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Happypuppy. After 13 years on Zoloft ...


Happypuppy

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Hi guys,

 

Like the title says, I have been on (for the most part) Zoloft & its generic equivalents for nearly 14 years now.  Background: I had a reasonaby happy early childhood, but adolescence was a bit of a nightmare.  Four years of full-on, awful bullying combined with an unhappy, abusive parent at home, and an eating disorder, seems to have left some sort of etch in my brain.  I feel quite foolish about the fact that I can still tear up when thinking about that period in my life.  It was 20 years ago!  Crazy.  -_-

 

Anyway, after those years life got better, but not brilliant.  Somehow, I managed to carry on with no therapy, and very little understanding of how to take care of my mental health.  I feel like things have really changed in the last 20 years - or perhaps I am more receptive to the concept of investing time & energy into my wellbeing and taking it seriously.

 

A friend told me about Zoloft during a period that I was very down and had taken some personal leave from work.  I went to my doctor and asked him about the medication.  I was given a script for 50mg and after a couple of months that was increased to 100mg.

 

Shortly after I started the higher dose of Zoloft, I read a book - the name escapes me - about SSRIs and how they are likely to cause extra-pyramidal symptoms such as you would see in the use of the older style of antipsychotic.  So, stiff-walking, uncontrollable tics, tongue flicking out - lovely stuff like that.  I was terrified.  Because in fact, the medication did cause me to experience tics, although they seem to have eased off over the years.  Sometimes I would lie in bed and feel a circle of tics going from one eye, to the other eye, to my shoulder, leg, other leg, and so on.  

 

I quit cold turkey not longer after, my first of many attempts.  I had in fact been told about rebound depression, but astonishingly, each and every time it happened,  I did not make the connection between the sudden, weeping/anxiety/agoraphobia and quitting cold turkey! My lack of awareness was just - wow.  I really don't know what to say about it.

 

I found a Youtube video about getting off SSRIs - https://youtu.be/vCTDw_cRWt4. The girl in the video directs people to this forum (in her replies, not in the video itself) which is how I started reading about tapering.  

 

I have come to terms w/ the fact that antidepressants are a powerful medication and we have take their effect seriously.  I guess the brain takes a while to adapt to having a large amount of circulating seratonin, and if we stop the medication suddenly, thus dropping off the levels of seratonin, the brain will go through a period where it is physically adapted to the higher level but only operating on the lower level.  So, depression follows.  I realise also that I have been on antidepressants for a long time!  It's amazing how long it has been.

 

So, just started the first taper - 90mg.  Will update as I go ... I am hoping to be a success story to inspire others one of these days :)

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Happy Puppy,

 

Great to see you here.  It seems you've been doing your research and you've come to the right place.  You've done a great job of your signature so it gives the members a good background.

 

Good luck with your tapering.  There is lots of helpful information on this site.

 

However, some caution is needed as there seems to be lots of felines around here :)

 

CC

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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  • Moderator

Hi Happypuppy-- welcome to the group.  I'm so glad you were able to find us.  You have come to several very important realizations that will serve you well on your tapering journey.  It is going to be a long slow process, but it doesn't have to be painful if done properly.  Here are some good threads for you to start reading;

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

Thank you for adding a signature block, it really makes it a lot easier for us to keep track of what is happening with you.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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However, some caution is needed as there seems to be lots of felines around here :)

 

CC

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

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Aww that's ok. I love kitties too :)

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

Link to comment

Hi Happypuppy-- welcome to the group. I'm so glad you were able to find us. You have come to several very important realizations that will serve you well on your tapering journey. It is going to be a long slow process, but it doesn't have to be painful if done properly. Here are some good threads for you to start reading;

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

Thank you for adding a signature block, it really makes it a lot easier for us to keep track of what is happening with you.

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

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Oops, I meant to say thanks, Brassmonkey :)

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the site Happypuppy , glad you found your way here.

 

If you're in Sydney , there are a few of us who meet up , let me know if you're interested.

This is a long journey and it's lovely to have the support of real people as well as an online community.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Happypuppy,

 

Just popped in to say another hi and hope you are doing okay.

 

CC

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

Link to comment

Welcome to the site Happypuppy , glad you found your way here.

 

If you're in Sydney , there are a few of us who meet up , let me know if you're interested.

This is a long journey and it's lovely to have the support of real people as well as an online community.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

 

Hey again Fresh, I'm actually in Melbourne  :blush: I made my profile NSW initially because I felt a bit strange about putting my correct info out there when I was revealing personal things about myself.  I'm pretty careful about my privacy online.

 

Anyway, I've updated my profile now because, what the hell... lol  ;)

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

Link to comment
  • Moderator

Hey Happy, welcome!  DARN! I was looking forward to that Sydney not-coffee meet! (next time I'm in Sydney....)

 

The video you found was excellent (except for the faster-than-SA style tapers).  I love how she addressed support and "original condition."

 

So you just did a 50% drop, because you've been on 50 mg before?  And you feel "safe" with that?

 

It's been a few days now, how is that going?  Please use this page - your intro page - as a journal or blog to track your progress.  You will find it really helps, as this can be a long process - to remember the waves and windows and watch them shifting and changing as you get better.

 

And you will get better!  Nearly everyone here - even the ones who are still suffering - wouldn't go back for a million dollars!  As your dosages decrease, your mind and feelings and body will return and your quality of life will improve.  Word of the day:  neuroplasticity!   :)

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey there JanCarol,

 

Yup, I've been doing ok - although this is not an endorsement of dropping 50% and i will definitely be more cautious in my taper going forward.

 

The thing that I noticed in the first couple of weeks was access to emotion.  In the first week, I had feelings that I recognised as depression-feelings: wanting to stay away from other people, thinking that things were not going so well, etc.  I recognised them as symptoms of withdrawal and also the fact that I was pre-menstrual (I get emotional symptoms at that time of the month).

 

The other interesting thing, though, was the fact that I cried much more easily!  I am kind of a sensitive person and I am easily moved by songs, the sight of people/animals suffering, etc.  For example, just before ANZAC day this sweet little old man in a wheelchair was seeking donations and he reminded me of my Dad, who isn't well.  After I bought a red poppy I turned away and tears started flowing down my face.  I was on my way to work and my makeup was getting ruined, so I grabbed my phone and quickly searched for funny videos on Youtube to break the circuit :)

 

I'm going to stay on 50mg for another couple of months before dropping again.  I have my first appointment with a local clinical psychologist tomorrow and I want to see how therapy goes before dropping again ...

 

I hope that anyone reading this is having an okay weekend :)

 

Happy xxx

- Sertraline 100mg from 2002 - 2007

- Tried Effexor XR in 2004, side effects were worse, went back to Zoloft.

- quit cold turkey a number of times due to side effects

- Generic Prozac from 2007 - 2011

- Pristiq in 2011 for two months, like Effexor XR I could not tolerate the medication

- Quit cold turkey, again experienced devastating rebound depression

- Back on Sertraline 50mg and then 100mg from late 2011 - current.

- Have scheduled a taper which will take a minimum of 2 years.

5/11/15 - dropped from 100mg to 50mg.  Memory issues, which subsided.  Feeling overly 'up', scared me. Cut back on coffee, seemed to get better.  

- 22/12/15 dropped to 45mg.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Administrator

Hi, Happypuppy. How are you doing now?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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