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ReturningToHope


ReturningToHope

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I am now 24 (female)

On Zoloft for over 6 years (25 mg)

Tapered down to 15 mg over 5 months then CT'd because of adverse reaction due to WD) 

Off now for 3 months 

 

Before I give a detailed history that many might not be up to reading, I want to give the most pressing info:

 

my W/D symptoms

Intense constant anxiety /panic

•Akathisia to varying degrees. At times it has been unbearable) 

•Depersonalization/Derealization

•Anhedonia (have not been able to enjoy absolutely anything.. can't take pleasure in shows or books or human interactions with the people I love) 

•Like my sense of humor is gone 

•Pressure in head, brain zaps when moving head) 

•Body numbness and tingling (feels like I am not IN my own body, floating head sensation? from what I've googled) 

•Muscle weakness (hard to hold my head up sometimes and feeling very uncoordinated 

•No energy or motivation to do anything 

•Tinnitus (fairly loud and constant) 

•Suicidal thoughts daily 

•Massive brain fog (simple tasks and holding conversations, typing any of this takes massive effort) 

•Memory is horrible 

•Vivid dreams although rare nightmares 

• Insomnia at the very beginning but I have been able to sleep for at least 6 hours at a time now most nights, thank God) 

•Sensitivity to sound and commotion. Seeing a movie in theatre was like hell) 

•Foods and eating in general seem to make it worse so I've not been eating much at all which cannot be good either, further source of stress)

•paranoia. Feeling like the world isn't safe and politics especially terrify me 

•Disconnection from my spirituality. Developed huge phobia of all the New Age beliefs I've had since I was young.. law of attraction, past lives, etc.

•The suicidal thoughts have forced me to think far too much about death and now that I question my beliefs about God and what happens after this life I am horrified and feel trapped 

 

 

After all that heaviness.. my background and what lead to this for anyone who cares to see that info 

 

 

My drug history:

I was put on generic Zoloft (sertraline, 25 mg) for generalized anxiety disorder at 17. My mother was the one pushing for this at the time. I was not told of any potential side effects or of the possibility for dependence or withdrawal as most of us are not. 

Looking back I did not respond well to the drug from the start. Began sleeping constantly and had other bizarre side effects in the beginning. Essentially developed depression which I'd never had prior. But did not associate it with the drug and my parents clearly did not either.

Agreeing to start Zoloft is easily the biggest regret of my life.. I'm praying some day I will view that differently and help change the system but right now I just feel like I'd be grateful to survive this 

 

In college, I made a second huge mistake and agreed to try Strattera for adult ADD despite no diagnosis... at the insistence of my mother once again. The psychiatrist handed me expired samples and said to disregard the dates.. to work myself up in dosage over a few weeks. I still trusted psychiatry at this point.. and I was really floundering and desperate for the ability to think straight and function the way everyone else seemed to. The psychiatrist then filled my script incorrectly at 60 mg (I had only worked up to about 15mg). I had a traumatic adverse reaction and stopped taking it CT at that point.

god know what damage that alone did to my system. 
Several attempts (about 3) to get off the sertraline and failed with either CT or too rapid tapers and reinstated each time. 
Finally began when home from college to try a much slower approach using liquid form. Reduced by 2 mg per month. Was not nearly as precise as I should have been and missed doses due to cognitive issues and forgetting medication on weekends staying at my significant other's. The withdrawal effects caught up with me about 6 months into the taper and became debilitating. I found that my system had become sensitized to the drug and caused a paradoxical reaction by that point.

I ultimately went to the ER for tachycardia/derealization and suicidal ideation that came on suddenly after taking it. As you can probably imagine nothing was offered to me other than another drug (Vistaril) which I was given as a shot and then as a prescription which I decided not to take out of pure fear of psych drugs /putting anything else into my poor system. 

I was forced to CT from my remaining 15 mg dosage after that reaction/ER visit and have been suffering immensely since.

 

I have been reading this site daily and clinging to the success stories for dear life. Hearing that many people take years was truly a nightmare.. and harrowing beyond belief but at this point even that sounds like it would be a miracle but I am hanging on.

 

The therapy that gives me the most hope is acupuncture. Specifically the NADA protocol (auriculotherapy) used for withdrawal from opiates and alcohol. I know "Detox" and/or anything stimulating is said to be a huge No in this forum but I have heard of others having success with this with benzo W/D and SSRI W/D symptoms seem to overlap quite a bit. 

 

 

Things I've tried: 

•Low histamine diet + no wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol or caffeine  (HELPED) 

 

•GABA supplement (do not believe that response was good. At best made me feel sedated but not in a pleasant way) 

 

•Reiki (freaked me out because of my new fear of spirituality) 

 

•Neurofeedback (may have helped but had to stop because of cost) 

 

 

i know everyone here is going through their own dark tunnel but if you have any advice or encouragement please help 

 

 

2011: Started Zoloft (Sertraline, 25 mg) 

 

2013: Added Strattera and CT'd after about 2 months because of adverse reaction 

 

2017: Began slow taper of sertraline at 2 mg per month.. got to 5 month mark. Made mistakes and missed doses.

W/D destabilization caused adverse reaction upon taking it. Was forced to CT remaining 15 mg 

 

Now (Jan. 2018): 3 months off (psych med free) and in the depths of severe W/D

 

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  • Moderator

Hello, ReturningtoHope and welcome to SA.  I am glad you found your way here, and I'm sorry you are in this situation.

 

The symptoms you list are very typical of antidepressant withdrawal caused by a too-rapid taper, in your case, of Zoloft.  At Surviving Antidepressants, it is recommended that a person taper by no more than 10% of their current dose with at least a four week hold in-between decreases.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at a more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.  Going from 25mg to 15mg in 5 months is not extremely fast but may have been too fast for you.

You wrote that you tapered Zoloft for five months then CT'd due to "adverse reaction due to WD."  My main question is, was it an adverse reaction or withdrawal?  They are different, and symptom patterns often reveal whether you are experiencing an adverse effect or a withdrawal symptom. Could you please describe the symptoms of the adverse reaction?  Were they similar to the WD symptoms you list in your post?  Or were they different? The reason I ask is, if the symptoms you identified as adverse reaction were in fact WD symptoms from a too-fast taper, then a very small reinstatement of Zoloft may help alleviate your symptoms.  At three months out, you are still within the time frame that reinstatement is more likely to work.  Oftentimes, even a low dose of 1mg is enough to help alleviate existing withdrawal symptoms.  If reinstatement is something you think might benefit you, please let me know and we will suggest a very low dosage to reinstate.  Then, after you've stabilized, we would guide you in a very slow taper to get off the drug.  

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly? 
  • 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. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.
 
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. For more tips, please see:

 

 
This is your introduction topic, the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation.

 

 


 

 

Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Sept. 22, 2022: 3.5mg

Taper is 81% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • 3 months later...
On 1/10/2018 at 12:57 PM, ReturningToHope said:

i know everyone here is going through their own dark tunnel but if you have any advice or encouragement please help

Hi ReturningToHope,

I am so sorry you are suffering but glad you found this forum where we encourage each other to survive antidepressants.  I have no advice, but I can offer that I was in desperate shape when I got here and am doing much better now.  There are so many good ideas about how to recover here.  Follow the suggestions of the moderators, do all the recommended reading, and you will get better.

Best wishes for slow and safe healing,

RM

Alcohol periodic excessive 1963-1976, Valium sporadic 1964-1973,  Imipramine off & on 1982-1985, Fluoxetine 10mg-80 mg. Oct., 1995-Jan., 2014; Cymbalta, other ADs 1/2014-3/2014; Abilify 5 mg. 3/2014 - 8/8/17; Trintellix 20 mg. 3/2014 - 9/2017; Propranolol 60-80 mg. sporadically Sept-Oct, 2017; Seroquel few days Sept 2017 (c/t); Wellbutrin 150 mg. Sept, 2017 updosed to 300 mg. few days till c/t Oct 8, 2017, fish oil, vitD, vitE Oct 16, 2017-pres. Lipoflavonoid 4/2017-pres.  Fluoxetine 10 mg. Sept-Oct 8, 2017, 20 mg. 10/9- 10/15; 10 mg. 10/16 - 12/29;  9 mg. 12/30 - 2/9; 2 mL liquid (8.1mg) 2/10 - 3/7; 1.8 mL (7.29 mg) 3/8 -3/20; 1.6 mL (6.561mg) 3/20-4/2; 1.4 mL (5.9 mg) 4/3-4/14; 1mL (4 mg.) 4/15-4/22; .9mL (3.6mg) 4/23-5/1; .81mL (3.24 mg) 5/2-5/24; .73mL (2.916mg.) 5/25-6/8; .65mL 6/9-6/23; .6mL 6/24-7/17; .58mL 7/18-7/28; .525mL 7/29-8/13; .5 mL 8/14-21; .45mL 8/22-31; .4mL 9/2-21; .35mL 9/22-10/4; .3mL 10/5-28; .25mL 10/28-11/10; .2mL 11/11-11/24; .18mL 11/25-12/3; .1mL 12/4-12/18. Zero-12/19/18-present.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi @ReturningToHope, how are you doing now?

2008-2013 - Various meds on and off since age 18 incl. Sertraline, Prozac, Mirtazipine, Abilify. Prescribed for severe OCD.

CT'd several times over these years and reinstated after subsequent psych hospitalisations.

2014-2015 - Clomipramine, quetiapine and Epilum

2015-Jan 2017 - Prozac 40mg (stopped contraceptive pill, most stable period of time)

(Beginning of taper) Jan-October 2017 - Tapered Prozac to zero.

15 Jan 2018 - Reinstated Prozac at 2mg due to acute w/d symptoms

February 2018 - tapered to 1.8mg

May 2018 - reinstated at 5mg due to severe w/d symptoms. 9 month hold, stabilized well at around 6/7 months.

March 2019 - Tapered to 4.9mg

Current supplements: fish oils, probiotic, ashwaganda, colostrum powder, cannabis

 

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  • 2 years later...

I am doing so much better now!

I have to give credit to my faith though because as nuts as it sounds I received most of my healing from having spirit filled Christians lay hands on me and pray.

 

I am now a born again Christian as well and my life has completely changed. I don’t mean to push my beliefs on anyone but I know for sure that God is real. And that Jesus is “the way the truth and the life” He was my savior and has continued to show me his love and his plans for my life since.


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10) 

 

There is a purpose in all this suffering. 
He loves you and he has plans to give you a future too. All you have to do is pray to him alone and ask him with a sincere heart to show you that he is real. He will answer, I can promise that. 

 

 

 

2011: Started Zoloft (Sertraline, 25 mg) 

 

2013: Added Strattera and CT'd after about 2 months because of adverse reaction 

 

2017: Began slow taper of sertraline at 2 mg per month.. got to 5 month mark. Made mistakes and missed doses.

W/D destabilization caused adverse reaction upon taking it. Was forced to CT remaining 15 mg 

 

Now (Jan. 2018): 3 months off (psych med free) and in the depths of severe W/D

 

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  • 4 months later...

Hi @ReturningToHope I hope my message finds you well.  I know it's been awhile since you've been on here but I am currently in withdrawal - 3 months and counting - and need all the encouragement I can get. I have tinnitus (developed last Mar 2 - 10 weeks into withdrawal) and I just wanted to ask if your tinnitus went away?  Do you recall when it disappeared? This is the most disturbing symptom for me as it's so loud!!! Thanks for your time.

Nov 10 - Dec 10, 2019 - Clonazepam & Alprazolam

Dec 2019 - Aug 2, 2020 - 30mg Mirtazapine

Aug 3, 2020 - Sept 2020 - 15 mg Mirtazapine

Sept - Nov 2020 - 15 mg Mirtazapine every other day

 

Supplements: B Complex, Magnesium, Fish Oil, Multivit, Q10, Vit D, Vit C

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