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Withdrawalboy13

Withdrawalboy13: Zoloft - The Worst decision of my life

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Withdrawalboy13

Surely medications can work very well for the right people...but for anyone considering anti-depressants, I will be sure to give persistent words of caution.

I was always a very passionate person. A lover of the arts and emotions. I was also always very anxious. Towards the end of my senior year of high school (2012), I decided that my anxiety was hindering my academic abilities more than it needed to. My mom, a nurse anesthetist, was very skeptical of medications (anti depressants, in particular). In hindsight, I wish I was able to share in her skepticism. Ultimately, the doctors put me on Sertrailne, or Zoloft. I began the med around May 2012, gradually working my way up from about 25 mg.

 

At the end of the summer, I believe I was on about 100 mg (this is for sure the highest dose that I've ever been on). It was a rainy afternoon in August 2012 at my grandparents cabin that I noticed was feeling very off. I didn't think much of it, but little did know, this was likely the beginnings of my brain accepting the med. Then college came, and the side effects worsened. I guess my anxiety was gone, but at what cost?. I was feeling emotionally numb and depersonalized.

 

Eventually, I opened up to my parents about how I had been feeling (over the phone, because I was away at college). They figured that I had been taking the med for a short enough period of time that I could quickly wean off of it with minimal side effects. But this made me feel significantly worse. My first experience with withdrawal led me to believe that I was better off on the med. Long story short, my parents encouraged me to come home once my first semester of college was done and register for some classes at a community college so I could live at home with them.

 

So, I went about two more years on the med before I decided I had enough. I wanted out. I did not want to be under the control of some pill, especially if it was going to make me feel the way that it did. I felt sort of like a zombie or robot. It was very hard to enjoy the simple things in life. I was having sexual problems, and I had a very annoying appetite (I always wanted to eat, despite not being truly hungry). In all of this, the real me was still inside, and it knew it didn't like the I was feeling. So in October 2015, under the instruction of a doctor, I began weaning off.

 

The weaning off process left me feeling very similar to how I felt while of the med. The last time I took the med was in early-mid January 2016. Since then, I've gradually felt some pretty horrifying side effects. In a nutshell, what I felt while on the med seemed to be amplified. I had a hard time enjoying all of the things that I once did. But it hasn't all been bad, as I have had some glorious days that left me feeling like my old self. I could sit down and watch a movie just like I used to. Colors seemed brighter and music sounded better. But this is only some of the time.

 

Starting last Tuesday, I truly felt like my old self. This led me to believe that the withdrawal side effects had finished, but then today, they gradually reintroduced themselves. I began feeling subtly nauseous and irritable. So in a desperate attempt for support, I searched the web for help groups. No matter how much or how hard you try to explain your situation to someone, they won't really understand unless they've experienced something similar. I just want someone to tell me that things will get better. The last week now seems like a cruel joke, because I truly thought that the withdrawal was over. Any words of encouragement would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

Edited by KarenB
added paragraph breaks

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KarenB

Hello Withrawalboy,

 

It's good to have you here - and things will get better ;)   There is a lot of info on this site, and plenty of support from people going through similar things.  No need to feel alone any longer :).

 

It is common to mistake withdrawal symptoms for ‘relapse’ and at this point that many people get drawn back into using drugs, believing they are not healed.  It happened to me, and it sounds like it happened to you too.  You'll still be able to get off the drugs though.  We recommend a gentle taper, reducing by no more than 10% of your current dose each month.  This allows your brain time to adjust as you go, and lessens any withdrawal. 

 

How did you go about that recent taper?  If it was faster than our recommendation, that would account for the symptoms you are now having. (Would you be able to fill out a signature – drugs/dates/dosages etc - so we can see your situation easily whenever you post, and help you more accurately?  Thanks.

 

Having a read about the Windows and Waves pattern of stabilisation will help you to understand what is happening to you, and why you felt better then worse again.  Once you've got that on board, you might like to consider reinstating a small amount in order to stabilise again.  The plan being that you could then taper off in a much gentler way next time.  No one ever wants to (and who can blame us?), but it really is the least painful option. 

 

Many people find Fish oil and Magnesium useful during withdrawal.  

 

Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This will be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. 

 

Welcome to s/a,

Karen

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LexAnger

Hi WDBoy,

 

Everyone here understands what you are going through and how scary and desparete when one is in this process. You will get tons best advice from knowledgable people like fresh did.

 

I just want to say I'm so sorry you were hit too. Once you get a chance to learn from others stories you will have a better idea as what it's is gonna to be like for most of us. The healing is unfortunately very long process but good news is with patience, endurance and constant learning to cope properly, we eventually will recover.

 

Hang in there,

Lex

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ChessieCat

Hi WDBoy,

 

Welcome to SA.  It great that you found this site.  The voluntary staff are very knowledgeable and the members are very encouraging.  And the support comes from people who "get it".

 

I just wanted to share with you a couple of things which helped me to understand what has happened and how our brains have changed and how they need to adapt slowly back.  Deciding to reinstate is not because you are weak, it is because your brain still needs some of the drug that it is used to getting.

 

If you do decide to reinstate, I suggest you post your intention here and then someone will give you a suggested dose because take a small amount, you DO NOT take the last dose you were on because your brain has done some adapting during the 2 - 2.5 months you have been off it.

 

Anyway check these out:

 

Brain Remodelling

 

Video:  Healing from Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery (4 minutes)

 

Introduction to Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome

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Withdrawalboy13

Thank you all so much for your helpful and encouraging words.  I just recently created a "signature" for myself.  According to the guidelines that you (KarenB) laid out, I tapered far more quickly than is recommended on this site. I was so eager to get off the meds that I figured the sooner the better.  Although I was aware that cold turkey was a bad option.  When I wanted to go off the meds, a doctor actually told me I could pretty much get off Sertraline cold turkey. But my parents and I did some online research that informed us that it best to wean. It upsets me greatly to know that some doctors have this mindset.  My original doctor seemed to have no qualms about putting me on the med.  I was informed that it was a pretty benign pill.  Maybe it is in the grand scheme of things, but I'm hating this withdrawal.  Anything that messes with who a person truly is should not be handled so lightly...

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Withdrawalboy13

Hahaha I guess I was trying to be unnecessarily polite. But yes, most doctors are under the control of pharmaceutical companies. I wish I had been more wary going into this. My anxiety was initially bad, but not bad enough to warrant antidepressant withdrawal suffering. It's unfortunate that there's no real way of knowing who these meds will actually help. But at the end of the day, this world is over medicated. Pills don't fix everything, and sometimes they only make things worse! I've avoided alcohol and illicit drugs my whole life, but I feel like some of these antidepressants should be classified as illicit drugs. And my withdrawal isn't even as bad as some of the other stories I've read on here. It's absurd!

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Withdrawalboy13

Also, in regards to reinstating, I feel I'm way too scared to even think of putting any portion of Sertraline into my body again. I wonder if it's even been too long (since I've been off of it) to even try to reinstate. It's a terrifying concept for me....but then again, so is this waves and windows idea. The waves are not welcome in this brain! Pity they have little to no regard for what I want ????.

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alldaisy

Hi, 

 

Wish you are feeling better. Here you will find many people that could give you a better advice than me. My experience is horrible, no  matter what I did  or try for quitting the medication, I am still taking meds and no feeling well. I am gaining a lot of weight. No idea if any person here have been able to stop taking these medications without experience the original symptoms that put us on these medications. No idea if in the future a new medication will appear in the market, one with less undesirable side effects. 

 

I will tell you to always consult your doctors, and if need it, take the medication, sometimes is better to take the meds, that ending at a hospital. 

 

In my case I put a lot of effort, and refused to take many medications or cocktails of meds. Somedays I feel better than others. 

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AliG

Hi WD.   Reinstatement is more likely to work , soon after stopping a drug while the nervous system is still  somewhat shaped around the drug that's been removed. The " window of opportunity " can vary  individually , but is best done sooner than later.  At   2 - 2.5 months , it is still possibly an option for you . There are no guarantees, but it might be worth considering. Only at a very small dose of 1- 2mg, perhaps.

 

It can be a difficult choice, but a low dose can often lessen withdrawal symptoms , and therefore make life a lot more tolerable and easier to navigate through this period of time.

Have a read around ( links & site) , and see what you think . Come back with any other questions , you might have. Please don't leave it too long , as this is a crucial time for you .

Ali

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Withdrawalboy13

I'm also noticing a trend in my days as of late.  It seems that I wake up feeling pretty good, and then continue to feel good for about the next several hours.  At around 4 or 5, I gradually start to feel a bit nauseous and irritable.  Eventually the nausea wears down and I start to feel more apathetic toward the end of my day.  For the last couple hours before I chose to go to bed I teeter among feeling pretty good, nauseous, and apathetic.  Within the hour before bed and/or as I am about to go to sleep, I start feeling anxious.  Is this normal?

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AliG

Anything can be " normal " , in withdrawal . Everyone is a little different , but there are basic underlying similarities & symptoms. It sounds familiar .

What have you decided ?  Re :  " Reinstatement " ?

How are you feeling , now ?

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ChessieCat

Hi WDBoy,

 

There are a few other members who have joined recently who have had trouble deciding whether they should reinstate.  All of them have reinstated a small dose and are starting to feel improvement.

 

Just remember if you do reinstate start with a small dose 1 or 2 mg.  It takes 4 days for the drug to reach full state in the blood.  You may feel some improvement within a few hours or during the first day.

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KarenB

Hey w/dboy,

 

I also think reinstatement is the way to go. 

 

AllDaisy - I hear how you really feel for people who have got stuck on ad's - you've been through such a lot yourself.  However I think we need to acknowledge that most people here have been harmed by advice from their doctors, and therefore consulting those doctors isn't logical.  What we recommend on s/a is that people build up their knowledge and self-confidence to take charge of their own healing. 

 

Best wishes,

Karen

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Wellness

AllDaisy,

 

If your doctor is knowledgeable, you are lucky.  But for many of us, the doctors have very limited knowledge of these drugs and so many of us could not rely on advice from our doctors.  The doctor's advice is often wrong, drugs are prescribed carelessly, and most doctors have a very poor understanding of the side effects and withdrawal symptoms.  Suggesting that one rely on advice from a doctor for these drugs is not a good idea for many.

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Fresh

Hi Withdrawalboy , welcome to the site.

It's quite common to feel extra good after tapering too fast - the colors are brighter , thoughts clearer , music sounds

better , lots of inspired ideas and plans.  For me that lasted a couple of months before things started to turn ... I became more irritable , sleeping less , argumentative , crying , distressed.

And that's the nature of protracted withdrawal - it can continue to get worse for many many months before it gets better.

 

It's not too late too reinstate after approx.10 weeks , although the longer you wait the longer it will take you to recover.

 

If members honestly thought you would be better off suffering through this for a month or two and you'd be home free , we'd be the first to say "Stick it out and don't look back".     

 

If your symptoms are continuing to change and new ones are starting , please consider reinstating as the most sensible , least harmful way to move forward from here.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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Withdrawalboy13

I've been feeling pretty good so far today.  A little nauseous after my workout, but overall a lot better than I have been this week.  For whatever reason, this week was particularly hard.  I'm also not sure if I have anymore meds.  I may have thrown it all away as an act of passion and celebration once I took my last dose in January.  But I will be sure to search around my parents' house for the containers.  

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Altostrata

Welcome, Withdrawalboy.

 

It sounds like you have had severe withdrawal symptoms, and they are starting to abate in a typical waves and windows pattern.

 

Because you're so young, you may heal faster rather than slower. Please be very careful not to overstress your fragile, healing nervous system for many months. It will heal very gradually.

 

If withdrawal symptoms get bad again, you may wish to try reinstating a very small amount of Zoloft, 1mg or 2mg, as KarenB, ChessieCat, and Fresh mentioned. Zoloft comes in a liquid to make this easier.

 

You'd take this for a while, then go off in very, very tiny steps. See Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

In the meantime, many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

alldaisy, we would be delighted to refer people to doctors who know how to taper and deal with withdrawal symptoms. They are few and far between. If you know of any such doctors, please add them to Recommended doctors, therapists, or clinics

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SkyBlue

Welcome, Withdrawalboy.

 

Glad you found us.

 

Without giving specifics, I see that I am not far from you at all. I hope the lovely first-day-of-spring weather we're heaving has lifted your spirits somewhat.

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Withdrawalboy13

Hey everyone!  So I've been taking a trivial amount of Sertraline for a couple of weeks now.  My withdrawal seems like it may gradually be dwindling.  Thank you all again for your support.  I'll be sure to keep you updated.

 

On a slightly different note, for one of my current college projects I am to propose a change to some health related system.  I was going to suggest that we increase public education in regards to antidepressants.  My thesis is "If society placed a greater emphasis on public education in regards to antidepressant medicine, experiences with harmful side effects would decrease, money spent on unnecessary medications would decrease, and safer alternatives could be discovered." I was wondering if anyone knew of any good places to look for reputable information. So far I have found a lot in regards to statistics related to the amount of americans using antidepressants as well as common side effects and what have you. I wanted to include more about doctors and pharmacies as well as what current standards are for medication education. Any tips would be very much appreciated! Thanks again!!

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Fresh

Hi WB , please could you update your signature to show the date you reinstated , and what dose.

How are you measuring your dose?

 

The best member to point you in the right direction is probably "nz11" , his thread is largely a collection of interesting

articles related to medication issues. There must be some relevant stuff in there for you.

See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7571-☼-nz11-climbs-onboard/

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Withdrawalboy13

Will do, and thank you!  I will be sure to check out his thread.

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Hopeinahpwr

Withdrawalboy13,

I reinstated, feel better and now we can work on doing it the right way, as others on here w much more experience at this than I have mentioned. I wish you the best and am in this with you! To freedom!!!!

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