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  1. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  2. 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
  3. Prestorb

    ☼ Prestorb

    Hello, I am encouraged to find this site as I feel like I am on an island alone in this effort to withdraw from SSRIs. I'm sure my husband is sympathetic, but he doesn't understand and he is probably just really tired of dealing with it. So I basically don't talk to anyone other than my therapist about it. It sucks, and yet I know the SSRIs need to go. I asked for a change in SSRI about six weeks ago, so my Pdoc recommended I taper off the 40 mg of Paxil at 10 mg per week, while starting Zoloft at 25 mg per then up to 50 mg. So now I am off the Paxil (generic) and only on the Zoloft at 25 mg - I didn't tolerate it well at all. I know I am having a lot of WD symptoms, and I am just trying to manage them as best I can, which is okay some days and not good other days. I also have an 11 year old son, although I am not working outside the home right now - which I often feel is part of the problem. But I am afraid to commit to anything until my emotions stabilize. I start crying for no reason and can't stop. Sorry to ramble, I'm not sure what else to write, just hoping to find support here. Thank you.
  4. Hello, I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety and prescribed 200mg sertraline at age 15. I took it with few side-effects for 6 years until a psychiatrist advised me to try getting off of it, citing the poorly-understood long term effects of the drug, especially on those who begin taking it while young. I waited several months until I felt stable, then reduced from the 200mg to 0 in several weeks. I had no serious side effects at the time. Within several months, I felt more intense emotions again, including happiness, but also sadness at realizing how my numbed mind had allowed me to stay in unhealthy, unfulfilling relationships/jobs. I began to wake up with intense panic, and had chronic swelling and pain in my jaw. 8 months after going off sertraline, the chronic pain intensified and did not respond to painkillers. I began experiencing extreme fatigue, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, and flashbacks to traumatic experiences. After many months of inconclusive doctors' appointments, a rheumatologist diagnosed me with Sjogren's Syndrome, although I have no dryness symptoms and am much younger than most people with the disease. I began to have daily panic attacks, increased fatigue, and disorientation. I went back on sertraline in 2017 and took about 4 weeks to get up to the 200mg dose. Since starting the sertraline again, I have remained fatigued, have occasional panic attacks, intense periods of depression/anxiety, and many difficult physical symptoms (body aches, nerve pain, tingling, rash, bowel issues). I decided last week to begin tapering, but to go slowly this time and learn more about the process. I joined this forum to share what I know in case it's helpful, and to add another voice to these shared experiences of living on and off of psychoactive drugs. Best wishes, Alice
  5. 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.
  6. Hi everyone, I took the minimum recommended dose of sertraline /zoloft (50mg) for a year to help with post-natal insomnia (Nov 16 - Nov 17). It worked and I slept well. I tapered off from Nov 17 - March 18 (about 4 months). This was more gradual than what is recommended by the NHS so I thought I was being extra careful! I reduced my dose by half a pill (25mg) a week. Anyway, 6 weeks after my final dose I started experiencing insomnia (my original symptom), physical anxiety & brain fog - despite not being consciously anxious or worried. It has come and gone in waves every few days over the last 3 months. At least once a week I'll get only an hour or 2 of sleep, then I have a good night and then some nights where I get maybe 5-6 hours which I can just about cope with. Last night was a 1 hour sleep night and I'm sick of it. I thought my original symptoms were coming back but now I've found this site, I'm wondering if it's withdrawal symptoms. They are just about bearable if I know that they will improve. However, the insomnia is affecting my day to day life and can't go on indefinitely. So do I:- a) Tough it out - I've already made it 3 months without realising these are potentially withdrawal symptoms b) Start taking a tiny dose - maybe quarter of a pill a day (12.5mg) c) Take sleeping pills short term just to get through this temporary period (I take half a Temazepam 10mg tablet when really desperate - this is a last resort and my GP does not like to prescribe them) I do yoga and meditation to manage it but would welcome any other suggestions for rebalancing the nervous system without upping the drugs again.... Accupuncture was recommended by someone?? I should mention that I also took the same dose for the same symptoms the year after my daughter was born (April 14 - April 15) and tapered in the same way. I remember briefly getting a resurgence of unexplainable anxiety but then I was back to my old self for a year or so with no ill-effects. Please help, insomnia is my nemesis!! 😭😱
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Hi everyone, I'm brand new here and wanted to tell everyone how much I've appreciate seeing all the positivity that everyone brings to the table. It has helped me more than you guys know. I was on sertraline for 18 or so years before I decided that I hadn't really found out genuinely who I was as a person considering I had been on the drug my entire adult life. I'm now 30 and 11 months into my withdrawal. I did get back on the medication for a month and a half after I had to go out of town for work for a week and was unable to eat or sleep for basically the entire time because of crippling anxiety. It has been the most difficult time in my life but the tough days always come and go. My biggest thing is wondering if anyone else has taken the drug for such a long time like me and made it through to full recovery. Does all of this pain go away? I know that my brain has endured a lot of years of brain altering chemicals so I'm trying to be patient with it but it's so difficult. Any replies would be greatly appreciated! Thank you all for being awesome 🤘🏻
  10. 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!
  11. Hello, i am glad to have found this site! This is probably my 3rd or 4th time taking Zoloft. While I’ve always had some issues with brain zaps when stopping, I’ve never had so much trouble going off it before. I think this is the longest period I have taken it (about 3 years) . I have taken a number of different antidepressants, and the worst for me to go off of was Cymbalta a few years ago. This time going off Zoloft is almost as bad. i was only taking 50mg, when I decided to stop I had no problem going down to 25mg (did that for a couple of weeks) and then down to 12.5...not too bad, though from what I’ve read here it seems I went to too fast. I’ve had brain zaps, dizziness (like drunk feeling) nausea, insomnia, and just general malaise and extreme fatigue. This is also mixed in with perimenopausal symptoms. So not fun. i got an rx for 25 as I thought it might be easier to cut the pills to smaller doses. My pill cutter ends up just chipping it. i went down to about 6.25, and stopped that, I guess too quickly, and have been feeling absolutely awful. It sounds like I need to stick with that dose for awhile. But I am having so much trouble getting it cut precisely. Today after reading on these forums I decided to give myself a dose (about 6 or 7mg) as it had been awhile, over a week. it sounds like I should get a scale and maybe make a powder to get a precise dose? We are going on vacation in Europe soon and I was hoping to be done with all this soon, I’m not sure if I should be messing with powders when away from home for turning it into powder is it better to put into capsules of dissolve in water? (Sounds like it tastes awful) Thank you!!
  12. Hello everyone, Thank you for accepting me into this peer support group! I discovered SA a few weeks ago and have read many compelling and informative threads. I feel like I truly understand my situation now. Thank you to all! Discovering in my late-20s that ‘adult ADD’ was the cause of my anxiety and impulsivity, I tried Ritalin, wellbutrin, paxil and finally 50 mg of zoloft. I found that SSRI’s really focused me and reduced my anxiety. I was on Zoloft from 2004 to 2013 and tapered myself off the drug over the course of a year. I experienced the usual acute symptoms over the next month or so but then I seemed to recover. Roughly 4 months later I began experiencing severe prolonged AD withdrawal symptoms and ended up essentially house-bound with insomnia, high anxiety, OCD symptoms…I eventually lost 30 pounds. I was a professional musician at the time performing a rock opera and had to cancel all remaining shows. It essentially ended my career as a performing musician. A nurse practitioner at the time urged me to begin taking Zoloft again and in July of 2013, I was prescribed 50mgs. Eventually my symptoms subsided and I went back to school in 2014. One of the WD symptoms that remained with me was a case of body dysmorphia, which became manageable due to cognitive behavioral therapy. In 2015, I read “Nutrient Power” by William Walsh and discovered the joys of methylation and L-methionine, which I added to my decreased dose of Zoloft (35mg from 50mg). The side effects of taking both were increased dry mouth/lips etc along with increased water retention. But I noticed that I was much sharper and even more relaxed socially. Fast forward to March of 2018 and I’m in my 2ndsemester in medical school (as a 40+ year old) and I decided that I just couldn’t take the combination L-methionine with the Zoloft anymore because of the dry mouth and other symptoms. After a week of not taking L-methionine, I began experiencing horrible WD symptoms: insomnia, anxiety, deep depression, brain fog, body dysmorphia etc…It never occurred to me that an amino acid would cause withdrawals like a benzo or an SSRI! I had to drop the semester and was later placed on medical leave of absence. During this time, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown due to prolonged exposure to medical school stress…but I was doing well. I did try to restart L-methionine again in April but experienced a spike in anxiety, adrenaline and dry mouth. It was too much. I find I’m reliving the same nightmare of my previous WD experience in 2013…thanks to my ignorance. My insomnia is better after taking Seriphos and now Kavinace. But thanks to SA, I know that I will have to start a slow taper off the phenibut. I am now at almost 4 months since I stopped L-methionine. I still take Zoloft but have reduced the dose from 35 to 25mg. After all I’ve been through, I don’t think I will taper the ssri now. I experience a significant degree of social anxiety, which has caused me to isolate. The social anxiety is closely related to my body dysmorphia. It seems a bit worse than a few months ago… My wife is very understanding and I feel more stable in public with her by my side. I have enrolled in an oriental medicine program this fall (11 credits only) and have a wedding to go to overseas in August. My dilemma is that isolating seems to make my social anxiety worse but getting out in the world can bring fresh trauma! However, my social anxiety tends to decrease the more time I spend in public and socializing with friends/family. I have read here during AD WD that minimizing stress is an important factor…but in my case, it comes at the cost…safe isolation. Thank you for your help. I look forward to engaging this community and offering my support…I’ve learned so much so far.
  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. GirlfromD

    GirlfromD: Insomnia

    Hi im new, I will update my storie when I am feeling better than now. At the moment i can't sleep, i fall a sleep in the morning at 7 or 8. the other day i tried to change it by staying awake for 25 hours straight. And i got a little bit of sleep last night. But today im feeling odd, like i haven't slept for 3 days or something, could the insomania return, in that case me staying awake for so long is a total waste of time!? Should i just go with the insomania and sleep when I can not try to force myself into a better sleeping pattern. Please help! And sorry for my English.
  15. Stormstrong

    Stormstrong: In pain

    Hello. I need help! I've been taking Zoloft on and off for close to ten years. Went up to 150mg last month. Since I got back from the psych hospital last month, I've been having a sensation of being stabbed repeatedly in the brain, the whole day after taking Zoloft. This is why I had to start taking it during the day time. Otherwise I cannot sleep - keep jolting up awake, as if though electrical currents of stress run through my body. Today I got up, and was quite happy, energetic. An hour later I took Zoloft. What happened?: the feeling in my body and brain is that of continuous assault by toxins. I feel at the same time very agitated, very lightheaded and sleepy, nauseous, no longer happy, with diarrhea. Music, my true love and saving grace, is now an irritant. For a long time I've been considering tapering off for good (I'd follow the 10% rule). But now it's clear to me that this medication is no longer good for me. I had my psychiatrist (of a few months) call me and I suggested that we taper me down to 135mg. He said that it's not a "good idea", and that it won't help me. I don't think I can get another psychiatrist, because I'm applying for SSI disability (for PTSD), and people at the hospital told me that my case will be quite strong, if I show that I've had the same psychiatrist for a long time. If I go against his wishes, he would never write a good letter for my SSI case. Should I just do it behind his back? Greetings, by the way!
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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 . . .
  20. Hello, I have recently found this site and it's been a tremendous relief to see other people going through similar things. Withdrawal and anxiety can be such isolating experiences, especially when your doctor or psychiatrist doesn't seem to have any concrete knowledge of the way it works for many people. I began taking 30mg of Paxil in 2004 during an episode of major depression and anxiety. It helped me regain my stability and in addition to the medication I spent many years in psychotherapy. I considered going off the drug many times but even skipping one dose made me feel physically ill and my psychiatrist also warned me that because I had suffered a previous episode of depression, I was likely to relapse. In the fall of 2017, my partner and I decided we wanted to try having a baby and on the advice of my doctor, I began weaning off Paxil, decreasing the dose by 7.5 g each month. I know realize that was probably way too fast but I didn't have any serious problems until I stopped it completely. My doctor's recommendation was to switch to 50mg Zoloft/Sertraline but I wanted to see if I could go without drugs. I lasted a month. At first it was mainly physical symptoms: nausea, dizzines, diahrrea, muscle pain, headaches but then anxiety set in and I ended up in the ER. I began taking 50mg of Zoloft/Sertraline in February buteven after several weeks didn't notice much improvement. They increased my dose to 100 and then 150mg but the anxiety persisted and I got terrible diahrrea and began losing weight at an alarming rate. I went back down to 50mg and continue there. In February, March and part of April (?) I was taking .5mg of Lorazepam each morning and evening to function and sleep but have stopped that. I only take it very occasionally when I really need a good night's sleep or feel a panic attack coming. I have had good weeks and bad weeks and the idea of "windows and waves" really resonates with me. I have a couple weeks where I feel like myself and then the anxiety returns and hangs around for a week or two. I've been taking care of myself as well as possible: exercise, meditation, diet, time with friends, and that helps but it seems like the only thing that is really going to make a difference is time. I have a couple of questions for my fellow SA members'. Do you recommend magnesium citrate? I'm not taking any supplements because I'm trying to get my nutrients from food and I also don't want to get my hopes up that if I just find the right combination of vitamins and minerals and powders that I will be cure. Secondly, I've been taking Zoloft for almost 5 months now and I can't say that I have noticed any huge benefit. It doesn't seem to be helping with the anxiety at all. I don't want to double my withdrawal misery but I also don't want to stay on it too long and make it harder for myself later. I've been contemplating halving my dose and seeing what happens. During the time I was increasing and lowering my dose by 50mg over these previous months, I didn't notice any significant changes in my mood or mental state, FYI. Any thoughts?
  21. 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.
  22. jefflc

    jefflc: Zoloft

    Ok after reading forums on this site it seems like my doctor gave me poor withdrawl advice. I was on Zoloft (sertraline) for 6 months, I started my dose at 50mg and then upped it to 75mg and then again to 100mg at its peak. I upped it due to tic's I had. I thought my tic's were caused by stress and anxiety but they weren't so upping it didn't make it any better. However the SSRI's worked very well except for some sexual dysfunction problems, so myself and my doctor decided to ween me off the meds and this is how my tapering schedule went. 100mg - 100 - 100 - 100 75 - 100 -75 - 100 75 - 75 -75 -75 75 - 50 -75- 50 50 - 50 - 50 - 50 50 - 25 -50 -25 25 - 25 - 25 -25 - Finished Since starting the taped I was getting head spins and feeling dizzy. Since coming off them completely my head spins are very frequent, when I stand up or sit down or even move my head too quickly. Sometimes I can feel vertigo like and can feel unsteady on y feet. My balance isn't great and I've fount myself tripping over my own foot from time to time leading to more obsessive thoughts, is this the early on set of MS? Did I have a mild stroke in my sleep? I know none of this is true but it's the obsessive thoughts that I was having before taking Zoloft creeping back in. Recently I've started to feel very angry for no reason and thinking about things that can upset me, when I was on Zoloft none of this was apparent, I can't explain how good I felt and although I know this is part of the withdrawl process it just seems like it goes on for too long. Whats the point in taking SSRI's if you're going to feel the way you did before for a year or so, doesn't make sense to me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I'm sure a number of people on this forum have gone through the same things as me. Thanks.
  23. Hello all, long time reader first time poster. Firstly I just wanted to say how awesome it is to have such a place to go and receive help for what can only be described as a nightmare that thousands of people seem to go through. So here is my story which I will end with a few questions I have. As you can see from my signature, I was placed on 50mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) in September 2009. This is when my life was turned upside down. I was originally placed on this drug because I visited my local doctor comlaining about some anxiety that I was getting after I drank alcohol. I must say that for a period of about 8 years I was a heavy binge drinker. I was a typical 18 year old who went out every weekend and got blind drunk with his mates. This was obviously starting to take its toll on me once I hit 25 years of age and that is why I visited my doctor. Well I was in there for a total of about 10 minutes before he prescribed me 50mg of Zoloft telling me this would help with taking the edge off of my anxiety. I did what he suggested and this was the worst mistake of my life. I returned to the doctor within 10 days of starting 50mg complaining of the worst symptoms (severe agitation, anxiety and now depression). Unfortunatley I could not see the original doctor so I saw another doctor there at the time. He said I must need a higher dose and that 100mg was the normal dose he puts his patients on. He also prescribed valium to me (which I took a couple of times). The next 3 months of my life was like a horror film. I became suicidal with severe symptoms that I had never experienced before going on the drug. I seem to settle after about 3 months, but it must be said I never was without symptoms, but they were less severe. Around 12 months after starting the drug, I began to get more severe symtoms. I returned to the doctor and he once again up'd my dosage to 150mg. The next 3 months were a nightmare again, severe agitation etc. For the next 6 years I floated between 100mg and 150mg. I spent thousands of dollars on therapy to treat an apparent panic disorder; although I didn't mind the therapist, the information we went through just didn't seem to apply to me i.e. I wasn't thinking any of the ways he was suggesting was causing my symptoms. It wasn't until I started looking into more natural ways and researching antidepressants that I realised that maybe the drug could be the problem! Lightbulb moment! I have read a lot of books from authors like Peter Breggin, Joseph Glenmullen, etc. which I am sure most of you have read. I also have been doing a lot of work with a nutritionist. I had a 23andme test done and found out a couple of interesting points. I have a COMT gene mutation which means I break down adrenaline and dopamine slower and I also have a mutation in another gene which I can't remember the name of which means I break down serotonin slower. What this actually suggests to me and my nutritionist agrees is that I may have been quite toxic with levels of serotonin which was causing serotonin syndrome. Alot of my symptoms were a mirror image of serotonin syndrome (agitation etc.). So as you can see from my signature, I began tapering in February 2016. My problem now is that I seem to have hit a huge brick wall. I may have tapered a little fast and was hit with severe withdrawal symptoms which have not gone away. I have been holding at my current dose of 60mg for almost 4 months now. This past 4 months has been the worst 4 months of my life. It started with severe symptoms like pounding headaches, vomitting, insomnia, not being able to sit still (severe agitation) as well as some depression. It has progressed from there to now being just severe depression. I am not depressed about anything in particular other than the way I feel. It is like I am completely numb with emotions aside from being really upset. I have no appetite and really struggle to get through each day. I am very fatigued and lack motivation to do the most basic of things. I am pushing through it as best I can still working fulltime and excercising a couple of times a week plus playing golf on the weekend. I must say that I have a great life. I love my job, I have a beautiful wife and young son (8 months) and honestly have everything to live for. It is just these horrendous symptoms are ruining it all. So finally to my questions and looking for advice from some veterans on here. What should I do next? Should I continue to hold at 60mg until things get better, or should I continue at a 10% taper and see if things get worse or perhaps better? From previous drops, I seem to have a period of improvement on symptoms for about 2-4 weeks, and then it begins to decline until I drop again. I am not sure whether that means I should keep reducing or slow down. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all.
  24. Moderator's note: link to Musk's members-only benzo thread - Musk: how to taper 5 mg diazepam every two days Hello, this is my first post. So grateful to find this forum. I am in Spain, not able to comunicate properly in english, I use googletraslator. My history: since spring 2015, postnatal depression with anxiety and somatization due to extreme fear of diseases, especially autoimmune diseases. Sertraline 100 mg & diazepam 5 mg from June 2016 to August 2017. Right after appendicitis with surgery (28 august 2017) and chronic hip and lumbar pain since 4 months. In consultation of rheumatology I discover that I have a hlab27 gene related to ankylosing spondylitis, which conditions me mentally more and more. But pain has not an inflammatory pattern and there is no sign of inflammation in blood. Now progressively more and more depressed with new symptom really the most disabling: severe insomnia. Medical proposal: return to sertraline. Big temptation, but I refuse. I continue with diazepam 5 mg (ocasionaly). Is this a possible case of withdrawal sindrome? Opinions welcome. In psycotherapy, I had some little epyphany (childhood trauma, obsesive negative thoughts...) Many many thanks.
  25. 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.
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