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Elly: Sertraline/Zoloft withdrawal or relapse


Elly

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I'm hoping for some reassurance or advice. I began tapering off sertraline at the end of July after 2.5 years on it.  I was doing ok, generally, with some emotional ups and downs.  I decided to come off them and was coping after my last pill which was about 2 weeks ago, but last week I started to fall back into depression again and this week I can't stop crying and am feeling progressively hopeless.  I can't work out if this is still my body adjusting or if this is a relapse, but I really don't want to go back on them!  Id love to hear some other experiences.... How long could Withdrawel last after my final dosage, even though I tapered very slowly?  

December 2014 - July 2017 50mg of sertraline (Zoloft) daily.

July - Dec 2017 - tried to wean off it but symptoms too bad and reinstated

Summer - Dec 2021 started weaning off it again.  25mg 2x per week then stopped altogether

Dec 2021 - Teary but related to life events so didn't put it down to withdrawal 

End of Jan 2022 - had Covid then Feb 2022 - Fatigue and dizziness, began to feel unstable, unable to focus 

Mar 2022 - crying spells, feelings of unease, feeling unbalanced 

 

 

 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Elly: Sertraline/Zoloft withdrawal or relapse
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Elly and welcome to SA,

 

What you are experiencing are withdrawal symptoms from stopping the drug too quickly.  These drugs change our brain and they become physiologically dependent on it.  Not physically like nicotine or caffeine.

 

The only known way to reduce the withdrawal symptoms is to reinstate the drug which your brain has adapted to.  Because you have only been off for 2 weeks reinstating will most likely be successful.  Reinstatement is best done as soon as withdrawal symptoms appear.  The longer you leave it the less likely it is to be successful.

 

Q:  Did you taper the drug?  If yes, post about how you tapered.

 

Many members feel the same as you about not wanting to go back on the drug.  However, withdrawal can last months and sometimes years and it can get worse.  Some members have had to leave their jobs, some have had to move in with relatives and some have become bed bound.

 

My own experience was trying to reduce my Pristiq from 100mg to 50mg.  I suffered very bad cog fog for 3 weeks and at the end of the 3 weeks I was unable to type.  Because I have been a typist for 40+ years I knew that something was wrong.  Thankfully I had joined SA a few days before this happened and they had suggested taking extra Pristiq.  When I couldn't type I did this and after about 4 hours my head was clearing and I was able to type again.  Since then I have been tapering successfully with minimal withdrawal symptoms and am now down to 17mg.

 

We ask all members to complete a drug signature which will show below every post you make.  Please following these instructions to create a signature in the preferred format.  Please update it whenever you make a change:

 

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.

 

Here are some links for you to read.  Please read Post #1 of the reinstatement topic and let us know if you would like to do this.  These drugs are strong.  If you tapered the drug please do not go back on the original dose of the drug because it will probably be too much.  We can suggest a dose you could try:

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

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

 

This is your own Introduction topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.

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 Emeritus

And you might want to check out these too:

 

Is it withdrawal or relapse?

 

Is it withdrawal or relapse?  Or something else?

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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I went through the same and reinstated the drug, I am now stable and able to do a slow taper. Slow and steady will minimize withdrawal and make you able to function better. Ali 

10 years citalopram 30mg- tapered down in December 15/2015- Jan 15/2016 to 20mg for two weeks, ten for one week and five for another week, then stopped, less then two weeks later, sheer hell broke lose with debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

 

Update-- reinstated 5mg of celexa on feb 5-- within hours noticed immediate difference in WD symptoms-- Holding holding and more holding.

 

Updose- March 23/16 too 10mg- relieved the harsher head symptoms- current symptoms headaches, dizzy, numbness and tingling in my head.

 

Benzos- 2015-Ativan on and off for 6 months 2mg- switched to clonazepam nov 2015- 2mg till Jan 2016 Zopiclone 7.5mg nov-dec 2015- was tapered off over 4weeks- Currently in protracted withdrawal. ????????????????????????????????

 

Update- ended up in the hospital April 18/16 major suicidal ( never had that before) was admitted/ been there ever since, put me back to full dose celexa 30mg no drugs added, IAM FINALLY STABLE AFTER 3 months of tortuous hell. Got a great physiatrist that new all about WD, he will help me taper properly in a couple of months at 5% deductions holding 8 weeks. I never want to relive that hell again.

 

Udate- stable and holding, doing things slowly is key.

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THanks to both of you for replying - am feeling very alone in this and your feedback means a lot.  I read the postings about reinstating the drug, and took 25mg this morning in desperation as I can't stop crying! I think I will cut in half again and take 12mg.  Ali, glad to hear you are stable.. Gives me some hope.  

December 2014 - July 2017 50mg of sertraline (Zoloft) daily.

July - Dec 2017 - tried to wean off it but symptoms too bad and reinstated

Summer - Dec 2021 started weaning off it again.  25mg 2x per week then stopped altogether

Dec 2021 - Teary but related to life events so didn't put it down to withdrawal 

End of Jan 2022 - had Covid then Feb 2022 - Fatigue and dizziness, began to feel unstable, unable to focus 

Mar 2022 - crying spells, feelings of unease, feeling unbalanced 

 

 

 

 

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You will get there, trust me I know the feeling of " is this ever going to end " it will all in time. Don't reinstate to your full dose it will be too much, start small and see if it relieves some of your symptoms. 

10 years citalopram 30mg- tapered down in December 15/2015- Jan 15/2016 to 20mg for two weeks, ten for one week and five for another week, then stopped, less then two weeks later, sheer hell broke lose with debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

 

Update-- reinstated 5mg of celexa on feb 5-- within hours noticed immediate difference in WD symptoms-- Holding holding and more holding.

 

Updose- March 23/16 too 10mg- relieved the harsher head symptoms- current symptoms headaches, dizzy, numbness and tingling in my head.

 

Benzos- 2015-Ativan on and off for 6 months 2mg- switched to clonazepam nov 2015- 2mg till Jan 2016 Zopiclone 7.5mg nov-dec 2015- was tapered off over 4weeks- Currently in protracted withdrawal. ????????????????????????????????

 

Update- ended up in the hospital April 18/16 major suicidal ( never had that before) was admitted/ been there ever since, put me back to full dose celexa 30mg no drugs added, IAM FINALLY STABLE AFTER 3 months of tortuous hell. Got a great physiatrist that new all about WD, he will help me taper properly in a couple of months at 5% deductions holding 8 weeks. I never want to relive that hell again.

 

Udate- stable and holding, doing things slowly is key.

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  • Moderator Emeritus
3 hours ago, ELLY said:

took 25mg this morning in desperation as I can't stop crying! I think I will cut in half again and take 12mg

 

It is generally all right to reduce after only 1 dose.

 

Q:  What dose did you take last and on what date?

 

If you were taking 12mg and stopped about 1 month ago then you could reduce your dose even lower than 12mg.

 

Do not skip days. Skipping Days vs Every Day Dosing Graph

 

Please follow this example and make your signature easier to see at a glance.  Please add the DATE? when you stopped Zoloft and also lower DOSE? you decide to take .  Please also update it whenever you make a change.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

mid 2015 to mid July 2017 - Zoloft 50mg

mid July - 50mg alternate days for 10 weeks

end Sept - 50mg every 3rd day for 1 week

start Oct - 25mg alternate days

stopped - DATE?

4 Nov - 25mg

5 Nov - DOSE?

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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  • 2 months later...

ELLY any update

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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  • 4 years later...

Hi everyone, 

Reaching out for some support.

I have been on and off (mostly on) antidepressants since 2007- first citalopram, then in 2014, moved to Sertaline.  I came off 50mg of Sertraline after several months of tapering mid December, feeling totally fine. Through December I had a few teary moments, but nothing abnormal and unrelated to life situations.  

In Feb, after I had Covid, I started to feel really dizzy and unable to concentrate.  My head felt fuzzy and my mood began swinging all over the place, lots of crying, low mood, anxiety and acute sense of my heartbeat, endless rumination on difficult aspects of my life and utter exhaustion - nowhere near my normal energy levels.  This is continuing and I am struggling to function.  I"m close to giving up and reinstating the antidepressants. I do feel gradual improvement but it fluctuates from day to day and definitely over the course of the day - I'm worse in the morning and feel slightly more functional at night. I'm beginning to wonder if this is withdrawal or if I am depressed - but it does feel like an imbalance unlike what I experienced when I felt really low.  

Has anyone been through something similar?  Any tips? Is there any purpose in reinstating a small quantity of sertraline? 

 

December 2014 - July 2017 50mg of sertraline (Zoloft) daily.

July - Dec 2017 - tried to wean off it but symptoms too bad and reinstated

Summer - Dec 2021 started weaning off it again.  25mg 2x per week then stopped altogether

Dec 2021 - Teary but related to life events so didn't put it down to withdrawal 

End of Jan 2022 - had Covid then Feb 2022 - Fatigue and dizziness, began to feel unstable, unable to focus 

Mar 2022 - crying spells, feelings of unease, feeling unbalanced 

 

 

 

 

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  • Administrator
4 hours ago, ELLY said:

In Feb, after I had Covid, I started to feel really dizzy and unable to concentrate.  My head felt fuzzy and my mood began swinging all over the place, lots of crying, low mood, anxiety and acute sense of my heartbeat, endless rumination on difficult aspects of my life and utter exhaustion - nowhere near my normal energy levels.  This is continuing and I am struggling to function.

 

Hello, @ELLY It appears you have "long covid", which seems to include neurological instability similar to withdrawal syndrome. As far as I know, "long covid" is not withdrawal syndrome and does not call for reinstatement of the drug.

 

4 hours ago, ELLY said:

I do feel gradual improvement but it fluctuates from day to day and definitely over the course of the day - I'm worse in the morning and feel slightly more functional at night.

 

I would interpret this as natural healing from long covid.

 

As far as I know, antidepressants are not a treatment for long covid, though they are prescribed for whatever ails you and probably quite often prescribed for long covid without any evidence they help.

 

After finally getting free, if you want to get ensnared in antidepressants again, that's up to you. You know how to taper. Good luck.

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

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