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yodascat: CT off sertaline/zoloft


yodascat

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Hi guys,

 

I'm a new user here around these forums and I thought I'd post here to ask for some opinions/advice. 

 

I've had GAD my whole life with a great deal of emphasis on my HA (health anxiety). 

I've been working on this anxiety and I've definitely improved throughout these past few years.

I thought it would be a good idea to start on some SSRIs to give me that boost that I needed. 

My GP prescribed me Sertraline/Zooloft (50mg) in late June 2016 and I tried it for 2.5 months. In these 2.5 months, I was constantly so drowsy and tired all the time and nauseous. I'd also have night sweats and have really weird thoughts and just generally felt really bad so I decided to stop it cold turkey at 50mg.

 

I've been cold turkey for ~2.5 weeks now. The night sweats have decreased significantly and the nausea has subsided but I feel like there is rebound anxiety, general fatigue and lack of attention/memory issues. I've been also having more hypnagogic hallucinations/episodes. I used to only get them every few months.

 

I think they are hypnagogic hallucinations because I've had a few episodes this week where as I'm dosing off, I feel like I'm out of my body, and there's a sudden change in my environment (i.e. sounds, something in the room, or some pressure on my body - all around, sometimes in my jaw or chest). In saying so, I'm unable to move or talk. 

 

I'm not sure whether this is my SSRI withdrawal and the rebound anxiety contributing to these episodes or whether my anxious mind is saying I've got something like night-time seizures?

 

 

Anyone got any opinions on this? 

Past medical history: generalised anxiety for my whole life (emphasis on health anxiety)

 

Tried CBT and didn't really find it useful. 

 

Started on meds for the first time (SSRI - sertraline 50mg) in June 2016 and stayed on this for 2.5 months. Started getting night sweats almost immediately and feeling nauseated all the time and just unwell. 

 

Went cold turkey a few weeks ago and have been having some weird possible withdrawal symptoms? Felt quite nauseous for the first 1.5 weeks but feeling significantly better now. Have been getting hypnagogic hallucinations much more frequently (not sure if this is a side effect of the withdrawal or something else). 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi yodoscat,

 

Welcome to SA.  There is lots of excellent information about ADs and withdrawal here as well as support.

 

The first thing we ask all members to do is Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.   If you have been, or are, on other drugs it is important to include all drugs, dates and doses.  Please give details of the last 12-18 months and a summary of any prior.  Please update whenever you make a change so that the information remains current and we can see it at a glance.  Thank you.

 

Did you start on a lower dose and build up to 50 mg?  If so, what side effects did you experience on the lower dose compared to the higher dose?

 

Until we have some additional information about your previous or concurrent drug taking, we are limited in what we can suggest.

 

If you have taken any antidepressants or antipsychiotics previously did you have any side effects from them?  And if so, what?

 

I'm am hesitate at this time to suggest reinstatement of a small dose to try because I am not sure if you what you experienced whilst taking Zoloft was actually a severe reaction.  One of the more knowledgeable mods should be able to help with that.  I'll give you a couple of links to read so that you have the information.  However if you do decide you want to try reinstating it is important that you only take a very small dose.  I suggest you let us know if you want to try this so we can suggest a dose.

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

withdrawal symptoms

 

Stages of Withdrawal: Acute and Post-Acute

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

 

Have a read of the above links and ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic.  You can journal your progress here too.  Click "Follow" top right and you will be notified when someone responds.

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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Thank you very much for your response. 

I will update my profile accordingly. 

 

I'll write my hx here as well:

 

June 2016 was the first time I was on any SSRI. I've heard that some people just don't seem to respond very well. I didn't really feel any benefit but my GP told me to start off with 50mg and just keep taking it and see how I went. After 2.5 months of just feling like crap I went cold turkey. 

Past medical history: generalised anxiety for my whole life (emphasis on health anxiety)

 

Tried CBT and didn't really find it useful. 

 

Started on meds for the first time (SSRI - sertraline 50mg) in June 2016 and stayed on this for 2.5 months. Started getting night sweats almost immediately and feeling nauseated all the time and just unwell. 

 

Went cold turkey a few weeks ago and have been having some weird possible withdrawal symptoms? Felt quite nauseous for the first 1.5 weeks but feeling significantly better now. Have been getting hypnagogic hallucinations much more frequently (not sure if this is a side effect of the withdrawal or something else). 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you for providing the additional information and completing your signature.  It is very helpful.

 

Here is an antidepressant withdrawal symptom list:  glenmullen_symptoms_AS Appendix 1.pdf  Nos 24 & 25 are auditory and visual hallucinations.  I have had auditory hallucinations were I thought I could hear people chattering on the radio even though I was in the house by myself with no radio or tv on.

 

The situation you are in at the moment is that your brain has adapted to the sertaline which is why you are getting withdrawal symptoms.

 

The problem you had may simply be side effects of the drug.

 

The idea of reinstating is to give your brain some of the drug it needs to make withdrawal symptoms bearable (able to be lived with) but not take too much so that you get a bad reaction.  I suggest you have a read of the reinstatement information and post your thoughts and questions here in your topic.

 

You might find this interesting and/or helpful.  It was written in the context of benzo withdrawal, but seems to be equally applicable to the healing process of AD withdrawal (or, as the author puts it, "recovery").  What is Happening in Your Brain

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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Thanks so much for the response. 

 

Last night when i was sleep, I had another episode of the hypnagogic hallucination. It felt similar to sleep paralysis where I couldn't really move. This time I heard voices and it was a little scary but after a bit I kept telling myself that it wasn't real. 

 

Since I'm nearly 3 weeks in, would it be worth reinstating a dose (assuming that I can keep up with the withdrawal symptoms)?

Past medical history: generalised anxiety for my whole life (emphasis on health anxiety)

 

Tried CBT and didn't really find it useful. 

 

Started on meds for the first time (SSRI - sertraline 50mg) in June 2016 and stayed on this for 2.5 months. Started getting night sweats almost immediately and feeling nauseated all the time and just unwell. 

 

Went cold turkey a few weeks ago and have been having some weird possible withdrawal symptoms? Felt quite nauseous for the first 1.5 weeks but feeling significantly better now. Have been getting hypnagogic hallucinations much more frequently (not sure if this is a side effect of the withdrawal or something else). 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I've ask one of the other mods to check in to see if she might be able to offer any suggestions.

 

I managed to find the topic discussion here:  nightmare-while-awake-sleep-paralysis-hypnogogic-hallucinations-etc

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

Yes Yodascat (great username!) it is a good time to reinstate.  2.5 months doesn't seem long, but it's long enough for the drug to have restructured your neurotransmitters and neurons so that they now need the drug (even if it was unpleasant and unhelpful)

 

We don't want to give you enough to give you side effects, just enough to help your symptoms go away.  Do you still have any zoloft in the house?

 

If not, can you get to a doctor and get the smallest possible dose?  I was just checking, it looks like 50 mg is the smallest possible dose, but that is not a good amount to reinstate.  Liquid Zoloft does not appear to be available here in Oz.

 

Closer to 5 mg might be a help to you.  

 

So how do you get to 5 mg from a 50 mg tablet?  You will have to make your own liquid.

 

Please see:  Tips for Tapering off Zoloft

 

How to Make a Liquid from Tablets or Capsule

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-using-an-oral-syringe-and-other-tapering-techniques/

 

I know it seems like a lot of mess to go through.  If you are urgent, you can try to break a tablet into 10 pieces and take a crumb, while you are figuring out how to get a steady dose.

 

We should know pretty quickly whether this is what you need or not.   Sometimes within hours of taking a crumb, you may feel better - it takes 4 days to reach steady state in your blood stream.   If it makes your symptoms worse, then stop immediately.

 

The doses they prescribe are extremely potent.  Everyone expresses a desire to never take the drug again, but - many who have reinstated are glad that they did.  It's criminal that the drug companies (and the doctors, who just accept what the drug companies feed them as gospel truth) do not provide tapering amounts on drugs which need to be tapered.

 

Scientifically, you are in withdrawal from sertraline.  Scientifically the best way to stop withdrawal is to take a small (tiny!) amount of the drug that caused your withdrawal, and that should take the edge off of your symptoms.  It also may be important to get the same kind of sertraline that you were on before, so that all the fillers are the same, too.

 

If a reinstatement of a crumb works, then you need to learn to make a liquid, because you will need to take a consistent, reliable dose, and cutting up crumbs is not very accurate.  It will be essential when you start to taper, to be very accurate, and liquid is the easiest way to do this.  When you have stabilized (at least a month), then you can start a 10% per month tapering plan.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

It is also criminal that - when he gave you the script, neither the doctor - or the pharmacist - nobody told you not to CT this drug. They didn't warn you, did they?  There are black box warnings against stopping the drug abruptly.  I'm so sorry you are going through this.  The doctors should have to do what you did - take the drug for 2 months, CT it, and see how that feels (and messes with their family life, their career, their mental and emotional well being) - and then see if they can still prescribe these drugs in good conscience.

 

I'm sorry you are feeling so bad, but from what you've told us, your symptoms are typical of withdrawal from SSRI's.  Here's a list of common SSRI withdrawal symptoms, and you will see - there are a lot of them in several categories:  Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's Most Common symptoms of Withdrawal

 

You can use this thread for your journal, to track your progress, ask questions, and get ideas about how to proceed.  Please list the last date you took sertaline (as best you can remember) in your signature, too.

 

What do you think about a 5 mg reinstatement to stop your symptoms?  (please, don't get another drug, it will just complicate the mix)

 

Here's a video that explains how it works (Chessie's links are most excellent, too)

Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery (Toxic Antidepressants)

"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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Hey yodascat

 

I was on Zoloft and zyprexa from 1998 to 2014 and I have a lot of the same wd symptoms that you have especially the attention/memory problems, the fatigue and the hypnagogic hallucinations. My hypnagogia is especially horrible. For 2 1/2 years now I have have had these horrific cartoonish visions as soon as I close my eyes, but before I have actually drifted off to sleep. Sometimes I start dreaming while I my eyes are closed but I am still conscious.

 

Poetjester

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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