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Kernol

Kernol: was doing well on my sertraline taper but now in hell and doc reinstated

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Kernol

Kernol's benzo topic


 

Hi everyone, I was doing so well on my sertraline tapering over the last few years which i originally took for anxiety 10 years ago. It was only as I quit completely 6 weeks ago after doing my best to measure down from 25 mg to 12.5mg then 7.5mg - i must have gone too quickly as after 2 weeks completely off it I was hit with out of the blue anxiety attacks that seemed off the scale compared to anything I had experienced in my 10 years on it.  I am now really struggling with these adrenaline rushes and so the doctor suggested that  I go back onto 25mg to see if it was because I did it too fast. I have now been taking the 25mg for 1 week and the anxiety attacks are still very bad and frequent. I feel like I have been plugged into an electric socket.  I am now starting to really panic about panicing and my biggest fear is - have I done the right thing going back on it like this? And if this anxiety doesn't settle in a week or so - then what? I am scared stiff after reading forums of people saying these drugs can cause permanent brain issues - what if I never get my anxiety under control again due to this drug. I am scared witless of people talking about months of hell of withdrawals. I just want to be stable like I was for the 10 years I was on it. 

 

I am just looking for help, guidance anything that will let me know if this should settle - could it be that this anxiety is the anxiety like when you start the drug originally? I really am scared - please somebody help me. 

Edited by Altostrata
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Kernol

Hi there

 

i was on 150mg sertraline for 10 years for anxiety tapering down over the past few years slowly without any issues until I got to 25mg about 6 months ago and I found it more difficult to measure and I guess went too fast. I stopped about 6 weeks ago and started having off the scale panic attacks like I have not had for all the time on the drug. My gp told me to reinstate at 25mg even though I haven’t really been taking that dose probably for 3 months or so as I was cutting it down into half and then dust for last few months of taking it.

 

I have been on the reinstated 25mg now for a week and anxiety is off the scale. I have been scaring myself half to death with reports online of people that’s brains never recover and I’m petrified I will always have this level of anxiety.

 

i need some encouragement guidance to get me through. Is it likely that this could just be heightened anxiety like when you first take it? Or am I damaging my brain more permanently? Should I stay on it and see? What if It doesn’t lessen? I am in despair. I would never have even tried to come off it if I had known. Please help me. 

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ChessieCat

Hi Kernol and welcome to SA,

 

So that we can offer our best suggestions, we need you to create your drug signature.  Please be as accurate as you can with the information.  Thank you.

 

Please make it nice simple by following these instructions (NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you):

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

Once we have the requested information we will be better able to assist you.

 

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

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Kernol

I have added it to my signature - thanks so much 

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ChessieCat

Please add dates to your signature, not the number of months.  Thank you.

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Kernol

I have done that as accurately as I can remember

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ChessieCat

Thank you for adding the dates, it makes it much easier.

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose with a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as muc of the drug.  You have made larger reductions than we recommend, most times you held for a good length of time.  However, you have also jumped off from a high dose.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

When to end the taper and jump to zero?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

When reinstating SA recommends taking a small dose.  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

It may be that you have reinstated to high a dose.  I will check with the other mods to see if it would be okay for you to reduce your dose.

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

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Kernol

Thank you so much I really appreciate that. 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Kernol.

 

How do you feel before you take 25mg sertraline and how do you feel afterward? What time of day do you take it?

 

Can you get sertraline liquid by prescription? Please ask your pharmacy.

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Kernol

Hi I take it at bedtime so it’s hard to say really. I feel anxious all day but I’m not sure if I am just compounding that with the fear that the withdrawal is never going to end.

 

i don’t think they do Liquid in uK but will enquire 

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Altostrata

You're able to sleep? What is your sleep pattern?

 

Can we try this: Move the sertraline earlier by an hour each day until you are taking it in the morning. Observe your symptoms. Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

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Kernol

Sometimes I can sleep sometimes not depending on the panic attacks.

 

so keep at 25mg and move an hour earlier each day. I will do that. 

 

Can i I get some reassurance from anyone that the added anxiety will not last too long? I know it’s so hard to answer. I can take weeks but not months and months of this.

 

i know everyone is different but any hope would be helpful at this stage

 

Thanks 

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Altostrata

If you are worrying about your condition, you are augmenting whatever anxiety it is causing. You will need to manage this. Do not add to your drug-induced symptoms with worry about the future. Take it day by day.

 

See

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Health anxiety, hypochondria, and obsession with symptoms

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

 

If the reinstatement helps, the waves of withdrawal-induced anxiety will gradually diminish. If the drug itself is causing anxiety, that will be apparent in your daily notes -- which we'll look for here, in your Intro topic.

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ChessieCat
14 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

Example:

 

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

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Kernol

Hi there since I Last posted my psychiatrist put me back on sertraline and titrated the dose up as you can see in my signature. The anxiety is no better and in fact it feels like a chemical feeling of anxiety like I’ve been plugged into an electricity socket and since higher dose I have a strong burning sensation all over my stomach which gets worse when I’m anxious.

 

I need advice on how I should taper down at Least to a lower dose Considering my long term history and now this 6 weeks of going back up. I think it’s just too much for my brain to handle. I don’t know what’s happening 

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ChessieCat

Do you have any daily symptoms notes which you can post?  If you do, please post the last 7 days.  If you haven't been keeping them, please do so and post them here in your topic.  Having these notes can help the mods to assess your situation.

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Kernol

Panic attacks from waking at 4am

genwralised anxiety throughout the day

burning sensation of abdomen which I have had since they increased dose from 50mg so a few weeks 

 

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ChessieCat
5 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

If you haven't been keeping them, please do so and post them here in your topic.

 

This is what is required so the mods can assess your situation.  Please do this over the next 3 days:

 

Example:

 

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

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Kernol

4am woke in panic

8am got up with anxiety and panic

9am walked round block felt panicky still

10am had shower got dressed

11am went to shop had a disgusting stomach dropping panic sensation and had to leave

1145am took 1mg lorazepam felt calmer

1pm ate lunch

2pm watched tv

3.40pm panicking again about sensations 

4pm took 0.5 lorazepam 

4.30pm - 6pm fell asleep

6pm watched tv

8pm went to lie in bed 

9pm fell asleep 

3am woke in panic 

 

 

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ChessieCat

They are good notes.  Thank you.

 

Please include when you take your Zoloft.

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Kernol

Day 2 

 

4am woke in panic 

730am had shower 

9.00am walked around the block feeling panicky, burning skin sensation on stomach bad

9.30am 1mg lorazepam felt calmer less stomach burning 

11.00am dad Came round felt tearful and hopeless

2pm 1mg lorazepam felt drowsy went to sleep

4pm ate some food

5pm watched tv

8pm went to bed as fed up. 

9pm took sertraline 150mg

3am woke and In and out of sleep panic 

 

day 3 

4am woke in panic tried to get back to sleep but couldn’t 

7am got up has panic attack stomach skin burning sensation bad

8am paced the floor in panicked state 

9am took 1mg lorazepam 

11am felt calmer 

12pm watched tv

1pm had shower 

2pm felt panic rising again had 1mg lorazepam

3pm felt drowsy watched tv

5pm had some food

6pm read some stories on internet on withdrawing - panicked again 

8pm went to bed

9pm took sertraline 125mg ( I didn’t want to take 150 again I don’t know if that was wrong) 

woke at 4am in panic 

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Kernol

These are my past 3 days from my diary - hope this is right ? Thanks Caroline 

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Aquarius

So sorry you are suffering i was put back on sertraline after a six month cold turkey went quite high in dose now i know thanks to this site it was the wrong thing to do my cns was in chaos from previous ct and it was made worse by high reinstatement...your nervous system doesnt know which way to turn at the moment its going to be a bumpy ride but you need to stabilise keep changing doses will make it worse you will get better but you need to follow the advice of the mods ..the panic is awful i know but you will get through this it will get better but you need to stop chopping and changing things listen to the mods advice 

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Kernol

Thank you so much for your message it gave me hope when I really need it. Can I ask you how long you took to recover from the awful anxiety and panic. I suffer with panic disorder and anxiety disorder which is why I was on it for 10 years and I must say it kept me well but I never thought coming off it would lead to this in my worst nightmare. 

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Aquarius

Everyone on here feels the same none of us could have predicted this i am coming up to 9 months off and the last few weeks have been tough ..sorry there is no timeline as once you can stabilise you will get windows and waves which i am still getting i still get the anxiety and panic but in different intensities and a whole host of other symptons the best advice i can give is to stabilise do not chop and change and to recognise this for what it is ..withdrawal..the more you fight against it the harder it will be im sure Chessie cat has sent you some links on how to cope with these symptons this is so important for you to take notice of this . Not sure if you developed coping strategies for anxiety and panic but you will need them i take a bath with epsom salts that helps and meditation or listening to dr claire weekes ..its not about a timeline its about recognising your symptons and putting into practice the coping strategies dont look any further than a day ..you will survive this i am still going through this and ive had some tough times but i got through them and so will you there are many wonderful people on here at different stages going through or been through the same as us .

Please read some success stories and stay strong you will heal 

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Kernol

i am pretty much 24/7 panic from waking until sleeping now so I can’t imagine it getting any worse when I start to come off again. without the ativan i dont know how i am getting through these days. Are you able to function with the anxiety? I can’t imagine 9 months of this level I am unable to do anything. 

 

I will look at the success stories and I have some Epsom bath salts so I will give that a try. I am a great advocate of Claire Weekes so I have been reading her although my worrying anxious mind is saying that her methods won’t work because this is a chemical anxiety not my own and then I start panicking again - vicious cycle 

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Aquarius

The 9 months have not been all intense anxiety it wont be like that all the time ..its quite intense now for you because your nervous system is in chaos ...i know how horrible it is when there is no let up but please dont experiment with different doses it does get more manageable i read katamaris success story ..yes you are right about it being chemical anxiety but we needto stll not add the second fear ..the mods normally recommend two supplements magnesium for anxiety but start low just in case it doesnt suit and omega 3 start one at a time ..im sorry your suffering but once your system gets over the shock it will become more manageable its so tough and exhausting but if you can distract yourself and just think about getting through the day it will get better hopefully a mod will get back to you about your dosage try to stay away from anything that is too stimulating sometimes it can be lights noise or the tele 

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Altostrata
13 hours ago, Kernol said:

burning sensation of abdomen which I have had since they increased dose from 50mg so a few weeks 

 

Why did you keep increasing the dosage when you got an adverse reaction from increasing to 50mg?

 

When did you increase to 150mg? Were you taking 125mg before that? Do you feel better or worse now, compared to when you were taking 25mg Zoloft?

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Kernol

I increased to 150mg on 12 December before that I was on 100mg for a week. I did not feel better on 25mg but that may have just been my own anxiety loop I had spun into however I now have different sensations on the higher dose I went through a week of intrusive crazy thoughts on 50mg they seem to have subsidised a bit now but I have this constant electrical feeling anxiety and panic now that feels chemically driven it feels different to my normal sensations and I have this burning skin sensation down my torso for the last 2 weeks getting worse.

 

i increased because the psychiatrist told me I needed to get back up to a high dose to help the anxiety - I didn’t know what else to do and he said the side effect should fade

 

i feel better in that the racing thoughts have gone from earlier but much worse in terms of these strong physical anxiety sensations which are not lessening. 

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Altostrata

If you increased to 150mg December 12, you can go back to 100mg now. My guess is 150mg is too much for you.

 

We need to monitor to see if you feel better after a reduction. Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

Your psychiatrist has misunderstood your symptoms and ignored an adverse drug reaction. Your call whether you want to continue to see this doctor.

 

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Kernol

Thanks so much I will start 100mg tonight.  It is so hard to know how much is my own anxiety about the future and how much is the drug. I am not sure how I am going to know when I’m stabilised? 

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ChessieCat
16 hours ago, Altostrata said:

We need to monitor to see if you feel better after a reduction. Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

Doing this will help.

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Kernol

4am 1m lorazepam - panicky sleep

7am - got up 

8am - showered 

9am panic attacks with burning skin sensation 

1130 0.5 lorazepam bit calmer 

12.30 ate lunch 

1.30pm tried to watch film too dark felt panicked 

2.30pm went for sleep - restful

4.30pm - woke calm

5.30pm - 0.5mg lorazepam - ok

9pm - took 100mg sertraline 

11pm - woke with cold sweats and panic

12am - slept again

3.45am woke with panic 

4am 1mg lorazepam - fitful panicky sleep until 8am 

 

 

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Kernol

Took 100ng sertraline at 10pm

Nightnares started at 11.30pm

panic intensity of sensation so strong more than I have ever experienced not on meds

4am took 1mg lorazepam still v panicky

8am took 1mg lorazepam still v panicky

 

Could  the nightmares be the drop from 150 to 100 please help I can’t face another night like that?? 

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Altostrata

How often do you take lorazepam? What is your usual lorazepam schedule? It looks to me like you are having an adverse reaction to it.

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Kernol

I take it 4am 1mg 

i thrn take another 1mg usually at midday and then usually 0.5mg about 5pm

 

i don’t feel like it’s the lorazepam causing it 

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