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Mevan - Sertraline withdrawal


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Hi all,

I was prescribed 25 mg Setraline for situational anxiety/depression in Aug 2017.  My dose was increased to 50 mg in Nov 2017, immediately following the increase I began to gain roughly 5 lbs per month until I decided to begin tapering off in Feb 2018 after not much improvement noted from the drug, rather apathy and shock at the weight gain.  


When i I began the taper I felt great, lots of energy and happy to be able to experience my reactions to life again.  I did begin to experience disturbing nightmares, insomnia and extremity tingling while still tapering.  Once I had taken my last dose on  Mar 24, 2018 I began to experience the following: abdominal cramping, severe bloating, exhaustion, irritability, severe mood swings, headaches, insomnia, body aches, brain zaps, foginess, crying spells, obsessive and suicidal thoughts.  


I feel so out of control in my own mind and body.  I try to remind myself when these symptoms come about to breath through them but it’s not working, I’ve bought a variety of supplements but I’m not sure where to begin.  I’m just hoping others have made it to the other side and can provide some tips on what worked for them.  Does the withdrawl time frame match the time the drug was prescribed?  Thanks in advance for your help.

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  • Moderator

Hello, Mevan, and welcome to SA.  The withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing are common reactions to a too-fast taper.  To start, we need some more information from you, and then we can give you some suggestions.


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.

Please include the dates of your taper, the rate at which you tapered, and whether you did every-other-day dosing.  Please keep your signature as simple and easy to read as possible.


From your post, it appears that you tapered from 50mg Sertraline in a bit more than a month.  That was far too fast.  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.
To help you understand the symptoms you are experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal.  The withdrawal time doesn't necessarily correlate with the time you were on the drug.  These drugs alter the architecture of the brain, and the time necessary to heal the brain and return to homeostasis is, unfortunately, impossible to predict.  


When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
Please be aware that sometime withdrawal symptoms don't appear immediately after a too-fast taper.
Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  Please read:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
Reinstatement isn’t a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone, but it’s the best tactic available.  You’re still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to three months after last dose or dose reduction.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when updosing/reinstating it is better to start with a small amount and increase of symptoms remain unbearable.  If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become unstable.  Sometimes it can be hard to regain stability after this happens.

Once you have completed your signature, including information on your tapering schedule, we can make a suggestion on the dosage to reinstate. Then, once you have stabilized (which can take several months) you can taper the reinstated dosage down at a 10% per month rate.

I understand your desire to be off the drug.  Ultimately the choice whether to reinstate is yours, but thought I should bring this possibility to your attention so that you can make the best decision regarding your health and well-being.  


You mentioned supplements.  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.
While it is often a first response to stress to take a B-Complex, in withdrawal it can be overstimulating.

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.  I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.






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 of 18.75mg   

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% 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

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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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Mevan - Sertraline withdrawal

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