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Rockrose21: Leaving Zoloft


Rockrose21

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Hi SA fam,

 

Apologies for the length of my first post but I figure its best to cover as many bases as possible up front. 

 

I had my first panic attack while under the influence of Marijuana in 2004 a few months shy of my 21st birthday. To this day it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Even though I knew overdose wasn’t possible on marijuana, I believed at that time that I was dying. 

 

The next morning I was able to brush myself off and laugh at my stupidity figuring I would lay off the pot and all would be fine. A couple of weeks later while visiting my brother in NYC, I became hyper-aware of my heartbeat. I could feel that something was off and the anxiety began to mount. Within minutes I was in full-blown panic and on my way to the emergency room convinced I was having a heart attack. Upon being told I was experiencing a panic attack I thought “how stupid, I’m a strong person and I will never let that happen again”. The next day I took myself for a walk in central park and I could slowly feel the anxiety escalating. I was helpless. I endured panic attack after panic attack and lived in a perpetual state of extreme anxiety and disarray for weeks. 

 

My mom thought it best to take my to see a psychiatrist. They diagnosed me with panic disorder and prescribed me a combination of Lexapro and Klonopin. I found immediate yet imperfect relief from the Klonopin but was very reluctant to take an antidepressant as I had never been depressed a day in my life. I took the Klonopin dutifully twice a day. The Lexapro I took for 10 days before ditching it after reading how it caused suicidal ideations in young people.. 

 

I managed to go back to school and complete my Senior year in spite of the massive anxiety. I eventually stabilized and quickly weaned myself off of the daily Klonopin but continued to use it as needed over the course of the year. 

 

I graduated in 2005 and returned home to Miami to study for the LSAT. During the time my Panic turned into a diagnosis of GAD and it became obvious that I was not thriving and struggling to focus on my studies. I went to see the psychiatrist again who convinced me that an SSRI would curb my anxiety and be a much safer daily treatment than Klonopin. She prescribed 20 mg of Paxil and I willingly took it. 

 

The Paxil worked wonders. Within a few weeks, I was back to myself feeling better than I had felt in the entire year prior. I maintained the Paxil for 18 months without any hiccups aside from some mild yet tolerable side effects. I decided with my doctor that it was time to come off and see how I faired.

 

I don't recall what the tapering protocol was but I believe I was fully off of Paxil over the course of a few weeks. Inevitably the anxiety came roaring back a couple of months later. I fought the best I could to stay off medication as I knew that if I relied on medication that I would never build the inner resilience I needed to truly and fully recover

 

At the time I was in my second year of law school and my studies were suffering dramatically. I can safely say that my suffering was worse than it had ever been and I started to become depressed for the first time in my life. After 6 months of struggling and not seeing any real improvement, I was prescribed 150 mg of Zoloft. I was told that this would be a much better drug for me even though I had very few issues while on Paxil. I reluctantly agreed and slowly began taking Zoloft in 2009 getting up to the full 150 over a few weeks. The first 6 weeks were touch and go but inevitably things fell into place and I felt like my old self again. I decided it was okay to compromise true recovery for the time being if it meant getting through school. 

 

Unfortunately, I got complacent and remained on Zoloft at different doses for the last 9 years. After a few years of working very effectively, I dropped my dose from 150 to 100 and then to 50 mg without much recourse. In 2012 while dealing with some very stressful life circumstances I suffered my first panic attack in the better part of three years and had a substantial set back lasting a few months. I was told to immediately re-up my dose back to 150 from 50. I slowly stabilized and picked myself up and moved to LA to get a fresh start. 

 

After a year or so I dropped back down to 100 mg and was stable again and thriving for the better part of another three years. I went to go and see a new holistic doctor as I had some lethargy and felt that while I was feeling “well” that I wasn’t “optimal”. He ran labs and felt it in my best interest to go on testosterone replacement therapy at 33 years of age. I was naively eager to see if testosterone would make me feel like superman so I happily obliged. 

 

I took the testosterone for 5 months bringing my number up from 500 to over 1100. I didn’t feel markedly different so I decided to stop. The doc ordered me to simply stop taking the testosterone. That was not a good idea. It turns out that like most anything else, Testosterone should be weaned off slowly. In stopping treatment it takes your body a little while to start making its own testosterone again. I crashed hard and had a major panic episode that turned into another prolonged and devastating setback. My testosterone dropped from 1100 to 120 and took months to rebound.

 

In the last 2.5 years, I very slowly stabilized once again but never back to the level of my first few years on the drug. In October of 2017, I decided that I no longer wanted to be dependent on any kind of medication and decided to wean myself off to explore more alternative forms of treatment including plant medicine and other non-pharmaceutical options. I felt that I was finally ready.

 

In 3.5 months I consistently reduced my dose and have been psych med free since Feb 1, 2018. Weening was a non-issue. In fact, I felt better while reducing the medication than I have at almost any point in the last 2.5 years. 

 

And then the problems began… I started to feel symptoms after a week off. It started mostly as discomfort and brain fog with sensitivity to light and a feeling of pressure in my head. In the weeks following, the anxiety and depression became devastating.

 

My main symptoms are: 

existential anxiety/depression, akathisia, neuro emotions, irrational and obsessive worrying, negative thinking, crying spells, feelings of unreality, brain fog, morning anxiety, lack of desire to socialize, no sex drive, digestive issues, some mild sleep issues, and what I can only describe as a feeling of my brain being intermittently squeezed. Im sure there are more. 

 

I am constantly debating internally if I am really experiencing withdrawal or just having a massive relapse. Maybe this is just who I am now? Im almost 5 months med free and have seen some progression as I have some days that are okay but for the most part, I'm living in what I can only describe as the twilight zone. My whole perception of reality feels completely warped and it only further exacerbates my sensitized nervous symptoms. 

 

I am grateful in that I have an amazing support system of family and friends. Unfortunately, my long-term girlfriend and I separated a month ago which has certainly added an extra layer of stress. 

 

Luckily I work for myself and have passive income so I can take as much time as needed to focus on recovery. 

 

In the last 5 months, I have experimented with a ton of different supplements and neurofeedback. Neither has been particularly helpful but I am still toying with the neurofeedback. I should note that I also stopped taking Propecia last week after nearly 18 years of use. 

 

I constantly debate reinstatement or simply just starting a new med due to constant worry that this is somehow permanent or completely unrelated to Zoloft. In my moments of clarity, I am resolute in my decision to stay off meds and have the belief that I will find my way through this in due time. Those moments, however, are fleeting. 

 

Thanks in advance if you’ve made it this far. I'm looking forward to getting to know many of you and hopefully posting a success story in the not too distant future!

 

 

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Rockrose21: Leaving Zoloft
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Rockrose21, welcome to SA.  The symptoms you describe definitely fit AD withdrawal.

 

Toughing it out is an option if withdrawal is bearable and you are coping okay.  If not, it's generally better to reinstate the med you were on rather than a new med, as that's the one your body got used to.  At five months off, reinstating a full dose has a high risk of adverse reactions.  It is possible that reinstating a small dose might help to alleviate symptoms to some degree.  It might be best to start with a tiny dose to begin with, to make it easier for your system to adjust and reduce the risk of an adverse reaction.  See: about reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

How did you stop taking the Propecia?  Did you slowly taper it?  This drug can also cause some severe post-withdrawal problems.  You may want to research this.

 

Have a look around our Symptoms and self-care section.  Here's a good place to start:  Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

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Your situation is most definitely related to Zoloft imo.   The moderators can advise you better but I think if you are feeling progressively better then it might be good to stay off.  

 

Also worry creates physical symptoms ie the flight or fight response: your nervous system gets ramped up and that leads to anxiet my and creates a cycle.  

 

So so try to learn to lessen anxiety and worry: pray, meditate, think positive thoughts etc 

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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Hi Songbird,

 

Up until a few days ago, I would have said that reinstatement was not an option. Now I'm not so sure. The more I read the more uncertainty I have. I know I tapered faster than what is recommended due to my lack of knowledge but now that I am 5 months out I stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am terrified to reinstate but I am equally scared to continue like this for an indefinite amount of time. 

 

I stopped taking the Propecia over the course of a month. It was 1 mg that I divided into quarters. Week one I took .75, week 2 I took .5, week 3 and 4 I took .25 and then off. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
deleted unnecessary quote

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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Hi Madeleine,

I think I can safely say that I feel a bit better than I did a month ago but not dramatically. Most every day is still a challenge. I still manage to get out of the house, exercise, eat well and socialize from time to time. I would say that I am 50-60 percent of my full capacity depending on the day. If I knew for certain that things were trending upward and would not be getting worse I think I could stick it out. Obviously, there are no guarantees and with the hell that I have been through already, I'm concerned about the future instead of focusing on the present at hand. 

 

I have been reading Claire Weekes which I have found to be quite helpful but other than that not much has been too impactful. I seem to break down in tears about every other day worrying that this is going to be a 4-6 year process or that I may never get back to baseline at all. Its all terribly stressful and not at all useful to recovery. Finding it so difficult to be positive at the moment. I am however incredibly stubborn and there's not much quit in me. Wish I knew better what to do at this point. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
deleted unnecessary quote

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Rockrose21 said:

Hi Madeleine,

I think I can safely say that I feel a bit better than I did a month ago but not dramatically. Most every day is still a challenge. I still manage to get out of the house, exercise, eat well and socialize from time to time. I would say that I am 50-60 percent of my full capacity depending on the day. If I knew for certain that things were trending upward and would not be getting worse I think I could stick it out. Obviously, there are no guarantees and with the hell that I have been through already, I'm concerned about the future instead of focusing on the present at hand. 

 

I have been reading Claire Weekes which I have found to be quite helpful but other than that not much has been too impactful. I seem to break down in tears about every other day worrying that this is going to be a 4-6 year process or that I may never get back to baseline at all. Its all terribly stressful and not at all useful to recovery. Finding it so difficult to be positive at the moment. I am however incredibly stubborn and there's not much quit in me. Wish I knew better what to do at this point. 

 

Claire weekes’ book was helpful for me.  If you haven’t read power of positive thinking my Norman Vincent Peale you might want to look into that.  Also feeling good by David burns is a classic too. 

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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  • 6 months later...

Its been six months since I have last posted and I am now at nearly 11 months off from 12 years if SSRIs. At the risk of sounding dramatic, life has been hell. I struggle every day with both emotional and physical symptoms and I fear I am not doing a spectacular job of coping. I've made so many mistakes on this journey and after 11 months I still don't know if I am doing the right thing. I have some days where things are manageable and I feel as though I am on the right path, but inevitably I get swallowed by unrelenting and unforgiving symptoms. I have found myself on my hands and knees begging God for help more times than I care to remember. My life has become very small. 

 

Main symptoms are as follows: 

Major anxiety including sporadic panic attacks

Relentless intrusive thoughts

Depression - the kind that makes one think that happiness and a sense of normalcy will never exist again. Breaking down crying almost every day.

Major weakness in my legs that I can only describe as "jelly legs" which makes it difficult to walk straight. 

Burning sensations in my limbs

Hypochondria about the above sensations - worrying about neurological issues. 

 

The good news is that I sleep through most every night and typically get a solid 8 hours. On most days it seems like my body and mind begin to settle down at around 7-8 pm and I am able to feel mostly normal in the evenings. I've also had some days where I feel like I am going to get through this and that I can manage, but those days seem to be the exception and are usually the days where the anxiety is at a low. The anxiety is definitely the worst of the symptoms.  Early on I would use Klonopin a few times a month as a rip chord but I haven't done that in the better part of two months. Sometimes i think I should use it more often but I'm scared of doing most everything for fear of making things worse.  Luckily I have a very supportive family and I feel as though I am not enduring this alone. 

 

I still struggle immensely with the thought that I made a tremendous mistake in how I went off the drug (Tapered for 5 months from 100mg) and perhaps I need to slowly reinstate in order to stabilize and do a proper taper. I don't want to feel as though I have wasted the last 11 months but I don't want to find myself 2 or 3 years out and in the same place when I could potentially do something now to change the course of my future for the better. . 

 

Most days I can't imagine how this can possibly get better. This last month has been particularly difficult and I feel as though I am going in the wrong direction. I don't know what to do at this point... which usually means I do nothing at all. I fear that I can't go on like this much longer. Nor do I believe I should if there is indeed a better way, 

 

Appreciate any wisdom, advice and support.

 

RR

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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  • Moderator
Rockrose,
 
I'm sorry you're having these terrible symptoms.  Thing will get better, though I know it's hard to imagine right now. Worrying that you're not going to recover puts even more stress on your system.   Many members tapered too fast, went through hell, and recovered.  The following link doesn't sugar-coat the situation but is helpful in understanding what you're going through.
 
 
It's important to learn and use Non-drug techniques to cope

 

You might find these helpful:

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 
 
Two supplements that we 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.
 
I would be very careful on the Klonopin, which is a strong benzo, and I would advice against increasing your use of it.  Benzos are a slippery slope and you don't want to become dependent.
 

 

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of May 18: 11.7mgai.  Taper is 37.6% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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 hours ago, Gridley said:

 Many members tapered too fast, went through hell, and recovered

Hi Rockrose, I too tapered too quickly and was unable to reinstate.  I am 9 months into withdrawal and feel like you do.  Although I have had some improvement slowly.  Gridley, your words I quoted give me hope that I too can recover.  Thank you.

 

Effexor 2008 - 2017 37.5 Mg . Upped to 150 mg on 2017.  November of 2017 to March 2018 went from 150 mg to 0.

Ativan May 2018 started 1 - 2 mg daily stayed at 1mg Sept 2018. 03/9/19 .975mg, 03/16 .950mg, 04/13 .94, 04/20 .93, 04/27 .916 slowly tapered from April to  August 2019 at .77mg,  December 2020 .10mg

Valium June 2018 started 10 mg currently 2.5 mg daily

Trazadone started March 2018 100 mg at night to sleep Oct 16, 2018 went to 75 mg , November 13, 2018 67.5 mg, Dec 11 60.75 mg, January 21, 2019  54 mg, 02/09 50 mg

Six Ketamine treatments September 2018.  2 treatments a week for 3 weeks

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi RockRose,

 

I suggest you check out the stories of the members who have recovered in this area of SA:

 

success-stories-recovery-from-withdrawal

 

An analogy:  Think of SA being a hospital.  People who go to hospital are there because they are sick.  Once they have recovered they don't stay in hospital.  They may return for check ups and advice etc but once they are healing they don't need to be in the hospital.

 

We have members here who are concerned because there don't seem to be many success stories.  The members who are active on this site are here because they need suggestions and support.  Thankfully some members have returned after recovering and have posted their success stories.  Don't let the low number of success stories concern you.  The members who have recovered no longer need SA so they probably aren't going to keep coming back here because they no longer need it.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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@ChessieCat Thank you for your reassuring words and for your poignant analogy. That said I have a hard time appreciating why people don't come back to speak of their success. Benzobuddies has hundreds of success stories. Why the discrepancy? Do they just have a lot more members there or is there some other explanation? 

 

@Gridley Thank you for providing those resources. I read through them and was naturally a bit perturbed by Brassmonkeys essay about slow tapering vs CT/fast taper. From reading that essay I am understanding that my recovery is likely going to take years regardless of the method of discontinuation, yet if done with a slow taper than those years will be much more manageable. Be that the case, is reinstatement, stabilization and a slow taper, not the right thing to do? 

 

@Rezten Why were you unable to reinstate? Is it not possible after a certain amount of time? What is the risk of a slow and mindful reinstatement if it potentially makes the coming years that much more bearable? 

 

Thank you all for taking the time to respond and provide some guidance. I want to do this the right way, but I don't know what my options are or if there are any good options at this point. 

 

Hopeful,

RR

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I imagine that people just want to get on with their lives.  If I wasn't a mod I'd probably not be returning because I know about tapering and what to do so don't really need to be active here.  We have many people who have joined but never posted and also many guests who visit the site.  There are a lot more people than just the active members who have gained the information they needed from SA.  And if a member hasn't  interacted much on the site they probably don't understand how helpful knowing about their successful recovery can be for members who are struggling.

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms  Post #1

 

For people whose symptoms are unbearable and feel that their only option is to go back on a psychiatric drug, then the better option is generally to reinstate the drug they were last taking.  However, the longer since the last time that drug was taken the less chance there is of reinstatement being successful.  If it has been a fair amount of time since getting off the drug some people might consider changing to Prozac, but like all things, the pros and cons need to be weighed up.  Changing to a different drug doesn''t always reduce the withdrawal symptoms which a person is experiencing from the previous drug because different drugs work in different ways.

 

During the time off the drug, a person's brain adapts to not getting the drug.  But nobody knows, and there are no tests to determine, how much adaptation has occurred during that time.  If a member decides to reinstate after a long time off the drug, then it is better to try a tester dose to begin with to see how they react to taking the drug again.  If after a few days things are okay then they could increase the drug by a small amount.  It is better to start with a low dose and increase if needed than to risk taking too much.

 

The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  It takes about 4 days for a dose to get to full level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  It is best to keep daily notes of symptoms on paper so that you can objectively assess how reinstatement is affecting your symptoms.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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3 hours ago, Rockrose21 said:

Why were you unable to reinstate? Is it not possible after a certain amount of time? What is the risk of a slow and mindful reinstatement if it potentially makes the coming years that much more bearable? 

By the time I got to SA I was six months from my last dose.  I was told reinstatement would be iffy.  

 

Effexor 2008 - 2017 37.5 Mg . Upped to 150 mg on 2017.  November of 2017 to March 2018 went from 150 mg to 0.

Ativan May 2018 started 1 - 2 mg daily stayed at 1mg Sept 2018. 03/9/19 .975mg, 03/16 .950mg, 04/13 .94, 04/20 .93, 04/27 .916 slowly tapered from April to  August 2019 at .77mg,  December 2020 .10mg

Valium June 2018 started 10 mg currently 2.5 mg daily

Trazadone started March 2018 100 mg at night to sleep Oct 16, 2018 went to 75 mg , November 13, 2018 67.5 mg, Dec 11 60.75 mg, January 21, 2019  54 mg, 02/09 50 mg

Six Ketamine treatments September 2018.  2 treatments a week for 3 weeks

 

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  • Moderator
5 hours ago, Rockrose21 said:

From reading that essay I am understanding that my recovery is likely going to take years regardless of the method of discontinuation, yet if done with a slow taper than those years will be much more manageable. Be that the case, is reinstatement, stabilization and a slow taper, not the right thing to do? 

 

Rockrose,

 

I believe ChessieCat has addressed the variables involved in your question in these two paragraphs:

 

"For people whose symptoms are unbearable and feel that their only option is to go back on a psychiatric drug, then the better option is generally to reinstate the drug they were last taking.  However, the longer since the last time that drug was taken the less chance there is of reinstatement being successful.  If it has been a fair amount of time since getting off the drug some people might consider changing to Prozac, but like all things, the pros and cons need to be weighed up.  Changing to a different drug doesn''t always reduce the withdrawal symptoms which a person is experiencing from the previous drug because different drugs work in different ways.

 

During the time off the drug, a person's brain adapts to not getting the drug.  But nobody knows, and there are no tests to determine, how much adaptation has occurred during that time.  If a member decides to reinstate after a long time off the drug, then it is better to try a tester dose to begin with to see how they react to taking the drug again.  If after a few days things are okay then they could increase the drug by a small amount.  It is better to start with a low dose and increase if needed than to risk taking too much."

 

You can see there is no clear answer.  One possibility, as ChessieCat mentioned, is to try to reinstate a tester dose and see how that goes.  When you went off in February, what dosage were you taking?

 

 

 

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of May 18: 11.7mgai.  Taper is 37.6% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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 @Gridley I started reducing from 100 mg of Zoloft in August of 2017 and reduced by 12.5 mg increments at a time. I jumped on January 29 from a dose of 12.5 mg which I had been on for a couple of weeks. Certainly way to fast. It was about a week after my last dose that I started feeling unwell. My psychiatrist wanted me to taper much faster but I thought I was being conservative by multiplying his taper schedule by three. 

 

In my heart I don’t want to reinstate but I’ve been in a rough wave for a long time now. I get days here and there where things subside a bit but never back to normal. The only exception is that I tend to settle down in the evenings and would say I feel almost normal for a couple of hours most nights. The physical symptoms have me worried that something is wrong neurologically but rationally I know I’m being hyper sensitive.  At this point of almost a year out I suppose I will give it some more time. Don’t see much of a difference if I reinstate now vs a month or two from now. Maybe things will take a turn for the better and lighten a bit. Fingers crossed. 

 

RR 

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Other members have been feeling an increase in their symptoms due to the stress of the Christmas holidays.

 

Apart from the lead up to Christmas, this can be from eating too much or eating fatty/sugary food.  Drinking more coffee and/or caffeine drinks that usual.  Alcohol?  Staying up later.  Doing more things.  Getting overstimulated.

 

Something that you need to realise is that it is going to take time for you to feel the same way you used to.  Our desire is to go back to how we felt at our best.  However, when it comes to the situation we are in here, our comparison isn't to how we felt when we were at our best, we need to compare how we feel now with how we felt at our worst.  If we aren't feeling as bad as before, however small the improvement, then that is a good sign.  We need to learn to be patient. 

 

You need to be patient and try and be as stress free and look after yourself as well as you can.  It's important to get yourself a non drug coping toolkit together and learn and use these techniques.  Being able to give your nervous system a few periods of rest everyday can help.  And it becomes a habit and you will recognise when stress starts and be able to nip it in the bud before it gets too far.

 

Wanting to do something is perfectly normal and for men I think it is an even stronger drive.  It is inbuilt in most males to want to take action to fix something.  However what our brains need is a calm environment and time.  Being patient and doing nothing is actually doing something even though it doesn't feel like it.  It would be much easier if we could see or be tested to know exactly what is happening in our brain our body but unfortunately we can't.  We just have to trust the experience that has been learned from others that have gone before us.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Question for a moderator @ChessieCat 

 

I have to go in for a minimally invasive medical procedure. The doctor is telling me that I will be given a medication called Versed via injection just prior to the procedure. I see that this medication is a Benzodiazepine. To the best of your knowledge would this be problematic? My withdrawal is from Zoloft and not benzos but I am unsure how this may impact me given the situation.  

 

In addition, I will require an antibiotic. Are there any specific antibiotics that are known to cause the least amount of issues for those of us in withdrawal? Please note that I  am allergic to Penicillin and all drugs in the Penicillin family. Thank you!

 

RR

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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  • 4 months later...
Rockrose21

Just updating my thread as it’s now been just past 16 months to the day drug free. Please note that this post may be triggering to some as I discuss details of my distress. I know it’s hard for me to read about what others are experiencing so just a fair warning. This post has two parts. The first is written in my withdrawal voice which is how I feel most days.The second part is the authentic me that still exists somewhere behind the madness. 

 

Withdrawal voice: 

I wish I had more positive things to report but it has been noting short of catastrophic. I feel so incredibly trapped. I can’t seem to function without drugs but certainly can’t go back on them due to the fear of what may happen if I do. Even knowing what I know, I still obsess about reinstatement relentlessly. I ritualistically read reviews on drugs.com trying to find anything that can magically pull me out of this mess without screwing me up any further. That’s always a compulsive dead end but I do it anyways. It seems that there is no solution other than to wait in blind faith for things to miraculously change for the better. 

 

Most days I walk between 6 and 12 miles because I can’t sit still as the anxiety overwhelms me. In all that walking it’s pretty remarkable that I don’t notice anything. I’m just stuck in my mind kept company by my own intrusive thoughts. In addition to that I have severe burning in my body with intense head pressure. Panic attacks and derealization are present many days. I’ve also become quite the hypochondriac. I think I know more than most doctors. It seems that I’ve really missed my calling. These symptoms are severe but the obsessive and debilitating thoughts are what hurt me the most. Fear of pretty much everything. It’s pretty surreal to be terrified of your own mind.

 

I stopped going to therapy a while ago because I found it to be too triggering. I called my old therapist today out of desperation for a lifeline and she diagnosed me with OCD and told me I should see a specialist to get properly evaluated. I politely declined but now Im obsessing about being diagnosed as obsessive. It’s amazing how easily influenced I am. Wonderful. 

 

While I do find that this journey has only gotten to be harder as time has gone on, I do still get “windows”. I’d say that I get 7-10 days out of the month where I am not acutely suffering with some kind of mental or physical distress. On those days I’m usually so exhausted that I just lie on the couch. I will gladly and gratefully take that over the other symptoms. I’m also fortunate in that most nights everything settles down and I sleep relatively well for 6-7 hours. Unfortunately, once I open my eyes the madness starts over again. 

 

I don’t know how to keep going. I don’t even know that I should. I feel like I’m wasting valuable years of my life for the promise of a future that I’m not sure I believe in. I wish I was more committed to my belief that this is all withdrawal but logic and the influence of doctors and the internet keep interfering. I’ve lost my friends and my job. Because of a withdrawal, I am completely withdrawn. I don’t know how much more of this I can actually take. 

 

Authentic voice:

This has been the greatest challenge of my life but I am so proud of the effort I have made. Even though the progress is not always noticeable I know that underneath the struggle, healing is happening. I don’t know of many people who can endure what I have endured. Regardless of what happens, It’s a massive accomplishment. I have to believe that I am building psychological armor that will protect and serve me for the rest of my life. I walk 10 miles a day which certainly isn’t convenient but man I look good from all the exercise!  I eat clean, do what I can when I can and try my best to be kind to myself. It’s not easy and triggers happen often but I try to remind myself to be mindful during times of intense distress. This experience won’t break me. It is steeling my spine. It is not happening as fast as I’d like, not even close, but it is happening. I am beyond grateful for the days when I can lie on the couch with reduced symptoms. I am grateful for the people still in my life who support and love me unconditionally. My family in particular has been unbelievable. They have full on accepted the reality of withdrawal and cheer lead this endeavor wholeheartedly even though it’s hard for them to watch. While I feel wretched most of the time, I know that it won’t last forever and like every other challenge in my life, this too shall pass. Until then...

 

Just keep swimming.

 

RR

Paxil 20 mg: Feb 2006 - September 2007

Zoloft - 150 mg April 2008

Dosage varied between 50 and 150 mg from 2008-2017

 

Zoloft 0 mg - Feb 1 2018

 

 

 

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  • 5 months later...

How are you doing, Rockrose21

Feb 2009-Jul 2015 was on Prozac 20mg/day

                               with breaks for weeks and months off

                               in between.

Jul 2015-Feb 2016 off (cold turkey).

Feb 2016-Aug 2016 back on Prozac 20mg/day

Sep 2016-         completely off (cold turkey)

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  • 2 months later...
leavingorganon

How are you now, Rockrose21?

General history:

2005 - Present: Remeron, various dosage between 7.5mg to 30mg

2011 - 2014: Lexapro, 10/20mg

2014 - 2016: Zoloft, various dosages

2016 - 2018: Pristiq, various dosages

2018 - Present: Brintellix 10/20mg,  

2019: Klonopin, 0.125mg as needed. Successfully got off of it in December. Concerta XR, stopped in December.

November 2019 - January 2020: Latuda 9mg

December 2019 - Present: 30mg Dextroamphetamine (for ADHD, don't plan to get off of that for now) 

Updates: 

Brintellix: Reduced to 10mg in December 2019. Reduced to 5mg in January 2020. Upped to 7.5mg in February 2020.

So, currently: 7.5mg Remeron, 7.5mg Brintellix

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