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  1. I need some advice, and reassurance. I have been on Zoloft (Setraline) for about 5 years and I have never really had any problems going on it from what I remember, I was on 50mg and never went up any higher occasionally if I forgot a dose I would be reminded with brain zaps, I occasionally got dilated pupils which may have been the zoloft and thats really the only issues I got. Then one day I went to my Dr about some issue and she then decided to up my dose to 100mg. Faithfully like a good patient I took it and about a month later I had horrible insomnia and racing heart so I was put back on 50mg. The side effects subsided within a week and that all was fine until, 2 months being back on the 50mg I got the same symptoms again, racing heart and insomnia, so I decided to quit them. After about a week my heart is back to normal but 3 weeks later i'm still suffering really bad insomnia.... Will this go away... I have never had any issues falling asleep before but now I can lay awake trying to sleep for hours! Sometimes I will try all night and sleep won't come, its given me really bad anxiety about bed time, I also seem to never feel tired.. I will have to force sleep even after a day without it, This is horrible and giving me real anxiety over it. The Dr gave me Quitapine 25mg for sleep but I just want my normal sleep back. Is this the Zoloft? Will this fade?
  2. HI everyone - thank God I just found you! My 19 year old daughter has been on 50mg Zoloft (sertraline) since 2008. This summer we tapered her off over a 6-week period (which unfortunately I now know was WAY too fast). She did great, no issues, until last week, almost EXACTLY 3 months later. Withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, syncope, headaches, falling, nausea, stomach pain have been coming and going for 5 days straight. She's missed two days of school during mid-terms. It started on the day she got her period so at first I attributed it to that. Then I thought maybe she had the flu. Then I thought she was overwhelmed with her first semester of college. Never dawned on me it was the sertraline. But when it hit her hard again last night I stayed up all night researching and once I came across this board and read the intro pages I KNEW that's what we are dealing with. It seems to be getting worse each day. I feel horrible that I didn't research more before doing the taper. I stupidly trusted her Dr. Now that we are close to a week past the 3-month mark, I'm thinking I need to immediately try reinstatement to see if it will help. I have a call into her Dr. to call in an Rx, because we used all of hers up when she tapered off. Since it's a Sunday of a holiday weekend I'm not too hopeful, and am considering taking her to Urgent Care to see if we can get an Rx there to get started today. I also think he won't believe that these symptoms have anything to do with the sertraline. Based on my reading here I'm guessing that if we try the reinstatement, I would start her at 1mg and leave it there for 1 week? If symptoms improve, leave it there, but if they don't, maybe move to 1.5mg? Does that sound right? But if she seems worse then do I taper off for about a week, or faster or slower? I'm just sick this is happening to her - I feel totally responsible and like a horrible parent. Thank you all so much for being here to help those of us who come after you.
  3. Hi all, my name is Matt, I am a 36 year old husband and father of three whose life has been turned upside down by these drugs. Although after reading the wealth of information on this site, I feel I finally understand what is happening to me, though it doesn’t make going through it any easier. I reinstated Zoloft on May 1st and I know I probably reinstated at much too high a dose, but I unfortunately was following “doctors orders.” It has been a tough four months to say the least, and at times I feel I will be stuck this way forever. However I have gone on vacation twice in the last 4 months. The 1st one was over the Fourth of July, during that time I would say I was 50-60% of my normal self. Only to come back, get to work, and get slammed by waves again. Last week I went on an end of summer vacation with my family, this time I would say I was closer to 75-80% of normal, and hopeful this was finally the beginning of the end for me and I was stabilizing and could in a few months begin a slow taper the proper way. However this past week back home and back to work have been unbearable. Unrelentingly anxiety and akathisia from the second I wake, that eventually calms a bit at night, but sometimes not til like 8-9PM. My question would be, can being on vacation really make that big of a difference in withdrawal? I would think it was just a fluke, but it has happened twice now. But it is like, almost feeling back to normal, vs not being able to fathom making it through another day. The difference is astounding. Any thoughts would be appreciated, also should I be getting worried that I am 4 months into reinstatement and holding and not stabilizing? Thanks, this site is amazing and all these people are amazing SURVIVORS!
  4. so here i am building a public diary about my experience with sertraline. my intent is quite selfish i assure you - i seek catharsis - but with a little luck this introduction will evolve into a success story, and someone else who also struggles may be uplifted in the process. it helps to read about the experiences of others and I'm hoping it helps to talk about my own even more. i guess thats why we're all here, to talk. i just wish i could cuss here cuz its like half my vocabulary. anyway, after taking sertraline 50mg for seasonal affective disorder for three years with no adverse effects i figured i would quit. after a little research i did what amounted to a taper over the course of 6 weeks. i felt fine and had no side effects for two months after my last dose. i thought i had moved on, no biggie. about a week ago i had a panic attack seemingly out of nowhere. it basically didn't subside for three days and i was clueless as to what the problem was. i figured i had finally snapped. i was afraid to be home alone so most of the first 72 hrs were spent driving around aimlessly searching for meaningless tasks to keep me occupied and visiting friends on high alert at best, full blown panic at worst. i couldn't eat or sleep or think and my vision was screwy and my adrenaline pumped and my ears rang and my heart beat and my breathing was labored. confusion ruled and still i was determined to ride it out like a bad trip. through conversation with friends and internet research i realized i was experiencing withdrawal. it was something i hadn't considered and i was floored by the implications. after researching this site and the horrors contained within it i decided to reinstate sertraline at 25mg on 7-7-16, 3 days after withdrawal symptoms began in the hopes of stabilization and eventual slow taper. as of now it has been about 48 hrs since reinstatement of 25mg once daily in the morning. i realize it takes time for the drug to build and have an effect but i suspect there has already been some improvement. i haven't have a bad reaction and have had limited success with food and sleep so for now i hold and hope. ill hold forever if need be, i can be rather tenacious when properly motivated, even if this is the weakest i have ever felt. it has been and still is quite the roller coaster of fear but i am hopeful…ish. this forum has helped so much already and may prove to be my rock, my arm floaties in rough seas, and my fuzzie kitten for my nerves. thank you. stay tuned for the next freak out!
  5. Hello everyone. Don't know where to start. Firstly excuse my english because it is not my native language. My first experience with psychiatric drug was with elicea in 2015 when I visited my first psychiatrist (can't remember the dose). Took it for 2 months then stopped cold turkey. Suffered severe depression and brain zaps for short period after that. I recovered. Also I took xanax occasionally then and in 2017. 2018 took xanax more often for like 3 months (never more than once a day, 0.25mg, maybe 0.50mg sometimes). Never suffered withdrawals after I quit. At least nothing that I am aware off. Fast forward to august 2018 I visited another psychiatrist and was put on calixta (mirtazapine), can't remember the dose atm. Took it until december or january when she got me off it cold turkey and put me on seroxat. Never had any problems until I started noticing double vision (ghosting) of bright letters and lights from a distance but It wasn't that bad. After like 3 months on seroxat she wanted to switch to zyprexa and diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. Keep in mind that I never suffered psychosis and was only depressed and unmotivated person. I had trouble with my insurance and needed to sorted it out first because it is an expensive drug. I quit seroxat first around april this year. Never had any problems except the double vision one. After I got my insurance in june I started Zyprexa. First I was on smaller doses (2.5mg-7.5mg) then i got to 10mg on september. I started losing interest in my hobbies and got very suicidal and depressed. She started me on zoloft around middle of october (first few days on small doses then on 25mg) and cut my zyprexa dose to 7.5mg. Around 13th of november (a week ago) I decided to quit both drugs and stop poisoning myself after a very fast tapper (few days). I am in hell since. I have lots of symptoms (most are probably from zyprexa because I took it for longer) but what I find worst is not sleeping. First I was very tired and sleepy from not sleeping but recently I am never tired and I probably don't even sleep one hour in total. It is scaring me. I always slept on my back but now I can't do that because my mouth make a weird noise and I start panicking. I am very scared and don't know what to do. I was thinking of tappering but going back to drugs scare me. I am afraid I will never sleep and my brain will detoriate. My god what have I done to myself.
  6. Hey all, From original topic title: 8 months of hypomania, increasing irritability, two major manic episodes, then CT Wish I found this site before. Prescribed 50 mg in October 2018, reported immediate response, eventually asked to cut the dose to 25 mg when symptoms were arising more frequently. Doc said go up to 100 mg, thankfully I disagreed and we went down instead. Kept having increasing symptoms and eventually started taking 12.5 mg twice a day thinking I was a fast metabolizer. Then: suicidal ideation and one hell-ish manic episode (with a good 50 mini-episodes over a months time). Quit CT once I learned what was happening. BP2 diagnosis came, but now a month removed from sertraline, I don’t see it. I’m dealing with some crazy withdrawal symptoms... mostly headaches and irritability. I sometimes blink really hard, kind of like a brain zap. I’m on intermittent leave from work, and didn’t burn all the bridges I have, but came damn close. now I’m learning healing takes months/years. Why is this a drug prescribed so frequently? What a nightmare it has been.
  7. Hi there I’m a new member. I figured it might be good to give some back ground of my journey and maybe get some tips while I’m at it. So I have been on antidepressants for about half my life. So between 15 and 20 years. I’m not quite sure when I started but it was when I much younger. I started with Prozac 20mg and have switched between Zoloft and Prozac a few times. Prozac always seemed to work best for me. This last switch to Zoloft was due to having kids and its said that its safer for them while pregnant and breastfeeding. I have had a couple of times where I would get off the medication but always seem to get back on it. Looking back I was probably have withdrawals rather then reoccurrence. The last few years I felt healthy enough to try to get off. I started tapering in October 2018 from Zoloft 50 mg. I initially was going down about 5 mg a month. I was doing really well. My main side effects where some headaches, tiredness, less of appetite. Nothing too serious to be honest. Then the last two months or so have been really bad. I had some stressors at work that have made it extremely difficult to feel normal. This last month I went down about 3 mgs. So from 8 to 5 mgs. This has been the roughest month yet. Extreme anxiety, insomnia, waking up from sleeping with panic, crying spells for almost no reason (even if someone asks me how I’m doing coming off the medication I will cry), some days no appetite at all, irritability, depression (although I live in Michigan so this is some what normal just not as bad normally). I realized in this low of a dose that I should have went smaller but I feel its bit late now. I started this taper on November 15th. I just really want to get off these darn pills but now I’m paying for it. The worst part for me is that I’m afraid to go to sleep in fear of waking up to panic. I have some Xanax but I know that’s only masking it and not fixing it. In fact its probably getting worse due to it being addictive. I’ve taken 5 times in the last month but would like to make it maybe 1 or none at all. Current things I’ve done to help with these problems – starting seeing a new therapist that works more holistically. I have been using lavender essential oils in my room while sleeping. Supplements that I take: · Magnesium with vitamin b co factors (Jigsaw health is the brand) · CBD oil · Trying to stop drinking pop or reducing it. I wasn’t an every day drinker but I know it can mess up your system. · I tried 5htp 200 mg but gave me lose stools so I do have a lower dose (50mg) now but scared to take it since I don’t I don’t want it to make me feel bad (ugh anxiety). · I take a multi vitamin from Garden of Life that has probiotics · I take separate probiotics · I take an amino acid supplement · L-Theanine · Vitamin D I’m at a loss right now.
  8. 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.
  9. Hello all, I was first prescribed 25mg of zoloft late November of 2015 after a few days in the psych ward. Afterward when I found a psychiatrist, he raised my zoloft to 100 mg and then a month or two later he added topamax 25mg and Latuda (can't remember the dosage) into the mix. Shortly after I started to get brain zaps even when I was taking the medications on time and foolishly I decided to just stop taking them all together around March or April of 2016. I never returned to that psychiatrist or any psychiatrist for that matter. Now almost four years since taking them I am still plagued with brain zaps. They are not always present but appear every few months for a few days and then vanish into the wind. It went on that until about Feb of 2018 when I started experiencing numbness in my legs. I thought it was a stroke or blood clot so I went to the ER. After I got a MRI of my brain and an xray of my spine, the doctors told me that the findings did not explain my brain zaps or numbness in my legs and sent me home with an article from PsychologyToday that I had already read a million times detailing SSRI withdrawal syndrome. I felt defeated and never thought to contact a neurologist. Since then my symptoms got progressively worse. Every few months there would be relapses and a new symptom would appear; lhermitte sign, paresthesia, tingling, itchiness, fatigue, and pain behind eyes. I started to document my symptoms April of this year after another relapse. I had another relapse September/October. Today I am in the throes of another relapse. This time somewhat longer than normal. I decided once and for all to find out if what I am experiencing is just the repercussions of not tapering off some medication almost four years ago while being a stupid college kid or if what I have is something more serious since SSRI withdrawal seems to mimic quite a few other neurological diseases. Tomorrow I go in to see if I can get a referral to a neurologist. Wish me luck.
  10. Reading back over my neuro problems document I wrote earlier when everything started; it seems like pretty much everything can be traced back to established problems associated with tapering and withdrawal of SSRI’s. I began tapering down from 100 mg earlier this year (2015), in the spring. I went from 100 to 75 to 50 to 25, at which point I ceased taking the Zoloft. I went very slowly with the taper, with the knowledge that a fast taper could lead to withdrawal problems. I went perhaps a month between each reduction. I completely finished at the very beginning of July, I want to say July 2nd. For the month of July, I didn’t notice any problems. In the beginning of August however I started feeling an intensifying of the symptoms I already had written down in the neuro problems doc, including a depressed mood. I also had my first migraine of my life on August 8th. I had the visual aura preceding the migraine. I went to the E.R. where I got a CT scan, and was told that everything checked out fine. When my mood didn’t seem to be getting any better, I attempted to reinstate the Zoloft at 25 mg for three days on August 12-15th. I seemed to get a serotonin syndrome response from this, so I stopped taking it in the hopes that perhaps the withdrawal symptoms would clear on their own. From August 15th to October 2nd I was traveling in Europe. I was supposed to stay longer, but by October 2nd the withdrawal symptoms were getting worse and I knew I needed to go home. On October 3rd I attempted another reinstatement of the Zoloft, this time at 12.5 mg for two days and had the same problems I had earlier in August with the reinstatement. I stopped taking it again and the serotonin syndrome seemed to clear up, but by this point the withdrawal symptoms had started full force. For the entire month of October and now the beginning of November, I’ve had horrible cognitive symptoms that have kept me from being able to function normally. I have a hard time planning future events, including structuring a day plan. I have a hard time reading, writing, and speaking to people (I just can’t think of things to say, to continue conversations). Even listening to music or watching t.v. is overwhelming. Overwhelming is the best word I can think of to describe any kind of stimulus to me right now. My cognitive and physical functioning is just overwhelmed with everything, and I get tired very easily. Despite being tired, it’s hard for me to shut off. I’ve spent a few nights just laying in bed for hours without being able to sleep. One thing I’ve noticed this last month is that my heart just pounds all day long. I have ringing in my ears as well, which irritates me when I’m trying to fall asleep. I get dizzy easily when I stand up too fast, which makes me feel nauseous. For the first month of this, (October) I had intense thirst all the time. The intense thirst seems to have dissipated this last week. Now however I am getting nauseous where I wasn’t before. Also food seems to have lost all appeal to me. Nothing sounds good to me to eat, and nothing tastes good. It’s hard to describe, but my taste just seems to have numbed. Other things I’ve noticed: Face hot and flushing all the time Feeling of fast heart rate Can’t concentrate or think very well Severe memory problems Sore back of the neck Headaches all the time Feeling of electricity running along my spine & arms, especially in response to music. Mentally exhausted easily when trying to read, follow conversation, watch t.v. Incredibly hard to look in people’s eyes when having a conversation, almost physically incapable sometimes, I feel like I need to close my eyes and look away. It’s physically difficult to make myself smile, or make any facial expression. Reduced affect display. Unable to remember words, sometimes unable to recognize written words Aphasia Zero interest in anything at all Living in a fog, daze, feeling drunk all the time Feeling of being frozen; i.e. not being able to plan next thing to do Utter and complete lack of confidence in ability to do anything Intense thirst has disappeared One of the best things that has happened in this last week is that my feeling of restlessness seems to have dissipated for the most part. For the better part of October 2015 I had what can only be described as intense mental restlessness. I was not content anywhere in any context, and felt that the only way to feel better was to keep moving (going from location to location, upstairs, downstairs, outside) and everywhere I felt this intense unease. I looked this up and apparently it’s called akathisia. Horrible upper back pain that radiates into my shoulder blades, chest, throat. Usually lasts for around 20 minutes to an hour of excruciating pain. Feels almost as if my throat is clenching or tightening. Constant buzzing in my ears, especially my left ear. Especially writing this and stressing myself out thinking about what a hell my life has become. Ear popping as well, they always feel like they are full, and I need to pop them, as if I’ve been in an airplane. Inability to plan even the simplest tasks in my day, where I used to make lists and successfully plan a full productive day. Now it takes weeks and months to accomplish tasks simply because I can’t plan a way to make myself do it. Every task seems insurmountable and scary. When I started stressing out, it feels like I shut down. So: January 2015: 100 mg February: 100 mg March: 75 mg April: 50 mg May: 25 mg June: 25 mg July: 0 mg, totally fine August: Just beginning of the withdrawal September: Feeling worse and worse, more of the physical side effects of withdrawal October: Mental side effects of withdrawal officially and horribly begun Akathisia Intense thirst Insomnia Ringing in ears November: Withdrawal as before December: Withdrawal symptoms diminishing January - October 2016: Increasing cognitive difficulties, apathy, October: Beginning of difficulty with facial expressions, maintaining eye contact with person I’m talking with, aphasia (difficulty understanding speech, creating speech, continuing a conversation, feels as if my brain just stops mid conversation, the only thing that feels easier is writing, although I can tell that my word choice is becoming limited and especially use of prepositions is becoming difficult, choosing the wrong word). One thing that bothers me the most is dyschronometria. I have a severely limited ability to perceive time passing, that’s become increasingly impaired. I am fairly certain that from the limited research I’ve been able to do, that I might be experiencing Psychiatric drug-induced Chronic Brain Impairment (CBI) http://www.behaviorismandmentalhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Breggin2011_ChronicBrainImpairment-Ref-for-ECT-post-140.pdf Going forward; options: Continue without SSRI’s While exercising, eating healthy, taking supplements Or start taking either fluoxetine or citalopram After which point I can attempt another taper after stabilizing December 2015: I don’t have any obligations that I need to do before January, so at this point the best option seems to be sticking it out without SSRI’s. I feel that I’ve made progress (at least emotionally, cognitively I don’t feel the same progress), and that this progress will continue. Reasons why: I only took Sertraline for 2 years, albeit at 100 mg. This is still not the highest dose given. I did a relatively slow taper (although from continuing research I’ve noticed that many people attempt even slower tapers) I am young, 24. And with younger patients, Dr. Healy has noted that recovery is more likely (within 1 to 4 years). I am already seeing progress (thirst has disappeared, intense akathisia (mental as opposed to physical) has dissipated, depressed mood has for the most part disappeared (time between episodes of intense despair longer and longer), as for intense anxiety (heart rate seems to be more regular, morning anxiety not as bad). I am cautiously optimistic at this point. Now, October 2016: Before this all started, I was quite competent. I can get references from friends / family, I was doing well in school (finishing a Psychology degree until this started, was even able to get A’s in two classes in Spring of this year while I was going through withdrawal). I was very socially aware as well, never had any problem with social cues, creating meaningful relationships. Now perhaps due in part to a lack of confidence, I’m having a very difficult time maintaining meaningful relationships. I'm sorry for the disjointed introduction, I'm having a harder and harder time writing a coherent message, and I just wanted to start involving myself in the discussions here. I thought might as well share this document that I've begun to trace the development of this horror this last year.
  11. 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
  12. After 2 weeks on escitalopram and then 4 weeks on sertrilene, I can't say I've ever stabilized. I decreased the sertrilene 10 days ago and symptoms seem overall slightly better. I'm trying to decide whether to stay at my current dose or continue to taper.
  13. 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
  14. Hi, I found this site a couple of weeks ago and have slowly been starting to wonder if what I’ve been going through the past 18 months is related to SSRI withdrawal. I managed to successfully withdraw from Lexapro at the end of 2010, after over 13 years of AD use. I had various fluctuating symptoms for a couple of months, but then apart from constant ringing in my ears and a return of occasional anxiety, I seemed to be ok. I was studying to be a chi-ball instructor, was exercising regularly, was eating healthy and was generally quite happy. After getting off Lexapro, I had been diagnosed with adult ADD and been put on medication for that. It worked well for a couple of weeks and seemed to completely cure what remained of my anxiety, but then I started to get extreme restlessness, OCD like symptoms, irritability and an increase in my sensitivity, to sounds and lights. I assumed it was a bad reaction to the stimulant medication. My life has been a confusing nightmare since the end of 2010 really, but until I found this site a couple of weeks ago, it really didn’t occur to me that my ongoing problems were being caused by a medication I stopped taking over 2 years ago. I’ve had a lot of stress in my life starting from an early age and have always been sensitive and anxious. There has been some violent crime and sexual abuse, but I seemed to be ok until I got myself into a psychologically abusive marriage. That’s when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and started on Zoloft. For a couple of years it took the edge off my anxiety, but I never thought I had depression, but the Zoloft just made me feel generally numb, so I endured my marriage, for several more years until it became unbearable, tried to communicate with my ex-husband so that things would improve, but he wasn’t interested in change, he was already in his next relationship and had been for a while, I didn’t know that at the time though. Then I went through about 4 years of extremely frightening separation/divorce and ongoing court proceedings. . There were other extremely stressful things I’ve had to deal with over the last 10 years, but I’m not going to go into details. I have been thinking that what I’m going through is a combination of long term stress, anxiety/depression, a ‘dark night of the soul’, menopause and/or some kind of spiritual transformation like kundalini, because I have engaged in various spiritual practises through my life. At times its felt like my CNS is completely burned out or that I have some kind of serious hormonal imbalance, but I gave up trusting the medical profession, including psychologists after years of not being able to get any help from any of them and only ending up feeling worse and that its all my fault for not trying hard enough. I’ve had lots therapy, counselling and done various support groups over the last 15 years, nothing has been any significant help. I went back to college to study psychology and started a business, but that all fell apart when the marital abuse became worse and the divorce proceedings began. Since finding this site, I’ve stopped taking all psychotropic medication, realizing that anything which effects my brain is having an exaggerated negative effect on my recovery. For a long time I’ve noticed that even small amounts of caffeine, half a glass of wine or even an anti-histamine will have a very bad effect on me, but I was thinking it was my imagination. I can’t even eat chocolate any more without suffering the next day. I’m exhausted all the time, but it’s a weird kind of fatigue, its like a combination mental/emotional tiredness, not like anything I’ve ever felt before. I spend most of my time at home, on the internet on my bed, just doing the things I need to do to take care of myself and my teenage daughter. Its very difficult just getting out to buy a few groceries, but when I do go out, I function perfectly in a kind of dissociated way, like I’m not even in my own body, I’m watching myself like from a distance, wondering who it is that’s behaving so ‘normally’ when I’m feeling so awful. Waves of negative emotions seem to get triggered by almost everything around me and almost every thought, I try not to think about things or do much of anything so I can avoid the emotional pain that thoughts or experiences bring, its like a kind of forced meditation. This symptom was at its worst from November 2011 – August 2012, but its not as bad now, seems to be settling down, I think its improved by about 50%. Please would someone take a look at the details in my signature and give me an opinion if protracted anti-depressant withdrawal might be a factor in my current health problems which include: Waking at 5am with racing thoughts Feeling like I haven’t slept at all Nausea, shaking, dizziness, body pressure, muscle twitches Waves of negative emotion Hot/cold flashes, sweating Constant ringing in my ears Sensitive to sound, light and smells Can’t watch TV or listen to the radio because its too stimulating Most things are too stimulating now, including being around other people too long Loss of appetite and loss of weight Hair falling out Agoraphobia, mostly during the day, I’m able to go out easier late afternoon towards evening Memory problems and mental confusion Loss of confidence. Loss of interest in doing anything or going anywhere Can’t get any pleasure out of things any more Loss of hope I needed to put more detail in my signature, but that’s all that would fit. From about 2006 – 2008 I was also taking duramine (a prescription stimulant weight loss med) to try and lose all the weight I’d put on from being on SSRI meds. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to try and provide a clear picture of my situation. Thank you Petu
  15. 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!
  16. Hi all. I have been on a combo of Risperdal and Zoloft since 2012. I reached 3mg risperdal and 200mg zoloft in early 2016, tried to taper off both starting in June of that year, and had a bout of insomnia in November, at which time I reinstated along with an additional 15mg remeron. Adding the remeron, I've learned, was a huge mistake and most likely unnecessary. Since then I've slept at most 6 hours instead of my usual 8. For the first 2 months on remeron I avoided caffeine and tobacco. Then, after picking up both again, my sleep suffered, and I eventually had nights with 2-3 hours. I've since learned that caffeine and tobacco induce the enzyme CYP1A2, which metabolizes remeron, explaining this. By abstaining from both, my sleep has returned. I have also tried shaving a sliver off my 15mg pill with no luck...getting a full night without sleep. I would like to be able to drink coffee and smoke again. That leaves me with 2 options, get off the remeron (seemingly impossible) or tolerate the lack of sleep. If I do the latter, will my sleep eventually not recover even when abstinent due to repeated withdrawals? I had been planning to use coffee and cigs only sporadically, letting my sleep return before using them again, or using only on the weekends. If I that is not sustainable, then how do you recommend I get off the remeron, given my sensitivity to even a small dose decrease? My doc has suggested trazodone as a replacement, but that med interacts with my other meds and a post about it here scared me away. Thank you so much for your help.
  17. Hi. I'm new here. Here are the basics of my story. I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for 17 years for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. I decided to taper off, with the blessing of my pdoc. My depression and anxiety returned, and I had to not only increase the Zoloft to 200mg but add 1mg of Abilify (plus Konopin as needed). It's been a year and a half since the episode began and a year since starting Abilify. I'm feeling quite a bit better--I hardly ever take the Klonopin, and my pdoc said I can try doing without the Abilify. I just went 16 days at only 0.5mg of Abilify, but I'm feeling anxious and depressed again and bumped back up to 1mg. I'm so frustrated with the whole situation. I'm working hard to recover: I'm in weekly therapy, I run just about every day (3-6 miles), and I meditate almost daily. I don't want to come off the Zoloft, just the Abilify. Maybe I won't be able to, in which case I need to come to terms with that. Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated.
  18. Hi Everyone, I’m looking for advice and support. Last February I began what I thought was a slow withdrawal from zoloft. I tapered from 150mg down to 25mg in the span of 6 months. I went to 25mg on July 1st and a little over a month later I started to notice profound feelings of helplessness/despair, monumental anxiety, increased panic attacks, and this overwhelming feeling that the ground was going to open up and swallow me. To complicate matters, I’d been taking xanax to “help” with the panic/anxiety—maybe .25 or .5mg every other day. As I can tapered the zoloft, I began to notice interdose withdrawal from the xanax. On 8/24/19, I cold-turkeyed off xanax, thinking it was doing more harm than good. After a couple weeks of Hell (becoming truly paranoid, not eating, waking up with lightning bolts through my head, nightmares, and just overall terror, I upped my zoloft to 50mg. Close to hospitalization, I called my psychiatrist and he said to go to 100mg of zoloft and start klonopin. 100mg of zoloft was too much, and so I went to 75mg, where I’ve been for the past 14 days. I am taking .25 to .5mg klonopin every morning. My question is this: How long does it take to get stable? Everyday I have intense fear/anxiety and I have developed agoraphobia. The abrupt xanax cessation brought back ptsd symptoms. I’m not working right now and very isolated. I want to begin tapering again as soon as possible because I feel like both these drugs are contributing to my intense fear/anxiety. Any suggestions/ideas are more than welcome. Thank you. (Oh, and I’ve been on zoloft for... 10 years and before that luvox, prozac for shorter stints. Also on xanax & klonopin as needed for 15 years but only recently was taking xanax frequently). Thank you so much.
  19. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Oliver1974: Benzo withdrawal and backache Are there any support groups specifically dedicated to Zoloft titration and withdrawals.
  20. 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!
  21. Hi all, my story is so very long but the short story is i was on zoloft 50 mg for 15 years (only drug i was ever on). I tried multiple times to get off but would get severe discontinuation syndrome each time so i thought i just had to stay on it for life. I will go into those symptoms if you ask. Anyways about 4 years ago i developed benign fasiculations and resting tremor. It took seeing multiple docs and finally a second neurologist and he said this is common with zoloft. So i had to get off it but i was scared to death because of the severe discontinuation that i would compare to heroin withdrawal. So i was so scared i never went back to the doctor and thought maybe i can live with BFS and the tremor. But then my neurological symptoms got worse and led to parkinsons which was drug induced and dyskinesia. The facial grimacing was way more annoying than the fasiculations and it affected my blood pressure too, thats how parkinsons works, it affects the autonomic system so i had bad orthostatic hypotension and that was dibilitating but somehow i pushed through. I had many more issues, if you ask i can write about them. Anyways this time i was ready to get off zoloft so i go to the doctor and he says "wow you've been on it for 15 years" and i thought "WOW you idiot. Your office is the one who has been prescribing this to me all these years". They never once told me to make an appt if i hadnt been there in a few years, they just kept refilling it. They should require patients to have biyearly appts and check them for neurological signs and if the patient doesnt make an appt than they should not get a refill. I am very mad at my poor healthcare and management (total lack thereof) but again my story is so long i can write it if you ask. Anyways my doc said to wean off over like 2 months. That was too fast so i did it on my on and weaned off 50 mg over a 6 month period and for the first time i did not get discontinuation syndrome! I was scared to death but i did it and was shocked i did not get discontinuation. Weaning that slow is the answer. I only had some mild things like some mood swings, swollen lymph nodes which always happens when i wean off for some reason, headaches, i can go into detail if you ask. My neurological disorders are also going away. I am 20 days off zoloft and feel great and i would say my neurological issues are like 80% better and i hope to recover completely with time (i might have permanent damage). Anyways i am posting because i am very angry at the healthcare community for their lack of knowledge on how zoloft, though rare, does cause dyskinesia, BFS, and parkinsonism. Docs do not seem to know to look for these signs and put a stop to it before irreversible damage occurs which is a disability. They are too freely handing out these meds to your average person with basic stress that can actually manage without meds like seeking CBT, meditation, yoga, qigong, etc. i am one of those type of people. Patients are never checked up on on these meds. I know personally from working in gastroenterology for years that almost everyone is on anxiety or antidepressants and that to me is a crime because every single one of them are having unexplained problems with a lot of expensive negative testing and they are frustrated but no one is relaying it is the medication causing it and how imperitive it is to get off it. I am against all these meds (unless the patient has true mental disorder like bipolar or is in a stage of suicidal ideation etc). I am just very angry. For me, to address that, i want and need to raise awareness but i feel no one would believe my story because it is so rare but i think more common than we know because it is being unreported and doctors dont know enough to spot tardive dyskinesia etc so it takes years. Anyone else with a story like mine?
  22. Hi SA fam, Apologies for the length of my first post but I figure its best to cover as many bases as possible up front. I had my first panic attack while under the influence of Marijuana in 2004 a few months shy of my 21st birthday. To this day it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Even though I knew overdose wasn’t possible on marijuana, I believed at that time that I was dying. The next morning I was able to brush myself off and laugh at my stupidity figuring I would lay off the pot and all would be fine. A couple of weeks later while visiting my brother in NYC, I became hyper-aware of my heartbeat. I could feel that something was off and the anxiety began to mount. Within minutes I was in full-blown panic and on my way to the emergency room convinced I was having a heart attack. Upon being told I was experiencing a panic attack I thought “how stupid, I’m a strong person and I will never let that happen again”. The next day I took myself for a walk in central park and I could slowly feel the anxiety escalating. I was helpless. I endured panic attack after panic attack and lived in a perpetual state of extreme anxiety and disarray for weeks. My mom thought it best to take my to see a psychiatrist. They diagnosed me with panic disorder and prescribed me a combination of Lexapro and Klonopin. I found immediate yet imperfect relief from the Klonopin but was very reluctant to take an antidepressant as I had never been depressed a day in my life. I took the Klonopin dutifully twice a day. The Lexapro I took for 10 days before ditching it after reading how it caused suicidal ideations in young people.. I managed to go back to school and complete my Senior year in spite of the massive anxiety. I eventually stabilized and quickly weaned myself off of the daily Klonopin but continued to use it as needed over the course of the year. I graduated in 2005 and returned home to Miami to study for the LSAT. During the time my Panic turned into a diagnosis of GAD and it became obvious that I was not thriving and struggling to focus on my studies. I went to see the psychiatrist again who convinced me that an SSRI would curb my anxiety and be a much safer daily treatment than Klonopin. She prescribed 20 mg of Paxil and I willingly took it. The Paxil worked wonders. Within a few weeks, I was back to myself feeling better than I had felt in the entire year prior. I maintained the Paxil for 18 months without any hiccups aside from some mild yet tolerable side effects. I decided with my doctor that it was time to come off and see how I faired. I don't recall what the tapering protocol was but I believe I was fully off of Paxil over the course of a few weeks. Inevitably the anxiety came roaring back a couple of months later. I fought the best I could to stay off medication as I knew that if I relied on medication that I would never build the inner resilience I needed to truly and fully recover At the time I was in my second year of law school and my studies were suffering dramatically. I can safely say that my suffering was worse than it had ever been and I started to become depressed for the first time in my life. After 6 months of struggling and not seeing any real improvement, I was prescribed 150 mg of Zoloft. I was told that this would be a much better drug for me even though I had very few issues while on Paxil. I reluctantly agreed and slowly began taking Zoloft in 2009 getting up to the full 150 over a few weeks. The first 6 weeks were touch and go but inevitably things fell into place and I felt like my old self again. I decided it was okay to compromise true recovery for the time being if it meant getting through school. Unfortunately, I got complacent and remained on Zoloft at different doses for the last 9 years. After a few years of working very effectively, I dropped my dose from 150 to 100 and then to 50 mg without much recourse. In 2012 while dealing with some very stressful life circumstances I suffered my first panic attack in the better part of three years and had a substantial set back lasting a few months. I was told to immediately re-up my dose back to 150 from 50. I slowly stabilized and picked myself up and moved to LA to get a fresh start. After a year or so I dropped back down to 100 mg and was stable again and thriving for the better part of another three years. I went to go and see a new holistic doctor as I had some lethargy and felt that while I was feeling “well” that I wasn’t “optimal”. He ran labs and felt it in my best interest to go on testosterone replacement therapy at 33 years of age. I was naively eager to see if testosterone would make me feel like superman so I happily obliged. I took the testosterone for 5 months bringing my number up from 500 to over 1100. I didn’t feel markedly different so I decided to stop. The doc ordered me to simply stop taking the testosterone. That was not a good idea. It turns out that like most anything else, Testosterone should be weaned off slowly. In stopping treatment it takes your body a little while to start making its own testosterone again. I crashed hard and had a major panic episode that turned into another prolonged and devastating setback. My testosterone dropped from 1100 to 120 and took months to rebound. In the last 2.5 years, I very slowly stabilized once again but never back to the level of my first few years on the drug. In October of 2017, I decided that I no longer wanted to be dependent on any kind of medication and decided to wean myself off to explore more alternative forms of treatment including plant medicine and other non-pharmaceutical options. I felt that I was finally ready. In 3.5 months I consistently reduced my dose and have been psych med free since Feb 1, 2018. Weening was a non-issue. In fact, I felt better while reducing the medication than I have at almost any point in the last 2.5 years. And then the problems began… I started to feel symptoms after a week off. It started mostly as discomfort and brain fog with sensitivity to light and a feeling of pressure in my head. In the weeks following, the anxiety and depression became devastating. My main symptoms are: existential anxiety/depression, akathisia, neuro emotions, irrational and obsessive worrying, negative thinking, crying spells, feelings of unreality, brain fog, morning anxiety, lack of desire to socialize, no sex drive, digestive issues, some mild sleep issues, and what I can only describe as a feeling of my brain being intermittently squeezed. Im sure there are more. I am constantly debating internally if I am really experiencing withdrawal or just having a massive relapse. Maybe this is just who I am now? Im almost 5 months med free and have seen some progression as I have some days that are okay but for the most part, I'm living in what I can only describe as the twilight zone. My whole perception of reality feels completely warped and it only further exacerbates my sensitized nervous symptoms. I am grateful in that I have an amazing support system of family and friends. Unfortunately, my long-term girlfriend and I separated a month ago which has certainly added an extra layer of stress. Luckily I work for myself and have passive income so I can take as much time as needed to focus on recovery. In the last 5 months, I have experimented with a ton of different supplements and neurofeedback. Neither has been particularly helpful but I am still toying with the neurofeedback. I should note that I also stopped taking Propecia last week after nearly 18 years of use. I constantly debate reinstatement or simply just starting a new med due to constant worry that this is somehow permanent or completely unrelated to Zoloft. In my moments of clarity, I am resolute in my decision to stay off meds and have the belief that I will find my way through this in due time. Those moments, however, are fleeting. Thanks in advance if you’ve made it this far. I'm looking forward to getting to know many of you and hopefully posting a success story in the not too distant future!
  23. 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.
  24. Dear withdrawees ... I hope i find you all well... Or at least amidst a window rather than a wave . I've been scouring SA for some time now, picking up whatever bits of helpful and positive information i can about this horrific ordeal. I now feel its time to introduce myself and my history on AD's to the community with the hope of being provided with additional support and a view helping others in the future when this experience is more of a bad memory rather than a living hell . I have been taking Sertraline on and off for the last 6 years since 2013 after a series of horrific circumstances happened one after another. Despite the drugs having good effect, I've always been uncomfortable with masking what are obviously important emotions using a daily consumption of a drug. This has led me to unwittingly withdraw multiple times across the 6 year period which lead me to believe i was confined to a life of drug taking, this was until June this year when I first found SA and became aware of SSRI withdrawal . Of course I was left somewhat shocked but not surprised after feeling neglected previously on multiple occasions by the medical sector. Despite that though i found a new sense of hope knowing that a life beyond drugs was not only possible, but likely. Recent Drug History OCT 2016 - I quit Sertraline 50 mg CT after a family bereavement had turned my life upside down .. as a result it felt the drug was totally ineffective. MAY 2017- After what had been an appalling 6 months (which i thought was horrific grief but now realise it is likely withdrawal is the more likely culprit) I reinstated Sertraline at 50 mg before raising the dose to 100 mg due to not feeling any effect (again this is something that makes sense now). In time i had started to feel normal again and presumed it was because I had worked my way through my prolonged grief. FEB 2019 - Life was now back on track and decided it was time to try and rid myself of the shameful daily pill pop that is AD's. I quit Sertraline Via a fast taper... but may aswell have been a CT. JUN 2019 - I found SA . .. realised i was withdrawing .. and had inadvertently made multiple mistakes along the way. NOV 2019 - I'm roughly 8-9 months into withdrawal & STRUGGLING MY SYMPTOMS: A thick brain fog Anxiety an inability to feel emotions / make connections with people Loss of communication skills & wit muscle weakness Fatigue As I've said previously.... i am currently at the 9 month mark and I'm coping okay (I Think🤔 ) when i compare my battles to that of others.. but i am beginning to really struggle with the isolation that seems to be a natural part of the process. I have always naturally been an extroverted person who loves talking to people and being at the centre of attention although currently this couldn't be further from the truth and is taking a huge toll on my daily life. Every time I am confronted with some form of social situation my brain draws a blank. Its as if the lights are on but nobody's home. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHARM AND CHARISMA? I wanted to ask for advice from anyone whose been in a similar situation: What can i do right here and now to aid myself when dealing with these symptoms? If you've surpassed the 9 month point of withdrawal with these symptoms still rearing their ugly head, at what stage did you notice a marked improvement? Has anyone any advice on how to work towards improving other areas of my life, such as love or working life and learning new skills whilst withdrawing? If you've made it this far thanks for reading and i look forward to any replies? Cheers
  25. Spring 2014: Effexor ? mg for 2 months then cold turkey (didnt know better at the time). Originally put on this for depression after a break up. Fall 2014: Dizziness, extreme memory issues, pins and needles in hands and feet. Occasional adderall use. Working 2 jobs to pay for engineering school. Health anxiety started when doctors couldn't find cause of symptoms. Tried samE, 5htp. Winter 2014-2015: tried molly with a friend. Ended up in the ER. Months that passed included many ER visits and eventually klonopin (? mg) Spring 2015: after researching benzo dangers wanted off. Tried to taper. Horrid withdrawal. Switched to diazepam 6mg. Dog/best friend died of cancer. Started celexa 10 mg. Rest of 2015: Moved back in with mom, slowly tapered diazepam, stopped daily on new years 2016. Winter-Spring 2016: back in school. Stopped celexa 10mg in January. Pins and needles and depression in February. Started on wellbutrin 150mg. Increased anxiety but allowed me to finish school. Graduated. Stopped wellbutrin after graduation. Summer 2016: quit job too much stress while going through what I now know to be withdrawal. Drove for ride share service when feeling well enough. Felt like living with chronic fatigue syndrome. No doctors could find cause. Fall 2016: started back on celexa 15mg after rock bottom depression. Eventually wellbutrin added back at 75mg. Moved to a new state. PM panic attacks started after going back on celexa. Started full time engineering job. Winter 2016 - Winter 2018: wellbutrin gradually increased to 300mg. Started celexa taper. 15 down to 10mg. Increase in depression but tolerable. Spring 2019: tapered celexa down to 5mg. Extremely depressed. Affected relationship. Found a psychiatrist who wanted to switch me to zoloft. Relationship break up the week of starting zoloft. Zoloft lifted depression at first. Summer 2019: got back together with boyfriend. zoloft increased to 50 then 75 then 100. Horrible reaction to 100mg. Worst anxiety of my life. Stopped cold turkey. Back on 2.5mg celexa. Dr Then tried liquid zoloft increase from 0 by 1mg every few days to cross taper with celexa. Able to stop wellbutrin easily. Also had tooth extraction during all of this (infected root canal). Fall 2019: up to 8mg zoloft 1mg celexa. Horrible anxiety. Stopped zoloft cold turkey after getting suicidal thoughts from severe anxiety. Current: trying to find a celexa dose to stabilize on. Trying 2.5 mg. Anxiety and fatigue battles daily. going to write more soon. Just wanted a quick recap to start.
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