months of my life was like a horror film. I became suicidal with severe symptoms that I had never experienced before going on the drug. I seem to settle after about 3 months, but it must be said I never was without symptoms, but they were less severe. Around 12 months after starting the drug, I began to get more severe symtoms. I returned to the doctor and he once again up'd my dosage to 150mg. The next 3 months were a nightmare again, severe agitation etc. For the next 6 years I floated between 100mg and 150mg. I spent thousands of dollars on therapy to treat an apparent panic disorder; although I didn't mind the therapist, the information we went through just didn't seem to apply to me i.e. I wasn't thinking any of the ways he was suggesting was causing my symptoms. It wasn't until I started looking into more natural ways and researching antidepressants that I realised that maybe the drug could be the problem! Lightbulb moment! I have read a lot of books from authors like Peter Breggin, Joseph Glenmullen, etc. which I am sure most of you have read. I also have been doing a lot of work with a nutritionist. I had a 23andme test done and found out a couple of interesting points. I have a COMT gene mutation which means I break down adrenaline and dopamine slower and I also have a mutation in another gene which I can't remember the name of which means I break down serotonin slower. What this actually suggests to me and my nutritionist agrees is that I may have been quite toxic with levels of serotonin which was causing serotonin syndrome. Alot of my symptoms were a mirror image of serotonin syndrome (agitation etc.). So as you can see from my signature, I began tapering in February 2016. My problem now is that I seem to have hit a huge brick wall. I may have tapered a little fast and was hit with severe withdrawal symptoms which have not gone away. I have been holding at my current dose of 60mg for almost 4 months now. This past 4 months has been the worst 4 months of my life. It started with severe symptoms like pounding headaches, vomitting, insomnia, not being able to sit still (severe agitation) as well as some depression. It has progressed from there to now being just severe depression. I am not depressed about anything in particular other than the way I feel. It is like I am completely numb with emotions aside from being really upset. I have no appetite and really struggle to get through each day. I am very fatigued and lack motivation to do the most basic of things. I am pushing through it as best I can still working fulltime and excercising a couple of times a week plus playing golf on the weekend. I must say that I have a great life. I love my job, I have a beautiful wife and young son (8 months) and honestly have everything to live for. It is just these horrendous symptoms are ruining it all. So finally to my questions and looking for advice from some veterans on here. What should I do next? Should I continue to hold at 60mg until things get better, or should I continue at a 10% taper and see if things get worse or perhaps better? From previous drops, I seem to have a period of improvement on symptoms for about 2-4 weeks, and then it begins to decline until I drop again. I am not sure whether that means I should keep reducing or slow down. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all.
  5. Are there any support groups specifically dedicated to Zoloft titration and withdrawals.
  6. Hello, this is my first post and I’m really looking for some help Here is my story, so for the past three years I have been on 50mg Sertraline/ Zoloft for Panic Attacks, Anxiety and Depression. I decided to come off of them from the beginning of this year and then had a delayed withdrawal symptoms three weeks from my last dose. I then reinstated on the same medication and for 2 weeks and 5 days experiences awful side effects even worse compared to the first time I went on it, the main cause for concern it making me have suicidal thoughts and feelings, which led me to CT with the advice of my doctor. From what I have found is that the medication may have exasperated my discontinuation symptoms. For a month after I experienced discontinuation symtpoms including Acute anxiety and dread Waking up anxious Low mood Depression Feeling extreme weariness (the worst) Nightmares Decreased appetite Mild insomnia - waking up several times throughout the night and early morning wake ups Confusion Brain fog - words and sentences seeming jumbled or muddled Intrusive suicidal thoughts Suicidal feelings Crying spells Mood swings Irritibility Racing thoughts Anhedonia Poor concentration - unable to read or listen to music Mild memory loss Derealisation / Depersonalisation Flu-symptoms Mild vertigo Tingling sensations Smelling things that aren’t there Diarrhoea Lack of labido Light sensitivity Eye floaters 5 weeks later and most of these are gone, I had a streak of 6 days where I felt fantastic, I felt like I could manage my anxiety and depression and I was just left with what I’m usually used to. However, I feel awful again, but I am unsure if this is a “relapse” to what my natural mental state is or if I’m still experiencing mild withdrawal. I noticed yesterday that I kept repeating a words that I was reading from signs I walked past, I have quite bad health anxiety and seeing as this is unrelated to anxiety and more OCD, it’s freaking me out thinking I might be developing it. But, when I read about OCD it doesn’t entirely relate to what I’m like, I’ve always been more anxious and depressed, I don’t perform rituals in my mind or physically. I do have worries about losing control and horrible instrusive thoughts but I always assumed that it suited my anxiety rather than OCD. I have had repetitive words happen to me a few times even while I was on the meds, but to a point that it didn’t concern me, probably a total of 5 days out of the three years. I also remember right at the beginning of my experiences with mental health that I did sometimes count things but could easily stop. But im unable to remember if this is when I started the sertraline or before. Now I’m off of them I’m unsure if this is a diagnosis that has been unnnoticed (as I did go onto AD fairly quickly) or if this is an effect of SSRI meds and the withdrawal? I also had about a 5 day bout when I recently reinstated my meds experiencing a compulsion to touch my nose over and over, however I resisted it to the point that it went quickly and figured that it was my brain confused coming off and on the medication and the effects on my nervous system, and that I had read somewhere that the end of someone’s nose also felt quite strange coming off medication and that it can be anxiety related. I do feel that as a person my anxiety fixates on health problems and then acts them out in hypothetical situations, so I used to worry about schizophrenia so when my anxiety was bad I would imagine voices talking to me, even though I was not psychotic. I think the same thing happens with my current worry of OCD, that my brain is acting it out playing on my worries, rather than the typical sense of OCD using those thoughts to neutralise worries. If that makes sense. Im also beginning to experience Earworms, parts of songs annoyingly repeating in my head. Has as anyone got some incite to how I’m feeling or if they have had similar experiences? Is it because of the medication, the discontinuation, or should I have something to worry about in terms of OCD? And most importantly, can people experience mild symptoms of OCD but mainly have anxiety? I.e can anxiety borrow tendencies from OCD without it being OCD. I feel a lot better without all the nasty discontinuation symptoms, but now I just feel awfully trapped between coming off medication or having to one day maybe reinstate because I’d be unable to deal with what I’m like off of them and this mental discomfort. All the stories on here scare the life out of me, however both options appear terrifying- being off medication and going back on them. I don’t ever want to experience being suicidal again, but I don’t want to be crippled with anxiety and new symptoms that seem scary to manage. So confusing. Hopefully I’ve been as informative and concise as possible. Would love to hear from you all!
  7. Hi. Hoping for some advice. Unfortunately I didn't do my research properly before trying to taper off and discontinue citalopram. See signature. I managed to completely cut the citalopram out at the beginning of April this year and ploughed on through the horrible withdrawal, mostly emotional with mood swings. Mood gradually worsened and at the end of May had a massive crash - couldn't stop crying, the world seemed to be a different place, it looked different, and I could no longer function. Terrified the next morning I took a 10 mg pill of citalopram I had left over from last time. Saw the doctor the following Monday who encouraged me to continue with them. By Friday 7 June, my anxiety levels were that high with constant whooshes of panic that I went back to the doctor. He wanted to up the dose to 40mg but I said I was afraid this would lead to more anxiety. Agreed to up to 20 mg and he prescribed a weeks course of 2mg diazepam to help alleviate the panic. Diazepam helps but the underlying anxiety doesn't seem to be settling. Took the 20mg of citalopram this morning, have hardly been able to function all day. I'm at a loss at what to do. Should I stick at it and hope the citalopram will kick in again? Do I reduce right back down to say 5mg? Do I stop completely and ask for another medication to help stabilise me? I suspect nobody knows the answer. Feeling extremely restless when the diazepam wears off - I can't go on like this 😞
  8. Hi everyone, I wish we wouldn't have to meet under these unfortunate circumstances, but here we are. I want to give a full introduction of myself and my situation in hopes that someone can please shine some light on me or atleast tell me I will be fine again, one day. I am a 24 year old female that has found herself nearly disabled by SSRIs. This is going to be long and i apologize. When i was 17-18 I smoked marijuana almost every day for 1-2 years. When I moved away to college I decided to "get my act together" and focus on school. I quit smoking cold turkey and this set the stage for a very frightening panic disorder leading me to quit school and move home becoming nearly agoraphobic for a few months. Obviously was depressed as well and spent my days sleeping to escape. After 3 months I went to the Doctor and started on Zoloft and within 2 months was back on my feet working full-time. Still had some anxiety but kept living. I stayed on Zoloft for 4 years from ages 18-22 and everything was fine. I felt emotionally cut-off but figured that was the price i had to pay to not have panic attacks. Also, I completely lost my sex drive. Because of these reasons (and my boyfriend calling me a zombie) I slowly tapered down to 25 mg and stayed on that for many months before quitting. For a few weeks after quitting a had annoying 'brain zaps' but nothing major, kept working full time and doing online college. I quit Zoloft in February 2015. Everything was fine until a year later when i started feeling 'not right'. It was during a very stressful time in my life. Working 65 hours a week and keeping good grades in very challenging nursing classes. I started feeling dizzy, off balance, pressure headaches, fatigued and a LOT of derealization (which I didn't even know was a thing at the time so I didn't know how to explain it. All i could say was massive brain fog). Not knowing what the heck was going on with me I went to the doctor after weeks and weeks of my symptoms persisting. I was told I had vertigo and tried motion sickness medicine (didn't help), I did physical therapy on my neck for months to relieve the headaches. They got better but i still felt so 'off'. Like something was missing, it almost felt like when i needed a cigarette after not smoking for 12+ hours but when i smoked it wouldn't help. Like my brain was just stuck in this weird dreamy fog. This feeling after 6 months was giving me anxiety related to my health. I knew something wasn't right but had NO idea. I mean, i thought it could be a brain tumor or something. It really started taking a toll on me. Finally, 6 months after these symptoms started my Doctor told me it was stress and seeing that I had a past history of Panic attacks he told me I needed my zoloft again or it could get out of control. Well, i certainly didn't want to relive my 'breakdown' of 2010 so I listened thinking, what the heck, if this doesn't help, then it isn't stress and its just one thing to cross of the list. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!! This started a HORRIBLE HELLISH experience that I don't know if I can come back from. July 2016- Re-enstated zoloft after being off for 1.5 years. One dose of 25 mg sent me into constant panic within hours. I was pacing the house and out of nowhere I get intrusive mental suicidal images. Scared the pants off me and off to the ER i went the next day. The ER doctor told me to keep taking it. I told him there was NO way in hell I would ever take that pill again, It was that terrifying of an experience. I had to call off work and had major insomnia for a week. My body felt like it was physically vibrating on the inside. So after that experience I go back to my doctor and he puts me on Paxil. August 2016- Took paxil for 19 days. Each day I got worse and worse. I went from working and being a good friend/girlfriend/sister/daughter to feeling no emotions except fear, despair and panic. I became horribly horribly depressed with akathisia. I had to quit my job. The intrusive thoughts were back and i was told to 'hang in there' by my doctor and that sometimes anxiety gets worse in the beginning. I was so confused because my first time on zoloft I had no start up effects that i remember. On paxil i lost my appetite, severe stomach pains, constant diarrhea, insomnia, akathisia, constant panic, intrusive thoughts, derealization, depersonalization, depression, crying, literally could not function. At this point my doctor wanted to UP the dose and I said no way! He then asked me if i wanted to go to a psych ward because my anxiety was getting out of hand. He told me to stop the paxil and gave me 90 pills of xanax. I tried the xanax 1 time. At this point i was so screwed up that 1/4 of a 0.25mg knocked me out and made me feel so depressed and like I didn't have it in me to even talk! Very sensitive. September 2016- got a referral to see a p-doc (symptoms got a little better for 2 weeks off paxil but came back with a vengance) intrusive thoughts and diarrhea went away. but was left with so many debilitating symptoms the worst was the derealization that i still didn't know how to explain. October 2016- Still having horrible symptoms, but now getting some vision changes as well (small sparkles of light in vision) saw p-doc who told me i could be bi-polar type 3. (what is that?! Anxiety runs strong in my family but not bi-polar and i wasn't having mood swings, I was catapulted into severe 24/7 anxiety HELL) November 2016- p-doc decided to start me on a low dose of celexa and buspar. I only made it 11 days on celexa before the akathisia and intrusive thoughts made me literally want to die. I added buspar on the 11th day and had a serotonin syndrome reaction with confusion, shivering, muscle jerking, goosebumps, severe anxiety, severe restlessness, zero sleep and felt like I was going to die at any given second. I have never felt so close to death in my life. My p-doc told me to quit taking everything and gave me Ativan. December 2016- p-doc doesn't know what to diagnose me with but wants to try an anticonvulsant (lamictal). I start lamictal and within 4 days my skin and eyes were burning, i had chills and a low grade fever and I freaked out because this drug can cause a deadly rash. This med also made my intrusive thoughts constant. I quit this drug and cried my eyes out for days not knowing what the hell has happened to me. I go back to the p-doc and she wants to try a liquid medication at a very low dose because I am so sensitive to everything. She said Prozac or Tegretol (another anticonvulsant) I told her i was too scared to start another SSRI, so i got Tegretol. Tegretol can also cause a LOT of deadly side effects such as a deadly skin rash, liver failure, aplastic anemia etc... I have NOT started taking the tegretol even though i was supposed to 2 weeks ago. However, i am STILL very sick from the lamictal. Holy Crap! In july i was a little dizzy with derealization and now i can't function! What i am guessing is that i was going through a protracted withdrawal from Zoloft and putting me back on it (and all these other things) just added to the fire. I feel like i am never going to get better. I just got engaged 2 days ago and cried because of how bad i've become and can't enjoy anything. My p-doc never even diagnosed me. She said i have some bi-polar traits because the SSRIs made me worse but she said it looks like severe anxiety and told me to take up to 4 ativan a day. I stay away from those because i don't need any further damage. I have been off any SSRI for about 6 weeks and the lamictal for 2 weeks. My symptoms are: Intrusive thoughts (never had before restarting zoloft) This is probably my absolute worst symptom. it is like my brain keeps trying to tell me there is danger but rationally i know there isn't any. unbelievable anxiety that isn't connected to anything. It is just here (my panic disorder of 2010 wasn't anywhere near this bad because the anxiety would end after the panic attack, this feels like constant) insomnia (never had before) cant focus on Anything/ poor concentration ( can't watch TV or lose myself in anything to distract myself) no appetite & GI problems that this creates Lost 20 pounds in the past 6 months, I have been drinking ensure plus to get in calories muscle tremors and twitches dizziness feeling disconnected seeing sparkles in vision every now and then derealization loss of pleasure, joy, contentment or any positive emotions depersonalization depression and crying (because of how drastically my life has changed) ruminations about what is happening to me not interested in anything feeling of doom terrible memory sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights, commotion etc. my heart rate takes off whenever it feels like it fatigue zero sex drive ringing in ears sweaty & cold hands and feet and last but not least a fear that i am completely losing my mind. I know a lot of you have been through a lot. I don't know where else to turn. The doctors just made everything 1000x worse. I am currently not working and had to quit college. I don't feel like myself, i know i am in there deep down but all my symptoms debilitate me. Does this sound like an adverse reaction or have I all of a sudden developed a worse mental illness? I do not intend to go back to my p-doc or take any medications. I want my body to heal and go back to who i was 6 months ago. Does anyone please have any advice? I feel so alone and scared that i permanently screwed up my brain. If you are reading all of this thank you and bless you. I never even knew someone could feel so bad mentally and physically. I wish i would have never restarted zoloft in july. I don't know what to do. I need hope that this will get better.
  9. This site is a go-to to reassure myself that others are traveling and have traveled this road. The discussions about emotional spirals (check) and anxiety, rumination and dread on waking up (check) and depression even worse than before medication (check) have been helpful. I am being extra mindful now of taking Mag powder in the morning and before bed. I started AA and kundalini yoga in mid-May which have both been helpful. Although I really didn't drink much, it was enough (and mostly alone, not social) and any depressant when you are coming off an antidepressant can't be helpful. Also, I changed from hatha/vinyasa yoga to kundalini yoga which is more focused on the spiritual component of yoga. I won't lie: at 4 months, I still fall daily into waves of depression and loneliness. But I do find that there are glimmers of happier times and I am getting clearer -- I hope -- about how to handle the tough times (for instance, I just now think that my beloved dog has a fever and am trying not to emotionally spiral -- ugh). I will be reading this site like mad just to remind myself that I am not alone. Farm Girl Works Tapered 75mg Sertraline March 2017 in 4weeks after 6 years mostly on with a few unsuccessful WD Stopped Sertraline April 1, 2017
  10. Stormstrong

    Stormstrong: in pain

    Hello. I need help! I've been taking Zoloft on and off for close to ten years. Went up to 150mg last month. Since I got back from the psych hospital last month, I've been having a sensation of being stabbed repeatedly in the brain, the whole day after taking Zoloft. This is why I had to start taking it during the day time. Otherwise I cannot sleep - keep jolting up awake, as if though electrical currents of stress run through my body. Today I got up, and was quite happy, energetic. An hour later I took Zoloft. What happened?: the feeling in my body and brain is that of continuous assault by toxins. I feel at the same time very agitated, very lightheaded and sleepy, nauseous, no longer happy, with diarrhea. Music, my true love and saving grace, is now an irritant. For a long time I've been considering tapering off for good (I'd follow the 10% rule). But now it's clear to me that this medication is no longer good for me. I had my psychiatrist (of a few months) call me and I suggested that we taper me down to 135mg. He said that it's not a "good idea", and that it won't help me. I don't think I can get another psychiatrist, because I'm applying for SSI disability (for PTSD), and people at the hospital told me that my case will be quite strong, if I show that I've had the same psychiatrist for a long time. If I go against his wishes, he would never write a good letter for my SSI case. Should I just do it behind his back? Greetings, by the way!
  11. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  12. I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read. I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants. I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control. Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking. I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time. Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal. Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago. A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet. Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently. I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist. He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis. I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft. I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  13. Hi all, my story is so very long but the short story is i was on zoloft 50 mg for 15 years (only drug i was ever on). I tried multiple times to get off but would get severe discontinuation syndrome each time so i thought i just had to stay on it for life. I will go into those symptoms if you ask. Anyways about 4 years ago i developed benign fasiculations and resting tremor. It took seeing multiple docs and finally a second neurologist and he said this is common with zoloft. So i had to get off it but i was scared to death because of the severe discontinuation that i would compare to heroin withdrawal. So i was so scared i never went back to the doctor and thought maybe i can live with BFS and the tremor. But then my neurological symptoms got worse and led to parkinsons which was drug induced and dyskinesia. The facial grimacing was way more annoying than the fasiculations and it affected my blood pressure too, thats how parkinsons works, it affects the autonomic system so i had bad orthostatic hypotension and that was dibilitating but somehow i pushed through. I had many more issues, if you ask i can write about them. Anyways this time i was ready to get off zoloft so i go to the doctor and he says "wow you've been on it for 15 years" and i thought "WOW you idiot. Your office is the one who has been prescribing this to me all these years". They never once told me to make an appt if i hadnt been there in a few years, they just kept refilling it. They should require patients to have biyearly appts and check them for neurological signs and if the patient doesnt make an appt than they should not get a refill. I am very mad at my poor healthcare and management (total lack thereof) but again my story is so long i can write it if you ask. Anyways my doc said to wean off over like 2 months. That was too fast so i did it on my on and weaned off 50 mg over a 6 month period and for the first time i did not get discontinuation syndrome! I was scared to death but i did it and was shocked i did not get discontinuation. Weaning that slow is the answer. I only had some mild things like some mood swings, swollen lymph nodes which always happens when i wean off for some reason, headaches, i can go into detail if you ask. My neurological disorders are also going away. I am 20 days off zoloft and feel great and i would say my neurological issues are like 80% better and i hope to recover completely with time (i might have permanent damage). Anyways i am posting because i am very angry at the healthcare community for their lack of knowledge on how zoloft, though rare, does cause dyskinesia, BFS, and parkinsonism. Docs do not seem to know to look for these signs and put a stop to it before irreversible damage occurs which is a disability. They are too freely handing out these meds to your average person with basic stress that can actually manage without meds like seeking CBT, meditation, yoga, qigong, etc. i am one of those type of people. Patients are never checked up on on these meds. I know personally from working in gastroenterology for years that almost everyone is on anxiety or antidepressants and that to me is a crime because every single one of them are having unexplained problems with a lot of expensive negative testing and they are frustrated but no one is relaying it is the medication causing it and how imperitive it is to get off it. I am against all these meds (unless the patient has true mental disorder like bipolar or is in a stage of suicidal ideation etc). I am just very angry. For me, to address that, i want and need to raise awareness but i feel no one would believe my story because it is so rare but i think more common than we know because it is being unreported and doctors dont know enough to spot tardive dyskinesia etc so it takes years. Anyone else with a story like mine?
  14. Scotty

    Scotty

    Drug History 2002 - Started Zoloft 100mg. Gradually reduced to 50mg, intending to come right off. 2009 - Went back up to 100mg - no ill effects. 2011 - Began slowly reducing again. 2017- Down to 25mg. October 2017- Dose increased to 50mg. I started taking Sertraline 100mg in 2002 because I’d developed panic disorder after a stressful mature-age college course. The medication worked immediately and continued to help me - I was well for 7 years with no anxiety. I gradually reduced to 50mg, but in 2009 went back up to 100mg with no ill effects during a life crisis. In 2011 I determined to come off again and began reducing very slowly with no ill effects. By October 2017 I was down to 25mg. I went to my GP to get a counselling referral. I was quite well with no anxiety, but she advised me to go back up to 50mg to mop up any underlying depression I might have. So I did - one of the worst decisions of my life! Within 24 hours I developed horrible symptoms... terrifying anxiety/dysphoria, palpitations, severe insomnia. I was certain they were caused by the increased dose of sertraline but my GP denied that this was possible ‘on such a small dose’. She said I woud soon adjust. So I stupidly continued to take it for 2 more weeks before another doctor in the practice told me to go back to my normal dose immediately. I was expecting that I would then return to ‘normal’ but I did not - instead I continued to suffer bouts of toxic anxiety as well as the other symptoms. I consulted other GPs and a psychiatrist - all reluctant to link my symptoms to the increased meds and instead going with the ‘pure anxiety’ diagnosis. Recently I found a GP who was willing to listen and referred me to a psychiatrist who tested me positive for clonus and hyperreflexia. He said that on the basis of these together with my other symptoms I definitely have non-acute sertraline syndrome. Although it is unusual, he thought it was triggered by the increased dose of medication in my system. He told me to titrate down fortnightly in 5mg increments using a solution. However when I got down to 15mg last week I soon developed withdrawal symptoms including ataxia, burning, nausea. But then yesterday I started to feel much better - almost normal! So this is my dilemma. I’m told that serotonin syndrome disappears soon after the medication is withdrawn. If that’s the right diagnosis then I should follow the 5mg taper and get off as soon as possible. But if this quicker rate gives me severe withdrawal then I should stick to the much slower 10% monthly regime - thereby possibly prolonging the agony. What to do? Can’t go forward, can’t go back! I’m so confused. I’d appreciate any help the forum can give me.
  15. Hi, I would like to introduce myself as I’m new to the forum. I’m really glad I found this website – some really good information regarding withdrawal and can definitely see some of the characteristic signs of withdrawal in what I’ve experienced since reducing some of my psychiatric medication. So to give you a bit of background about what drove me to investigate adverse effects to psychiatric medication – both being on it and trying to get off it! (Sorry it’s a bit long!). It all started with a psychotic episode that I endured for 3 months before finally getting help. I know that I needed some treatment – I wasn’t getting better on my own and I was struggling to live my life not to mention being scared out of my wits most of the time. I have no problem with the fact that I needed psychiatric medicine to intervene at this time. I was put on mirtazapine as the doctors put my symptoms down to depression. I started sleeping again which I hadn’t been doing for more than 2 – 3 hours a night for over 3 months. Very quickly the worst of the psychotic symptoms – the paranoia, fear of being in the house and the worst of the voices went away and I started living my life again. However, I still had some residual voices which I wanted to get rid of. I saw a psychiatrist and he prescribed aripiprazole and this is where everything started to go downhill. I wish I had just lived with the voices as they weren’t very bad (certainly nothing like when I was first ill.) and I felt good on the mirtazapine. The aripiprazole made me extremely depressed and gave me bad anxiety. The psych tried upping my dose of mirtazapine to 45mg to combat this. This left me extremely agitated and unable to sleep at all for days so I reduced it back down. I decided to taper off the aripiprazole. For a whole month after reducing the aripiprazole I had the worst suicidal depression I have ever had, which took me back to the psychiatrist. He changed my medication completely – taking me off the mirtazapine which had worked initially and putting me on sertraline and olanzapine. This, also has been a disaster. I wish I had just ridden out the depression after the aripiprazole which I expect was withdrawal symptoms. I think the sertraline gave me anxiety, although I would have a few good days here and there, so just thought the dose needed increasing. Ended up on 200mg sertraline and 7.5mg olanzapine for good measure. I was so anxious I was having trouble just talking to people about very mundane things, as well as days of bad depression, punctuated by a few good days here and there. I also still had some voices so the anti-psychotic wasn’t that helpful anyway. Eventually the inability to live my life properly made me suicidal and I told the psychiatrist that we needed to do something. I wanted to go back onto mirtazapine and get off the sertraline. He wouldn’t take me off the sertraline but did agree to add mirtazapine back into the mix so I was on 200mg sertraline, 30mg mirtazapine and 7.5mg olanzapine. I definitely improved with the addition of the mirtazapine but still felt the sertraline was doing more harm than good so set about reducing it once I had stabilised after the addition of the mirtazapine. I reduced from 200 down to 50mg over the course of 6 weeks – back in January 2019. Way too fast. Have been experiencing waves of severe depression and crying spells (although these are getting less intense) and windows where I have felt better. Generally apart from the nasty waves I feel much better than I did when on 200mg sertraline. Have also decreased the olanzapine to 5mg which resulted in 6 weeks of extreme fatigue and severe depression again. Ironically, since the addition of the mirtazapine and in combination with the olanzapine the voices have nearly gone. My aim is to get off the sertraline completely and also get off the olanzapine, which makes me very tired and lacking in motivation. I am holding for the moment as we are due to go on holiday in 5 weeks time and I don’t want to have any nasty withdrawal symptoms to deal with. I would like to do the remainder of the reductions with your support as doing it with people who understand what you are going through will, I reckon, make it a whole lot easier. I look forward to interacting with you all.
  16. Hello SA, SleepyMagee here. I'm a first-time caller, long-time listener, and I've been meaning to do this for such a long time. I'm sure you all know how hard it is to get started, especially when your story is a long and painful one. But I feel like I'm ready. The following will be an account of my history with mental illness and how the medication I was prescribed made a bad situation worse. I'll try and keep it as short as possible, for all our sake. I hope updates and eventually a recovery story will follow. So here goes... In September 2009 a relationship ended. It had been on and off for most of that year, and really isn't particularly important except that precipitated my first bout of serious depression. I was 26, had very little direction in life, had been working dead-end jobs and really didn't care much. But when that relationship went south and I started to feel bad, I realised that I hadn't been particularly happy for a long time. The relationship ending was just the last straw. The suffering I felt was new and scary, but I got through it. I saw my GP and was offered antidepressants but decided against taking them. After a few months I started to feel better and exactly one year after I first noticed that something was wrong I enrolled in college and felt pretty good. School was fun and stimulating, but there was always a fear that I would fall back into the darkness, and when I had a dip in my mood about a year in, I went to my Dr and asked him to prescribe me something. Looking back I don't feel like I needed the pills. But I was really worried that the depression would get worse and it would affect my work. I really wanted to finish my studies and do well. So I ended up taking 150mg of Sertraline for six months and I have to say, it was pretty good. My mood improved after a couple of months and the side-effects were minimal. The worst issue was a terrible case of the runs which lingered for about six weeks before disappearing. I had no issues coming off the drugs and I finished college, passing with flying colours. Between 2011 and 2013 I was on and off Sertraline twice, for about six months each time, and had no real problems. Then, in early 2014, I felt my mood had started to dip a little and so I knew what I was going to do. I went back to the GP and asked for medication, but I thought I was clever. The old Sertraline had given me that pesky Diarrhoea, and I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Surely the answer was to just try a different medication? I'd be back to my old self in no time and avoid the runs as a bonus. Simple, no? No! This is the point in the story were everything starts to go wrong and it's the watershed moment. I haven't felt right since then. The Doc prescribed Fluoxetine (Prozac) 20mg and I duly took it. Within a couple of weeks I could tell that something was wrong. I started to feel very uncomfortable in my own skin- itchy, agitated, jumpy. It was very strange. I also started to have trouble sleeping. After a month or so I went back to the GP and I don't remember how the exchange went but somehow I came away with a prescription for 40mg of the drug. As time passed I felt more ill until I realised that what I was experiencing was anxiety. Eventually the anxiety progressed and turned to panic. I had my first panic attack at 3 am one night and it was caused directly and completely by the medication. I had never had any issues with anxiety before taking that drug and the only time I've had it since is when I have introduced new medication or adjusted the dose of medication I'm on. It's never been as bad as it was at that time though. At the same time I was so activated that I was getting just 2-3 hours sleep a night and working full time. I remember telling my girlfriend at the time I was too tired to go see her after work. When she got upset I agreed I would head over to her place, but when I got there she put me straight to bed. She said I looked like a corpse and her apologies were profuse! In September 2014 things had gone too far, and I was falling to pieces. I had missed so much work over the past six months that I couldn't take it anymore and quit my job. I haven't worked since. Shortly after that I was finally taken off the Fluoxetine and went straight on to Mirtazipine. You'll have to forgive my inability to remember how long I took to updose/downdose for these meds- it was a long time ago and my memory has been effected by the drugs (note: there is no recognition from the Doctors I saw that my anxiety and continued depression may have been caused by horrible crap they were giving me. I however, was starting to suspect.) Mirtazipine was prescribed because of my difficulty sleeping, and boy did it do the trick. 45 minutes to 1 hour after my dose I was nodding off. Once I fell asleep I was dead to the world for 10 hours solid. Pretty great? Eh, no. No matter how long I slept, I woke up feeling like I'd hardly slept at all. I couldn't focus, felt 'fuzzy' in my head, was always tired and was completely numb. I was basically a zombie. I had originally hoped that I would get back on the employment horse pretty quickly after my Fluoxetine experience- I was even told by the company I left to get in touch when I felt better- but I was no more functional on the Mirtazapine than I was on the Fluoxetine. I have never felt so physically exhausted in my life, and have never recovered my energy. To this day I wonder about which was worse/more damaging. I suffered more on the Fluoxetine, but on the Mirtazipine I lost any semblance of being a functional human being. Pick your poison. I suspect that a combination of the 2 drugs effects, one so quickly after the other, has done the long term damage. So I spent a year on Mirtazapine, sleepwalking through a living nightmare. I barely left the house and when I did, I was shattered for days afterward. I think it was around this time I began to insist that the pills were making me sick, and yet I was still convinced to take the maximum dose (45mg) and made to doubt my own instincts. My symptoms, I was told, were obviously depression and an adjustment in the dosage may be all that was needed to fix all my problems. I'm slightly ashamed that it took me another couple of years to admit the truth to myself. So my relationship ended, I had to move out of the home I shared with my partner and move back in with my parents at 32 years of age, and had no quality of life to speak of. But I finally got off the Mirtazapine. It was hell. My anxiety returned with a vengeance and I had the worst insomnia I've ever had. It genuinely felt like I was physically dependent on the stuff. Apologies, I can't recall how long it took and how often I dropped the dose, but I do remember that by the end I was nibbling tiny portions of a pill every few days just to get some kind of sleep. At the same time I began to take Sertraline again because my Doctor still couldn't believe that all the problems could be caused by the medication. I doubted enough myself to allow it, but part of me knew that I shouldn't be replacing the Mirtazapine. At the very least I feel like it may have ameliorated some of the symptoms of withdrawal to have something else working on my serotonin. If I had gone completely CT off the Mirtazapine I may have gone insane. Although the most pernicious symptoms passed after I ditched the Mirtazapine, I never recovered in any meaningful sense, probably because I moved on to another drug and my system never had time to recover. By this time I feel like my body was just so beaten up and my nervous system so damaged that a careful, slow taper was needed, but the fun was far from over. I made one attempt to get off medication completely in 2016, but failed, but in 2017 I managed it. It was, however, a disaster. I dropped from 150mg of sertraline to nothing in about six weeks. I was assured that this was a conservative approach to tapering. It wasn't, but I soon started to feel better. June and July of were pretty good and I started to feel like my energy was returning. I thought I was free and clear. In August I began to feel ill and depressed. By mid September, six months after my final dose of Sertraline, I was almost catatonic and competely suicidal. I lay in bed all day and formulated a very specific plan to end my life. Somehow, in late September, I made the most difficult call I've ever had to make. I called my sister and told her what was happening. She took me to the Doctor and from there I was referred to my local mental health services. Within a few days I was back on medication - Vortioxetine 5mg, then 10mg after 1 week). At this point I had the epiphany I needed to admit to myself fully that the medication had ruined my life. The standard line is that the medication will take 2-4 weeks to have an effect. Within a few days of taking the vortioxetine I felt much better. Not weeks, days. Bingo! This was NOT depression. It was withdrawal syndrome. The dose was increased to the maximum of 20mg a few weeks later and at this point I didn't fight because I was so happy that I didn't want to kill myself anymore. I have to be honest now, and it might be something that isn't heard much on these forums - the Vortioxetine was... ok. There were no new major side-effects, and it improved my mood (undoubtedly because withdrawal was terminated), but the rest of my problems sort of just hung around. I was tired all the time, my sleep was disturbed and broken, I had occasional anxiety, I felt numb, I was cognitively compromised (confusion, poor memory, poor focus) and felt generally ill and weak almost all the time. But at least I wasn't depressed. So I formulated a plan. I would take my time, stabilise, educate myself and prepare for the end goal, my final tapering and withdrawal from the medication. And this time I was determined to do it for good. SA has been invaluable for mesince then. I began to taper in June18. I went from 20mg to 10mg overnight. No problems. In September I went from 10 mg to 5mg. No problems. In January this year, I believe it was the 5th, I stopped taking the medication. No problems... for 2 months. And then withdrawal began. I am almost 7 months free of the medication now, and the short version of the story is that things are going ok. Not great, not terrible, but ok. I'm think I'm about where I expected to be. I guess I'll keep you updated if I can as my recovery progresses, but this isn't the time or place. But I will say this- the waves and windows are REAL, folks! So, thats the end of my sad (and very, very long) story. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and don't be afraid to ask me anything. Sleepy
  17. I’m new to this website/forum, but I’ve been researching and finding great information about people getting off their psychiatric medication. I’m 46, and I was 20 years old in college when I experienced my first full blown panic attack (official diagnosis, panic disorder without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, depression). Looking back (after lots of therapy), I can now understand the stress I was under at that time. But the main point is that I was put on zoloft and lorazepam which, combined with lots of “social drinking” seemed to put a lockdown on the panic attacks (though I would still wake up with some varying degrees of anxiety most mornings). I put my head down and just sort of pushed my way through life, graduating from college with honors, holding a job doing community education / organizing / speaking, shifting gears and going back to school, and then starting my own successful business. Jump to about 4 years ago, 2012 and things just seemed to begin falling apart. The successful company I had created was now failing, a relationship I actually felt invested in was failing, and the hangovers from drinking had become really intense. In short, I ran out of steam. I gave up drinking in the spring of 2014, and that summer decided I was going to get off the damn meds. I did it the “right way,” tapering off the benzos first, and then the SSRI. And though the anxiety would increase while tapering and it was tough, by the end of the summer (early September) I was actually med free! Unfortunately, mid-October the panic attacks returned full force. Again, I can see now that this was a particularly stressful period of my life, but of course I was really disappointed when I decided I just had to get back on the meds (the panic attacks were relentless and excruciating). The problem was that the meds no longer seemed to work like they did before. And now I’m on MORE meds (add in remeron and extra 50 mg of zoloft). I have made some changes, doing lots of therapy, ACA support groups (and looking at childhood issues generally), exercising again regularly, EMDR, meditation, etc. And I want OFF the meds! I know I need to do this slowly, and at this point, I cut the remeron from 15 mg to 7.5 (about 1.5 months ago) and I’ve cut the benzo (now clonazepam) from 2 mg to 1.5 per day (just started that 3 days ago). My thought is to cut the benzos first, then the last of the remeron. I know with the relatively long half-life of the clonazepam, I need to take it slowly. I’m thinking .5 mg every 2 weeks. From the information I've come across, it seems like some taper off even more slowly than that? I'm looking for others to share their experiences with their own clonazepam withdrawal schedules (for panic disorder, preferably). I just don’t know what to do about the SSRI (zoloft). I realize this website is about benzo withdrawal, but I’m hoping to find others with experience on panic disorder and SSRI withdrawal too (as well as benzo withdrawal support). I hope this is OK on this forum? I’ve been “working with the anxiety” (trying to “make friends” with it as they say in the meditation circles). I know I’m less scared of it now, but I'm also not experiencing the full blown panic attacks. My concern is that I would get off everything (including the SSRI/zoloft) and then the panic attacks return, and it takes SO LONG for the SSRI to build up in one’s system. Do I just prepare myself to weather that storm? Will that storm really pass eventually without the meds? After years of trying to make my physiology match the lifestyle I felt I should lead, I’m now accepting the idea that I need to make my lifestyle match my physiology. The panic attacks are just so damn awful when they hit relentlessly all day long, day after day. I’m scared. Is there anyone out there that has had any experience with the meds and panic attacks along the lines that I have had? Are there other resources out there I should know about? Is it really possible that I can live a purposeful (and perhaps at least semi-peaceful) life without meds after 25 years of being on them? Much gratitude . . .
  18. bubbles

    Bubbles

    Hi everyone I'm in my pre-taper phase of going off 20mg of Lexapro, which I've been on for 5 years. I've got an appointment to get Lexapro in liquid form to aid the taper in a couple of weeks. I've tried this before, and not succeeded, but am determined to get off them this time. At the moment I'm spending a few weeks setting myself up to have a good run at this. I'm: * filling up my freezer with home made meals for bad days.. * getting really organized at home. * taking a good multi, folate, magnesium and fish oil. * lining up some distractions, like audio books and a (hobby) evening course. * getting enough sleep. * cutting out caffeine. * doing clinical pilates as a way to transition into some more exercise. * getting some sunshine and fresh air every day. * introducing mindfulness meditations as a daily thing. * might start that tapping EFT thing I've seen at Dr Mercola's website - just can't hurt! At this stage I expect to start my taper at the end of the month. Or so... Bubbles
  19. Hi everyone. I've been on SSRIs of one sort or another for 23 years. I had depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and severe social anxiety my entire childhood, and felt like I only became myself when I got on Prozac at age 12. My social skills hadn't developed normally because I had been too scared and depressed to interact with other children, but I was able to catch up in my teens with the help of medication. I tried to get off a couple times, once in my late teens and once in my mid-20s, but it didn't go well. With medication, I have mostly done well, except for chronic insomnia that can at times be crippling. I have gone through many kinds of treatments, therapies, medications, and lifestyle changes in an effort to manage my insomnia. Now I'm 35, and until a couple months ago, I was the happiest I'd ever been in my life. I was recently married, had an exciting career, and was mostly keeping the insomnia under control through a strict cognitive behavior therapy regimen. I was taking 50 mg of Zoloft, a low dose that I had slowly reduced to over several years. I started a two-month taper using a liquid formulation with the goal of starting a family medication-free. I know Zoloft is considered one of the safest SSRIs during pregnancy. But I really wanted to be medication-free for my baby, and it seemed with all the life skills and support systems I had built, that should be within reach. All seemed to be going well until I got down to about 20 mg. Then I started having awful, crippling bouts of insomnia that would leave me sobbing in despair and frustration for hours at night. I became emotionally hyper-reactive to everything; even something silly like not being able to find my socks could send me into violent fantasies, yells and sobs. I also had physical symptoms -- excessive sweating, diarrhea, and nausea. I held steady at 5 mg for a couple weeks, and it seemed to be getting better, so I slowly dropped the rest of the way. Things were rocky for a few days, then seemed to ease off, and I relaxed thinking I was on the way out. I've been off Zoloft completely for just over two weeks now, and it's suddenly gotten much much worse. That makes no sense to me because Zoloft has a short half-life, so I wasn't expecting a delayed reaction. But my insomnia is so bad lately that just thinking about my bed makes my throat close up, dreading the hours and hours of torture that will be my night. Half the time I am so tired that I can't function, literally not safe to drive to work. And for the past few days I have felt a rising cloud of depression and constant misery. A big part of me now believes on a bone-deep level that I am worthless and have never done anything worthwhile in my entire life. It seems obvious to me that the things I took pride in while I was on medication were stupid delusions, and I was just making a fool of myself with everything I did. Part of me does not want to go back on medication, even though I know it would fix this, because I don't want to be the stupid pathetic deluded fool again. Better to huddle in clear-eyed torment. And I can't bring myself to believe that it's okay to have a baby on Zoloft, even if my medicated self would have said I was being irrational. I know that untreated depression during pregnancy is associated with worse outcomes than taking Zoloft. So having a baby like this isn't an option either. But right now that seems moot, because I no longer feel I have the right or capacity to bring a child into the world. When I leave the house now or do anything besides curl up and cry, I am like a puppet-master pulling the strings of my own body, putting on a grisly charade of a functional living human.
  20. It has been years since I took medications, I was 16 when I took them in 2009, and went through a few different brands. I have copied some of my introduction story to make things easier for me. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5232-%E2%98%BC-hello-charliebrown-script-free/#entry67166 Starting with Fluoxetine 10mg for 1 month. Then Venlafaxine for 1 month at 75mg then, 3 months at 150mg. 1 month of Clonazepam 0.5mg as I was tapered off Venlafaxine and onto Sertraline 50mg. Then I took Sertraline 100mg for 4 months. Still experiencing panic attacks, agoraphobia and paranoia. I went to the hospital during a panic attack and was given Lorazepam 1mg for 1 week. This is when my psychiatrist added Risperidone on top of the Sertraline. Risperidone started at 0.25mg for 3 days, then 0.5mg for one week, raised to 1.0mg for one week. After two weeks I had a check-up I told the Dr. I wasn't feeling anything and I believe he may have misinterpreted that as "no effects" but when I said it I meant that I felt no emotions. My dose was raised to 1.5mg daily. After 3 days of 1.5mg I began experiencing Akathisia with no relief of anxiety. With no options in perceived sight I took all of the remaining Risperidone. Approx forty 0.5mg pills. My Parents caught me and called 911. At the hospital I was given charcoal and passed out, waking hours later. After being discharged I continued to take Sertraline as prescribed for 2 months. With no reduction in my anxiety and my emotions being basically non existant I decided to "take the good with the bad" and feel some kind of emotion. Over the next month and a half I slowly weaned myself off Sertraline. Popping open the capsule and throwing away 3-5 tiny XR beads a day. So that's my age, meds and taper strategy. How long it took to regain all my emotions and bodily functions is a hard one to answer. It took about 6 months before I felt much of anything. Then the bad emotions came back, sadness, anger. Slowly over the next two years I had many days that were blank and void of anything, days full of sadness, but also days where a light would shine and I would be happy. Feelings were coming back in waves and leaving again. I joined this website in late 2013 and at that point I had some emotional range, a libido but no sexual pleasure. So i guess it took about 3 years off medications to regain a good emotional range and my youthful lust. I'm finally writing this success story because in the past year the lack of sexual pleasure and anhedonia are not a problem for me anymore. The feelings slowly came back in waves, sometimes weak, but getting stronger and stronger. Now I feel great when I hug someone or see a friend smile. Sometimes the feelings can even be overwhelming. Like my heart is ready to burst. I don't know what else to add except, it's been almost 7 years since I took medications and I am a whole new person! Don't give up hope! Things are constantly changing, even if you don't notice. I didn't notice the change until it was right in my face!
  21. Hi everyone! Just found this site weeks ago while browsing the net regarding AD withdrawal. Sounds like you all have more insight to AD's then any doctor I've ever seen. It's reassuring there are others like me who have had many years of AD use. I'll be 47 years young next month and have been taking Zoloft/Sertraline since the early 90's. It's been a looooong time! 22 years I believe. Matter of fact, there wasn't even a generic available for Zoloft when I started taking it, it's been so long. I've been on 100mg/day since the beginning. I've tried 50mg/day for a while and been as high as 150mg/day but only for a short period. Currently still on 100mg/day, seems to be my sweet spot. Anyway, like many people out there, I was diagnosed with Dysthymia in my 20's and was promptly put on Zoloft while having a major depressive episode. I sought therapy during that time and they thought Zoloft would be an excellent option for me during that gloomy year. Fast forward 20+ years and I think it was the worst option they could have suggested during that time. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say. It is what it is now. I was an excellent responder to Zoloft. After a small adjustment to the med life was really excellent for a long long time. I had probably 15 good years on this AD with very few side effects. Things like emotional blunting, mild anorgasmia, foggy head syndrome were just a few sides that have persisted thoughout the years. As I get older, these side effects have seemed to get worse despite living a very healthy lifestyle. Many of the doctors I've seen over the years all have said that I could expect to be on Zoloft for the rest of my life and that it's ok that I am. Not so sure I agree with that. I've been married for 19 years to the same wonderful supportive woman. I've been at my same job for 25 years, make a decent income and have very few external stressors. I have nothing to complain about in my life. So I keep asking myself why am I still on an AD? I think some of it has been complacency. If zoloft is working so good then why quit taking it, right? It did work wonders for a long long time, so basically for a while I wrote it off as something I would be on forever and just live with the side effects until the day I die. I guess I could live with that and go on with my life. But what happens when the same drug you have been taking for 22 years starts to lose it's effectiveness? That's what seems to be happening over the last few years now. Many years ago I tried to wean of zoloft without any luck. Back then I had no idea what I was doing and neither did the doctor I was seeing. I look back and think about the 50% weaning schedule my doctor had suggested and just shake my head. No wonder it was so horrible. Needless to say I quickly reinstated and went on with my life. From all the reading I've been doing I now know that was the worst thing I could have done. A few months ago I found a really excellent doctor that specializes in integrative health. Although he doesn't specialize in Psychiatry, he really "gets it" compared to other doctors that simply want to push pills on you. He really understands how weaning works and also suggested the 10% weaning schedule you all advocate as well. I think I'm a pivotal point in my life regarding my AD. I don't think it's working very good anymore. I can detect very small withdrawal symptoms while on the same dose I've had for years. I think this tells me it's pooping out on me. My life circumstances are as stable as they will ever be so I feel this is a good time to start my journey. I know it will be really difficult and I'm willing to accept the fact that there is no deadline to finish my taper. I'll take it one day at a time. Hopefully with your support I can some day successfully be free from AD's forever. I Hope to get to know some of you on the forum. My intro was a little long so if you made it to the bottom thanks for listening All the best, Rob
  22. Hi, I am 31 years old, and been taking Sertraline 50mg since 2005, for generalised anxiety disorder. I attempted to taper several times in the past, all unsuccessful. In January 2018, I thought I was mentally in a good place to try and reduce the dose again. I started tapering by taking 25 mg 1 day a week(50 mg 6 days) for one month, then 25 mg for 2 days a week for another month etc. I have now been on 25mg everyday since June 2018. Initially I had occasional, mild withdrawal symptoms like vertigo and sensory sensitivities. But I had major, unexpected negative life changes and multiple bad news over the summer of 2018, and have been (understandably) more and more emotional. My anxiety has been getting more, and now it has become unbearable for me. I keep randomly crying, and feel extremely worried All. The. Time. I cannot relax or calm down, and feel a shortness of breath most of the time. Random anxiety attacks followed by diarrhea have become a regular thing. I am worried about leaving the house on my own. I am thinking about increasing the dose again, as I just can't cope with the debilitating fear and worry anymore, but then I will have suffered all these months for nothing. I thought I was in a stable point in my life when I started the taper, but now, after having dealt with a very difficult year(unrelated to the taper), I feel like now is actually the worst time for this. I have no support as all my family live abroad(and my parents&close relatives themselves could do with emotional support right now), my kids are very young and they constantly need me(and nursing a toddler is draining as it is...), we are in the process of selling our house and moving (not sure where to yet), I haven't had therapy or counselling in years and don't really have anyone to confide into... Should I just give up, go up to 50mg and try again when my life is stable? Has anybody had life events interfering with their taper like this?
  23. Topic title: Welbutrin use for 10 years have done with tapering but awful things happening almost 2 months still My daughter has been in and out of er spent a week in the mental ward. Since getting off these meds we are at a dead end she is a awful mess. She was put on buspar 2 weeks ago to help cope , any insight any help would be so welcome at this point.
  24. Moderator's note: link to Musk's members-only benzo thread - Musk: how to taper 5 mg diazepam every two days Hello, this is my first post. So grateful to find this forum. I am in Spain, not able to comunicate properly in english, I use googletraslator. My history: since spring 2015, postnatal depression with anxiety and somatization due to extreme fear of diseases, especially autoimmune diseases. Sertraline 100 mg & diazepam 5 mg from June 2016 to August 2017. Right after appendicitis with surgery (28 august 2017) and chronic hip and lumbar pain since 4 months. In consultation of rheumatology I discover that I have a hlab27 gene related to ankylosing spondylitis, which conditions me mentally more and more. But pain has not an inflammatory pattern and there is no sign of inflammation in blood. Now progressively more and more depressed with new symptom really the most disabling: severe insomnia. Medical proposal: return to sertraline. Big temptation, but I refuse. I continue with diazepam 5 mg (ocasionaly). Is this a possible case of withdrawal sindrome? Opinions welcome. In psycotherapy, I had some little epyphany (childhood trauma, obsesive negative thoughts...) Many many thanks.
  25. I'm really struggling with severe anxiety, derealization and depression. I have been having windows and waves (both follow a pattern of 2-7 days each). Currently on 75mg Zoloft and thought I was actually improving and felt ready to reduce again after 4 weeks. Then I get a day like this and it knocks me for six. I have this horrible feeling that this is the real me but I can't remember how bad I was since I've been on SSRI'S since I was 16. I'm 25 now. Please advise, I'm getting desparate feeling like I may need to be on these meds for the rest of my life.
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