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Hey there. This is my first post, but I have a success story that I’d like to share.

I’d like to preface by saying I had been on 75mg of sertraline (Zoloft) for approximately 7 months. I quit last year and have successfully made it through the withdrawals!

 

I see more horror stories than success stories on SSRI discontinuation. My hypothesis for this discrepancy is that people who successfully quit the drug don’t really have that much of an incentive to post their stories, while people dealing with the terrible side effects are more likely to seek out information. I knew there were millions of people on SSRIs, and I refused to believe that my discontinuation symptoms would be permanent. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I found out quickly how unhealthy it was to hold this mentality of permanence.

 

I tapered off a too quickly (~2 weeks). I believed that since I had only been on the medication for a few months, I could get away with tapering off at that rate. Consequently, I ended up having over 6 weeks of hellish withdrawals. The first 2 weeks had the most powerful physical symptoms: brain zaps, fatigue, nausea, etc. These symptoms seemed to go away around week 3, but then came another wave of symptoms: anxiety, paranoia, depression, and a lot of overthinking. I didn’t realize it till week 5, but these feelings were more powerful than when I had them before starting sertraline.

Week 5 was the worst; all these terrible feelings went into overdrive. I remember a few specific days of this week were particularly dreadful. I had been reading up on SSRI discontinuation online and freaking myself out reading people’s horror stories. I was afraid that I permanently removed what it was to be human. I was terrified I’d never feel joy, sexual desire, or ambition in my life ever again. I was angry at myself that my choice to try anti-depressants fucked up the rest of my life. I was broken, and I just wanted to be normal again.

 

These are unhealthy thoughts, and I was wrong.

My life did start coming back. I slowly felt what it was like to be “me” again. Small steps every day reminded me. One day something would make me laugh. Another day I’d notice a cute girl. I appreciated and cherished every step throughout the way. And slowly but surely, old joys started coming back to me: I started feeling ambition, I was looking forward to future plans, I was dreaming again (I could sleep well again!), and I was feeling love again, both for myself and others.

 

I believe there is a strong psychosomatic component during these withdrawals. It’s difficult because your brain doesn’t allow you get past these negative thoughts while its readjusting, but you have to keep moving. There isn’t a quick solution, but your brain is powerful and adjusts to your current circumstances. That’s why exercise, a healthy diet, a support network, and a positive outlook are so important; you want your brain to re-adjust in an ideal setting.  So, don’t blame yourself or hold a grudge for trying SSRIs; you actively did something to confront your inner demons.
 

From one stranger to another, you will survive this. Good luck.

25MG Sertraline - 2016

75MG Sertraline - Dec 2016

Tapered from Dec2016 to Jan2017

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Great to hear that you've recovered. I think that most people recover within 3 months, but those that don't usually have a far longer struggle for some reason. 

PSSD, Anhedonia, Loss of Imagination and creativity, physical pressure in head all from taking 50mg Sertraline for a month back in February 2015. Not seen much improvement (if any). Time of writing this signature - 01/02/2016 (UK date format)

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Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Much appreciated.

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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Thank you for sharing your story. It is really encouraging.

I believe that true healing starts once you are completely of the drugs.

For some of us, it is still a journey to freedom. Hopefully that will happen soon.

DRUG HISTORY:

 

November 2013- Zoloft, ( Bad reaction).

January 2014 - March 2014 Seroquel.( Quit Cold Turkey).

January2014- Mirtazapine, I was taking 15mg at one stage, reduced to 7.5mg, Pgad reactions to Mirtazapine. Doctor kept increasing it to 37.5mg, until July 2014. No improvement, experiencing panic attacks, on 37.5 mg. I had enough by October 2014. Began tapering.

October 2014- Started tapering Mirtazapine from 37.5mg.

September 2015- Down to 4mg of Mirtazapine. Crashed.

September 16th- Up dosed to 5mg. Held this dose for almost 5 months. Stabilised.

February 2016- Began tapering again. From 5mg to 4.5mg of Mirtazapine. (Rocking the boat, again)! Lol. :(

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theloneranger86

how long did the withdrawal symptoms continue for ? Did loss of libido and sexual function come back gradually or at once ?

Iv been getting better but my erectile dysfunction is still not cured. Iv improved on all aspects including ED but still so far from a recovery 

 

Would be great to know about your timelines and trajectory of recovery

 

Thanks for sharing your experience

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  • Moderator

Carrot - the purpose of the Success Stories section is to provide support for people who are struggling in their withdrawals, to be certain.

 

But a greater purpose of this section  is to provide information to practitioners, doctors, psychiatrists, students, who want to see how it was done.

 

Please put your withdrawal history in signature listing dates, doses, and date of your cold turkey.

 

and we will evaluate whether this qualifies as a "success story" or not.   What you have said here is not enough information for us to go on, nor is it enough information to refer to practitioners as a success.

 

You might use:  Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's Most Common symptoms of Withdrawal to compare your different months of withdrawal, to your present, recovered state.

 

I am hoping you will grace us with more information.

"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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  • Administrator

Thanks, carrot. How long did it take you to feel like "me" again? Did your recovery proceed in stages? Did you find anything that seemed to help you recover?

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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  • 1 month later...
Hopeinahpwr

Thank you Carrot, as your post is almost exactly what I'm feeling at the moment! Thanks for the hope

 

Ben

On zoloft since 2000 for OCD/anxiety. Tapered off from 150mg to 100, 50, 25 over Dec/Jan 2015. After month n half off, began depression. Being terrified, as I never had depression before, after a few days, went back to 50mg, then five days later to 100mg. Now stable. I will stop this medication, with time and perseverance...my current taper level and timing are as follows, which includes No other Rx's, No alcohol, NEVER any illicit drugs:

84mg from October 2016

82mg from February 2017

79mg from April 2017

77mg from June 2017

75mg from July 2017

"Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation." - Viktor Frankl

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  • 7 months later...

Any update on how long these symptoms lasted for folks?  I'm currently at week 3 and experiencing major emotional instability, periods of crying, and visual disturbances.  My doc obviously wants to reinstate, but I'm struggling with how long to hold out for discontinuation symptoms to clear.

concussion January 2017

nortriptyline April 2017

Lexapro 10 mg June 2017

2 week taper June 2017

Pristiq 50 mg September 2017

Zoloft 25 mg October 2017

4 day taper to 12.5 mg October 2017

off November 1 2017

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  • 1 month later...

Thank God we can recover from this. I was on zoloft for 2 months at 25mg but shesh these past 8 weeks off been the hardest weeks of my life.  Am currently at 2 months off still having confusion dp,dr. Living but not living life. Feeling detach from reality did you ever experience that? At what month did you started to feel like you again? I can't enjoy nothing at the moment just to be in my room all day. You give us all hope recovery will happen! 

My first antidepressant ever.

Zoloft September 12, 2017.

First 3, 4 days on 50 mg. 

My doctor lower my dose to 25 mg later that week. September 19.

From September 19 till November 14 taking 25 mg.

September 14 started to taper of 25 mg to half the pill.

Did that for a week only

September 14 is when i decided to quit completely.

December 2 marks 18 days off Zoloft.

Zyprexa for one week, November 

Ativan 1mg for one week, December 

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On 2/4/2017 at 12:35 PM, raven530 said:

Great to hear that you've recovered. I think that most people recover within 3 months, but those that don't usually have a far longer struggle for some reason. 

What you mean 3 month's? Am off 2 month's and still having withdrawal. Crazy i only took em for 2 month's.  You think when i hit the 3rd month ill start seeing some results to recovery? 

My first antidepressant ever.

Zoloft September 12, 2017.

First 3, 4 days on 50 mg. 

My doctor lower my dose to 25 mg later that week. September 19.

From September 19 till November 14 taking 25 mg.

September 14 started to taper of 25 mg to half the pill.

Did that for a week only

September 14 is when i decided to quit completely.

December 2 marks 18 days off Zoloft.

Zyprexa for one week, November 

Ativan 1mg for one week, December 

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What I'm saying is that most people do recover within 3 months, but some don't, I can't give a probability. I'm 20 months out from cold turkeying Sertraline (Zoloft) and still got severe anhedonia and PSSD

PSSD, Anhedonia, Loss of Imagination and creativity, physical pressure in head all from taking 50mg Sertraline for a month back in February 2015. Not seen much improvement (if any). Time of writing this signature - 01/02/2016 (UK date format)

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11 hours ago, raven530 said:

What I'm saying is that most people do recover within 3 months, but some don't, I can't give a probability. I'm 20 months out from cold turkeying Sertraline (Zoloft) and still got severe anhedonia and PSSD

How long where you on zoloft?

My first antidepressant ever.

Zoloft September 12, 2017.

First 3, 4 days on 50 mg. 

My doctor lower my dose to 25 mg later that week. September 19.

From September 19 till November 14 taking 25 mg.

September 14 started to taper of 25 mg to half the pill.

Did that for a week only

September 14 is when i decided to quit completely.

December 2 marks 18 days off Zoloft.

Zyprexa for one week, November 

Ativan 1mg for one week, December 

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a month

PSSD, Anhedonia, Loss of Imagination and creativity, physical pressure in head all from taking 50mg Sertraline for a month back in February 2015. Not seen much improvement (if any). Time of writing this signature - 01/02/2016 (UK date format)

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On 1/16/2018 at 8:22 AM, raven530 said:

a month

Is those the only 2 symptoms your having right now. Do you at least feel like you?

My first antidepressant ever.

Zoloft September 12, 2017.

First 3, 4 days on 50 mg. 

My doctor lower my dose to 25 mg later that week. September 19.

From September 19 till November 14 taking 25 mg.

September 14 started to taper of 25 mg to half the pill.

Did that for a week only

September 14 is when i decided to quit completely.

December 2 marks 18 days off Zoloft.

Zyprexa for one week, November 

Ativan 1mg for one week, December 

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No I feel totally depersonalised to be honest, I have a pressure feeling in my head, like a fogginess there, I have PSSD symptoms, I have extreme emotional numbness. What about you? How old are you?

PSSD, Anhedonia, Loss of Imagination and creativity, physical pressure in head all from taking 50mg Sertraline for a month back in February 2015. Not seen much improvement (if any). Time of writing this signature - 01/02/2016 (UK date format)

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  • 3 months later...
Liamb123456
On 3/2/2017 at 7:12 PM, carrot said:

Hey there. This is my first post, but I have a success story that I’d like to share.

I’d like to preface by saying I had been on 75mg of sertraline (Zoloft) for approximately 7 months. I quit last year and have successfully made it through the withdrawals!

 

I see more horror stories than success stories on SSRI discontinuation. My hypothesis for this discrepancy is that people who successfully quit the drug don’t really have that much of an incentive to post their stories, while people dealing with the terrible side effects are more likely to seek out information. I knew there were millions of people on SSRIs, and I refused to believe that my discontinuation symptoms would be permanent. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I found out quickly how unhealthy it was to hold this mentality of permanence.

 

I tapered off a too quickly (~2 weeks). I believed that since I had only been on the medication for a few months, I could get away with tapering off at that rate. Consequently, I ended up having over 6 weeks of hellish withdrawals. The first 2 weeks had the most powerful physical symptoms: brain zaps, fatigue, nausea, etc. These symptoms seemed to go away around week 3, but then came another wave of symptoms: anxiety, paranoia, depression, and a lot of overthinking. I didn’t realize it till week 5, but these feelings were more powerful than when I had them before starting sertraline.

Week 5 was the worst; all these terrible feelings went into overdrive. I remember a few specific days of this week were particularly dreadful. I had been reading up on SSRI discontinuation online and freaking myself out reading people’s horror stories. I was afraid that I permanently removed what it was to be human. I was terrified I’d never feel joy, sexual desire, or ambition in my life ever again. I was angry at myself that my choice to try anti-depressants fucked up the rest of my life. I was broken, and I just wanted to be normal again.

 

These are unhealthy thoughts, and I was wrong.

My life did start coming back. I slowly felt what it was like to be “me” again. Small steps every day reminded me. One day something would make me laugh. Another day I’d notice a cute girl. I appreciated and cherished every step throughout the way. And slowly but surely, old joys started coming back to me: I started feeling ambition, I was looking forward to future plans, I was dreaming again (I could sleep well again!), and I was feeling love again, both for myself and others.

 

I believe there is a strong psychosomatic component during these withdrawals. It’s difficult because your brain doesn’t allow you get past these negative thoughts while its readjusting, but you have to keep moving. There isn’t a quick solution, but your brain is powerful and adjusts to your current circumstances. That’s why exercise, a healthy diet, a support network, and a positive outlook are so important; you want your brain to re-adjust in an ideal setting.  So, don’t blame yourself or hold a grudge for trying SSRIs; you actively did something to confront your inner demons.
 

From one stranger to another, you will survive this. Good luck.

How long till you healed fully 

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  • 8 months later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi there,

 

The staff at SA are wondering how you are.  We'd love to hear how you are doing now.   Would you mind dropping by and giving an update?

 

Thanks.

CC

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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