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Rose91: tapering Zoloft - unstable after 4 weeks when to taper?

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Rose91

I'm really struggling with severe anxiety, derealization and depression. I have been having windows and waves (both follow a pattern of 2-7 days each). Currently on 75mg Zoloft and thought I was actually improving and felt ready to reduce again after 4 weeks. Then I get a day like this and it knocks me for six. 

 

I have this horrible feeling that this is the real me but I can't remember how bad I was since I've been on SSRI'S since I was 16. I'm 25 now. Please advise, I'm getting desparate feeling like I may need to be on these meds for the rest of my life.

Edited by scallywag
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ChessieCat

Hi Rose and welcome to SA.

 

I moved your post and created your Intro/Update topic.  Thank you for completing your signature.  You've joined a very supportive site with lots of information.

 

It would seem from your signature that your tapering is catching up with you.  You did the right thing updosing after you got the severe withdrawal symptoms.  SA recommends tapering by 10% of the previous dose with a hold of 4-6 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  It might be a good idea to hold for another 4 weeks to give your brain a chance to catch up.  Also, is Zoloft the only drug you have been taking?

 

Here are some links to information which might help you to understand SA's recommendations and why we get withdrawal symptoms:

 

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

This will be your Intro/Update topic where you can ask questions and keep a journal of your progress.  Please keep your signature current so your drug history can be seen at a glance.  You can FOLLOW (top right) and you will be notified when someone replies.

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Rose91

Thank you so much for the reply. I'll stick with my current dose for another 4 weeks and hopefully i'll be more stable. I'm only on Zoloft but was taking Prozac for 6-7 years until Dec 2014.

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Rose91

Just a little update. I've now been stable for 2 weeks. I can't believe it, I thought I'd be permenantely in a state of despair, depression and derealization. 2 weeks of good days is a miracle. It seems my body is taking longer to adjust to withdrawals.  I'm going to stay at this dose for another 2 weeks then reduce to 65mg.

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mammaP

Hi Rose, its good to see that you have stabilised after a bad wave. Be careful when you make your next reduction. We recommend no more than 10% reductions and that would be 7.5, taking you down to 67.5. It doesn't seem much different but as the dose lowers the cuts need to get smaller.  If it is hard to measure the smaller dose it is available in a liquid. Or you can make your own from tablets, so maybe you could take a 50mg tablet and 17.5mg in liquid form. Here is the topic for tapering zoloft.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

 

Tapering 10% or less will take time but will mean that you get off with little discomfort, withdrawal can be a nightmare as you know but can usually be avoided. 

You are doing great, thank you for updating us :)

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Rose91

I'm struggling. I'm still on 75mg and too scared to reduce any further. I'm in an awful wave phase again where I feel  anxious and have waves of dread/despair. Surely I shouldn't still be feeling like this as I've held this dose (75mg) for 3-4 months now. Will I ever feel normal again or will I be stuck with these awful feelings? I'm concerned that perhaps these aren't withdrawals and are the original problems coming back?

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scallywag

Rose, you will feel normal again. You'll have brighter windows and weaker waves and then eventually you'll get back to "normal", whatever that is for you.

 

Withdrawal symptoms are mysterious, unpredictable beasts. Aside from saying that they will come and go, we can't make any predictions about them: which ones will occur, what their intensity will be, when they'll occur, how long they'll last. 

 

Your symptoms (feeling anxiety, dread and despair) are a communication from your CNS (central nervous system) -- an indication that it has been destabilized and is working to regain stability. 

 

Tell me about your most recent window. :)

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Rose91

Thank you so much, Silver. I'm feeling much better today. I find that the weather has a profound impact on my feelings of dread. 

 

I recently had a 6 week window, I thought I was over all the waves. I've had around 2 weeks of waves and windows. 

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scallywag

Glad you had a better day on Sunday, Rose. Summer is lovely after months of cold and grey.

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Rose91

The past 15 months have been the most difficult, hellish and relentless. I have been on Zoloft and Prozac since I was 16 for anxiety/panic attacks, depression and derealization. I'm now 26 and 15 months ago whilst on Zoloft for a yeaar, I started having these awful feelings of dread(worse in mornings), panic, terror, despair and just complete turmoil. I don't know if my meds had stopped working, or if I had developed a generalized anxiety or severe depression. I have had these symptoms almost everyday 24/7 for 15 months, until recently. My Prozac seems to finally be working, and I feel such a huge relief.

 

However, I really want to start trying for a baby in the next 1-2 years, and don't want to take meds whilst pregnant. I'm terrified of feeling the dread/despair again and I just don't know what to do. I have been feeling almost back to normal for the past 5 days after 9 weeks of Prozac 40mg.

 

I am taking capsules, and would like to perhaps try making my own solution to taper, but it looks overwhelming with all the numbers doses, syringes etc.

 

Can anyone offer me any advice? I'm worried i'll never get off these drugs or have a family. I have been reading a lot on this forum and it seems to take years before people get any relief from withdrawal symptoms. 

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Madeleine

Hi Rose:  Just wanted to welcome you to the forum. Hopefully one of the moderators can give you some advice soon.

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scallywag

Rose, what is your current dose of Zoloft?  When did you last reduce the dose?

 

Others in the same situation as you are posting in this topic: Wanting a baby and withdrawing.

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Rose91

Hi Scally, I'm currently on 40mg Prozac, I have been on this dose for 9 weeks. Prior to that I was on 20mg Prozac for 2 weeks or so. I was on Zoloft 150mg before that. I haven't been reducing yet, I did start last year with the Zoloft, but symptoms got worse and started increasing Zoloft, then switching to Prozac.

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scallywag

If you feel that the Prozac "seems to be finally working" after 9 weeks at 40 mg, I'd urge you to consider stabilizing there for at least another few months, possibly until you've been on that dose for 6 months.

 

An anecdote, one data point: A relative of mine, having the same concerns many newly expectant moms do, discontinued Prozac once she learned she was pregnant the first time. That wee boy was born healthy but 4-5 weeks early. Fortunately over the last 20+ years he has had no noticeable health effects that can be attributed to his premature birth. He's a strapping, joyful and smart lad. During her 2nd and 3rd pregnancies, his mom continued Prozac. Those babies were born full-term and are doing very well as young adults: also smart, social, active and enthusiastic.  As I said, one data point.

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PoetJester

Hey Rose,

 

I am no expert, but I have heard that the pills are safe for pregnancy.   I was watching a youtube video a few months back about  a woman who had been on paxil for over a decade and had gotten married and started withdrawing during her honeymoon because she wanted to get off the pill in hopes of getting pregnant.  the video is entitled "One's Woman's Struggle with Paxil Withdrawal and Back"  and the user name is amydanielle1027.   she was in wd for 7 months and just miserable when she made the video.  she ended up reinstating and posted two years later that she had a healthy happy baby girl.  I was drawn to the video because if you watch it, amy has horrible bags under her eyes, which I also have now after 3 years of wd.  

 

Poetjester

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Rose91
Posted (edited)

Topic title:  Tapering from Prozac advice

 

I have been on AD's since i was 16 (i'm 28 now) for panic attacks/depression/mild autism. I have had 3 failed tapers as i did them too fast. I have been on prozac and sertraline, but am currently on prozac and have been for the last 3-4 years. I was on 40mg for most of this time, but had my dosage increased in January 2019 to 60mg. I decided to start tapering to 40mg in March as my intrusive thoughts and urges were getting worse. I then went down to 30mg in April. I have mild withdrawals that lasted about a month.  I have held this dose of 30mg  since April. I feel ready to taper again however, i am really afraid to start messing with the capsules and doing the liquid taper as I have read that a liquid taper is reacted to differently. I wasn't sure if it was safe to make a liquid out of the capsules as the capsules allow for a more controlled/slower release whereas the liquid version would surely cause difficulty? I'm so scared of going through the constant dark depression and terror that i did before whilst withdrawing. Please can you advise me as to the best way to go about this? Thanks!

 

Edited by ChessieCat
moved topic to Intro and added topic title

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hi Rose91,

And welcome back.  And yes, best to proceed now with plenty of information and carefully.

Tips for tapering off Prozac(fluoxetine)

take a look ^

 

Are you considering making your own liquid or getting the pharmaceutical formulation?

It looks like the do it yourself liquid of Prozac has a long, successful history.

How do you take your Prozac now.......do you take one 20 mg capsule and one 10 mg capsule to get your daily dose?

 

You might consider, making your own liquid, and then taking part of your dose in liquid and the rest in capsule form.

You'll see more about this towards the end of the first post, in the tapering Prozac link I included.


How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

5 hours ago, Rose91 said:

I'm so scared of going through the constant dark depression and terror that i did before whilst withdrawing. Please can you advise me as to the best way to go about this? Thanks!

 

And I wonder if some of the dark depression and terror that you experienced might have been WD symptoms.  Prozac has one of the longest half lives of the AD's.  What this often equates to in terms of WD symptoms is that you may experience some of the WD symptoms, well after the initial changes in your dose, while tapering.

 

And some more general withdrawal information here(as I'm not sure how much you might have browsed the site so far):

 
 
 

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.
 
Okay.  All for now.  And ask any questions right here Rose91, on your introduction page.  This is your introduction/journal page where you have now introduced yourself to the community, you can ask questions here regarding your tapering, give updates, and just keep a record of your journey. That helps us, to keep your more pertinent information, all in one place.
 
Love, peace, healing, and growth,
manymoretodays(mmt)

 

Edited by manymoretodays
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Altostrata

Hello, Rose. Prozac capsules are not slow-releasing. If you can't get the prescription liquid, many people make their own.

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Rose91

Thank you both so much. I have a few questions as i'm finding all the information about liquid tapering overwhelming.

 

I will get both a graduated cylinder and a syringe to see which i prefer. what size in ml do I need? They have 5ml 10ml 25ml 50ml and 100ml.

 

I am currently taking 30mg of prozac in capsule form (one 20mg capsule and one 10mg capsule). I plan to take the 20mg capsule whole and do a liquid of the 10mg to let myself adjust to the part liquid dose, as I have a feeling i'm going to be really sensitive to the change to liquid. So, I will hold my current dose of 30mg whilst doing 10g liquid and 20mg capsule. Can I use the 1:1 ratio of 1 parts water and 1 capsule powder? For example, 10mg powder from the capsule dissolved in 10ml water, and i take all of the solution, correct? 

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Rose91

Anybody? 😊

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brassmonkey

Hi Rose-- sorry that it's taken so long for someone to get back to you.

 

I think a 20ml graduated cylinder should work just fine.

 

Using a 1:1 ratio is the easiest way, it takes all the calculations out of the process.  Just be sure not to mix up the capsules when making the mixture, it's been known to happen around here. 

 

Combining both capsule and liquid is a pretty common way to do it. It's a good idea to take the combination dose for several weeks before starting to taper just to see how you react and to let your body adjust. Then you can reduce the amount of the liquid as you start to taper.

 

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