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  1. 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.
  2. I hope this post is not too long, but I have been through the pharmaceutical wringer and I'm not being heard, believed or helped by my doctors: 2 years ago around May 2016, I had my first panic attack. ER doc rx'd Ativan .5mg 3x a day. Never said a word about dependence. After 3 weeks the script ran out and so I just stopped, and of course, all hell broke loose. Went to my PCP who dx'd me with anxiety and rx'd xanax and Effexor. After 1 night of throwing up, I stopped the Effexor. What I didn't know at the time was that the dose of xanax he prescribed was HALF the equivalent of the ativan I had been taking. He obviously knew nothing about dosage equivalencies. I could not understand why I was so very sick. I found a Pdoc who I thought was very understanding and said she could help me. She switched me to Klonopin and rx'd 25mg Zoloft, and upped the dosage to 50 mg after two weeks. After stabilizing on a whopping 3mg Klonopin, I started to cut, taking 50 mg Zoloft all the while. All during this time I was very weak and shaky, which I attributed to the benzo, but now I'm not so sure. I finished my benzo taper in Nov of last year, and really suffered very little, if any, acute, but still felt a little shaky. I then decided to come off the zoloft, as the Pdoc stated it was "very gentle" and I could just quit. Being gun shy after the benzo fiasco, I did do a short taper and came off with no issues in January of this year. Shortly after that, my leg shakiness and hand tremor went away, but I still did not connect them to Zoloft, because all the emphasis was on benzo withdrawal and how "gentle" zoloft was. In May of this year, it was clear that my mother, who had been very, very sick for very, very long, was dying. By this time, I had a new PCP and no Pdoc. Since I was extremely stressed and grieving, my PCP suggested I go back on zoloft, and I didn't see why not, so I restarted 50 mg. Immediately, I had weakness and tremor again. In August 2018, two months after my Mom died, I decided to come off the Zoloft. Still believing it was a benign drug, I once again did a fast taper of about 3 weeks. I felt fantastic off of it - no more weakness or tremor, TONS more energy - until 31 days later when it all came back full force. The trembling, weakness, and anxiety just all of a sudden came back. Finally, the penny dropped for me, and I found this site and realized it was withdrawal. I went back to my old Pdoc who laughed in my face and said withdrawal is impossible after 1 month. She told me to face the fact that I needed to be medicated and gave me the smallest dose of Lexapro. I took it for a week, but was feeling progressively worse, and I knew I didn't want her to treat me anymore. I went to my PCP and told her the whole story. She does believe me and is trying to help, but I think she's out of ideas. She did give me a DNA test for drug sensitivities, which shows me to be a slow metabolizer of most SSRIs and SNRIs, and an "intermediate" metabolizer of one SSRI, Prozac. For lack of a better answer, she put me back on 25 mg of Zoloft to attempt stabilization, but its been 3 weeks and I just keep getting worse. I now have insomnia, very high chemical anxiety, muscle twitches, no appetite, cold feet, temp changes, diarrhea and morning cortisol spikes along with the weakness and tremor. I am effectively bedridden. As of today, I have upped my dose to 37.5, but knowing that I retain high concentrations of zoloft for longer than normal, I worry about serotonin syndrome. My PCP wants to switch me to Buspirone, since my DNA test indicates I would tolerate that well, but she wants me to find a Pdoc to help with the switch, so here we go again!! I just want to stablize on something so that I can function, and then down the road a couple or few months, start the long taper that should be done. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I'm really struggling. Thanks for reading this long post.
  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. 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
  5. 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.
  6. I was on Celexa 20 mg. for 10 months in 2015 for generalized anxiety disorder and mild/moderate depression, which hit me suddenly at age 65. Felt good enough to taper off over 32 weeks with no withdrawal problems, but 6 months after last dose, symptoms of anxiety and depression were back with a vengeance. Started Zoloft 25 mg in 2017 (probably should have gone back to Celexa). Increased dose to 50 mg within 4 months. Didn't like the way it was/wasn't working and didn't want to increase the dose. I'm really fearful of what these drugs can do. Tapered down to 12.5 mg over 19 months by 3.125 mg increments. Felt good until I hit 12.5 mg, then felt terrible and had to go back to 25 mg in August, 2019. Admittedly, I wasn't consistent in the tapering intervals. Some were 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 weeks, etc. depending on how I felt at each dose. I have been with a CBT therapist since 2017 which has really helped. Anxiety practically gone, depression is mild, but not like before. I really want to be off the Zoloft. Haven't slept well in 4 years and worry about what it's doing to my sleep patterns and who knows what else. I take supplements to help - phosphatidylserine, magnesium, omega fish oil. So.....I am now tapering again. Went from 25 mg to 21.875 over 10 weeks (decrease of 3.125 mg because that's the easiest way to cut my pills into quarters and eighths.) Just reduced again to 18.75 on April 14 and plan to stay there for 10 weeks. (My theory is it can take 4-12 weeks for an INCREASE in the dose to start working, so the reverse could also be true.) I think I'm sensitive to small changes in the doses. My question is - is 3.125 mg too large of a taper? I can slice my pills smaller with a scalpel if need be. Looking for advice about how to make this taper work so I can be successful this time. Any recommendations for doses and time line would be helpful. I don't care how long it takes, although at age 71, I don't want to take forever! Thanks so much!
  7. David182

    David182: hello all

    Hello everyone, I’d like to start off by saying thank you. The people of this forum have inspired much hope and understanding in the ways of antidepressant medication. I am grateful. I’ve been on Zoloft since the spring of 2015. Things had been going wonderfully well. I felt like myself but disconnected/ unplugged just enough to cope far better. Better mood, alertness and mental focus were a nice change of pace. Around the end of May 2017 I’d been taking BCAAs for working out for around 2 months. One Sunday, after lifting weights and mowing the yard I took a nap and woke up feeling off. I had low blood sugar issues for about a day, I couldn’t handle warm temperatures, couldn’t sleep well, and suffered hot flashes for the next few days. For a while I though I was sick. I took an lorazepam one evening (3 days later) and an extra zoloft because of horrible anxiety. I countinued to take my now double dose with my doctor’s permission. The next 6 weeks were h*ll. I had no idea Zoloft could do such things since I had no negative effects when I started. I could write a novel (as I’m sure we all could) but I’ll try and hit the main points. About week 6 I stabilized. I hadn’t found this site yet so many mistakes were made. i only stayed at 100mg for a week or so before I jumped to 75mg (I felt too apathetic about things, needed to lower). By this point I realized it was the Zoloft causing my problems. The next few weeks were quite uncomfortable but things went really bad when working out on the 3rd week caused me to crash...hard!! I switched doctors as I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with my other one. My new P.A diagnosed me with serotonin syndrome (a short 3 day stint of trazadone while doubling my dose no doubt contributed, different doctor) she dropped me from 75mg to 25mg of Zoloft. I felt so much better and for the next two weeks got to the point of feeling amazing. Then week three came and some light cardio pushed me over the edge and I crashed again. I also noticed I would have horrible low blood sugar issues for a day or two after crashing. after a week of misery. I bumped my dose to 50mg (I found this site by then). I felt immediate improvement. I began to heal but also began feeing strong sensations of numbness/ pins and needles in my hands and feet, weakness also. I am currently 7 weeks at 50mg. I’ve been struggling with tight & weak calves / ankles since, sporadic internal tremors and fatigue. Had back spasms for a bit about a week ago but not since. I’ve begun to sleep better in the past few weeks (7 hours on a good night but not consistently). I typically wake up around 5-6 hours after falling asleep but I don’t NEED medicine to help me fall asleep anymore (a few months of needing it). I would rather keep this short but I want you all to know my history. I saw a psychiatrist tonight at the recommendation of my PA (she was surprised when my reinstatement actually helped, she was convinced I hadn’t dropped too low too fast. She is a wonderful PA and God worked through her, saved my life when I had serotonin syndrome.) The psychiatrist on the other hand... I have mixed feelings. I flat out refused any other medication. She believes my first incident was serotonin syndrome. Maybe so? BCCA actually inhibit triptophan uptake but then again my workout protein powder did have triptophan in it (I have quit taking all workout supplements months ago). The psychiatrist also thinks I’m suffering from serotonin syndrome now. (Currently weakness in legs, pins and needles in hands and feet, stiff feeling calves and maybe hands, hands and feet more susceptible to being cold) what do do you all think? Do I continue to continue to tough it out at 50mg? Is this a sign my body is too sensitized for this dose? (I was at 25mg for one month before reinstating to 50mg) I will work on my signature as soon as I figure out how to do it. Thank you for your time. I trust you all more than the medical “professionals”
  8. 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.
  9. Dear all, I took Sertraline 50 (French name for Zoloft). for only a month and I have developped PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder) following a too fast withdrawal. I read the story of some of your members who had PGAD when they withdrew from an antidepressant and their stories looked like mine and gave me hope and I hope they can confort me and assist me because I am in a very dark place. I read the stories of Hopefull anf Broken. Are they still on the forum ? How are they doing ? Until December 2016, I had never taken any antidepressant or a benzo in my entire life. I was leading an happy life with my husband and son in the West of France. We had a chemical accident in december. I mixed 2 products while cleaning my house, bleach and a cleaning product with acid and stupidly burnt my lungs and got a toxic choc on the 27th of december. My doctor thought I was anxious afer the accident and put me on Xanax 0.25, half a pill at night. I took it for a month in January 2017 and was sent to a psychiatrist who put me on Lisanxia 10, a pill a day. I felt suicidal because i didnt understand I was suffering from the Xanax withdrawal the doctors kept changing the pill without any tappering, I stayed on Lysanxia 10, a pill a day the whole February , then another psychiatrist decided to put me on Bromazepan 6 (4 quarter a day). I stayed on Bromazepan the entire March and he put me back on Xanax, all of that cold turkey. And that how I met my worse nightmare, the Sertraline AD: I was feeling very agitated on benzos, my lungs and entire skin were burning and everybody told me it was in my head. I didn't agree so I was hospitalised againt my wish in a psychiatrist hospital. There, they made me stop my Xanax 0.25 cold turkey and put me on Sertraline 50. This happened on Easter monday 2017 (April 17 th). After 2 weeks, I was sent home and started feeling very ill, I had tremors, agitation, fatigue, shakes, flu like symptoms and suicidal thoughts. I went to see a GP who told me I could drop the Sertraline to 25 because I had only been on it for 2 weeks and I could slowly stop it. I went on the 25 pill and then I started having violent withdrawal side effects (I don't know which ones came from Xanax or from Sertraline) : My symptoms : Sensitivity to light and smells, burning skin, hyperacusis, agitation, akathisia, tinnitus and when I thought it couldn't get worse, I started peeing every 10 minutes, got a hyperactive bladder, terrible pains in my genitalias, bladder and pelvic area and the worse of it permanent arousal. Since I have kept the tinnitus in my left ear, the akatisia and PGAD. I was sent to another mental hospital at the beginning of June because I thought they could help me with PGAD. They put me on Risperidone for a week while they made me stop the Sertraline very fast (they made me take it every 2 days for a week then they replaced it with Anafranil 25 that I kept for a week. My tinnitus got worse and my PGAD stayed the same. I was getting sicker and sicker so the psychiatrist stopped the Anafranil and the Risperidone and I was put back on Xanax. I am now back at home, my PGAD symptoms are terrible and I am considered manic and hypocondriac. My doctor wants to put me back in a mental hospital. I can't look after my family and Iam in a very dark place with suicidal thoughts My 3 main withdrawal symptoms : high pitched tinnitus, agitation and PGAD. Pins and needles in my lower back, legs and arms when the PGAD crisis start. . MY PGAD symptoms : Overactive bladder, ongoing arousal sensations in and around the genitals, having to go to the toilets every 10 minutes, pelvic pains, Pins and needle, shaking. It is atrocious and it makes me suicidal. I take 3 Xanax 0.25 a day and a Zopiclone 7 to sleep. I cannot sit because the symptoms get worse and I can barely walk because my bladder hurts. I spend my days crying on my bed with an ice pack on my lower parts. At night I cannot sleep well because of the tinnitus. I went to see an urologist, I had a cystoscopy done and they told me it is not an interstitial cysticis and gave me Lyrica (I am scared of taking it because I fear it will make my tinnitus worse). Nobody knows this symptom in France and people think i am crazy. Thank you for reading my story. Please can you reassure me ? I am terrified and I am suffering greatly. Would it go away ? Is it a withdrawal symptom ? Thank you so much for having this site on the internet. It gave me a lot of confort. Cathyfrench (I am french so I hope my English is not too bad, my apologies for my grammatical errors)
  10. I have been off Sertraline for over four months now, after having been on it for about 3 and half years. Previous 4 years or so I had been on other medications. Is diffcult to comprehend and explain in words all that is going on, but my whole psyche has been completely overturned in these years, and I do not know to what extent the various medications have caused me this. I suffer from the severest OCD,and anxiety, and now I think depression, and sheer terror at all my subsconscious thoughts which have completely taken over my whole mind. I have been imprisoned and castigated in my own mind. It is beyond explanation what is occuring on a millisecond basis. I seem to have entered some moral vortex, whereby I feel as if I am always doing wrong. Constantly confronted with "Heaven and Hell". Constantly feeling compelled to undo things, which for example I have written like here. Damned if I do or if I don't , this doesnt explain 1% of what is going on. It has brought into the fore the reason for everything and existence. I really have no idea what is going on, terrifies me the idea that no-one can have any idea of what is going on in my head. Yet on the other hand everybody is in my head, I don't know who is in my head and who isn't. Everything I say in my head is being judged. I will not go any further for now as I am terrified of writing, and also it may not be entirely pertinent to the subject. Unfortunately it only comforts me to a certain extent to know that others are experiencing their own hell, and I feel guilty in turn for the fact "that others suffering should comfort me', as I have entered some abstract Universe which seems to have its own laws. the ridiculous thing is that in the end what seems "right and wrong" seems to be determined by feeling and not some sort of formula, and I feel guilty in turn for thinking that, and also "convinced" on the one hand that it should be formulated and on the other "know" that it isn't. One of the main reasons for writing this post was the guilt and fear of punishment, or fear of damning others, especially close ones for benefitting from reading others stories and not contributing my own. To clarify alot of this stuf was going on when I was still on the Sertraline, and perhaps, in a different way when I was on other medication, difference now is that I am that so much more fragile.
  11. Hi, all. Thank you so much for providing this site. I’ve been inspired by the stories here, and look forward to my own recovery and hope to help others as I can along the way. It’s been a hellish year… I have a rather long story – 99% of which takes place within the last year – so please bear with me. I’ll write this out in a timeline for organization’s sake. In essence, I have a history of anxiety and depression, and have OCD. I have been suffering from severe postpartum anxiety (PPA) and depression (PPD) since delivering my son in May 2018 – exacerbated by a move out East so I could start my PhD, the decline and death of my dog, dealing with childhood trauma, etc. I was on Prozac and Xanax as needed before I was pregnant and went off without any problems while we were trying to conceive. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Here we go… 1999ish – 2005 (6th grade – high school) (Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin) I was diagnosed with severe academic perfectionism and OCD and put on (I think) Zoloft first (not sure of dosage). In the years that followed, I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, all in various combinations. I don’t remember timing or dosages. I don’t remember having a hard time coming on or off any of the meds. I was chronically ill in high school, though, with fatigue, mono, sinusitis, shingles (to be fair, I had immunological issues before going on meds, too, and a complicated family situation). I took the year after high school off to recover, went off all meds. All I remember is feeling tired and my sleep being on a weird schedule. 2005 – 2009 (no meds) I started taking some community college classes, started volunteering, and then working full-time. Started paying more attention to my diet (went off gluten and most dairy after I realized it made me feel better). Was doing very, very well. Summer 2009 – Summer 2017 (40 mg Prozac daily, ? Xanax PRN rarely taken; occasional supplements - multi vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics) Started on 40mg Prozac (slow taper to START it), as a ‘preventative’ measure against OCD and perfectionism (I know… probably wasn’t necessary, but I can’t prove a negative) as I was about to start at a university in the fall of 2009; I was pushed by family (also on psych meds) to start. I think it helped somewhat but it’s hard to know. Eventually, I had an Rx of Xanax, which I took maybe 5-10x/year as needed. I did well in college, though, started a great career, went to the UK on scholarship to do my Master’s and then decided to QUICKLY taper off the Prozac when my husband and I (we married in 2014) decided to conceive. I don’t remember having any issues coming off the Prozac. I was on it fairly consistently for 8 years. Summer 2017 – May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Pregnant, more depressed than usual, especially after moving back home from the UK and being unsure of what was next. Still, did the damn GRE, applied to PhD programs, got into a great program out East, started setting up our life out there. Obsessive compulsive symptoms were worse than usual but not unmanageable. Late May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Delivered my son. Epidural, long labor. Started breastfeeding. Early June 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Had a week of awful insomnia and anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but it went away. Early June – Mid-July (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Doing okay, just exhausted and depressed (I was breastfeeding around the clock). One week in mid-July 2018 (? Xanax, one-time dosage ~6mg Zoloft, and one-time dosage 2mg Ativan, one-time dosage ? Klonopin in hospital; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Then, at around 7 postpartum weeks - BAM - I was hit with a week of NO SLEEP. I just couldn't sleep and I lost my appetite. I had been given an Rx for Zoloft by my OBGyn and took a very small amount that Friday (I wanted to ease in). That night, all my symptoms were much worse – and I also felt this severe restlessness in my limbs. It was AWFUL. I even tried Xanax to calm me down (I gave to my son pumped breastmilk). My anxiety was so bad that I went to the ER that Sunday. They drew blood and it turned out that my blood sodium was dangerously low (126) - possibly due to not eating enough and drinking too much water. They gave me Ativan (2 mg – which was A LOT for my system), some Klonopin, too, eventually, and fluids overnight and I felt MUCH better the next day. I was given Ativan and Remeron as needed but didn't need to take it for a few weeks. Mid-July to Late Aug 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) I was fine for a few weeks, and then my family and I moved out East, where I was attending grad school (I’m now on medical leave). The anxiety and insomnia came back around the move in August. I took Ativan (0.5 – 1 mg) as needed each day and had some rebound anxiety but was able to get through until setting up care there. I was assigned an interim psychiatrist (before being placed with a regular one), who Rxed me 0.5 Ativan to take at night to sleep for 10 days. This worked for sleep, but not the overall anxiety and depression. Due to breastfeeding concerns, they switched me to Trazodone (25-50 mg), which worked ok for sleep. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep on my own for a couple/few nights. That would be the last time I could do that to-date. Late Aug to Late Sept 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily, 1-5mg Prozac, 25-50 mg Trazodone; supplements: postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, probiotics?) I started seeing a regular psychiatrist in early September, and we agreed I should go back on the Prozac with 1 mg Ativan/day as needed. We started sloooow on the Prozac - 1mg, then 2, then 5. By week 3, I had lost my appetite completely, and my anxiety was through the roof - just on 5mg (I was on 40 before becoming pregnant, so I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so terribly). The Trazodone was no longer helping me sleep, and was giving me terrible dry mouth. My limbs felt like they were vibrating. My psydoc FINALLY directed me to go off the Prozac and Ativan, and Rxed me just Klonopin 0.75mg/day. In addition to the psychiatrist, I saw a primary care doc, who checked my thyroid, adrenal glands (several tests there), vitamin levels, and other things - all normal. My blood sodium has still been a little low, but they believe it's due to not eating enough. Oct 2018 (Klonopin 0.25 – 0.75mg/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) My appetite returned but it was never the same. I was sleeping better, but not well – maybe 6 hours at most, sometimes waking in a panic. I could only take one class. I was very depressed and frustrated, and deeply confused as to why I wasn’t responding to medications. But I felt BETTER than when I was on the Prozac, and was able to feel like I could sleep on my own again, and on just 0.25mg Klonopin/day – but the plan was to let me ‘settle’ and then try a new AD, sooo… Nov 2-4 2018 (25mg Anafranil at night, 0.25-0.5mg Klonopin/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) The psydoc suggested Anafranil, a TCA. The day I started it, we put my dog down and I stopped breastfeeding (I had been tapering on that for months). It wasn’t a great time to start something. But I did. I took it the night of the 2nd, fell asleep instantly, then woke up feeling SO GOD AWFUL about 3 hours later. I had a tremor, I vomited, I couldn’t eat. My husband had to hold me while I shook in bed. I called the psydoc and she told me to keep taking it, sounding annoyed with me. So I pushed through for three days – but that was all I could do. Until then, that was the worst I have ever felt. Nothing could calm me down. Things start heating up here, so I’ll spare some details and focus more on the med changes… Nov 5-8 2018 I barely remember these days. Sleep was poor, I felt awful. Then on a Thursday night, I was up all night with panic attacks. I called my therapist and made the decision to go into the psych hospital. Nov 9 – 15 2018 (In hospital, put on 0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day and worked up to 100 mg Seroquel at night) I didn’t start sleeping until I was put on a combination of Seroquel and Klonopin. BUT, I remember this creeping feeling of “buzziness” and restlessness when I woke up everyday. That feeling would continue to get worse over the coming weeks and stay with me to the present. Nov 15 – Early Dec 2018 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day → 0.25mg Klonopin 2x/day; 100mg Seroquel at night; some supplements – don’t remember) I left the hospital taking 100mg Seroquel at night and 0.5 mg klonopin 2x/day. I officially went on medical leave from grad school. I stuck with this doseage for 2ish weeks, was sleeping well but feeling horribly depressed and anxious, then started to quickly taper the Klonopin. I don’t remember how quickly – but I wasn’t taking anymore than 0.5mg/day by early December. I then tapered on the Seroquel after feeling SO much worse when an IOP psydoc tried bumping the dose to 125mg; I remember not being able to sit still – going outside to pace. No tremor – just pacing, fidgeting, and losing a lot of weight. Early December 2018 – Early Jan 2019 (1mg Ativan at night, 2.5mg Zyprexa at night, 25-100mg Lamictal; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) I made the decision to move back home to do a program specialized in PPD (we ended by moving back entirely later that winter). In the program, I was put on 0.5-1mg Ativan at night, 2.5 mg Zyprexa at night (for sleep – though it never helped), and titrated up to 100mg Lamictal (the psydoc suspected a bipolar spectrum diagnosis). I was still incredibly restless, unable to sit down and just enjoy a movie. And my sleep was growing worse and worse. It was awful – then my mood grew worse and worse as we went up on the Lamictal; I also had increasingly bad tinnitus and TMJ. I was hospitalized as my thinking became suicidal – just ideations, but I was ready to go back in… Early to Mid-Jan 2019 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day, 5mg Paxil/day, 50mg Benadryl at night; 0.25-1mg Risperidone 1-2x/day; some supplements?; THEN back to 150mg Seroquel) In the hospital, I was taken off the Lamictal and put on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep), and Risperidone 0.25mg once or twice a day (I don’t remember). I became increasingly orthostatic (low BP, high HR). I stabilized mood-wise – sorta – and left the hospital feeling off, but better… Within days, though, we tried increasing the Risperidone, and my HR went up to 140 (I think we tried 1 mg). I wasn’t sleeping AT ALL. I was taken off the Risperidone, stayed on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep). Eventually, as my sleep diminished, the PPD IOP doc put me back on Seroquel (I has actually asked to go back on) – but suggested as much as 150mg. After that, my mood really shifted and became erratic; I was really upset and angry at my husband and suicidal ideation returned. So it was suggested I go back in the hospital... Late Jan to Mid-Feb 2019: 3-week hospital stay (see below for crazy med changes) All the docs agreed I didn’t need to be in there this long (everyone kept asking why I was still there), but there I was so they could keep throwing stuff at me to see if something stuck. I was holding out hope SOMETHING would work this time...: First week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Seroquel at night, 300mg XR lithium 2x/day (HORRIBLE stomach reaction, especially when the doc abruptly pulled the Seroquel) Second week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, some amount of Depakote (I don’t remember – wasn’t improving, irritable), tried PRNs of 12.5mg Seroquel and became really depressed Third week: 1 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 1200mg gabapentin (taken as 300mg twice during the day, and 600mg at night). That’s how I left the hospital. Mid-Feb to Early-March 2019: (0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 300mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 600mg at night, brief re-trial of lithium – 150mg; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics?) Instantly went down to 0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day (fear of dependence). New trauma-based IOP. Was very constipated. Tried low-dose lithium (150mg) as lithium seemed to be the only med to be helping to-date (along with benzos); was improving somewhat mood-wise, but the stomach issues were SO bad, so we went off. After going off lithium, my restlessness SKYROCKETED, and was particularly bad for 10 days. My stomach was AWFUL; I was taking antacids all the time; seemed to be worse after taking gabapentin, so the new IOP doc cut THAT dosage in half. Developed a tremor. The new IOP psydoc diagnosed me with akathisia – FINALLY. I had NEVER heard of that before (although, in retrospect, I think it has been mentioned to me in the hospital as a possible side-effect of the antipsychotics – but I remember them saying “you can get this, but I don’t see that in you, so…” and so I ignored it (dumb)). When I read about it, I felt so frustrated; this had, no doubt, been plaguing me since at least the one-time Zoloft attempt in July - and in particular since the first Seroquel doseage in November. Doc suggested I reduce my Seroquel from 50 to 25mg; I couldn’t do that for a couple of weeks. Early to Mid-March (→0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, brief re-trial of Depakote – don’t remember dosage; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Continue reducing my Klonopin down to 0.25mg during the day and 0.5mg at night. We tried XR Depakote as a Hail Mary in the med department. It seemed to help a bit, but also increased some of the restlessness. At this point – and this should have come sooner for me – I was done – just DONE– with med changes. My body needed a break. I haven’t added or taken away and particular meds since (with one exception - the propranolol, see below) – though I have reduced the dosages… Early April (0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, up to 70mg propranolol throughout the day; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Was diagnosed with thyroiditis (my thyroid had been normal as recently as January) – a relatively common thing postpartum, but it was ‘late’ to arrive to be postpartum thyroiditis, so doctors suspected the lithium. B/c I was hyperthyroid first (usually follows a pattern of a few months in 'hyper'/overactive mode, followed by anywhere from 3 to 18 (or more) months underactive. I was put on propranolol (taking as much as 70mg throughout the day). That seemed to help the tremor, heart palpitations, and restlessness maybe 50-75% of the time. But it crashed my BP. Early-April to Present (see below) We’ve moved into a new, stable house (both good and really stressful). As of early June, I am off the Seroquel. I tapered from 25 to 0mg by reducing by about 6.25mg every two weeks or so. I tried re-starting it to do an every-other-day ending taper, and felt instantly WORSE, so I am done. But it was probably too quick a taper. I NEVER want to take another antipsychotic again, though; I can point to the beginning of the worst parts of this whole cluster to starting Seroquel, and the akathisia that ensues and continues. I reduced the daytime Klonopin to 0 (though I’ve had to take a 0.0625mg to 0.125mg PRN three times in June as things have grown worse). I still take 0.5mg Klonopin at night. In June, I also went off the propranolol – too quickly – and have been having heart palpitations, and have been orthostatic. My BP was just getting to be so, so low. Now, taking any amount of it seems to make me more agitated/restless or, at best, woozy. In June, I also got ambitious and reduced the gabapentin from taking 400 mg during the day (200mg 2x/day) to 0 at the end of June, mostly b/c I thought it was making me feel worse; I’m not sure on this STILL (or if it ever did much of anything). I still take 300mg at night with 0.5 mg Klonopin. May was my best month - not great (I was still constantly restless, struggled with my appetite, and was really disoriented and depressed), but it felt more manageable. I should have done a slower taper on all things when I felt more stable, then – but here I am. June started out okay but, after going off the Seroquel and trying a glass of wine again (out with a friend), it’s been awful; the akathisia is back in full swing. NOW I seem to have reached this point where my body won’t tolerate much of anything again – as if it’s saying “if you’re done with one, then you’re going to be done with them ALL.” I’ve also noticed that the first half of my menstrual cycle is FAR AND AWAY WORSE than the latter half – and am trying to explore ways to (as naturally as possible) balance my hormones. I tried bioidentical progesterone cream that an integrative MD Rxed and it helped somewhat, but caused cramping and spotting and an upset stomach – no go. Currently Taking 0 – 200mg gabapentin during the day; 300mg gabapentin at night 0.5mg Klonopin at night 5mg melatonin (+10mg B6 – combo pill) at night Fish oil (1400mg EPA + 480 DHA) in morning and afternoon 1500mg primrose oil morning and afternoon 200-400mg magnesium glycinate at night, and magnesium oxide throughout day 2000mg vitamin D afternoon Cal+Mag+Potassium supplement afternoon 2 kinds of probiotics morning Multivitamin morning What Makes Things Worse Alcohol; I haven’t been able to tolerate this since sometime early spring – makes me SUPER anxious. Any antihistamine; it used to help me sleep but something in the last 2-4 months has changed my brain so I now feel WORSE the next morning. Some vitamins (I say that b/c I sometimes feel more buzzy after taking a multivitamin; on the other hand, sometimes I feel better) Caffeine (not that I’ve tested this too much; the most I ever drink is a cup of green tea, and I haven’t been able to do that in weeks) Antacids (found that out the hard way) What Helps Epsom salt baths Sweating Crying (when I am able to) Walking (especially in sunshine) Melatonin (at night – for sleep) Klonopin (but I am trying not to go over 0.5mg/day – mostly at night; and want to taper off) Massage Stretching Kombucha (not too much, though b/c caffeine) Apple cider vinegar + lemon water (ahead of meals and when I have an upset stomach – at east once/day) Eating enough (really tough to do right now) Not Sure if it Helps (tried/trying it) Acupuncture (doing this for a few months now) Therapy – CBT, talk Gabapentin (want to taper off anyway) Primrose oil Multivitamin Fish oil Magnesium Calcium CBD oil What I Need Help With I’m here b/c I need to feel like I’m not crazy when the psydoc says this isn’t still akathisia. I KNOW it is – I KNOW it’s protracted withdrawal and the effect of such a brain-altering year. I know this b/c, even in my most anxious moments pre-postpartum medications, I never felt this protracted insatiable restlessness and dread. I was a champ at sleeping (though a night owl). And my appetite was always solid (too much so, at times). This is DIFFERENT. I also want to get off the gabapentin and the Klonopin – but do so in a smart way. I’m not sure the gabapentin is a net evil right now and shouldn’t be taken off altogether? And is the gabapentin the best thing to drop first? And I need help managing the akathisia. I've read some tips here, and will explore those. Any help on the hormone piece would be invaluable. There is something there. I feel the effects of akathisia/withdrawal/autonomic disregulation far more at the start of my cycle. And this whole postpartum period has been inherently hormonally disregulating (compounded by meds like Depakote, which altered my cycle). Anyone else? Anything help? I plan to keep a more focused journal as this site recommends and track my symptoms alongside food, supplement, and med changes. Of course, what sucks THE MOST is the lost time and what's been taken - from the joy of being a new mother, to what was supposed to be a fulfilling career move in pursuing my PhD (I might have to give up my place now b/c I'm so disabled), to feeling defective for not responding to the 'right treatments.' The worst year of your life should not also be the first year of motherhood. To those of you that read this monster of a post – or event 10% - THANK YOU.
  12. Hi all. Found this site a few months ago. I am beginning to attempt getting off ADs and Benzo. I have been taking antidepressants for 17 years. I am 44. I do not work outside the home. My goal is to incorporate healthy activities (suggestions please) to help lessen the withdrawal symptoms. I am realistic about the amount of time it will take and hope everyone here can be a support system. I am married. Hubby is supportive, but doesn't really understand what is going with my body. I have really bad health anxiety currently. I was diagnosed with bipolar about 5 years ago and was put on lamictal 200mg. Wellbutrin was added shortly after. I tapered of Zoloft over about 18 months. I had my first anxiety attack exactly 2 weeks after the last dose. So we decided to stay in 25 mg. which held off the anxiety attacks since then. About 8 months ago I started having increased anxiety along with some peri menopausal symptoms. Then the health anxiety followed, probably because of all the weird symptoms I was having. I went up to 50mg on the Zoloft and taking Ativan to help me sleep. I realized I was building a tolerance to it, so I weaned myself back off and was doing fine. Then the cycle started again. New symptom (breast pain this time), then the health anxiety and back on Ativan. I only take .125mg at a time. If I don't feel much relief in about 30 minutes, I will take another one. That usually does it. Then I stop when I feel better. However a couple of weeks ago, I noticed I was having muscle twitches and jerks. Don't google that!! Now looking back I think they may be related to stopping the Ativan after taking it for several days. I really don't know. So I decided today to take a dose to see if it settles down over the next few days and go from there. 3 days ago I started a taper on the Wellbutrin 150 mg xl. My doctor wrote prescription for 100mg sr tabs...and I started taking 75 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. I am hoping this won't be too fast, but I am going to try it. I also started having stomach upset a couple of days ago with some diarrhea today. Very unusual for me. Is that possibly Ativan w/d? Thank everyone. Not sure how to add signature. Attach a file maybe?
  13. Hi all, I have been struggling off and on over the last 14 years with what I thought was anxiety the whole time, but am now realizing it was more likely withdrawal from stopping antidepressants too quickly. The first SSRI I was put on was Paxil. I tapered off after 7 months because I never really liked the idea of being on an antidepressant. I started having anxiety a few months later and was switched to 50 mg of Zoloft. I tried multiple times over the next 13 or so years to stop Zoloft, but the anxiety always returned, so back on I would go. In the fall of 2015 I had a return of anxiety after reducing the Zoloft to 25mg and tried to go back to 50, but it wasn't helping, so ended up going to 150mg before I felt relief. I again tried tapering last summer and got down to 25mg and experienced increased anxiety as well as insomnia. My doctor switched me to Lexapro last October, but it only made me more anxious, so after 10 weeks he switched me to Paxil. I got up to 20mg of Paxil for 3 weeks and wasn't feeling any better, so finally decided I had enough and wanted off the antidepressants. I started tapering at the end of January down to 15mg for 2 weeks, then 10 for 2 weeks, then to 7.5, and after about a week and a half at 7.5 started feeling really anxious again. I found this site and decided to go back up to 10mg of Paxil and stabilized for about 2 weeks and then started tapering 10%. Was doing pretty well for a couple of weeks at 9mg and then started feeling a little anxiety creep in. I talked to my doctor about switching to Prozac to make the tapering hopefully easier, so a week ago this Friday I started taking 4.5 mg each of Paxil and Prozac. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, and am having a particularly difficult time right now. Feeling quite anxious and can't sleep. I took .5mg lorazepam tablet and am feeling a bit better, but not sure what to do now. I was going to switch to just 9mg of the Prozac and eliminate the Paxil tomorrow, but not sure if I should continue with the half and half mixture I have been doing or maybe even just go back to the Paxil alone? This just sucks so bad. I know I have probably screwed up my system so much with all of these changes and can only pray the damage is reversible. I was feeling pretty good earlier today, but then started feeling terrible as the evening went on. Haven't felt this bad in a while. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  14. Hi All - Glad to have found this group. I have been taking anti-depressants now for almost 20 years. I am a 45 year old female from Washington state, USA. I'm gainfully employed, in a stable marriage, have a smart, funny kid, have a good social circle with supportive friends - and you would never know by looking at me (or my fakebook profile) the struggles I've had with anti-depressant medications. It is a subject I do not talk about, except with my doctor and therapist. I am at a point in my life now where I am seriously considering tapering off - but I am scared. Here's my history (note that this entire 20 year span I have been in counseling. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month. I have switched counselors a few times but for the most part going to therapy has been pretty consistent - and has been a big help). Age 19 (1994) - diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder while in college. Suffered very scary panic attacks. Given xanax - 0.5mg - I never took it. I was afraid of it. I tried to calm my nerves through exercise, prayer, meditation, chamomile tea, nutritional supplements and talk therapy. It worked on and off - but about every six months I would have an episode of panic attacks that would last for a few weeks, then would subside. Depression / mental illness does run in my family - and I made note of that. Age 26 (2000) - Got married to husband #1. After wedding started having really bad panic attacks - debilitating. I was ready for an SSRI - desperate to feel better. Primary doc put me on Zoloft 50mg. It helped. I was panic free for about 2-3 years, but was gaining weight and did not have a libido. Weaned off the zoloft rather quickly in an every other day format (dr recommended) - and within a few weeks - my panic attacks were back. Went back on Zoloft - now up to 100mg. Age 31 (2005) - Got divorced. Still on Zoloft 100mg daily. Experiencing significant weight gain. A friend told me about "zoloft gut" which freaked me out and I decided I wanted to try something different. Doc put me on Wellbutrin. Tapered off the zoloft quickly, and onto the wellbutrin (don't remember dose, sorry) - the wellbutrin was horrible for me. My emotions were all over the place. Erratic behavior, mood swings, crying spells, very irritable, heightened sensitivity. Called doc and she took me off the wellbutrin - and put me back on the zoloft - now 150mg. Age 35 (2010) - Got married to husband #2. Got pregnant. Reduced zoloft to 25mg during pregnancy. No symptoms - felt good during pregnancy Age 36 (2011) - Post pardum depression hit. Upped zoloft back to 100mg. Age 38 (2013) - Very deep depressions, cyclical - PMDD - about a week prior to menstruation would drop to suicidal ideation, lethargy - coud barely get out of bed. Very scary. Found a new doc, a Psychiatric ARNP - she suggested I switch to Lexapro - so I weaned off the zoloft and onto the lexapro. It didn't really help - still having deep dips of depression (but no mania - not bipolar). She augmented the lexapro with lamictal - that helped in the beginning. It pulled me out of the deep dips of depression. However, the side effects were brutal. Age 40 (2015) - Still on lexapro and lamictal - Cognitive issues abound - my once quick as a whip, smart, high functioning brain - was forgetting the word for simple everyday things - I'd go to open a folder on my computer, and could not remember why - I'd look at a stapler on my desk and it would take me a few seconds to think of the word "stapler". It freaked me out. I went to a new psychiatrist (as I just didn't have a good feeling about the psych ARNP) - and she said "why did you go off the zoloft in the first place". She took me off the lexapro, and put me back on zoloft 100mg. She reduced my lamictal but didn't take me off - just to see if maybe a lower dose would help with side effects. Age 41 (2016) - Cognitive issues still there, but maybe a bit less due to lesser dose of Lamictal. Decided I wanted off lamictal. Dr. weaned me off slowly - and I didn't really have withdrawals. My cognitive function improved, but it is still not back to where it was prior to taking Lamictal in the first place. Went back to taking just 100mg zoloft. Age 43 (2018) - Have experienced significant weight gain. Made the decision to have weight loss surgery. Had gastric bypass and talked to psych about the malabsorbtion issues now that my stomach has been re-routed. She suggested I go up to 200mg zoloft. I was against it - I wanted to take it down... but I trusted her, so went up to 200 mg. Age 44 (2019) - My mother passed away - we were very close. I started having troubles with alcohol (a nasty risk of gastric bypass patients you don't hear enough about). So - in 2019 I made the decision to quit drinking. Sober now for 9 months and working the AA program successfully with a sponsor. Still on 200 mg zoloft. Age 45 (current) - For about six weeks I have been feeling depressed and physically lethargic (could it beeeeeee QUARANTINE!?). My counselor screened me for depression and I scored "moderate to severe". She suggested I go see my psychiatrist in case my medication needs tweaking. So - I saw the psychiatrist (virtually). She suggested two options - I augment the 200mg zoloft with 2mg Abilify or I go on Effexor. I am VERY apprehensive to do either. I don't want to be on either - especially Abilify. Deep down I feel like I should reduce the zoloft and very slowly work towards being off anti-depressants completely - but psych tells me no. My therapist tells me to trust my gut. I am telling me to trust my gut. GOD is telling me to trust my gut. But - psychiatrist tells me no. My gut tells me I can handle it and what once worked for me is not working for me anymore. I have grown up a lot over the last 20 years. SO - I am confused. How much of this is just grief from my mother being gone and the fact we are in a quarantine? Should I trust my gut here and reduce the zoloft? feel very trapped in this viscious cycle. I am in a much more stable place today - especially with my anxiety. I have not suffered a panic attack in well over a decade. I have done extensive therapy, EMDR for some childhood trauma, my weight is stable, I am sober, and I have confidence I can handle the hard things. I feel like I just have been listening to what doctors and psychiatrists tell me to do for years out of fear and out of mistrust of myself and the "what if I'm wrong" question that's constantly in my head... I just want some honest feed back from people who have been there done that. I know the decision is ultimately in my hands but if you relate, have experiences or thoughts on this please share. I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for reading!! -Freeburrd
  15. My names Noman, 21. I took Anafranil Lexapro Zoloft Venlafaxine Prozac over the course of 1 year. Now i have SSRI and SNRI withdrawl. Putting aside the other withdrawl symtpoms, the worst one it eye It feels as if I cannot open my eyes, when I do my eye muscles from my brain to my eye feel like they want to force shut, and i get this irriation. This leads to eye pressure, eye blood rush, eye weakness, eye cant focus, etc. I know for sure its withdrawl symptom because wheni went on prozac, it went away. Has anybody else experineced this, if so, is it dangeros? does it go away? please share
  16. Dev1322

    Dev1322: Tinnitus

    I was on 20 mg of Lexapro and 1.5 mg of Xanax daily for postpartum depression. In February of 2020 I was down to 1.0 mg of Xanax. I began tapering both medicines as I was having some Serotonin Syndrome issues. Once I taped down to 15 mg and .75 mg I began having tinnitus. I am now on 100 mg of Zoloft and .25 mg of Xanax (I am tapering the Xanax still). I still have tinnitus and want any advice on what to do to help. Will it eventually go away? I have been on the 100 mg of Zoloft consistently for almost 7 weeks.
  17. Context [This thread may sound familiar because when I felt the most hopeless and suicidal I made a different thread on PSSD forums, but some user copied that thread here to hide the fact it was the same person as another banned account. I waited to post here until I got to know at which points in time I was supposed to take my medicine. I've been off them for about a year] I started taking the anti-dipressant Zoloft/Setraline for Depression, the stress and anxeity I have from my aspergers and Pure OCD. Everything usually felt dark, heavy and really really sad but there were moments of happiness. I've always been over emotional on the inside, although it might have not looked like that on the outside. I hesitated getting Anti-Dipressants for a long time because I was afraid of permanent affects. I intentionally did not read internet horror stories so I would still take the pill and was truly convinced by my doctors that if I'd stop taking my pills, I'd go back to normal. But that isn't the case. I haven't felt like the same person ever since. I kept having a strong urge to meet up with an old crush of mine again (in the platonic sense) after a long time of not seeing her. I even had dreams about it. When I finally did, I felt almost nothing except physical tiredness even though we technically had a good time. It was that moment I realized just how little actual happiness I can feel yet how easily I can still feel physical pain and tiredness and I started to feel hopeless again. I then also realized how little I felt for the most recent ''crush'' and how back when I was in love with that old crush it was so strong it was unbeliabale. [Timeframe and dosage] I have now finally been able to contact my psychiatrist to find out in which two periods I was supposed to take them. one of about 4 months. The other of about 8. However, I'd sometimes forget my dosage and I stopped cold turkey twice sometime before the end of these periods. -Period 1: -12 December 2017 to -6th of march 2018. -Period 2: -10th of april 2018 to -somewhere in november 2018. It's likely I already stopped by december as I pretended to take them for a while. Something seems off here too, I remember there was a longer period of time I stopped taking in between these two periods. Likely because I also pretended to still take. This means it's likely been a bit more than a year since stopping. In each period I started with 10 mg, very quickly moving to 20 and feeling relatively positive results. Then after moving to 50mg I'd feel too emotionally blunted and it'd scare me so I'd stop and I'd thought it'd go away. Only it didn't. [Experience] The first time I took my pills I immediately felt a bit of relief but thought such quick effect must be in my head. I did quickly get stomach cramps, flatulence, constipipation and diarrheah issues from it which lessened over time. I didn't notice much else at first. Then I got super over emotional and went through one of the hardest periods of my life. I couldn't stop crying and I was constantly anxious and tense and barely slept at all. As it went awayIfelt much less anxeity than ever, I felt a bit more energy and could think more positively. I used to always have an anxious/nervous feeling in my stomach regardless of how I actually felt and it was gone. However I also couldn't feel orgasms anymore and had genital numbness.I still liked the effect for a while. My thinking got more positive and I thoughtI could finally beat depression if I'd just work at it. I was less emotional, but that seemed like a good thing. Until the dosage was upped to 50 at one point and I felt like a complete zombie and I started to get freaked out. I noticed that all this time even on the lower dosage I couldn't cry well and I wasn't actually any happier and in fact found it even harder to feel happy. I cared less even less about doing anything than I did before because I couldn't take anything seriously and nothing made me feel better so I may as well do nothing. I stopped cold turkey (dumb I know) so I'd get all my emotion back but I didn't. I didn't really notice that much initially. Except that I got a lot more tired,. Like..A lot more tired. [Lasting issues] Now I have these issues.. -Cognitive: -General ''brain fog'' type feel. Worse short term memory, much worse concentration, can't process information well esecially if new, More interrupted sleep no matter how calm I am (partially already had this due to GERD), a left eye that twitches a lot, blurry vision that resets a brief moment after every blink, and even less motivation. Like way less. Busy places are much more distracting and tiring than they used to be, yet the anxious feeling I'd usually get from them is gone. I've barely felt functional. It also effects how well I can hear in noisy enviorments and process speech sound. -Emotional: -More irritability/anger. Blunted emotions in general. Harder to cry. Harder to have sympathy/empathy. The hardest to feel feelings are happiness and sadness. Happiness even harder, yet I have no trouble feeling stress. I notice my body still reacts physically asif the feelings are still there (my voice sounding sadder/softer, my heart rate increasing..), yet I can't sense the emotion on the inside like I'm on some kind of anasthetic. I can tell I need to cry but then can't unless in extreme scenarios and when I finally can I don't feel it nearly as well. At least I never lost my ability to laugh. I still get goosebumps/shivers in my head/chest area from certain thoughts, though I tend to need to force this out of me by thinking instead of it triggering by something happening around me making it feel incredibly forced and I notice a disconnect between the no response reality and the excitement of thinking about my desires. My stomach area feels the most numbed of all. It has made me feel more suicidal than I was before. It feels like purgatory. And Like I'm watching a movie of my life instead of living it. -Sexual: -Genital Anasthesia (asin no sexual pleasure from touch) as well as anorgasmia type PSSD. Already had this a bit due to a past porn addiction but it wasn't that bad at all. If I just touch myself to imagery, anything else would be more exciting. If I conciously think about how exciting this is supposed to be, I get shivers down my upper body and am in a state of enjoyment. More than with anything else at least. But I constantly notice the disconnect between feeling nothing of pleasure in my lower body. Especially with the orgasm I feel absolutely nothing exciting whatsoever which is a total anti climax. A sneeze is much more tense. I now have a biological urge (My libido remains unaffected) that I can't actually satiate. No matter how calm I am or how excited I am mentally, my body does not co-operate to make it physically enjoyable yet functionally/on the outside everything works fine. -Other: Still have some gut problems. As a result I have trouble doing anything at all that isn''t more involved than browing random internet forums and listening to gaming reviews on youtube. [Not taken seriously] My dad told me I'm just making this up to avoid having to solve my problems and that its all in my head despite me wishing that was true. Sure I don't know which issues are all caused by the pills but I sure do know it made that nervous feeling go away ever since so it DID make permanent changes. Doctors and psychiatrists and the like don't believe it's possible. My mom believes it's possible but she acts like it's better than what I used to be and that I should just accept this and hope it gets better. Both parents think I shouldn't believe ''those people on the internet and that you're not part of them''. My mom keeps getting mad when I get mad about the problem because ''Well what do you want me to say or do?''. Even though when I was wrongfully treated by a past school of mine my parents fought them with rage yet when my humanity is taken away from me they just expect me to suck it up. Most people either don't believe it at all because doctors say effects can't persist, OR they kind of act like they do but I can easily tell they don't believe and instead just want to support me feeling better. People keep expecting me to function on the level pre ssri. They keep telling me I'm smart yet I'm struggling for reasons that aren't depression. They keep expecting me to care about small things when I even have trouble caring about the things I used to care about most. [Progress] PSSD has not showed a single bit of progress. I've been having a less difficult time feeling sadness however. Tiredness has been lessened by living a better lifestyle but I still don't feel like my old self even though I didn't do these things back than. To not feel like I'm mentally handicapped from tiredness, I started to eat on time everyday and pay more attention to what I eat (including so I get less GERD,) for which I stopped eating late in the evning). I went to the doc for a blood test and the result was low vitamin d and low bloodcells (which I likely have always had yet back then I wasn't that tired) but anyways I got vitamin D supplements (I'm black so it's higher than usual). I started to put all my screens on low blue light filters. I also started to go to go to bed and wake up at certain times (though eventually staying asleep is futile). I want to add some exercise to it soon and make some adjustments to make my GERD better. I today got noise cancelling headphones so I can actually hear what I want to listen to outside. PLEASE SOMEONE give me hope my emotions can get better. Everything feels so pointless when putting in effort to do things only leads to more tiredness and no happiness despite in the past being able to feel happiness.
  18. 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
  19. Hi, I want to stop using this awful drug. My doctor wants me to try something else. I don't want to try anything but stopping. I have only been on 25mg of Zoloft for 6 days. Can I just quit? I need help
  20. Mikefeelworst Hi everyone, I am Mike. I just joined here. I am 18 years old. I got diagnosed depression and anxiety one year ago. And I spent one year on Pristiq. When I get better, my doctor decreased it to 25mg, I remember that I spent two months on it. Then I came off it. The nightmare is begin. At the first few days I started insomnia, don't want to eat, those symptoms are not terrible. After that I starting to become a zombie.Everyday is getting worse. Emotion numb, mind blank,. So I know that I have to take it again. So I starting again on last month 1st and added zoloft on 28th until now. Now, I am still emotion numb and my brain is very bad. Few days ago I just met my doctor, I told him I 'lost emotion experience' he don't believe me. He said those symptoms is impossible to happen on me. My family don't believe me too they think that I really want to sick wtf. They think I am just depression , anxiety and think too much. I think that I have got schizophrenia negative after withdrawal. I am so scare now. My mind is blank and I scare that I will develop Intellectual disability. And I am worry that I can't take care myself in the future. I don't know is that the side effect or something. Anyone experienced exactly the same thing like me? I don't want my life end in here.
  21. My History I was originally prescribed Zoloft in winter of 2013 (age 15) to deal with unrelenting and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. I stayed on it consistently for 3 years. I don't remember the exact dose, but I believe I was up to 150mg or maybe even 200mg. On the advice of my doctor, I did a fast taper in spring 2016. A few months after getting off the pills, I began experiencing symptoms that I attributed to a relapse of anxiety. For the next three years, I went on and off the Zoloft at least 3 separate times in an attempt to manage the symptoms. I didn't understand what I was dealing with. When taking the pills, I experienced severe symptoms of sexual dysfunction. I was prescribed Wellbutrin to counteract this, but it didn't help me at all. Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I was fed up with the sexual side effects and scared they would become permanent. I quit cold turkey 250mg of Zoloft and 300mg of Wellbutrin in May 2019. I told myself that this was it. No more going off and on, I was done for good. Coping Without Pills I didn't have any immediate or obvious withdrawal symptoms when I quit cold turkey. After about 2 weeks after quitting the medicine, my sexual function was about 75% improved. However, starting about 4 months later (in September 2019), I began experiencing severe anhedonia, depressed mood, lack of motivation, suicidal thoughts, emptiness, and fatigue. My doctor interpreted this as a relapse in my depression, and recommended I reinstate SSRIs. I refused, but my symptoms only got worse. Just a few months later, in December 2019, I was experiencing dissociation, derealization, severe panic attacks, dizziness, nausea, trouble sleeping, restlessness, brain fog, lack of appetite, and memory problems. I developed symptoms of agoraphobia and could not leave my house due to fear of panic attacks. I could barely eat due to the symptoms, and I lost 15 pounds. I was sick and not functioning. First Reinstatement Scared, and feeling as though I had no other option, I reinstated 25mg of Zoloft for exactly one month beginning mid-December 2019. My symptoms improved dramatically on only 25mg. After just one week I was nearly back to baseline, but sexual function was back down to 0%. I began panicking about the sexual side effects, and chose to quit again in mid-January 2019. Within a month, the horrible symptoms I described above had come back, and my worst fear had come true: I developed full-fledged PSSD. In addition to severe anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and depression, I now have no sexual function. My libido is nonexistent, I cannot feel sexual pleasure, and I am unable to orgasm. I have had some small windows in the PSSD symptoms, but they have been fairly consistent for the past month or so. In addition, the panic attacks are increasing in both frequency and severity. I am losing weight again due to not being able to eat. I feel like I am in a living hell. What Next? I am at a loss of what to do now. The worst part of all of this is that my doctor and my loved ones do not believe in SSRI withdrawal syndrome. They believe that all of my withdrawal symptoms are actually symptoms of my mental illnesses, and they constantly beg me to go back on the SSRIs. My partner has discussed breaking up with me if I do not take the pills. I have tried to educate them on the dangers of these pills, but they will not listen. They tell me that it's just my OCD making things up. I have stopped trying to convince them of the real reason for my suffering. After reading this forum, I understand the horrible mistakes I made in quitting cold turkey. If I had properly tapered, perhaps this wouldn't have happened. But I simply was not equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision at that time. Now, I am considering trying to reinstate 25mg Zoloft and conduct a proper taper. At the very least, I feel that being on the Zoloft for a short time will give me a brief respite from some of the horrible symptoms I am experiencing. I am looking for advice on this matter. Is reinstatement followed by a slow taper a good idea, or will going back on the drugs do more harm than good? I truly cannot live like this for much longer. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this or offers advice or support.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Hello! I am new here. Please forgive how long this is, but I’m trying to be as concise as possible from the beginning for the moderators (and have a bad habit of digression, ha!). I so appreciate this page. I’ll try to add on my drug signature. But if I don’t do that correctly at first, I apologize in advance, as well as, for any repetitiveness, since my brain isn’t always on par and I just may not feel like overly editing any repeated information in different sections below. Please see my “thoughts about this forum” below “my history and withdrawal symptoms” further down the page here. Again, I am so grateful for this website and realize my situation is not nearly as extreme as many, but it is all relative on bad days I suppose ;). From everything I have read, it appears time is the KEY with all of this withdrawal malarkey. I am trying to be patient and positive and do have faith all will be ok in time, but I must admit I am totally blown away that I continue to have symptoms (sometimes new ones or variations on old ones) at 8 months out, after my last Zoloft, which I was on for only 2.5 months (25 mg and only the full 25 mg for the first 2 weeks – see below). Holy crikey Batman! And yes, I do know how quickly SSRI’s can start to change the pathways, etc. So, back on point… Please see below. AND THANK YOU so much in advance for all your help and my thoughts, heart and well wishes go out to all of those suffering FAR MORE than I am. This is enough for me. I can’t imagine some people’s hell in all this, though I’ve read enough on here to know I am grateful that, so far, I am not in that level of hell. SSRI HISTORY: I am currently 49 years old (2017) 1992-1998 (+/ - a year: in my early 20’s) - 20 mg Prozac (no major side effects, SE’s, and quit CT with no problems) 2001-2002 (+/- brief period of time after divorce: in my early 30’s) - 10 mg Prozac (again no major SE’s and quit CT no problems) I just didn’t like how Prozac kind of flat lined me and I didn’t like the idea of staying on anything when I really didn’t feel like I needed anything. THEN… RECENT LIFE EVENTS… 2017 April 27 - Start 25 mg Zoloft (generic sertraline) very reluctantly (after the passing of my mom in October 2017 and a VERY PAINFUL bad relationship break-up only a few months later. My doctor thought Zoloft would help break my cycle of poor sleep and anxiety and sadness – though I really just wanted to try a sleeping pill of some kind. Though in hindsight, benzos can be difficult too and I am apparently pretty sensitive to many drugs. Weeks prior to Zoloft, she gave me some trazadone, which I realize is not a benzo and, holy crap, hell no, never again. One pill and I WAS NOT MYSELF. Quit immediately and returned to normal, other than my original circumstantial sadness, anxiety and insomnia.) 2017 May 15 - Start cutting the Zoloft down to about 15-20 mg of Zoloft (because OMG it is wiring/amping –akathisia?- the crap out of me and not helping me sleep and I’m having fuzzy eyes and head off and on. I could have cleaned a house with a toothbrush. It got me motivated, but I was still edgy and couldn’t sleep on that crack feeling.) 2017 May 26 - Start 12.5 mg of Zoloft (because still SE’s of bleary eyes, extreme jaw clenching at night, mild fuzzy head with pressure – brain fog, still some anxiety and sadness) 2017 June 30 - Start 6.25 mg (because still a lot of jaw clenching, paresthesia – including prickling and burning, body vibrations – like every cell in my body was wired) 2017 July 10 - Stop Zoloft completely (because I suddenly developed tinnitus in my left ear and I was like “Eff This I’m done!” Yes, I know, now that that was probably too fast of a taper, but my doctor and the pharmacist insisted should be fine and quite frankly, I was having such a horrible paradoxical reaction to it while I was on it, I doubt anyone could have made me understand to stay on it longer at the time to wean off more slowly. It is what it is now. THEN WITHDRAWAL (WD) SYMPTOMS: In a nutshell… Immediately after stopping had painful neuropathy for a few days in some places, mostly my left arm. (I am familiar with neuropathy because I experienced it for several weeks years ago after only 1 dose of Cipro – won’t touch fluoroquinolones again either). After stopping the zoloft still had inner vibrations (or what some may call minor akathisia at night…?) and paresthesia, mostly at night, but some paresthesia during day as well. About a week after stopping developed severe brain fog. Off and on quite severely for several weeks, but still with tinnitus and paresthesia. Totally messed with my menstrual cycle for about 4 months in terms of missing one and then crazy flow (perimenopause, maybe, but now a wee more normal again and it was NEVER like that before Zoloft). And as an Update – totally missed one in Feb 2018. Perimenopause possibly happening as well, but fun times to have both withdrawal and that. Makes it hard to distinguish some things. However, the crazy brain fog, internal tension and vibrations at night at times, the paresthesia and burning skin (not painful, but not normal), neuropathy at times (is painful), muscle weakness at times (not extreme, but notice when doing certain exercises), tinnitus, weird muscle tightness and head sensations at times, especially when trying to sleep and just overall, not quite me feelings at times… ah, yah, I’m gonna go with SSRI withdrawal on all that, because I was premenopausal prior to Zoloft and did not have any of those symptoms, other than some peri anxiety. Plus, I find it quite fascinating that almost all people have many of these symptoms across the board no matter what SSRI they were on. Coinkydinky…??? Hmmm, not as far as I’m concerned thank you very much. Ooooppps… I digress again… J Anxiety off and on, but some of that could be residual from prior losses mentioned above. FAST FORWARD TO… End of September 2017 to January 2018 to present… 2017 October - So to recap, I think I had a bit of a Window in some things in end of Sept and through October 2017. I was not “right”, but definitely felt better in some ways, even with some symptoms, felt more “normal” and hopeful. And the inner vibrations or mild akathisia while on the drug at night seemed to be gone. And the jaw clenching had stopped not long after stopping the drug. 2017 November - some things came back with a vengeance, like more sadness and anxiety and tinnitus more prevalent again. (Tinnitus changed from just left ear to a more of a high pitch in head or both ears off and on, which I still have, off and on, and especially in bed at night and first thing in the morning as of today March 2, 2018. I had had moments off and on in past months of the high pitch not being there at all and just some tinnitus in left ear from when originally started at end of Zoloft. But the high pitch, almost ringing in head-ish as well as both ears, has been present consistently for over a month now. Sigh. Just keep hoping eventually it will go away in time.) December 2017 - Same as November but with Stupid Crazy Brain Fog Awfulness again, like cotton head, and couldn’t do cognitive things for diddly and still sometimes have moments where if I think too hard my brain just says, whatever, pack up and leaves the room. This went on and off until around January 12, 2018. AND AT THE END OF DECEMBER - THE FIRST TIME I think I had the beginnings of mild akathisia since when I was the Zoloft, but it felt a bit different with some weird “internal tension in my chest and head and arms and just uncomfortable weirdness. And sometimes coupled with neuropathy in arms. I swore I might be having a heart attack and realized, nope, just more new withdrawal BS. Nov – present (ongoing at times)… Muscle weakness and weirdness (not extreme, but not normal to me) At some point in this time frame, I started to notice an overall muscle weakness feeling at times when exercising (weight bearing exercise and cardio), but I still do as much exercise as I can anyway for my sanity AND because at my age I can’t afford to lose any more of my fitness and tone. It’s just too hard to get back and I don’t have that much to begin with. I am grateful I can exercise at all (even if it flares a symptom or two at times, but mostly I’m ok), because I have read on this site how many can’t do that yet. 2018 Jan 12-19th – POSSIBLE MINI WINDOW…? About a week of almost “normal me mood” feeling Jan (though off and on all this time, still some tinnitus and minor paresthesia at times). 2018 Jan 19th to present – ANOTHER WAVE - the beginning of low grade akathisia for several weeks with awful paresthesia, neuropathy – all worse at night. So far, this wave is not absolutely 24/7, but many days for most of the day, with a minor window of 3 days lessened aka/pare/neuro/jingly symptoms. And some more of the tinnitus high pitch at times, but very little brain fog. Just more of an “off” feeling. And overall sad and anxious feeling. Less upbeat like in the window week. 2018 Feb 26th to present … Ruh-oh, as of today, super Brain Fog day – Crap ability to think or focus and brain just super fuzzy. So add Brain Fog back in to the mix now off and on as well. But had a few days with less to no akathisia or neuropathy or paresthesia. BUT SUPER TIRED off and on for the last week, including today. AS A SIDE NOTE ON WINDOWS AND WAVES: Windows for me happen in a way that not ALL symptoms have ever ALL been gone, just marginally better at times and it fluctuates as to which symptoms decides to rise up more. During Windows, if that is what they are, I feel more “normal” overall in feeling like ME and my mood is pretty good, even if I’m having tinnitus or some minor paresthesia, etc. And windows may even just be a day in the midst of things, where I “feel” so much better overall, even if other symptoms still happening on a subtle level. What I consider Waves are when my mood is crap sad or anxious and I don’t feel as “normal”, and/or I have a bad bout of the physical things like Brain Fog and/or mild akathisia, and/or paresthesia/neuropathy and tinnitus ( the tinnitus hasn’t really ever gone away yet, though there have been “moments” when it seems to have, only to come back. Mine is not as severe as some peoples, but is DEFINITELY annoying at times and something I have never had before). MEDS, SUPPLEMENTS, SLEEP, EXERCISE, CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL, ETC.: Some things I have been on since before the Zoloft. Thyroid (23 years) EPA only about 500-1000mg day (started just before Zoloft) Mild multi-vitamin (Dr. Furhman’s women’s with 1000mg D3 – sometimes take an extra 1000mg D3). Started before the Zoloft I believe. Mg citrate (just before zoloft - anywhere from 200-300mg, depending on what I feel like a day) Quercetin (500-100mg day for years for another medical condition I’ve had for 20 years) Hydrolysed Collagen for my skin (just before Zoloft). Does help my skin (doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other with WD, but can make me sleepy at night). Biotin (1000mg) for my hair (lost a lot after mom passed, but it is coming back) Play around with NAC 500 mg a day for a few days a week (not sure it helps, doesn’t seem to hurt). Vit C every now and again (500 mg), but not always very regular about it. Play around with caffeine (had some of my best days on it and so it doesn’t seem to directly affect WD. But I do limit my caffeine accordingly at times. But I do limit my caffeine accordingly at times. I think I’m finding WD does whatever it wants to, whenever it wants to, and, in my case, seems to be mostly independent of anything I specifically do, eat, drink, etc at any given moment. I have experimented many times. As many on this forum have said, TIME AND PATIENCE ARE THE KEY FACTORS. I am currently 8 months out and may have months to go... Alcohol is a crap shoot and I rarely drink anyway (once or twice a month or not at all). Sometimes it has been helpful and sometimes, maybe not. But I mostly avoid it right now. Try to keep to a strict sleep schedule because though I do sleep finally some now (didn’t while on Zoloft or before due to the losses I had and anxiety) I rarely sleep all the way through the night But a broken 5-6 hours of sleep or so, is way better than 4 or less or none! I also have found that the collagen at night (it has a lot of glycine in it) along with some magnesium helps me. But too much magnesium at night can seem to do an odd paradoxical thing and agitate me, so I have to be careful. I have exercise class about 3 times a week (when I can). And I walk or hike when I can or the weather allows. Exercise has helped a lot. Though, when the chips are down, the chips are down, even with exercise. But I refuse to not exercise and should probably do more. But sometimes laziness/tiredness, lack of time, or withdrawal symptoms win. THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS FORUM and just stuff in general: Thank goodness it exsists, ha! Thank you all for being here and for those who started it! My doctor didn’t think this withdrawal was a “thing”. I had to send her an article from Harvard Med Page showing that it is (but even the Harvard article doesn’t think it lasts this long). Have had 2 people, another doctor of mine (later into withdrawal) and one a psychologist confirm withdrawal or discontinuation syndrome is a “thing” and that it will take longer than I like or think it will. So, yay, I’m not crazy ;). My Withdrawal (WD) is far less that many people on here, but enough to definitely get my attention and still disturbing, despite that I am mostly functional, because I feel very “off” kilter. I refuse to believe it will not get better, but am a bit blown away that after only 2.5 months at 25mg or less of Zoloft (the generic), I would still be dealing with any of this, but of course, this forum proves this is definitely not unusual for some. Am getting on this site to just confirm that getting worse before better, etc, is “normal”, even for such a short period of time on the drug (yay, not the way I want to be “normal”, snort, but one must keep a sense of humor ). I will probably not “live” on this site because I am trying to just get on with it and give it time as much as I can and because I, so far, knock on wood, am not as severe as some people. But I am grateful for this site, as I have been on it many times for my sanity (but equally I try not to go down the rabbit hole too much with it either), and am in awe of those who have walked through hella worse. Despite a strong family history of anxiety and depression on my mom’s side, which I have subtly dealt with all my life (with some severe depression from situational events), I will do everything I possibly can to be happy and healthy without drugs. I know I was desperate for relief and sleep before this zoloft Sh*tstorm , but the bright side is I will have learned some valuable cognitive skills and behavior (I do have a counselor and have for a long while, but this is definitely making me up my game on my thought processes ;). And I will not take another SSRI again. I was going to go to Italy for my 50th this summer and hike in the Dolomites, but have decided to wait until WD is done. Stupid WD. Whenever I’m in a Wave I think I’m going to do a TED talk on all this Withdrawal stuff to help educate and save the world! And then I have a good day and think, heck No, I don’t want to spend any more time on this malarkey at ALL when it is all GONE for good! (so, I can see why there may not be more success stories actually online – people just want to get on with living). Again, I’m not nearly as bad off as some, but I also know I’m not supposed to feel all these side-effect-like symptoms. I know what “normal” feels like and WD most definitely is NOT IT! WOW. SORRY THAT WAS SOOOO LONG! And not very well written (I'm sure there all kinds of typos etc). But I just want to get this out into the ether, before I keep putting it off and then have a wave and wish I had done that, ha! Many thanks for this site. I may have questions in time, but for now, I’m just trying to get my basics on here in the event anyone or the moderators have any helpful words and affirmations and so that I can ask questions if I need to do so later. Also, I may have totally forgotten some things which I may add later on. IN ADVANCE, please do not feel I am being rude or slighting anyone if I do not respond should anyone post to me. I may just be getting on with things as best I can and not checking this site too often. But I still appreciate everyone on here and what everyone is going through. My best wishes to all! KimLou DRUG SIGNATUE (FROM ABOVE)... SORRY, I'M NOT SURE HOW I "ADD" THIS ON... SSRI HISTORY: I am currently 49 years old (2017) 1992-1998 (+/ - a year: in my early 20’s) - 20 mg Prozac (no major side effects, SE’s, and quit CT with no problems) 2001-2002 (+/- brief period of time after divorce: in my early 30’s) - 10 mg Prozac (again no major SE’s and quit CT no problems) I just didn’t like how Prozac kind of flat lined me and I didn’t like the idea of staying on anything when I really didn’t feel like I needed anything. THEN… RECENT LIFE EVENTS… 2017 April 27 - Start 25 mg Zoloft (generic sertraline) very reluctantly (after the passing of my mom in October 2017 and a VERY PAINFUL bad relationship break-up only a few months later. My doctor thought Zoloft would help break my cycle of poor sleep and anxiety and sadness – though I really just wanted to try a sleeping pill of some kind. Though in hindsight, benzos can be difficult too and I am apparently pretty sensitive to many drugs. Weeks prior to Zoloft, she gave me some trazadone, which I realize is not a benzo and, holy crap, hell no, never again. One pill and I WAS NOT MYSELF. Quit immediately and returned to normal, other than my original circumstantial sadness, anxiety and insomnia.) 2017 May 15 - Start cutting the Zoloft down to about 15-20 mg of Zoloft (because OMG it is wiring/amping –akathisia?- the crap out of me and not helping me sleep and I’m having fuzzy eyes and head off and on. I could have cleaned a house with a toothbrush. It got me motivated, but I was still edgy and couldn’t sleep on that crack feeling.) 2017 May 26 - Start 12.5 mg of Zoloft (because still SE’s of bleary eyes, extreme jaw clenching at night, mild fuzzy head with pressure – brain fog, still some anxiety and sadness) 2017 June 30 - Start 6.25 mg (because still a lot of jaw clenching, paresthesia – including prickling and burning, body vibrations – like every cell in my body was wired) 2017 July 10 - Stop Zoloft completely (because I suddenly developed tinnitus in my left ear and I was like “Eff This I’m done!” Yes, I know now that that was probably too fast of a taper, but my doctor and the pharmacist insisted should be fine and quite frankly, I was having such a horrible paradoxical reaction to it while I was on it, I doubt anyone could have made me understand to stay on it longer at the time to wean off more slowly. It is what it is now.
  25. 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.
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