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Inusion: Zoloft withdrawal, need help


Inusion

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I started this path on 450mg Wellbutrin(Bupropion) and 100mg Zoloft(Sertraline) for Major Depression and Social Anxiety. I got to a place where I was no longer suicidal and I could hold conversations without my heart racing as badly.

 

I was able to taper off the Wellbutrin without symptoms. I got excited about that, then tried taking only 50mg Zoloft. I felt light headed, couldn't think clearly, had less energy, less appetite, and I became very irritable. Next symptoms I noticed after not being on any Zoloft was that I could get cold easily and start shivering. A couple of times I started crying for almost no reason.

 

I was fine with those symptoms because I could calm down afterwards and it's been over a month now. I don't feel as light headed, but my head is still a bit fuzzy. Im anxious constantly though. I'm starting to feel sensitive, small conflicts affect me deeply to the point where I want to cry and I can't calm down as easily anymore.

 

The thought of dealing with these symptoms for years scares me now. I also realize I should have tapered much more slowly, so I was wondering if some kind of reinstatement would be best then tapering more slowly?

-On Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg and Wellbutrin(Bupropion) 450mg for 3-7 years.
-Tapered off Bupropion with no changes in symptoms at all, this was done months before I tried tapering the Zoloft.
-Began tapering off Zoloft by splitting the pill in half, which means I was taking 50mg daily for about 2.5 weeks.

-After those weeks ended, I stopped taking Zoloft completely.
-Didn't take any Zoloft for about 1.5 months now.

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Hey Inusion,

 

I withdrew from Zoloft and zyprexa 3 years ago and had many of the same withdrawal symptoms.  the lightheadedness went away for me after about a month.  I was crying pretty frequently for almost 2 years and am still dealing with fatigue issues and severe brain fog to this day.  I have had horrible problems with insomnia and depression, but if your sleep is ok that's a positive for people who have withdrawn from the meds.  Reinstatement is definitely an option for alleviating wd symptoms.   Many people updose again to avoid the torment of wd and do pretty well.  the moderators will give you advice too, but it's pretty common for people suffering wd symptoms to reinstate and feel better rather quickly, especially since you have only been off Zoloft for a month, but you do want to watch out for adverse reactions that sometimes can occur.  I know of one guy who was on Zoloft for 6 years and quit the drug and had cognitive problems because of withdrawal and was in fear of losing his job and when he reinstated about 6 months later on Zoloft he had an adverse reaction that landed him in the ER for a day.  He later reinstated on Effexor and is doing fine again and is back at work and happy, so you never know it can be hit or miss as to what works in wd.

 

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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Hey PoetJester!

 

Thank you for the response. Just discussing this with someone is helpful right now because I probably won't be able to see my doctor for weeks.

 

I tapered quickly and thought I could manage the symptoms if they lasted for a couple months and wouldn't change. Now I'm learning about people that experience WD years later as you have. It's very disabling and I was okay with having to avoid stressful situations for months, but it could be years. I want to do more productive things, depression took so many years from my life already, but it's hard to do anything right now.

 

The cognitive problems is a big part of what worries me. I can't remember much, it's like my brain is responding more slowly than before, I've had trouble finishing conversations, I've even said the wrong words.

 

At this point I'm hoping that it's not too late to try reinstating. With the memory problems and not taking notes, I can't be sure if I've been off Zoloft closer to 2 months.

-On Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg and Wellbutrin(Bupropion) 450mg for 3-7 years.
-Tapered off Bupropion with no changes in symptoms at all, this was done months before I tried tapering the Zoloft.
-Began tapering off Zoloft by splitting the pill in half, which means I was taking 50mg daily for about 2.5 weeks.

-After those weeks ended, I stopped taking Zoloft completely.
-Didn't take any Zoloft for about 1.5 months now.

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Hey Inusion,

 

Yeah, the cognitive problems can be terrible in wd and it's pretty common.  For a while I would forget what I was talking about in conversations with others and just stare into space trying to remember what I was saying.  I am constantly losing things and messing things up in the kitchen and for while I used to leave my apt complex with my fly down every day.  It has been embarrassing and humiliating to be so undone by this wd illness.   I am also forgetting words all the time, too, and this happens to lots of people who stop the meds.  Nowadays, my short term memory is almost gone.  I will forget something almost as soon as I think about it.  Last year I didn't recognize my street address on a piece of paper and I have been living in the same apt for 10 years.  It's like a brain injury really.   It's unfortunate that these wd effects linger on for so long, but they do.  there are some younger fellows on this web site who were only on Zoloft for short periods and still are incapacitated years later, in one case the guy (L4Peace) has been suffering for 8 years after quitting Zoloft and hardly feels conscious any more and just sits in his room and thinks about suicide.  He was only on the pill for a year and is 28 now.  It's an awful story and there are many quite similar if you read posts of young men taking sertraline on here.  For me, on most days I feel like I could just about fall over from the exhaustion of 3 years of very poor sleep.  I have horrid bags under my eyes now and just looking in the mirror now makes me depressed. 

 

there are success stories as well.  With reinstatement it seems to happen in a matter of days to weeks with the person getting better or at least reducing their wd symptoms, as opposed to sticking it out in withdrawal which can go on for years with no guarantee of healing, although many do apparently get better after 2-3 years, but I have not been one of them so far. 

 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Inusion and welcome to SA,

 

Did you go from 100mg to 50mg and then from 50mg to 0?  It would be helpful if you can give us a more accurate time of when you took you last dose of Zoloft.  Even if it is the beginning, middle, end of x month.  This information will help us to be able to offer suggestions based on your individual s

 

Please have a read of the reinstatement topic, especially Post #1.  The idea of reinstatement is to bring the withdrawal symptoms to a bearable level.  If you decide that you want to reinstate please do not go back on the last dose you were taking.  The brain will have already made some adjustments since you have been off the drug.  We can suggest a small dose for you to try.  After reinstating, you would then need to stabilise on the dose for several months before doing a 10% taper.

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

____________________

 

I will tell you my own experience:

 

I attempted to drop my Pristiq dose by 50% - I went from 100mg to 50mg.  I got an upset stomach for about 3 days which I thought was a stomach bug.  I now know it was caused by withdrawal.  I had a very foggy head for 2 1/2 weeks and when I researched AD withdrawal I found SA.  By 3 weeks at the lower dose I couldn't type.  I am a professional typist so genuinely not being able to type alerted me to the fact that something was wrong.  When I joined SA it had been suggested that I updose.  After not being able to type I took additional Pristiq and within 4 hours my foggy head was clearing and I was able to type.  I had a benchmark so I know that it was not placebo.

 

After stabilising for a couple of months on 75mg I started tapering as per SA's recommendations.  I found that once my dose got lower the side effects lessened and I started to feel more like my old self.

 

I have since been tapering successfully with only very mild withdrawal symptoms.  I am now down to 28mg!!!

____________________

 

 

This is your Intro/Update topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.  Click "Follow" top right and you will be notified when someone responds.

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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

My full 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.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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Hey ChessieCat and PoetJester,

 

Yes, I was taking 100mg Zoloft daily. I tapered much too quickly down to a dose of 50mg daily, which I did for nearly 3 weeks. After those 3 weeks, I stopped taking Zoloft and I didn't take it for up to 1.5 months.  I apologize that I can't be very accurate with the dates. I stopped taking notes because I was trying my best to ignore the symptoms, which was a terrible mistake.

 

I've recently contacted my doctor and she recommended that I take 50mg for 1 week, then I can begin taking 100 mg again. I know some people have had terrible doctors that deny withdrawal or want to keep them on medication, I had a doctor like that before, but my current doctor is the first I've had that's actually trying to get me off the meds. I've taken 50mg daily for 3 days now and I haven't felt anything worse. I can't be perfectly sure if it's helping or if the symptoms are more manageable just yet.

-On Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg and Wellbutrin(Bupropion) 450mg for 3-7 years.
-Tapered off Bupropion with no changes in symptoms at all, this was done months before I tried tapering the Zoloft.
-Began tapering off Zoloft by splitting the pill in half, which means I was taking 50mg daily for about 2.5 weeks.

-After those weeks ended, I stopped taking Zoloft completely.
-Didn't take any Zoloft for about 1.5 months now.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

We would have suggested that you reinstate at much lower dose than 50mg.  However, now that you are on 50mg I think it would be better to stay on 50mg and NOT to increase it to 100mg.

 

It takes 4 days for the dose to reach steady state and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  SA's recommendation is to stay on the dose for 2 weeks and keep daily notes:  Keep Notes on Paper and it is a good idea to Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress.  Doing this will help to see if reinstatement is working.

 

If after 2 weeks you are still experiencing unbearable symptoms, please post your daily notes so that we can assess your situation and discuss whether you may need to increase the dose by a small amount (but not up to 100mg).

 

Did you read the reinstatement topic that I posted the link to?  I suggest that you do if you haven't, and if you have, please re-read it.

 

The medical profession are advised by the pharmaceutical companies on psychiatric drugs.  These drugs are strong.  The research that Alto Strata (website owner) and the experience contributed by many members here shows that doses much lower than the medical profession suggest can provide relief from withdrawal symptoms.  Please also check out Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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

My full 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.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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Sorry, I was a bit confused with the reinstatement post. I read that if you've been in withdrawal for more than a month that you might find relief with a small dose of 2mg-5mg, but it says if you'd been taking around 20mg. What would have been my recommended dose if I was on 100mg? 2mg-5mg or higher? I was hoping that my doctor considered my history when she told me it would be okay to take 50mg.

As I said, I've been taking 50mg daily for 3 days, this is the 4th day but I have not taken it yet. I think it's helping with the withdrawal, I haven't felt the crippling anxiety, heart racing sensation, or diarrhea. On the 3rd day I experienced two side effects, during midnight I just have much more trouble sleeping, along with this sensation of wanting to stretch my leg or move it to become more comfortable. My stomach was also rumbling with gas, but that was probably the chilli I ate, haha. What's so amazing to me is that I was experiencing the side effect involving the legs in the past and instead of thinking that Zoloft might be causing it, I didn't know what was going on with my body. I will say that in the past this side effect eventually resolved itself, I'd stretch or move my legs to become comfortable, but still fall asleep with no problem. I'm not perfectly sure if I move them in my sleep or if it was the cause of any stiffness.

My question is, should I expect this side effect to resolve itself again, lower the dose of 50mg I'm taking, or stop taking it completely?

-On Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg and Wellbutrin(Bupropion) 450mg for 3-7 years.
-Tapered off Bupropion with no changes in symptoms at all, this was done months before I tried tapering the Zoloft.
-Began tapering off Zoloft by splitting the pill in half, which means I was taking 50mg daily for about 2.5 weeks.

-After those weeks ended, I stopped taking Zoloft completely.
-Didn't take any Zoloft for about 1.5 months now.

Link to comment

I have some more time to elaborate, couldn't edit my last post. I was taking 50mg daily for 3 days and on that third night  when I got in bed no later than 11:00 PM, I just couldn't sleep. I feel like I spent most of the time lying down with my eyes closed, feeling this urge to stretch or bounce my legs to become more comfortable. Even if I made an effort to not move them anymore I still couldn't sleep. I must have fallen asleep during that time because I glanced over at the clock and it was 6 AM. I closed my eyes and tried to get some more sleep, but it didn't change; time passes as though I have slept, but I feel like I haven't slept or I just kept waking up. I don't feel well rested.

-On Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg and Wellbutrin(Bupropion) 450mg for 3-7 years.
-Tapered off Bupropion with no changes in symptoms at all, this was done months before I tried tapering the Zoloft.
-Began tapering off Zoloft by splitting the pill in half, which means I was taking 50mg daily for about 2.5 weeks.

-After those weeks ended, I stopped taking Zoloft completely.
-Didn't take any Zoloft for about 1.5 months now.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

You have mentioned in post #8 "was experiencing the side effect involving the legs in the past" when taking Zoloft.

 

It may be that you have reinstated too high a dose and are now re-experiencing side effects.  That is why we suggest reinstating a lower dose, to try and find the dose which is enough to reduce the withdrawal symptoms but not enough to bring on the side effects.

 

I'm not sure whether to suggest reducing by 5mg or 10mg so I will check with the other mods to get their opinion.  It's important not to bounce your dose around too much or too often which is way I am being cautious Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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

My full 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.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

Link to comment

I took the 50mg Zoloft to avoid making any big changes as you recommended. I took it closer to bed time because I was skeptical about taking it. I also took 1 melatonin.

 

I was in bed at 10:00 pm. I slept until about 5:50 am. I didn't feel the urge to keep stretching my legs this time until I woke up. I did wake up earlier than normal with my pulse beating strongly and slight nausea. The strong pulse has stopped, but there's still the slight nausea. I was also unable to go back to sleep, too much energy.

 

Will I ever reach a point where I'll be able to sleep normally if I keep taking the 50mg, or will it just get worse? Sleep has never been an issue before I reinstated.

-On Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg and Wellbutrin(Bupropion) 450mg for 3-7 years.
-Tapered off Bupropion with no changes in symptoms at all, this was done months before I tried tapering the Zoloft.
-Began tapering off Zoloft by splitting the pill in half, which means I was taking 50mg daily for about 2.5 weeks.

-After those weeks ended, I stopped taking Zoloft completely.
-Didn't take any Zoloft for about 1.5 months now.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Welcome, Inusion.

 

It sounds like 50mg Zoloft might be too much for you this time around. You might try 40mg or even 25mg.

 

This topic explains how to take a partial dose Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

Also suggest these supplements

 

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

Magnesium in particular can stop restless legs.

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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