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Jayson: Zoloft Users - Is it worth going back on if there has been no improvement?


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I am new to this board. I'm 24 years old now. I took Zoloft for 5 years or so - it seemed to help my depression - then eventually quit after some off and on stuff. I was given no warning whatsoever about withdrawal side effects (or any negative side effects) when the doctor prescribed it or else I would've never taken it. Starting around six months after I quit, I woke up one day in early December of 2015 with no libido (after a very healthy libido for all of my years) and very little feeling down there. It happened almost overnight. This bothered me tremendously and I went through a series of tests and online researching to see what the problem was, but only until about six months ago and no help from the tests did I begin to realize that this was probably related to zoloft/pssd, which I had initially dismissed because it started so long after I had quit. It occurred to me because I realized how unfeeling I have become emotionally. I accidentally and unintentionally offended a good friend of mine, who despite my efforts at reconciliation renounced our friendship and has never spoken to me since. I noticed when this happened that I didn't seem to care much despite the fact that he'd been my good friend for a few years now, which astonished me. I thought I cared, but I didn't feel sad. I felt almost nothing. I knew something was wrong. 


When I realized this, I began to notice it in other areas too, like I wasn't happy when I should've been and had no depth of feeling. Since I had lost my libido, I have become almost entirely food-oriented as that is the only thing that gives me any real pleasure in life, something which I just finally consciously realized about six months ago. Things that used to give me joy now give me very little joy. I don't feel sad, or angry. I feel nothing, except a burning desire to feel something/anything. I feel like I'm completely numb, sexually and emotionally. It's extremely difficult for someone who is supposed to be finishing up his last semester in college (and an utterly unfair handicap on my efforts), and these last few weeks I've really started to despair. Up until this point I've always striven to look at the positive and to be optimistic, but I have woken up day after day for the last 15 months longing for an emotional or even sensual experience and it hasn't come. From what I've read it seems like the FDA and big pharma have left me/us for dead - damn them both -  with little research going into treatment to help people like us. What is the doctor going to tell me? 


I can't continue to live this way. What this is, what I am, this is not living. It's been 15 months since these withdrawal symptoms started and I've seen no improvement, sexually or emotionally. This is supposed to be my prime, but instead I'm just a numb zombie. Sure, I think it's unfair that my sexuality was stolen away from me one morning and that's extremely frustrating but really I just want my emotions and my depth of feeling back. I simply and absolutely refuse to live the next 60 years of my life like some livestock animal who's only purpose and pleasure in life is eating. 


When I realized that zoloft was the problem, I vowed to never to touch the stuff again in hopes that I'd recover. But that's not happening, at least not 15 months in. So that leaves me wondering... despite it all, would it be worth it to just take the damn drug again? Of course I hate the idea of being dependent on it for the rest of my life, but has anyone ever got back into it? Did your libido and emotions come back? If my options are 1. continue living like this for the rest of my life (which really isn't living at all and wouldn't seem to be worth it) or 2. be dependent on zoloft to feel anything at all, I'll take the lesser of two evils which is the latter. I'm sure some of you may suggest waiting longer to see if anything improves, which may be worth trying. But I don't know how much longer I can do this. It feels like I'm not very far off from trying anything, including zoloft again. Anything is better than this. 


Also, I apologize for any perceived negativity in this post. I am not someone who likes to bring other people down to my level - that's why I haven't told several friends and family members about this nightmare of a life I am living (or not living, since I don't feel alive). Sincerely, up until the last few weeks I had somehow maintained my optimism. It's definitely waning now though. 

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It seems lots of people go into delayed withdrawal months after they are off, and their symptoms are often related to mood, i.e. depression, anxiety, along with insomnia.  It seems that has not happened to you -- but it seems in your delayed withdrawal, your feelings on two fronts have been dampened.

One never knows what will happen, but if you stay off, there's a chance things will eventually improve.  Going back on, there's a risk that it won't help, but might further entrench the problem as dampening emotions and otherwise are very common side effects of zoloft. 

200 Zoloft; 10 mg Zyprexa; 4 mg valium as of May 2021;  Valium taper: July 16: 3.5 valium; July 30: 3 mg (paused valium taper); Aug. 23: 2.5 mg
Zyprexa: July 26: 8.75 mg; Aug. 9: 7.5 mg; Aug. 30: 7.1 mg

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Jayson,


Thanks for sharing your story - I'm so sorry to read of how much you have been affected by that drug (plus doctor, plus drug manufacturer). 


It seems, from what I have read on the PSSD thread, that it does resolve, but slowly.  The emotional blunting you refer to is also very common:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1766-derealization-or-depersonalization/  It will also heal; it's usually a bit quicker than PSSD, well, relatively - it still takes time!


The chances of a successful reinstatement are much less when the person's last dose was so long ago, however have a read of the thread as it's important to consider all possible options.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/  If you decided to reinstate, it would be of a very small amount and once you were stabilised you could taper off according to our 10% monthly guide.


In the mean time you may like to try Fish oil and Magnesium which many people find useful during withdrawal. 


The troublesome thing with SSRIs is that you can't just flush their effects out of your system.  They change the way your brain works, and that takes much longer to heal.  Suddenly stopping the drug puts your brain and Central Nervous System into shock.  It's like yanking a trellis out of a garden instead of gently untangling the plants and slowly removing the wood – it’s too much trauma for the plants/your brain.  (For the source of that simile, plus further discussion, see http://survivinganti...el-your-brain/)  This is why healing is happening so slowly for you.


It's also important to know that each time you use a drug, or make any changes to how you use it (i.e. increase or decrease dose, start, stop or switch drugs) your Central Nervous System becomes further destabilised.  So an SSRI may be more problematic for you next time round, (in case you were thinking of just 'going back on the drug').


Symptom Checklist


Please put your withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages etc - so we can see your situation easily whenever you post, and help you more accurately.  Thanks.


For some people - most unfairly - w/d does take longer to end.  There are other members here who are also waiting a long time.  Are there supportive people in your life, or things that you are doing to get yourself through this difficult time?  I am sure some of the others here who have experience of PSSD will drop by to share with you. 


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


Welcome to SA,


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.

2023 Now on 7 micro-beads of Effexor. Minimal symptoms but much more time needed between drops.

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Jayson,

Welcome to SA, I'm sorry for what you are going through, sadly, your experience is not uncommon here.


I really can't improve on the excellent information and advice KarenB gave you, but wanted to share my experience of trying to reinstate and also PSSD and other related emotional issues.


I'm one of the people who had a very bad experience trying to reinstate, twice. After being off the drug for over a year, my symptoms, including PSSD were still very bad. I was bed bound, house bound and had no life at all. But at that stage, I didn't realize it was withdrawal and tried taking my previous antidepressant and then a new one. Both times my symptoms became much worse, leading me into suicidal and homicidal ideation, both of which I'd never experienced before.


That was 4 years ago. Soon after that I found this site, learned about withdrawal and never touched another psyche drug again. I've been recovering slowly. I'm still not completely better but very much improved. My emotions and libido have been returning slowly.


Its true that some people do manage to reinstate a full dose after withdrawal and find some relief, then decide to stay on the drug. But we don't hear what their life is like years down the track. Psych meds can cause harmful side effects and long term, they can worsen health, increasing the risk of other illnesses. They don't cure anything, but change our natural brain function which over time causes our entire body and its systems to change the way they should naturally be functioning. Not enough research has been done to discover what the long term effects of these powerful drugs are, but anecdotal evidence is starting to show that its not good. I'd highly recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. .... before going back on Zoloft.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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  • Moderator Emeritus

Jayson, one of the reasons we suggest a cautious approach to reinstatement is that it is unpredictable -- some people get relief from their symptoms, some people notice no change, and others get worse.


There is no way of knowing which group you're in -- you could be someone who will get worse with a reinstatement. You won't know until you try reinstating.  LARGE changes, such as the ones PoetJester mentions, carry the possibility of both large improvements and LARGE WORSENING OF SYMPTOMS.


To mitigate the risk of making your symptoms MUCH, MUCH worse with a high dose reinstatement, we suggest reinstating a very low dose. You can always increase in small increments to find the "sweet spot" --  the most effective dose for your symptoms at the time.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hi jayson moderators doing the usuall great job of help and support ,but i just want to add my sympathy and suport of what your going throught ,i have very similar symptoms and worries and it is very tough at times.

I try  to b mindfull of when I'm catashtrophising and pull my self back from it and distract myself as best I can ,I have also battled with the same thought of changing drug or updoseing .

I've recently gone trough the same situation with a friend and its very difficult to deal with but please try put the focus on yourself and keeping your well being the main objective,we are going through a lot of pain and confusion.

I don't think your being overly negative ,your hurting like a lot of us and the worry is justified but do as much positive activities as u can as it will distract u .

Take care 

Alcohol free since February 2015 

1MG diazepam





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I wish for you to get better. I am also in the same boat feeling numb all over , sexually over , physical all day issues, faigue and severe GI issues. I am just 27 who was put on cocktail for admitting less sleep and motivation.


What happens to me is when I try to do something, this wd comes back stronger.

About reinstatement, I agree with low dose idea.A doc reinstated me with sertraline and aripipazole which made me severely restless such that I ended up seeing him ending with CTed everything.


I am off meds and managing somehow with my parents help... but I still don't know how long I will last.

08/13 - 01/14
Olanzapine, petril MD (Clonazepam ), Dicorate ER (divalproex). Soza 10 (Zolpidem)

02/14 - 05/14
Flunil ​20mg , Divaa OD 250 mg(divalproex), Amisulpride 50mg (1-0-2), zolfresh 5 mg , Quetiapine
05/14 - 08/14 Venlafaxine 75 xr ( 1-0-1), zapiz 0.25
10/14 Zaptra 12.5mg , Oxetol xr 150mg (0-0-1)
11/14 - 08/15
Paris CR 25 (paroxetine) , Oxetol xr 600 mg (0-0-1), nitrest 5mg , Quetiapine for a month.
09/15-11 Venlafaxine XR 75 ( 1-0-1), Mirtazipine 15, Respiredal 0.5, Lamitor 25, zillion 10.
12/15-02/16 Off Meds (C.T)

03/16-Mid April Sertraline, Aripropazole, Quetiapine, Etizolam.

After that : CT and on OTC supplements (Roadback), now on Ayurveda
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12 months off Zoloft and suffering the exact same symptoms as you.. Only took it for a month, haven't seen any improvements. Hope it gets better for 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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  • 1 year later...

How are you doing now Jayson? Have you seen any improvements in your PSSD/emotional anhedonia?

Zoloft 50 mg from April 23, 2015 to August 28th, 2016 (1 year, 4 months).

4 week taper. Last dose on August 28, 2016


Mianserin 30 mg in an attempt to reverse PSSD from September 6th, 2017–around mid November 2017 after a few week taper. Did not fix PSSD


Currently taking: Melatonin and magnesium every night.

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