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KannerZ: 3 Weeks Today off Zoloft; feeling terrible


KannerZ

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Hello,

 

I did a slow taper off of 100mg of Zoloft and actually was doing quite well. I didn't start feeling the side effects until about 1 week after fully stopping. I have been on about 8 different kinds of SSRI's for about 9 years now. I strongly believe that I NEVER needed to be on pills in the first place, it was definitely just me hitting puberty and my hormones out of sorts.

 

First thing the doctors did? Throw me on meds. I have gotten especially bad over the past year trying to find another good medication and in the summer I was trying to get off Pristiq as it was giving me suicidal thoughts. I couldn't get off them, and went on a few more kinds, then went on Zoloft for a month and said that is IT. I can't take this anymore. I can't function, I can't think straight, I have no idea if these anxieties are even real or just caused by the pills; so I began tapering off of 100mg of Zoloft. I was only on Zoloft about a month so I took about a month and a half to taper.

 

Today, I am 3 weeks off medication. I am feeling absolutely terrible. The only thing that has subsided slightly are the brain zaps.

 

I feel like I am in a CONSTANT state of panic. I am constantly paranoid that I will die. I feel like my heart is beating so hard and so fast that it will just stop. I feel like I sometimes just forget how to breath. I am often very disoriented and confused. My insomnia is through the roof, I get no more then about an hour of sleep at night. Everytime I try to fall asleep my body gets a surge of panic and jolts me awake.

 

Its been 3 weeks and not really any relief......I absolutely do not want to go back on medication but I also don't know how long I can handle this? It is so exhausting....I am constantly searching for relief but I havent had more then a few minutes.

 

How long does it take to feel at least a little bit better...?

 

Julie

I have been on multiple kinds of SSRIs for about 9 years now. I don't believe I ever needed to be on them however. I feel as if my current panic and anxiety is drug induced. I am now 3 weeks off of Zoloft and I feel absolutely terrible. I am still hoping for some relief but the hope seems to be slowly dwindling.....

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Hi Julie. An admin will be along soon to answer your questions. It does sound like you tapered way too fast off of the 100 mg. You might consider a reinstatement of a small dose. I had to reinstate & it's helped me to stabilize. Since I'm on my phone, it's hard for me to post the links to the tapering & reinstatement threads.

On Zoloft for 10 years (50 mg) for GAD & panic attacks

Weaned off fall of 2013, terrible set back in Feb '14 back on 100 mg & trazadone to sleep.

Did CT off of Zoloft in May 2014 - bad decision!

Back on 50 mg Zoloft & Xanax as needed (was upped to 75 mg by doctor in Feb 2015)

Started to wean off of Zoloft in April 2015 ~ totally off Zoloft in Oct 2015 and now am on Buspar 11.25 mg to help.

I was on a 50 mg pill & 25 mg pill - I cut the 25 mg pill in half (12.5) and took that with the 50 for 6 weeks - 1st week June 2015

 50 mg for another 6 weeks. 25 mg in half and the 50 mg in half (37.5), 25 mg mid Sept for about 2 weeks.,1/2 of the 25 mg last week of Sept/1st week of Oct then off.

Update** 9 mg Zoloft reinstated early Nov 15, along with 1.5 mg Buspar daily. On .50 of Buspar & 9 mg of Zoloft. Oct '16 - off of Buspar, Nov '16 - down to 7.5 mg Zoloft. March'17 - 4 mg Zoloft. July'17 - 2 mg, Sept 1 mg. Oct'17 - off! Done!

I also take magnesium, L theanine, Gaba Calm, L Glutamine, Vit B complex(for methyl issues), Liver & Gall bladder support, Zinc, Whole Food Vit C & Fish Oil. DARE & the bible are the tools I use to help navigate this  process.

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Julie,

 

Welcome to s/a - I'm glad you've found us as there is lots of helpful info and support for you here.  What you are feeling right now are the effects of switching from med to med, and the effects of a too-fast taper.  Even though you'd only been on Zoloft for a month your brain was adapted to SSRI use in general, which you'd been on for 9 years. 

 

All of the symptoms you are getting are very common in w/d.  To understand withdrawal:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

You could read this topic on Reinstatement.  You'd be a good candidate for it as you are only 3 weeks out, although you are having some hyper-reactivity (panic and sleeplessness) so you'd want to try only a small amount - possibly 2mg.  (It will depend on the last dosage you were on in your taper - what was that?)  It can take 4 days to feel any relief from reinstatement.  Then you'd stay on that dose until your Central Nervous System stabilised.  At that point we could work out a gentle tapering plan.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose each 4-6 weeks. 

 

So its not like you're 'going back on meds' as such.  It's more about retracing your steps a little and then finding a better and more lasting way to get off.  You're in a really difficult place right now, and it's probably not going to get better by just waiting.  Some people have suffered for even up to a year or longer trying to wait things out.  And things can actually get a lot worse.  You're in the 'fortunate' position of being close enough to your last dose to be able to try reinstating. 

 

Here is the topic for tapering Zoloft:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

 

Have a read of these links and then you can come back to this thread to ask any questions you might have.  This can be your journal to record your tapering progress.  You'll get a lot of support here from others who've been through the same thing.  Oh, it would also be helpful if you could pad out your signature a bit so we can see dates and doses.  Just helps us be more accurate with our advice. 

 

I know it's pretty scary where you are right now, but you can get through this.  You're in good company here.

Hugs,

KarenB

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Julie,

 

Welcome to s/a - I'm glad you've found us as there is lots of helpful info and support for you here.  What you are feeling right now are the effects of switching from med to med, and the effects of a too-fast taper.  Even though you'd only been on Zoloft for a month your brain was adapted to SSRI use in general, which you'd been on for 9 years. 

 

All of the symptoms you are getting are very common in w/d.  To understand withdrawal:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

You could read this topic on Reinstatement.  You'd be a good candidate for it as you are only 3 weeks out, although you are having some hyper-reactivity (panic and sleeplessness) so you'd want to try only a small amount - possibly 2mg.  (It will depend on the last dosage you were on in your taper - what was that?)  It can take 4 days to feel any relief from reinstatement.  Then you'd stay on that dose until your Central Nervous System stabilised.  At that point we could work out a gentle tapering plan.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose each 4-6 weeks. 

 

So its not like you're 'going back on meds' as such.  It's more about retracing your steps a little and then finding a better and more lasting way to get off.  You're in a really difficult place right now, and it's probably not going to get better by just waiting.  Some people have suffered for even up to a year or longer trying to wait things out.  And things can actually get a lot worse.  You're in the 'fortunate' position of being close enough to your last dose to be able to try reinstating. 

 

Here is the topic for tapering Zoloft:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

 

Have a read of these links and then you can come back to this thread to ask any questions you might have.  This can be your journal to record your tapering progress.  You'll get a lot of support here from others who've been through the same thing.  Oh, it would also be helpful if you could pad out your signature a bit so we can see dates and doses.  Just helps us be more accurate with our advice. 

 

I know it's pretty scary where you are right now, but you can get through this.  You're in good company here.

Hugs,

KarenB

Hello, 

Thank you very much. I actually didn't even see these posts until now! 

 

I am now 5 weeks off medication. and I seem to be getting progressively worse....

 

how has my brain not reset itself yet???

 

i spent last night in emergency with one of the worst panic attacks i have ever had. I was pretty sure I was going to die. the nurse had to basically come in and hold me down because i was freaking out and wondering around and pacing terrified that i was dying. my skin was on fire i thought my head was going to explode, plus by the time i saw a doctor it was 8 am the next day so i was running on 26 hours of no sleep, i kept passing out and then shooting awake in a panic. they basically force fed me an ativan i was shaking so back i couldnt hold anything......and about 20 minutes later.....i finally settled down....

 

so now i am at home.....i havent been able to eat anything the last day and a half, no appetite. when i got home at 10 am yesterday they had given me a second ativan so i went home and passed out until 730 at night.....

 

i again couldnt sleep until about 530 (this am) having another panic and freak out, severe tremors so that i can barely walk, so i had to take another ativan. slept until about 2 pm today....and here i am now.

 

i see my GP tomorrow (a new GP) and i was going to talk about my severe insomnia because i absolutely cannot sleep......should i ask him about reinstating zoloft again for a little while....? i am in a living hell.....i am ALMOSt two day living off of one banana....

 

i figured at 5 weeks off meds i would feel better, not 100 percent but at least a little, now i am worse then ever and i am so scared...

 

please help me...

 

Julie

I have been on multiple kinds of SSRIs for about 9 years now. I don't believe I ever needed to be on them however. I feel as if my current panic and anxiety is drug induced. I am now 3 weeks off of Zoloft and I feel absolutely terrible. I am still hoping for some relief but the hope seems to be slowly dwindling.....

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Kanner,

 

What you are experiencing is not uncommon for .  The only way you will start to feel relief is to reinstate a small amount of the Zoloft.  Your brain has changed whilst being on the drug and now that it isn't getting any it is going haywire.  Once you have been off the drug for a while your brain has started to adapt, which is why you start with a small dose.  Once you find the dose that lessens your symptoms you then stabilise and once stable you taper by 10% of the previous dose and then hold for 4-6 weeks.

 

I suggest you read the About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms before seeing your doctor.

 

I would also urge caution with regards to taking sleep aids.

 

The doctor may very likely tell you to take your previous dose or possibly higher, or even change your drug.  If this happens, it will only make matters worse and upset your brain and CNS even more.  I suggest you also read the topic on How to Talk to Your Doctor About Tapering and Withdrawal and What to Expect from Your Doctor About Withdrawal Symptoms.

 

These might help you to understand what happens to the brain:

 

Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery

 

Brain Remodelling

 

I understand that at the moment you are feeling extremely anxious and scared but if you can settle enough to check out this information, you will have the information you need to be able to make a decision on what to do.

 

I suggest you post back here once you have seen the doctor and tell us what he has advised BEFORE you take anything so that the mods can give their opinion.

 

CC

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello again Julie,

 

I'm really glad you checked back in when you did.  CC has given you good links and advise.  A small reinstatement - perhaps 2mg - is what will help relieve your symptoms.  ('Symptoms' always sounds so benign.  It would be more accurate to say 'relieve your hideous, frightening, appalling w/d effects.') 

 

5 weeks is actually not very long for a brain that is trying to rebuild itself.  It needs months or years, and it needs good care from you.  Read that Brain Remodeling  link from CC - it's a goodie. 

 

This can be resolved Julie.  Do you still have any Zoloft?  There are instructions here for putting it into liquid form so you can measure the small doses. 

 

Start with that and we'll see how it goes.  Keep symptom notes on paper.  It can take 4 days for you to feel improvement, so it's going to be important for you to soothe yourself.  Panicking or ending up back in hospital can really complicate things.  Remind yourself that this is all very normal w/d - and that you will come through it. 

 

And please let us know what happens with the reinstatement if that's what you choose.  We want you to be okay.

 

Sending you big hugs today,

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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