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  1. Hello Thank you for accepting me in to this group. I have always faced adversity and never ever took any medication. I always felt these were life situations that all of us must face - and that there isn't a fast fix - only time will heal - which it always had. But when my son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoma Leukemia - I forgot all about the above and listened to my GP to take something for this pain that hurting my very soul. So I took Zoloft and stayed on it for 8 years - Then on December 3, 2011 - my GP and I decided it was time to start tapering off Zoloft. Unfortunately Zoloft only comes in 25, 50 and 100 mgs in capsule form. I had to taper 25 mgs at a time, albeit I stayed on that amount for 4 months at a time. Took a year and a half to finally get off it, which was on May 17, 2013. My tapering experience: I had litte WDs in the beginning - first was the dizziness, arms and legs ached, headaches, groin pain to the point where I had a hard time walking, indigestion, - all these symptoms except the dizziness and headaches disappeared. I was coping quite well all through withdrawals - but I didn't know what was coming, was not prepared at all. When off completely May 17, 2013 - again for a couple of months still able to cope with WDs. Then around 6 months off - WDs seem to get worse - visual disturbances, anxiety, worsen headaches, lightheadedness - pins and needles all over my face and chin, daily migraines, tight band around my head - DP, crying all the time - night sweats - morning anxiety - All these symptoms started mildly around the 6th month period off - then they just got worse and worse and around 18 months of until now there has been no let up at all. Day after day with high anxiety, crying every day, distorted vision in one eye I think caused by the headaches. I am literally in hell - and I wonder if maybe I will be like this for the rest of my life. Also recently I have lost a person whom I love so much, never to see that person again. I think my WDs are even worse now because of it. There is no hope left in me...- Zoloft is the only medication I have ever taken and do not take anything at all - not even vitamins.
  2. 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.
  3. Hello: I am new to this forum. I am tapering zyprexa. I was put on 10 mg in the hospital at the beginning of December. In the first week of January, I cut down to 8.50, then 7.5. for 10 days. Right now I am at 6.25 mg, and have been at that level for 1 week. They decided to put me on zoloft in the hospital as it "works fast" the doctors said, and is being used "until the zoloft kicks in". I am very impatient to get off zyprexa, and figured if I join your group, I would get support from people to help me be patient and wait enough time between cuts. Still figuring out how to do the signature. Will add it when I do. I am also on a whopping dose of 200 mg Zoloft, also given in the hospital. Before that, I had been 6 months free of Zoloft after tapering it for at least 3 years or even more. It was a huge disappointment to end up in the hospital and to have to go on it again.
  4. I've been a widow and single mom since 2004. I have a history of asthma, osteoarthritis, and slightly elevated blood pressure that is controlled. I am very sensitive to many antibiotics and blood pressure meds so it is hard for me to find something that works but doesn't cause horrible side effects. I have a very short list of "approved by me" prescription medicines. My doctor suggested I try an antidepressant when I mentioned some off and on depression in 2010. She prescribed Effexor first which was unbearable to me as it caused brain zaps and extreme dizziness. She switched me to Sertaline at the smallest dose. It didn't have the same effects so I got used to it. My depression mostly disappeared and I thought I was fixed. I only felt side effects if I skipped a day. In 2015, I started having memory loss. Not every day, but on and off. I might wake up in the morning and take a longer than normal time to determine the day and if I had anything going on that morning. It was such an unnerving and scary feeling! I noticed a harder time retrieving names and words. I was a teacher and trainer and it really scared me! I started researching side effects and found that it's quite common to have trouble with memory when on antidepressants. I also noticed that, although I didn't have worrying or depressing thoughts as often, I also had begun to notice that I didn't care about so many important things in my life. It was like I had an even setting but not a true joy. I also was able to completely ignore important things that a little worry helps keep me motivated to get accomplished. I felt unconcerned about deadlines when in the past, that same concern would have helped me accomplish more.I tried to take myself off that year but soon went back on because of brain zaps and dizziness. In June 2017, I decided to start cutting the pills in half and then quarters over a two month period. I used Benedryl to help with sleep (as I had seen suggested somewhere online) and was finally able to get completely off of Sertraline. I thought it was finished and done until the middle of September when I started having strange symptoms. I had just returned from a month long trip to Europe so I thought my body was just recovering from travel. It's now December and I still have the symptoms so I figure it has to be the withdrawal. I went back to researching and found this site! Here are the withdrawal symptoms I'm dealing with now: on and off depression that lasts for 2-4 days at a time poor appetite and some weight loss (I gained about 20 while on Sertraline) tension and pain in isolated muscle groups that moves around numbness, cold or hot feeling in feet burning soles on both feet after standing and walking for a little while fatigue and low energy feelings waking up in early morning not able to sleep again anxious or catastrophic thoughts and worries constant sinus issues (I do have allergies but usually not year round.) This forum has already calmed many of my worries because I've seen many of these symptoms listed by others!
  5. 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
  6. I was on sertraline 75mg for 2.5 years for postpartum depression. During that time I sought counseling and my therapist diagnosed me with bipolar 2 because I had irritability along with my depression. My therapist referred me to the Psychiatric NP in the same practice. The NP told me to "wean" off the sertraline within a month so she could introduce latuda. She put me on 20mg of latuda and increased it to 80mg within 4 months. At 80mg, I immediately experienced heightened anxiety, insomnia (I still haven't had more than 2-4 hours of sleep per night since December 2016 and some nights ZERO sleep!), and SEVERE akathisia. When I brought up the adverse reactions, the NP assured me these were side effects that would eventually subside - she was wrong. I suffered entire month and begged her to come off of latuda. She finally agreed and told me to taper 20mg every 2 weeks. My taper looked like this: 60mg to 40mg to 20mg then off. With each decrease I noticed my anxiety would spike and I'd go into an emotional tailspin about 4-5 days after a drop in dose and then stabilized a bit. I assumed once I tapered off the latuda I'd be able to sleep again, my anxiety would lessen and the akathisia would go away. I was partially right, the Akathesia went away as I lowered my dose, but the insomnia and anxiety remained. The NP had also put me on 100mg of lamictal two months after introducing latuda. I wanted to come off this medication as well, but she told me to stay on it because she thought it would prevent mania or depression while coming off the latuda. She was wrong again. One week after my last dose of latuda, I had a complete emotional breakdown and was severely suicidal. I voluntarily checked myself into a psych hospital. There I was told that I had been misdiagnosed by the NP and was abruptly taken off the lamictal. Then they reintroduced sertraline 150mg to bring me out of my depressive state. That seemed to stabilize me so I was released with a Rx for sertraline 150mg. A week after I was home from the hospital I knew instinctively something wasn't right. Instead of steadily improving, I felt worse physically (mentally I was actually doing ok). I began to have muscle twitches, tingling throughout my body, my eyelids kept twictching, my heart was racing, I would get hot and cold flushes radiating over my entire body, my skin felt like it was burning, headache, weakness, and the left side of my face was completely numb. I went to the Psychiatric urgent care where the NP diagnosed me with break through anxiety. I told her she was wrong and that I believed I was suffering from serotonin syndrome. She looked dubious, but sought out the medical director who conducted a neurological test and concurred with me. I was placed in psych hospital again and taken off the sertraline. I felt better within a day. They gave me remeron 7.5mg that knocked me out for almost two days. Needless to say, I refused to take another dose. A day before my release, the doctor and I discussed reintroducing sertraline at a very low level - 25mg to 50mg. I was sent home with a Rx for sertraline 50mg. Within 1 hour of taking the sertraline, all the serotonin syndromes came back so I had to stop taking sertraline with no possibility of reinstatement. All this time, I believed my insomnia, anxiety and akathesia were related to the Latuda. I also believed that my emotional distress and depression stemmed from latuda withdrawal, but now I'm wondering if it was actually protracted withdrawal from the first time I weaned off of sertraline 75mg and the weaning off latuda being merely coincidental. I did not experience any acute withdrawal symptoms with the exception of a little Weepiness from time to time. Is it possible to experience withdrawal symptoms from sertraline SIX months after the last dose? It's been 3 weeks since my last dose of sertraline 50mg and I've experienced the following: headaches, muscle twitching, shivers, tingling, internal restlessness, body aches, a general feeling of being unwell, severe mood swings: rage, depression, apathy, suicidal thoughts, hypomania, uncontrollable crying, and anxiety. I've had some good functional days, followed by days of being physically & emotionally incapacitated. Is the what's known as waves & windows? I'm trying to figure out if this is withdrawal from the latuda & lamictal or a continuation of the the possible withdrawal of the sertraline. I'm also hoping that the reintroduction of sertraline followed by the abruptly stopping won't prolong whatever it is that is going on. I am also worried because after doing much research I realized that I did the first taper much too fast, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it now due to the serotonin syndrome. Any advice, insight or shared experiences are most welcome. This site makes me feel less alone. My new psych told me I shouldn't be experiencing any withdrawal and I was just having breakthrough symptoms.
  7. 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
  8. I'm new to this site so please bear with me. Basically I want some advice and info regarding the tapering of Sertraline. I have taken Sertraline 50 mg for about two years now and feel "normal" on this dosage. I've tried to taper unsuccessfully before usually by halfing my dosage. Since last Saturday I've been taking 25mg but I feel like a different person on this dosage. I feel fragile, irritable, I'm hyper stimulated by small sounds and I just don't feel "with it" so to speak. On the lower dosage I feel less confident in public and more easily overwhelmed/upset and I also cry quite a bit. I also don't feel like leaving the house on the lower dose (I force myself most times) but on the 50 mg I leave the house freely. Socialising is a major problem for me. Mornings are a really bad time for me - I can wake up with varying degrees of anxiety mostly mild to moderate but sometimes severe. My only problem is that an hour or two upon rising my mind/brain simply goes DEAD. This is the only word I would use to describe it. I will simultaneously become fatigued/weak/Tearful/, my memory/concentration will plummet and all I will feel like doing is going to bed. I won't have the energy to deal with or be around people or solve any problems. Once the tablet kicks in a few hours later I will generally be ok. I sometimes get this horrible feeling in the evening time about 9- 10 PM but generally the MORNINGS are far more common. These effects are far more pronounced at 25mg than 50mg. Is this horrible feeling down to the withdrawal effects of the dosage reduction or is it down to my depression still being unresolved? Would the effects at 25mg be any different even if I tapered down by 10% from 50mg? I sometimes feel that it doesn't matter what way I taper the dose, I will still return to being depressed once I'm on a lower dose or zero dosage. Is my brain totally dependent on these things to function??? If you function ok with the meds is it worth the hassle/ side effects trying to function without them? I would be really, really grateful for your thoughts and opinions guys.
  9. Hello, I am looking for some advice or success stories from other people who have been through a similar problem. Due to depression I was on 150mg sertraline for approx 2.5 years. As I felt I no longer needed to be on them I started the weaning process - dropped to 100 mg for 1 month, then 50mg for 1 month then 50mg every 2 days then every few days etc. I have now been off them completely for about 3 weeks. For the last 5-6 weeks I have experienced headaches dizziness and nausea with it becoming significantly worse over last week or 2. I hadn't even considered withdrawal until Dr at urgent care appt suggested it. He reckons I should go back on 50mg dose but I am loathed to do so as I have been off for while and weaned for so long. But I am also loathed to continue feeling like this. Has anyone been through similar? Can anyone shed any light on how long these symptoms will last? Is it worth going back on the sertraline or just battling through? I have been trying to get appt with my own gp but earliest is end of the week. Any advice in the meantime would be much appreciated.
  10. Hello I recently withdrew from two psychiatric medications, Zoloft (Sertraline)and Zyprexa (Olanzapine) after a 15 year forced dependency which started when I was court-ordered to take them in 1998 for depression. In Feb. 2014, I finally quit the pills for the 4th and final time. The withdrawal symptoms were quite severe, probably similar to those of heroin, only instead of the people who care for you trying to help you get off the drugs, in the case of psych meds., everyone is dead set on you continuing to stay on them. I went about 6 straight days without sleep while trying to get off the pills, constantly throwing up all over my apartment (my parents had to bring over a steam cleaner to clean up all the huge piles of vomit, while at the same time admonishing me to go back on the meds.) I developed extreme lightheadedness. When I would turn my head to look at something it would take a moment or two for my field of vision to catch up. I suffered from those brain shocks which I thought might be some suppressed memories of the many rounds of ECT that were administered to me, against my will, back in the mid 1990's. I nearly died on a couple of occasions during the withdrawal as my blood sugar levels plunged so low that I was forced to crawl to my kitchen and shove wadded-up pieces of white bread soaked in either oyster sauce, fish sauce or salad dressing (for proteins and sugars) into my mouth to avoid collapsing on the floor, but somehow I did it, I got clean. I had kicked the pills cold turkey three times previously (twice in 2004 and again for 10 months in 2005-6) only to be put back on them. The last time in 2005-6, I had been given the choice of either taking the pills and being given a bed in a local group home on a 0° F January evening or else to go rough it in a snowbank (I had been evicted from my apt. after falling a month behind in rent). The pills (Zoloft originally at 200mg that on my own advice I scaled back to 100mg at the time of my withdrawal. Zyprexa originally at 17.5mg that I had reduced to 10mg) basically ruined my health. Within a couple of years of starting on the meds in 1998, I had gone from a lithe and slender 6' tall 160 lbs man to a portly 230 pounder,, with all the weight gain going into my belly and thighs (Blech!). My cholesterol and triglyceride levels tripled. I had copious amounts of diarrhea daily. My blood pressure was absolutely wrecked. When kneeling down or squatting on my haunches, at say a grocery store or maybe a bookstore, to look at something on a low shelf, upon rising I would start to nearly black-out or swoon due to massive head rushes and would have to hold on to shelving for about a minute or so until I regained my vision and sense of balance. And from about 2006 on, I became no more than some sluggish, gorging hibernating animal that slept between 12 and 16 hours a day, sometimes as much as 20 hrs a day (watching T.V. was my only other occupation) where I would hardly more than move from my bed to the couch only to fall asleep 3 hours later for upwards of 4-6 hours, sometimes for as much as 10 hours. I was sleeping so much that when I woke, I often had no idea if it was early morning or late evening. I would have the most awful and depressing nightmares of being strapped into a dentist's chair while doctors would be cramming every conceivable pill down my throat in an attempt to kill me. The sedative-like effects of the drugs, combined with a horrible and untreated case of sleep apnea due to smoking and a severely broken nose as a teenager, left me completely fatigued all the time. I usually only left my apartment once a week to stock up on groceries. Since the harrowing experience of withdrawal, my health and spiritual well-being have greatly improved. I began a 4-6 mile a night brisk walking regiment and starting biking between 10-20 miles a day which resulted in me losing 45 lbs in 3 months. While before on the pills, I could hardly stay awake, now I can barely get to sleep. My insomnia is sometimes so bad (3-4 hrs of sleep a day, often none) that I resemble a real live? zombie (I call my condition, Inzombia) but considering how low my spirits had been on the pills, I'm just happy to live an active life again, even if I do suffer bouts of sleeplessness. I've spent several hundred hours since early last year either volunteering picking up trash from local parks and lakes or else helping out at a local thrift store and my creative spirit has flourished. I have filled something like 15 fifty page notebooks full of my poetry (both of a serious and humorous nature) and have written many short pieces of memoir, one of which is entitled In Servitude to the Devil, and is about my nearly indescribable and entirely hellish experience in 1995-1996, when for six months, I suffered from brain damage and akathisia brought on by the forced administration of Resperdine, Prozac and Paxcil. I thought I might end this piece with two short poems of mine The Psychiatrist His pills amount to fool's gold; his lab-coat: starched and anti-sceptically white He professes to be a doctor, but he's a neuro-nazi in my sight. A Reflection On Our Times So much lust and vanity under the sun Surely God is our pariah as we have our fun.
  11. I've been on antidepressants on and off for the past 20 years. A few years ago, I was on 100mg Zoloft. I felt overmedicated and tapered down to 50mg. A couple of years on that, I felt better so I started to slowly taper to 37.5mg, 25, and then finally to 12. I had been on 12mg for about 2 years. Every time I went to 6mg, or skipped a day or two, I didn't do well so I went back to 12mg. The last few weeks, I started to have neurological symptoms and I cannot tell if it's something medical, stress, or SSRI withdrawal from trying to taper off the 12mg. I really had thought going off 12mg would be the easiest step, since it is so low a dosage. These are the symptoms I've been having: 1) Extreme fatigue in my entire body and brain. Different from sleepiness or feeling tired 2) Leg muscle soreness, cramps, weakness 3) Trouble with balance when walking 4) Difficulty with coordination; clumsiness 5) Migraine like headaches (I never had migraines before) 6) Difficulty concentrating 7) Visual disturbances including lack of focus on what I am looking at, and two episodes the other day of seeing a flashing quick white light. Optometrist said exam revealed nothing wrong other than I may need a stronger prescription (visual disturbance is not blurry, vision is sharp) 8) Can't find the word I want to use 9) Speaking issues - slurring or stuttering. The past week I could barely speak, and then hours after taking a 25mg Zoloft, I was able to speak again. 10) Arm muscle sorness and weakness 11)Waking up extremely fatigued although getting enough sleep 12)Lack of motivation, decision making, planning 13)Anxious 14) Difficulty multitasking and becoming irritable if I try to I have no history of these symptoms, other than the fatigue and the anxiety (and history of depression, though I am not now depressed). My medical doctor is concerned and suggested I increase the Zoloft, (as did my spouse who says I'm more anxious without the Zoloft even though it's only been a short time), so I very reluctantly started taking 25mg again.That being said, I am curious how to tell the difference between SSRI withdrawal, true anxiety/stress, or something medical. I thought it unlikely to have SSRI withdrawal if I was only on 12mg. I feel like I'm never going to get off these meds. For those of you with knowledge and experience of SSRI withdrawal, please share your opinion of what the reason for this might be--is it related to SSRIs or not? Also for those of you who think it's related to withdrawing too quickly off the 12mg, please let me know how I should manage the Zoloft going forward to avoid these kinds of symptoms. Thank you
  12. I am new to this forum. Have been prescribed zoloft a year ago. Even though I experienced serotonin toxicity my doctor wasn't aware and I was forced to continue. I took 25mg twice a day...at one point reached 75mg... Currently at 25mg but experiencing palpitations,hot flashes, cold hot sweats headache drinking water losing weight etc. It looks like I will go into delirium tremans if I stop. I believe my receptors are severely damaged any dose of zoloft has not been helpful I am in constant pain with or without the meds. my doctor even increased the dose to I was hospitalized 3 times due to severe pain headache and finally decided to reduce. Please help. Did I permanently ruin the system. I am not able to go out in the sun or even eat a proper meal. Will I ever heal? I am basically a vegetable because if I exercise I get morning anxiety and heat...
  13. 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.
  14. Dear all, I took Sertraline 50 (French name for Zoloft). for only a month and I have developped PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder) following a too fast withdrawal. I read the story of some of your members who had PGAD when they withdrew from an antidepressant and their stories looked like mine and gave me hope and I hope they can confort me and assist me because I am in a very dark place. I read the stories of Hopefull anf Broken. Are they still on the forum ? How are they doing ? Until December 2016, I had never taken any antidepressant or a benzo in my entire life. I was leading an happy life with my husband and son in the West of France. We had a chemical accident in december. I mixed 2 products while cleaning my house, bleach and a cleaning product with acid and stupidly burnt my lungs and got a toxic choc on the 27th of december. My doctor thought I was anxious afer the accident and put me on Xanax 0.25, half a pill at night. I took it for a month in January 2017 and was sent to a psychiatrist who put me on Lisanxia 10, a pill a day. I felt suicidal because i didnt understand I was suffering from the Xanax withdrawal the doctors kept changing the pill without any tappering, I stayed on Lysanxia 10, a pill a day the whole February , then another psychiatrist decided to put me on Bromazepan 6 (4 quarter a day). I stayed on Bromazepan the entire March and he put me back on Xanax, all of that cold turkey. And that how I met my worse nightmare, the Sertraline AD: I was feeling very agitated on benzos, my lungs and entire skin were burning and everybody told me it was in my head. I didn't agree so I was hospitalised againt my wish in a psychiatrist hospital. There, they made me stop my Xanax 0.25 cold turkey and put me on Sertraline 50. This happened on Easter monday 2017 (April 17 th). After 2 weeks, I was sent home and started feeling very ill, I had tremors, agitation, fatigue, shakes, flu like symptoms and suicidal thoughts. I went to see a GP who told me I could drop the Sertraline to 25 because I had only been on it for 2 weeks and I could slowly stop it. I went on the 25 pill and then I started having violent withdrawal side effects (I don't know which ones came from Xanax or from Sertraline) : My symptoms : Sensitivity to light and smells, burning skin, hyperacusis, agitation, akathisia, tinnitus and when I thought it couldn't get worse, I started peeing every 10 minutes, got a hyperactive bladder, terrible pains in my genitalias, bladder and pelvic area and the worse of it permanent arousal. Since I have kept the tinnitus in my left ear, the akatisia and PGAD. I was sent to another mental hospital at the beginning of June because I thought they could help me with PGAD. They put me on Risperidone for a week while they made me stop the Sertraline very fast (they made me take it every 2 days for a week then they replaced it with Anafranil 25 that I kept for a week. My tinnitus got worse and my PGAD stayed the same. I was getting sicker and sicker so the psychiatrist stopped the Anafranil and the Risperidone and I was put back on Xanax. I am now back at home, my PGAD symptoms are terrible and I am considered manic and hypocondriac. My doctor wants to put me back in a mental hospital. I can't look after my family and Iam in a very dark place with suicidal thoughts My 3 main withdrawal symptoms : high pitched tinnitus, agitation and PGAD. Pins and needles in my lower back, legs and arms when the PGAD crisis start. . MY PGAD symptoms : Overactive bladder, ongoing arousal sensations in and around the genitals, having to go to the toilets every 10 minutes, pelvic pains, Pins and needle, shaking. It is atrocious and it makes me suicidal. I take 3 Xanax 0.25 a day and a Zopiclone 7 to sleep. I cannot sit because the symptoms get worse and I can barely walk because my bladder hurts. I spend my days crying on my bed with an ice pack on my lower parts. At night I cannot sleep well because of the tinnitus. I went to see an urologist, I had a cystoscopy done and they told me it is not an interstitial cysticis and gave me Lyrica (I am scared of taking it because I fear it will make my tinnitus worse). Nobody knows this symptom in France and people think i am crazy. Thank you for reading my story. Please can you reassure me ? I am terrified and I am suffering greatly. Would it go away ? Is it a withdrawal symptom ? Thank you so much for having this site on the internet. It gave me a lot of confort. Cathyfrench (I am french so I hope my English is not too bad, my apologies for my grammatical errors)
  15. Hello, I have a 20 year history of antidepressant use following a breakdown. I have been on and off Citalopram and Sertraline which are the GP's 'go to' meds for most of their patients. However, about 5 years ago my anxiety and depression seemed to get worse, maybe it was something to do with the Menopause? - I spent a small fortune on private counselling, which by the way didn't seem to clear up any problems psychologically. So, on her recommendation I went to see a private psych doc (£300 per hour!) - He prescribed my Venlafaxine which I stayed on for about 2 years. The dose was increased incrementally from 150mg until I was on 375mg daily (quite a big dose for a 4'11" petite lady!) I found Venlafaxine a weird drug which gave me horrendous nightmares every night, stomach problems and while it did work for a few weeks, didn't provide a stable plateau in my general mental health. I decided to taper from Venlafaxine last September (2016) and reduced fairly quickly dropping by 37.5mg every 4 weeks ish. When I was down to 112.5mg Ven, my GP decided to introduce Sertraline 50mg (as I was very tearful) - I continued taking both and stopped the Ven all together in March 2017. My GP increased the Sertraline to 100mg which gave me awful anxiety for 7 weeks, so I reduced back down to 50mg. I have now stopped ALL ANTIDEPRESSANT drugs completely !!!! I have been drug free for 3 weeks now - what a roller-coaster it has been.These are my current symptoms: I cry daily, I feel woozy and dizzy and very tired at times, I have suicidal thoughts occasionally and yet, there are moments of total normality and general happiness! My depression has never been the 'stay in bed' type, I am very active - I love gardening, cycling, painting, sewing and being a Granny! and I continue to do things even when I feel like crap. My dilemma is, do I stick with this emotional hell that I feel I am going through at the moment? will it get better? will I ever be 'normal' again without antidepressants? Am I strong enough to keep going? Please, please give me some advice. I would love to hear some success stories, I really need some support and idea how long these horrible discontinuation symptoms will last Thanks, Thepaintinglady (currently painting the kitchen ceiling and not a work of art!)
  16. Anyone successfully coming off this medication after 10 years or more? I am planning a slow taper process.
  17. Hi everyone. I am hoping to get some much needed (and very much appreciated) advice on my situation. As you see, I had been on Sertraline for almost 2 years, or around the two year mark, before I began a too fast taper in 2016 which lead to my withdrawal syndrome in September 2016. My doctor had me taper in 6 weeks completely off Sertraline, jumping off at 25mg and not even tapering the 25mg, just cold turkeying the 25 per his instruction. Well, I was feeling some withdrawal symptoms, I just didn't realize what they truly meant, and my doctor had told me not to worry 'they will clear up in a few weeks" well they didn't really clear up, but actually got worse two-three months later. I want to make this as short as possible so it is easy to read, but long story short, I ended up reinstating Sertraline at 12.5mg first week, at the same time tapering the 30mg of buspirone my doctor had tried to test out on me for almost two weeks. Each week, he upped my dose of Sertraline during my reinstatement, until I reached 57mg and my body rejected anything above the 57mg. However, I did not know anything about withdrawal or tapering back then, and realize that I was put on way too high of a dose for reinstatement. This has me very scared and very anxious, I try hard not to be, and most of it is likely neuro related, but I wonder what I can do if I feel it's too high? I've got the anhedonia, but I've had this since December, and it actually was brought on more or less by my doctor trying to put me back up to 75mg, maybe that was just a coincidence, but I am not so sure. Each adjustment of the sertraline left me with worsened insomnia, worsened panic, trembling and what I can only describe as body jolts every morning for four months straight. And trying to sleep at night I felt like I was having seizures almost, where my body would jolt me awake just as I was drifting off to sleep, heart would be racing, fear and panic would run rampant and worsen in the morning. I still have mild teeth chattering every morning and especially when the anxiety or stress comes on. I reinstated pretty quick, where I reinstated as soon as my withdrawal symptoms started getting worse, I didn't wait it out even though I really wanted to. I didn't want to go back on the medication after what it had done to me, but didn't know what else to do. Then, everyone I trusted, my doctor especially, had me convinced I had developed several new mental disorders in a matter of three days. I was so so scared, and my anxiety was through the roof. I really stressed myself out a lot trying to figure out "what was wrong with me" because I did not know at the time. On top of that I had the professionals I trusted assuring me it was my "symptoms coming back" (they actually said that right after I already told them I never ever had these symptoms before in my life, not even one of them.) Then I happened to find SA, during my research into my symptoms and the ssri I was taking. I learned a lot in one night, and my jaw dropped. My gut had been telling me all this time it was the drug, it was withdrawal. But I ignored it and listened to the "experts" instead. HUGE MISTAKE!! Now I am stuck in a situation that makes me fear for the future, and not sure what I can do now that I am back on a higher dose. If I would've known better, I would not have allowed my doctor to titrate me up so high. I would've sat at the lowest possible dose, even the 12.5mg. My withdrawal symptoms had really settled down a lot for the last two or three months now though. My appetite came back, libido came back, depression lifted almost instantly upon reinstatement, the anxiety and panic took a while to lift but that has really settled down a ton and only sporadically (maybe lasting a second or two) I'll feel a blip of panic and anxiety (typically when under a lot of built up stress), and my biggest gripe for withdrawal symptoms as of now is the anhedonia, but even that was beginning to lift where I'd get moments of joy or contentment or my interests peaking through the veil of anhedonia. My sleep actually went back to normal in the last week or two, and I haven't been waking with the dread or anxiety for the past three months now, and I have been feeling pretty good except now I got back into this wave and I think it's because I'm stressing over tapering and my dosage after what I read last night. I read on SA someone said that being on too high a reinstatement dose can permanently damage your brain, where you will never heal from it. So I am really scared... I really need advice or wisdom on where to go from here. At this point, I worry I'll always feel this way and I'll never recover any further than where I currently am. I'd be fine if I felt somewhat normal, where I could handle the withdrawal symptoms temporarily until they pass, and I do admit that on my better days I certainly can handle them. But I feel like reinstatement was pointless or worse for me than just muscling through the withdrawals after what I read about high dose reinstatement. I feel like A) it's going to take forever just to stabilise on this dose and B it's going to be painful trying to taper when the time comes, due to that I may have permanently damaged my brain with my reinstatement. I guess what I am wondering now is, do I stay on this dose and wait for the anhedonia to completely go away, or how do I know when I am ready to begin tapering? At this point I am just feeling very confused and afraid about my dose and tapering in the future. I feel lost. I'd really appreciate any help! Thank you!
  18. 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!
  19. Hi all, New here. Was on Sertraline for 2.5 years until this Christmastime. Initially 25 then 50mg, attempted to go up to 100mg under the direction of my doctor. Suffered significant diarrhea due to this change, and so went back down to 50mg. And that is when the real issues started. Though I was not aware of what was happening. I was prescribed it during the midst of the breakup of my marriage, which started to break down due to the fact that my ex suffered significant pain on intercourse, which had meant our sex life had pretty much always been one of disappointment and difficulty. Towards the end of last year, I started to realise something wasn't right. I was in a fog, I have moved several times in the last few years as I got my life back on track. I moved to the Bay area in June. I am in the process of trying to start a new relationship, which started just before Christmas last year. I had the sudden realisation that I was having significant sexual side effects. To my horror, once I realised this, I also 'came to' and realised that this had been going on for maybe 6-8 months previously, and progressively getting worse, but I simply hadn't noticed because I had been in a complete fog. I was skipping doses... just unaware of my surroundings. I was having brain zaps, dizziness, confusion, night sweats, significantly decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, depersonalised. I remember people commenting that I seemed distant. I remember my doctor up in Fort Bragg California asking me last June if the sexual side effects were problematic and I cheerily said 'no'. When in fact they were - but I simply wasn't aware. How can that be?! Cue seeing my general practitioner, who is managing my medication here in the Bay area, plus quickly making an appointment with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist - who was the only one I could get an appointment with at short notice - told me I didn't have depression, and could stop taking the zoloft immediately. I told him I wasn't comfortable with that, and would like to taper, and was met with a response that I was the kind of person who got anxious about taking pills, and promptly asked me what I would feel comfortable with. Clearly he didn't believe in the need to taper at all. We ended up doing a taper over 2 weeks. To 25mg and then cold turkey. I then went back to my GP as I did not trust the opinion of a psychiatrist who went against everything I had read. I am working to get in with another psychiatrist, but no appointments until April. My GP has prescribed Wellbutrin, I am 2 weeks into that but honestly want nothing more to do with antidepressants. It is also making me break out into a rash and increasing anxiety. At present I am about 3 weeks in to withdrawal. I get spells of intense anxiety, partially I think due to the wellbutrin, partially due to WD. I did have anxiety before being prescribed an SSRI. My brain gets tired easily. On the positive side, I have started dreaming again - just little bits and pieces. Mostly odd/weird dreams, but dreams nonetheless. Sometimes I wake in a sweat and a panic. But if I can find a way to go back to sleep then often I wake up calmer and more in my body. The sexual side effects worsened initially, but have probably plateaued about where they were before I stopped sertraline. However, I am now aware of just how much difference there is between how I am now, and how I once was. Suddenly my memories of what it was like to have a solid erection have come back. Memories of past sexual encounters where I didn't feel ashamed and broken. And so my desire to be sexual is something I have to fight for. My new partner has been very understanding, but I have to get myself out of a mindset of shame in order to want to be sexual in any way. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I have started to be aware of birdsong, smells that I had forgotten about - woodsmoke, flowers. And I am generally more aware of myself and my environment. Like waking up from a long sleep and wondering where on earth I have been. Some sensation has returned to my genitals. But not much. Sometimes I notice what I feel is desire and attraction. But it feels weak. And erections are weak and unreliable. I have a meditation practice. I have started running and taking longish walks. I am taking fish oil with my food, and working hard to stay positive. I have a network of friends who are amazing and show up for me. At this point I am hopeful as things are early on in the WD process and I am coping. However, I am petrified that I will never get to fully enjoy sex again. It feels cruel, given that my past history was one of being a very sexual person, in a relationship with someone who couldn't give me a fun sex life, despite their best attempts. I am angry that I am in this situation. No one mentioned long-term sexual side effects or withdrawal when I was being counselled for this drug. It wasn't even mentioned as a possibility, although sexual side effects during treatment were. I will not be beaten. One way or the other I will become okay with myself again, whatever that looks like. I would very much like it to look like a regular healthy sex life and relationship again. Who knows. Maybe it will be with an asexual partner or as a Buddhist monk. But I have hope and am working to keep in a positive mindset overall. Not going into these negative thoughts, but just keeping moving at all cost. This is my journey thus far. I'm grateful to be here with you all...
  20. 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.
  21. 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 . . .
  22. Hi! I have read this forum many times and finally I decide to create own account. I understand english well but I'm not good english speaker or writer. So this is my story: I had very bad depression for many years. Finally my condition was so severe in November 2009 that I went to psychiatrist. He put me on Sertraline. Unfornately he didn't told me anything about side effects or risks what SSRI drugs might cause. First time in my life I got panic attacks when my dose was 100 mg. So the psychiatrist sayed that I must douple the dose. After that I felt little maniac sometimes but usually my mood was pretty good. After few months I lowered the dose slowly and finally it was 100 mg for many years. First time I decided stop taking Sertraline in September 2013 because I felt like my emotions had blunted a little. For example I didn't cry when my cat died and that was odd because naturally I am very sensitive guy. I also thought that I couldn't live my whole life with Sertraline. I had lowered the dose slowly and before I quit it was 25 mg. At the begining everything went good but after few months I noticed that I'm not interested in sex anymore. I didn't realized yet that it was caused by SSRI because I got prostate problems at the same time. So unfornately I started to take same pills again in april 2014. My new dose was 50 mg and after few months I changed it slowly to 25 mg. On summer 2014 my prostate problems were gone but my sex drive was still bad. So I started find information from net and finally I thought that maybe the use of Sertraline might have changed my sex drive. So I found information about PSSD. At the same time I met a new girl and I got little of my sex drive back but when I quit Sertraline again in November PSSD kicked in totally. It was very hard to me and I decided to end my new realtionship with that girl. In February 2015 I noticed that my mind was turned very anhedonic. I couldn't feel music anymore same way as before even if I'm guitar player. It's maybe the hardest thing to me. I lost the way to feel pleasure at all. I also lost the feel of hunger for many months but I get it back about six months later. So I wrote this very quickly. I'm going to give you more information about my condition later when I have more time to write.
  23. 6 years ago had baby number 2. Ended up post natal. They put me on sertraline. Wasn't working on me great so eventually went up to 200mg. Since Dec 14 I tapered off. Finishing in April 15. I've been suffering with anxiety and tears negative thoughts ever since. In waves and windows. Now nearing 7 months and going through a wave if tears last week and this. I feel maybe I should go back on but my heart of hearts and also hubby and friends say stick it out as I have good days too. Mornings are bad at times.
  24. New here. First post. 1 month since taking Zoloft 50 I'm feeling very depressed - I think this is part of the withdrawal? But I don't know ? So low tonight I thought about taking the tablet again to escape the feelings of despair- very self absorbed. Fatigued not sleeping well. Hating myself and the world. Should be asleep but wide awake reading these brave stories of success and determination. I began tapering the tab at a bad time - I am grieving the loss of two much loved souls now. So many emotions mixed together to deal with. My partner is away so no close support, feeling very alone. Isolating myself and feeling full of shame. But buoyed by the wonderful people sharing here. Thank you
  25. Hi, I've been a 'lurker' since about February. I'm very impressed with this site and feel that Altostrata is truly a hero. I hesitated to post my story because it felt too long and convoluted, but I feel I could really use some advice (and maybe it's not so convoluted), so here it is. In 1996, shortly before my 21st birthday, I was prescribed Zoloft for major depression, which I had been experiencing for about a year (I had never had major depression before that). Soon after starting the Zoloft, the psychiatrist increased my dose to 200 mg. My depression was lifted and I felt like a new person. Over the next several years, I had a few more episodes of depression, plus some anxiety issues, but nothing as severe or long-lasting as the first episode, so I figured I should just keep taking the sertraline because it was probably keeping me from more serious depression. When I got pregnant at age 32, I lowered my dose to 100 mg and felt OK. At some point over the next few years, I started seriously questioning the wisdom of being on psychiatric medication for so long. I also had the vague sense that the medication was somehow preventing me from being fully human, in the truest sense if the word; it was as if it placed an invisible wall between me and others, as well as between me and my true self. So I decided to lower my dose and see what would happen. I went down to 75 mg a little over two years ago, in early 2016, when I was 40. I didn't feel great at that point but I didn't feel the kind of depression I had felt in the past. I was suffering from a lot of abdominal pain and nausea and was feeling run down and moody, but I attributed those symptoms to the after effects of major abdominal surgery I had undergone after my appendix had ruptured in 2015. I was determined to move forward with my taper and so, a few months later, in August of 2016, I lowered my dose to 50 mg. In January of 2017, although I was still feeling sick and moody, I asked my primary doctor how to transition from the 50 mg of sertraline I was on to St. John's Wort. I knew nothing about protracted SSRI withdrawal; I just figured if I could get off the sertraline and have St. John's Wort protecting me from relapsing into major depression, I'd be fine. She told me to lower my dose to 25 mg, start the SJW and see how I felt after a month. I went down to 25 mg of sertraline, started the SJW and stayed on that combination for 8 months. During that period, my mood was not great and I felt both detached and intensely emotional much of the time, but I was still dealing with a lot of GI issues, including SIBO, and I really wasn't sure if my lowered mood was due to the drop in sertraline or the SIBO, which causes nutrient deficiencies that can lead to depression. I also had been taking sertraline at that point for 21 years and really wanted to be rid of it once and for all. So, in August of 2017, I stopped the sertraline altogether while continuing with the SJW. I immediately started experiencing horrible insomnia, frequent brain zaps and dramatic mood swings. I still knew nothing about SSRI withdrawal and assumed that, aside from the brain zaps, this was the natural state of my brain, which had returned in the absence of the sertraline. At that point, I read 'The Mood Cure,' by Julia Ross because my goal was to find a natural alternative to sertraline to 'normalize' my brain chemistry. I tried 5-htp, which helped with mood and insomnia (I also tried some other amino acids which had strange effects on me). I decided to stop the SJW and stick with the 5-htp, plus 400 mg/day of SAM-e. My abdominal pain and nausea got worse with the 5-htp, but I was able to sleep better at night and my mood was at least stable. That was, at least, until February, when I started to feel extremely depressed for a few days. Then, I woke up one morning in the midst of a panic attack, accompanied by intense depersonalization and derealization and an overwhelming feeling that I was about to die. I had never had a panic attack in my life but knew what it was based on others' descriptions. I stopped the 5-htp and some other supplements immediately, thinking that one of them had triggered the episode. An almost constant feeling of panic stayed with me for about a week and then slowly started to fade. Once the panic and depersonalization subsided, I was left feeling extremely depressed again. Scared of taking more amino acids, I went back on the SJW, which started working again after a couple of weeks. Around this time, I discovered SA. It opened my eyes to the fact that everything I had been experiencing was part of a protracted withdrawal from the sertraline and not my 'true, depressed brain' reemerging after the sertraline was taken away. The panic attacks really drove that point home since I had never experienced anything like that before the sertraline. From February until a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling stable on the SJW and SAM-e and really felt I was on the road to recovery. Then, I began to feel 'off' again - depersonalization with a lost sense of self - and I started to worry that taking the SJW and SAM-e might be interfering with my brain's ability to heal properly. I (foolishly) abruptly stopped both and became severely depressed again. I felt I couldn't go on in that state, primarily because I have young children and I can't really be decent mother while in the depths of depression. So, I got back on the SJW and SAM-e a few days ago and I feel all right again (when I say 'all right' I mean I still don't feel quite like myself and I'm still experiencing a variety of symptoms, but at least I'm not severely depressed at the moment). My fear is that by taking the SJW and SAM-e, I am preventing my brain from really returning to normal. I know that the general recommendation around here is to stay away from supplements that act on neurotransmitters during withdrawal. Even if I found that I only needed one of the supplements to prevent depression, I wonder if it would still interfere with recovery. Interestingly, on Kelly Brogan's website, she says she uses St. John's Wort, as well as 5-htp and tryptophan, when patients are tapering. I don't know if she thinks they're a good idea during recovery, though. I guess I'm wondering if anyone knows anyone who recovered from SSRI withdrawal while taking St. John's Wort or SAM-e or another supplement that helps increase serotonin levels in the brain? My hope is that one day I won't need any of those supplements but it seems as though, at the moment, I can't really function without them. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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