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painandnumb27 posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHello everyone, It is very good that I finally found a place to talk about my issues. Started sertraline in June, overdosed in August, now cold turkey with serotonin syndrome So, as stated above, I've been going through many things in a short frame of time. I've had anxiety problems as long as I could remember. As a kid, I was anxious. As a teen, I was anxious. My anxiety problem got out of control this year, as I started university and many things that I couldn't control happened simultaneously (mainly family stuff - mum's verbally abusive, my sibling has a cognitive disability, and my dad has health issues). I was getting constantly frustrated and depressed, and ultimately developed a suicidal ideation around June. That is when I first went to a GP to talk about my mental issue and the GP prescribed me with 50mg of sertraline. At first, it helped me a lot with my anxiety but when I think about it now, what sertraline did was numbing all my emotions; tranquilising my mind. As soon as I started taking the pills, I had several side-effects, including severe insomnia and lack of appetite which never really disappeared until I went cold turkey. I could barely sleep for 4-5 hours per day for several months. From the beginning, I had problems with my dosage. A few weeks after initially taking pills, I increased the dose by myself to 100mg because it was during the exam period, I was extremely anxious and wanted to die because of the stress and anxiety. I've told my GP later and she said it'd be ok to continue taking 100mg if I'm good with taking it. So from then on, I took 100mg per day. However, I was going nuts as I wasn't getting enough sleep and there were persisting side-effects that kept me from being functional. I could barely concentrate on anything. Although I believed I wasn't anxious anymore, I was seriously getting depressed due to the physical fatigue and other things that were going around me. I think I went through some personality changes as I started acting more impulsively without thinking about the consequences. Probably because nothing was rewarding as all my emotions were blunted due to the pills. I overdosed myself with sertraline during late August. It was during the exam period (again), I couldn't study properly because I couldn't concentrate, I was suffering from insomnia. I talked about the insomnia problem to my GP and she told me exposure to sunlight, drinking warm milk and exercising mindfulness activities would help... which didn't. I was also very depressed during that time. I took a blood test around that time due to irregular menstruation and the GP told me that there were two hormonal abnormalities and they could be either because I was too stressed/due to the antidepressant, or because I had PCOS and a tumour on my pineal gland. Everything accumulated and I was getting extremely anxious. So, without thinking much about the consequences, I started binge-eating my pills. I had no intention of committing suicide as I researched beforehand and the case study I read stated that overdosing a very high amount did not kill the person. Moreover, whenever I was getting anxious, I had cravings with my pills because I wanted to numb all my feelings (I still do sometimes, even after going through serotonin syndrome - so I started suspecting that the pill may be addictive despite what everyone's saying). Additionally, I had access to plenty of sertraline as I had 2 prescriptions - one for 50mg, and one for 100mg. Now when I think about it, one of the things that contributed me to overdosing was the generic pills; sometimes I went to other pharmacies and they only had the generic ones. Because I didn't know that the generic ones may have a different effect in terms of time, I just took generic ones and found them not as effective as the brand pills and took even more to gain the effect. I did know that sertraline did not have instant effects (well the side-effects were quite instant though). My highest overdose on 1 day was 450mg. I didn't take the pills at the same time; it was more like 100mg in the morning, 150 in the afternoon, and 200 at night. during that insane week, I took a total of 1500mg, which was more than double my supposed weekly dose (700mg). The effects of sertraline syndrome were instant. I've acquired high blood pressure (around 150) and fast heart rate, to the extent that I woke up in the middle of the night because my heart was beating so quickly and my blood vessels were constricting. My hands started to tremble constantly. I went to my GP on that following Monday. And... the interesting thing was that the GP advised me to keep taking my usual dose (100mg) because she was worried about the withdrawal syndrome. She told me that the symptoms should cease several weeks later. Well, I should've realised that GPs don't have much knowledge regarding the psychiatric drugs because I saw her searching up about sertraline on her computer. Anyways, I kept taking the usual dose, thinking that I would get better within a few weeks. Then like a week later I self-decreased my dose to 50mg because the symptoms were getting severe. The trembling spread through my entire upper limb. I've developed bilateral upper limb clonus, spasticity, and hypertonia - I was jerking my upper limb violently all the time except when I was asleep. All my upper limb muscles (including the rotator cuff muscles) were contracting involuntarily. I was suffering from constant muscle ache, tendon ache as well as severe insomnia. So, in mid-September, around 3 weeks after the overdose, I finally decided to go to the hospital emergency department although I initially planned to wait until I see the psychiatrist in mid-October. Serotonin finally screwed up my autonomic nervous system as well - I developed problems breathing and regulating my body temperature. I was in constant agony as I had neuromuscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, ANS problems as well as insomnia and other antidepressant side effects. Muscle spasticity finally started to spread to my lower limbs as well. Because of those problems I was very depressed at that time. I finally went to the emergency department and the doctors and people from the toxicology department assessed me. I was given a pill of valium and IV fluids. The doctor there advised me to stop taking the pills and told me that my problems are probably a combination of serotonin syndrome and withdrawal syndrome (from overdosing then quickly decreasing my dose). From then on, I was cold turkey with sertraline. The week after the trip to the emergency department, my dad took me to his GP. I told him (the GP) that I went to the hospital, and had serotonin syndrome. I also told him that I had insomnia. My dad's GP gave me a weeks supply of valdoxan (aglomelatine - melatonin based antidepressant) and told me that I could start taking it from that day (although I raised concerns about taking new antidepressant while having serotonin syndrome) because it won't interact with serotonin and it doesn't have many side-effects. But the funny thing about valdoxan is that you need to get blood test done every month to check your liver enzyme level. It can potentially damage and fail your liver but isn't it ironic how the doctors say it doesn't have many side-effects?!? I started taking valdoxan but had to quit it after 4 days because the side-effects were immense. It could've been serotonin syndrome but as soon as I started valdoxan, I had constant dizziness, nausea, headaches (brain zaps?) and severe fatigue for several weeks even after I quit it. The only good thing about valdoxan was that it instantly fixed my insomnia; I no longer have sleeping problems which I had for several months. So, around late September to mid-October, I had serotonin syndrome, withdrawal syndrome, and the side-effect from the new antidepressant at the same time - which was excruciatingly painful. Then around mid-late October, I finally met the psychiatrist. I booked the appointment like 3 months before... then finally saw him. He asked me about my family issues, where my depression and anxiety stemmed from, but he didn't really discuss with me about all the pill-related issues. Whilst he agreed with me in not prescribing any psychiatric pills, when I told him about my upper limb trembling due to the serotonin syndrome, he told me that I can't have serotonin syndrome because it's been a while since I stopped taking it and the trembling must be because of my anxiety issue. The thing I don't get is that I still do have trembling, as well as bilateral clonus, spasticity, and muscle hypertonia right now as I write this down. I can't fully stretch some of my fingers because they are curled up!!!! IT'S A NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEM, NOT SIMPLY ANXIETY STUFF. I didn't tremble all day because of anxiety before I started taking pills, even though I was struggling with anxiety! Now, I'm currently having CBT with a clinical psychologist which is also my university lecturer of the psychology course. It's going well, but I'm still suffering a lot from the pill side-effects. I still have neuromuscular issues and other issues I've acquired since starting sertraline - hypersensitivity with food, fatigue, and many other things. Before taking pills, I at least knew why I was depressed. Nowadays I get depressed out of blue. I think taking sertraline made my mood-swings and depression worse. I'm not anxious anymore, but I don't know if it's because my anxiety has been cured by the pills or it's just that I don't care anymore about my original problems which made me depressed because the pills made me really sick. I think the whole experience with antidepressants really lowered my pain tolerance threshold and now I'm in constant, chronic pain. My muscles still contract involuntarily all day, my hands and arms still tremble, and there's nothing I can do about the pain right now except taking painkillers which are effective for a few hours. I don't think the GPs and the psychiatrist can do much about it either. Any recommendations? Anyways, thanks for reading my long post.