Jump to content

Persistent: Zoloft and xanax withdrawal


Persistent

Recommended Posts

I have been on Zoloft for many years. Switching between antidepressants for a total of 20 years. I was on Zoloft or other antidepressants and xanax for about 20 years. I was up to 200 mg Zoloft and 2 xanax pills at night with another xanax during the day to take edge off once in awhile. I was under psychiatrist care for all those years until he retired. I chose to go to my general doctor for continuing getting my meds. I have tried to get off a few times and have failed.  I will continue in a minute. This is my first post and want to make sure it works

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed unnecessary quote from previous topic

Been on these drugs for 20 years

200 mg Zoloft  as of Jan 2015.    

Xanax . 5 mg 3 x day

Decreased 150 mg Zoloft Apr 2015.     

Decreased 100 mg Zoloft Apr 2016

Decreased to 50 mg April 2017

September 1  2017 discontinued Zoloft completely 

 

Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks.

 

 

 

Link to comment

I have been on Zoloft and xanax for about 20 years. About two years ago my physchiatrist retired and I chose to have my Medical Doctor continue my medicine care. I have been taking 200 mg Zoloft and 3 xanax per day for around 20 years. I have tried to get off before but ended back on them due to stress in my life and decided it was for the best.  I have decided 20 years is enough and started taping off on them on my own. I have kept my doctor informed of my progress on my medicine visits.  I felt like I was nervous and it was not working as well so I figure my body was used to the dosage.   I started tapering off on the Zoloft down to 150 mg about two years ago.  Then went to 100 mg.  So far so good. Then I decided to try to get off the xanax.  I couldn't sleep without them and that started bothering me. I was taking 2 xanax at night to sleep and I would occasionally take 1 xanax to take a nap.  To get off xanax I started to take only on xanax at night   It worked but didn't sleep as good. Doctor insisted I need more sleep so tried ambien. I did not like that so I only took it a week. I felt like I was going from one drugto another and I felt anxious during the day while taking ambien.  I went back to xanax. I still kept it at 1 xanax at night with little sleep but bearable. I then started taking melatonin for sleep. Tough go. I would try and then have to take half xanax to sleep. Kept trying and incorporated vitamin B12 1000 mcg extended release with melatonin at night. No longer need xanax at all. The vitamin B 12 seemed to take the nervousness away and the melatonin helped me to sleep. Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks. Finally about two weeks ago quit taking Zoloft completely. The last week I am feeling nausea and lightheaded and headache and hot flashes for the last week.  I feel I can handle these symptoms but feels like the flu all the time. Dealing with it so far. 

Been on these drugs for 20 years

200 mg Zoloft  as of Jan 2015.    

Xanax . 5 mg 3 x day

Decreased 150 mg Zoloft Apr 2015.     

Decreased 100 mg Zoloft Apr 2016

Decreased to 50 mg April 2017

September 1  2017 discontinued Zoloft completely 

 

Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks.

 

 

 

Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Persistent: Zoloft and xanax withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Persistent, and welcome to SA,

 

It definitely sounds like you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from going off Zoloft too quickly.  SA's recommendation is to taper by no more than 10% of the previous dose followed by about a 4 week hold to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  Skipping days is not recommended because you end up with interdose withdrawal and the poor brain doesn't know what it going on.

 

We ask all members to create a drug signature so your history can be seen at a glance whenever you post.  These are the instructions:

 

 A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Please have a read of these links:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

Skipping Days vs Every Day Dosing Graph

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Because you have been off Zoloft for only about 2 weeks you could try a reinstating a low dose.  I'm not sure if you took 50mg every second day and then took 50mg every third day.  It will depend on which of these you did last what dose we would suggest.  Once we have this information we will be able to suggest a dose you could reinstate.  These drugs are strong.  You might find that a dose as low as 10mg or 15mg EVERY DAY may be enough to reduce your withdrawal symptoms.  It takes about 4 days for the dose to get to a steady state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  If the symptoms didn't improve after 1-2 weeks you could try increasing your dose by a very small amount (eg 1mg or 2mg).  It is better to start lower and increase gradually if needed.  The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a tolerable level.  The lower the dose you reinstate the less you will have to taper.  Keep Notes on Paper  You would then stabilise on that dose and once stable you could reduce by SA's recommended taper.

 

I will relate my personal experience.  I tried to reduce my Pristiq from 100mg to 50mg and suffered bad cog fog for 3 weeks.  At the end of the 3 weeks I was unable to type.  Because I am a professional typist of 40+ years I knew that something was definitely wrong.  I had joined SA a few days before this and they has suggested updosing.  When I couldn't type I took additional Pristiq and after about 4 hours my head was clearing and I was able to type.  I stabilised for a couple of months and have since been tapering by no more than 10% and am now down to 19mg.  I had a few hiccups when I first started tapering but after that I have been tapering successfully with only minor withdrawal symptoms.

 

Please read Post #1 of this topic:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

And this topic explains how you can get your dose:

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

This is your own Introduction topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.  I have included drug tags at the top left under the heading of this topic.  If you click on them you will find other members with the same drug tag.

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

Link to comment

Thanks. I will consider reinstating it at a small dose if things don't go well. I can handle the flu like symtoms at this point. Scared but very persistent to achieve this. I will keep you posted. Love this site because I finally see someone else has these symptoms. Others who aren't on these drugs continue to say maybe you need to be on the hem and I agree with their thought but I know it is the withdrawal and I can do this. Thanks for the help 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

Been on these drugs for 20 years

200 mg Zoloft  as of Jan 2015.    

Xanax . 5 mg 3 x day

Decreased 150 mg Zoloft Apr 2015.     

Decreased 100 mg Zoloft Apr 2016

Decreased to 50 mg April 2017

September 1  2017 discontinued Zoloft completely 

 

Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks.

 

 

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
14 hours ago, Persistent said:

Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks.

 

Please add this additional information about your attempted tapering to your drug signature.  Because we are making suggestions which involve your health and well being is very important for us to know the full details.

 

3 hours ago, Persistent said:

I will consider reinstating it at a small dose if things don't go well. I can handle the flu like symtoms at this point.

 

This is an important decision which you have to make so I want you to have the necessary information so you can make an informed decision.  Withdrawal symptoms can be delayed and may get much worse several months down the track and it may last for months and sometimes years.  There are many members on this site who came off their drug too quickly and are suffering badly and now wished that they had reinstated when they had the chance.  Some didn't get the chance to reinstate because they had been off their drug too long when they found SA.  Because of withdrawal symptoms we have members here whose lives have been dramatically changed, some have become bedridden, had to leave their jobs, some have had relationships end, some have had to sell their house and move in with relatives.  We have many members who suffer from severe insomnia.  Some of these end up becoming so desperate that they turn to more drugs and end up in an even worse situation because their CNS (central nervous symptom) is sensitised.  I know this sounds harsh, but I'm just telling you how it might be.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms - Delayed Onset

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

Link to comment
  • Mentor

Hi Persistent,

I'm sorry that you have to be a member of our group, but I did want to say welcome and I hope you find the support and relief you are looking for with us. You'll find a supportive group of people here.  The moderators are people that are either currently going through their own medical issues, or have gone through it in the past.  I too have had my issues with Zoloft and have suffered from the physical symptoms you have mentioned.  I've got my fingers crossed for you that make it through without too many symptoms. 

Warm wishes,

RachelSusan

 

 

I am not a health professional in any way.  I do not give medical advice.   Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a professional medical practitioner.

 

NEW INFORMATION FOR GABAPENTIN TAPER

April 29, 2022 900 mg to 800 mg (11%), May 29, 2022 800 to 700 mg (12.5%), June 20, 2022 700 to 650mg (8%), July 20, 2022 650 to 575 (12%), August 20,  575 to 500 (13%),  Sept 20, 2020 500 to 475mg (5%) Nov 7, 2022 475 to 425 (11%), Nov 21, 2022 500mg

Medications and supplements: Gabapentin, Prednisone 5mg a day, Cortisol Inhaler daily, Azithromycin 250mg 3 times a week, Fish oil, vitamin D, Calcium.

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 150mg Zoloft.  Put on Gabapentin at 900mg a day in 2016 due to antidepressant withdrawal.  As of Nov 2022 down to 600mg.

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg.  May 9, 2020 1.375 mg.  June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%).  July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.  Nov. 28, 2020 .75mgJan 16, 2021 .685mg (8.7%).  Feb 13, 2021 .62mg. March 12, 2021 .56mg.  May 1, 2021 .375mg.  May 29, 2021 .25mg. June 26, 2021 .0125mg. July 25, 2021 .065mg. August 22, 2021 .048mg.  October 2, 2021 .043mg.  October 10, 2021 .038mg.  October 23, 2021 .035mg.  October 30, 2021 .032mg.  Nov. 13, 2021 .030 mg.  Dec 4, 2021 .0285 mg.  Dec 11, 2021 .0265 mg. Dec 18, 2021 .0246 mg. Dec 25, 2021 .023mg. Jan 1, 2022. 0 mg. OFF COMPLETELY

Link to comment

Was wondering if an excersize program would help with withdrawal symtoms. 

Been on these drugs for 20 years

200 mg Zoloft  as of Jan 2015.    

Xanax . 5 mg 3 x day

Decreased 150 mg Zoloft Apr 2015.     

Decreased 100 mg Zoloft Apr 2016

Decreased to 50 mg April 2017

September 1  2017 discontinued Zoloft completely 

 

Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks.

 

 

 

Link to comment
4 hours ago, RachelSusan said:

Hi Persistent,

I'm sorry that you have to be a member of our group, but I did want to say welcome and I hope you find the support and relief you are looking for with us. You'll find a supportive group of people here.  The moderators are people that are either currently going through their own medical issues, or have gone through it in the past.  I too have had my issues with Zoloft and have suffered from the physical symptoms you have mentioned.  I've got my fingers crossed for you that make it through without too many symptoms. 

Warm wishes,

RachelSusan

 

Thank you.   I have gotten off the Zoloft for about 6 months many years ago and went back on them due to a crying spell. Never had the nausea or light headedness   I am having trouble putting my history information into my signature. It keeps saying I have too many lines. But I have had a lot of what others are saying on here. When I had the 6 months off the medicine.  Family and friends just told me I needed to be on them. They told me I had an illness just like people with heart or  diabetes illness. I never had a lot of support to help me get off them. Since I started reading this site the tears are trying to come back because I want to do this but I see my brain might need to be retrained.  Right now I am just nauseous and light headed headache and hot flashes. I am dealing with them and praying this is all that I have to go through

I am persistent to get off of the Zoloft. It is good to have the support. If things change for the worse in the next week or so I will consider going back on a very small dosage. Thanks for your support. 

Been on these drugs for 20 years

200 mg Zoloft  as of Jan 2015.    

Xanax . 5 mg 3 x day

Decreased 150 mg Zoloft Apr 2015.     

Decreased 100 mg Zoloft Apr 2016

Decreased to 50 mg April 2017

September 1  2017 discontinued Zoloft completely 

 

Then started to take only half Zoloft per day 50 mg  Managed fine.  Then tried every other day with 50 mg. Seemed fine. Did the 50 mg every other day for maybe a few weeks.

 

 

 

Link to comment
  • Mentor

When I tried to do my signature I was told I had too many lines as well.  I removed any space I had between the lines (paragraph breaks) and it seemed to let me put in a lot more. If you look at my signature you can see that I have more lines than you do.

 

Good luck and let me or anyone else here know if we can be of help to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not a health professional in any way.  I do not give medical advice.   Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a professional medical practitioner.

 

NEW INFORMATION FOR GABAPENTIN TAPER

April 29, 2022 900 mg to 800 mg (11%), May 29, 2022 800 to 700 mg (12.5%), June 20, 2022 700 to 650mg (8%), July 20, 2022 650 to 575 (12%), August 20,  575 to 500 (13%),  Sept 20, 2020 500 to 475mg (5%) Nov 7, 2022 475 to 425 (11%), Nov 21, 2022 500mg

Medications and supplements: Gabapentin, Prednisone 5mg a day, Cortisol Inhaler daily, Azithromycin 250mg 3 times a week, Fish oil, vitamin D, Calcium.

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 150mg Zoloft.  Put on Gabapentin at 900mg a day in 2016 due to antidepressant withdrawal.  As of Nov 2022 down to 600mg.

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg.  May 9, 2020 1.375 mg.  June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%).  July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.  Nov. 28, 2020 .75mgJan 16, 2021 .685mg (8.7%).  Feb 13, 2021 .62mg. March 12, 2021 .56mg.  May 1, 2021 .375mg.  May 29, 2021 .25mg. June 26, 2021 .0125mg. July 25, 2021 .065mg. August 22, 2021 .048mg.  October 2, 2021 .043mg.  October 10, 2021 .038mg.  October 23, 2021 .035mg.  October 30, 2021 .032mg.  Nov. 13, 2021 .030 mg.  Dec 4, 2021 .0285 mg.  Dec 11, 2021 .0265 mg. Dec 18, 2021 .0246 mg. Dec 25, 2021 .023mg. Jan 1, 2022. 0 mg. OFF COMPLETELY

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
5 hours ago, Persistent said:

Was wondering if an excersize program would help with withdrawal symtoms. 

 

No, it won't and it might even make your symptoms worse because your CNS is destabilised and exercising adds further stress.  However about 1/2 hour gentle walk may be generally beneficial.  If you aren't currently being active you could start with a short 10 minute walk and build up slowly over a few weeks.

 

When members join SA it can be overwhelming.  It can be especially hard understanding that the drugs have changed our brain and that our brain needs the drug.  It's a physiological dependence, not physical like needing caffeine or nicotine.

 

The following is what another mod posted to member Virgo who has reduced their Zoloft too quickly:

 

8 hours ago, baroquep said:

What you are experiencing is totally normal under the circumstances.  From what I can see of your tapering history, you have made some very large decreases, 75mg to 50mg Jan/Feb and then another large decrease from 50mg to 25mg in May.  The central nervous system cannot handle such large changes and this is likely what is causing your trouble.  

 

From my understanding of these drugs, and without getting too technical and to simplify their action in the brain, when we start taking a drug, our brain adapts to the presence of the drug by making changes to accommodate its presence.  It recalibrates itself back to stability despite the presence of the drug so that it can function normally again.  When a person makes a large reduction, in your case a reduction of 25mg back in January, your brain panicked to try and recalibrate itself back to stability without the 25mg and had a lot of difficulty doing this because it was such a large reduction.  Surviving Antidepressants recommends tapering by 10% of your current dose with a hold of at least four weeks in-between decreases.  Before your brain had a chance to recover from that extremely large 25mg decrease, you again reduced another 25mg which made things even worse.  In other words you have, in five short months, reduced 50mg of a potent antidepressant and your brain is having difficulty adjusting back to stability.  If you had followed the recommendations of Surviving Antidepressants to safely taper this drug by 10% each month, it would have taken you approximately two years to reduce by 50mg.

 

Reducing antidepressant doses has to be done very cautiously and slowly to avoid experiencing what is happening with you right now.  I'm not surprised that you are experiencing headaches that take you to the ER.  Your central nervous system hasn't been able to tolerate such large decreases and it is going to take a lot of time before you start feeling well again.  When I switched from Pristiq to Effexor to start tapering off of antidepressants, I didn't realize that Pristiq was so much stronger than Effexor and didn't take enough Effexor to counterbalance this change and when I destabilized it was pretty intense.  I had derealization, depersonalization, thought I was losing my mind among many other awful withdrawal symptoms.  What I learned from this experience was just how potent some of these drugs can be and their effects on the brain. I would say that it took approximately three months before I started feeling better but I have to remind you that I didn't make two very large changes in a short period of time like you have.  It can take months, many months for the brain to restabilize from a single change, even a small one so by reducing 50mg in four short months unfortunately has contributed to problems.

 

 

5 hours ago, Persistent said:

I am persistent to get off of the Zoloft. It is good to have the support. If things change for the worse in the next week or so I will consider going back on a very small dosage.

 

I too am persistent to get off my drug.  I'm glad you are considering reinstatement.  However please realise that "toughing it out" may not be the best way.  It's got nothing to do with how "strong" we are as people.  It knocks the wind out of you when you first realise the predicament you have been put in by the medical profession.  The "you need an AD like a diabetic needs insulin" is what is known as the chemical imbalance myth.  However, the drugs we have been taking have in fact changed the chemical balance of our brains and the brain, being the incredible thing that it is, is continually trying to regain homoeostasis.

Edited by baroquep

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

Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy