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ConfusedSarah: suspected Zoloft withdrawal after long-ago fast taper


ConfusedSarah

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ConfusedSarah

Hello, (future) friends.

 

I was hoping you might help me develop some insight into some issues in my life that may or may not be related to antidepressant withdrawal.  I have become progressively more and more anxious this fall after discontinuing Zoloft last spring in a taper that I now realize was too fast and recently have been pretty much non-functional.

 

I was on Zoloft for 3 years for OCD at a dose of 100 mg/day.   In the middle of this interval, I had moved for grad school and was away from the therapist who had recommended it and the GP who prescribed it.  I was getting scripts written by an NP.  I was not seeing a therapist, because I was asymptomatic by this point.  (This is something I regret.)  By March 2018, I had not experienced OCD symptoms for a while, but I had gained a lot of weight and suspected that the Zoloft was blunting my emotions.  I consulted the NP about weaning myself off the Zoloft.  I left with a plan to decrement the dose and meet her later for a physical.  She canceled the physical because she was sick, and I did not reschedule because I was ashamed of my weight gain.  Meanwhile, I decremented my doses as originally planned without checking in: from 100 mg/day to 75/day, to 50/day to 25/day to 25 every other day, taking the last dose midway through June. Thus, my taper was over approx. 3 months.  I realize in retrospect that this was way too fast, but, unfortunately, I was eager to be off the meds and I was doing fine while I was in the process of reducing the dose.  I had not properly educated myself of the dangers of too fast a taper, even though I knew from my medication guide that quitting CT was a bad idea.

 

I apologize for the lack of detailed information.  I did not keep a symptom journal while reducing the dose.  I do not think I experienced any physical symptoms while reducing the dose or in the aftermath.  The one exception is that I may have attributed some digestive issues to keto flu when they were actually due to withdrawal (or due to a combination of the two).  (I was toying with the keto diet in the later half of June, got out of ketosis when working for a camp that provided a lot of free food, then went back on keto in earnest on July 1.  I stayed on keto until November.  I still eat a fairly low carb diet.)

 

So far as I recall, I had a happy summer but became extremely anxious in the fall and eventually also became depressed and developed sleep problems.  Specifically, I have a proclivity to wake up in the middle of the night and have extreme difficulty getting back to sleep.   Often, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I feel terrified.  Thankfully, the OCD still seems to be at bay, but the combination of the anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness has made it extremely difficult for me to get any work done or even to make simple decisions.   I am considering the possibility that the anxiety and depression symptoms are due to Zoloft w/d.  It is also possible that I am experiencing my current symptoms primarily because of situational stressors (most of which manifested after completing the taper) and/or a hormonal imbalance (I have not menstruated since the end of September).    Nevertheless, I deeply regret having been on an antidepressant in the first place.  I hit a very low place a couple of weeks ago when I realized I wish I could rewind the past 3.5 years of my life.  My mood got even lower, and my sleep got even worse.  I had one night in which I doubt I slept at all.  By morning I was delirious.  After that night, I switched my plane tickets to go home early before my semester ended, which I was able to do thanks to having no teaching obligation this semester and having an understanding advisor.  While I am at home I am trying my best to figure out what is happening to me.  Tomorrow I am going to start an hourly  journal to keep track of my symptoms, physical activity and supplement use.

 

 

In the interest of comparing my experiences with those of others:

(1) Did anyone on this forum experience emotional issues due to antidepressant withdrawal without experiencing any physical symptoms?

(2) Did anyone experience such a long delay (a matter of months) between a (fast) taper and experiencing withdrawal symptoms?

(3) For those who tapered too quickly off Zoloft, how long did it take to become mentally stable again?

(4) Is there anyone who had protracted withdrawal and experienced relief from reinstating after 6 months without their SSRI?

(5) I know that the timing since my fast taper and my lack of records make things difficult to deduce, but does my case sound like antidepressant withdrawal?  

 

I’m not gonna check back in until tomorrow morning - internet use at night harms my sleep - but thanks in advance to anyone who replies.  Really, thanks so much.

 

 

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to ConfusedSarah: suspected Zoloft withdrawal after fast taper
ConfusedSarah

Hello, (future) friends.

 

I am pretty sure that I m suffering from antidepressant withdrawal and am really scared. I have become progressively more and more anxious this fall after discontinuing Zoloft last spring in a taper that I now realize was too fast and recently have been pretty much non-functional.

 

I was on Zoloft for 3 years for OCD at a dose of 100 mg/day.   In the middle of this interval, I had moved for grad school and was away from the therapist who had recommended it and the GP who prescribed it.  I was getting scripts written by an NP.  By March 2018, I had not experienced OCD symptoms for a while, but I had gained a lot of weight and suspected that the Zoloft was blunting my emotions.  I consulted the NP about weaning myself off the meds.  I left with a plan to decrement the dose and meet her later for a physical.  She canceled the physical because she was sick, and I did not reschedule because I was ashamed of my weight gain.  Meanwhile, I decremented my doses as originally planned without checking in: from 100 mg/day to 75/day, to 50/day to 25/day to 25 every other day, taking the last dose midway through June. Thus, my taper was over approx. 3 months.  I realize in retrospect that this was way too fast, but, unfortunately, I was eager to be off the meds and I was doing fine while I was in the process of reducing the dose.  I had not properly educated myself of the dangers of too fast a taper, even though I knew from my medication guide that quitting CT was a bad idea.

 

So far as I recall, I had a happy summer but became extremely anxious in the fall and eventually also became depressed and developed sleep problems.  Specifically, I have a proclivity to wake up in the middle of the night and have extreme difficulty getting back to sleep.   Often, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I feel terrified.  Thankfully, the OCD still seems to be at bay, but the combination of the anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness has made it extremely difficult for me to get any work done or even to make simple decisions.  I am considering the possibility that the anxiety and depression symptoms are due to Zoloft w/d.  It is also possible that I am experiencing my current symptoms primarily because of situational stressors (most of which manifested after completing the taper) and/or a hormonal imbalance (I have not menstruated since the end of September).    Nevertheless, I deeply regret having been on an antidepressant in the first place.  I hit a very low place a couple of weeks ago when I realized I wish I could rewind the past 3.5 years of my life.  My mood got even lower, and my sleep got even worse.  I had one night in which I doubt I slept at all.  By morning I was delirious.  After that night, I switched my plane tickets to go home early before my semester ended, which I was able to do thanks to having no teaching obligation this semester and having an understanding advisor.  While I am at home I am trying my best to figure out what is happening to me.  Tomorrow I am going to start an hourly symptom journal to keep track of my symptoms, physical activity and supplement use.

 

I apologize for the lack of detailed information I have.  I did not keep a symptom journal while reducing the dose.  I do not remember experiencing many physical symptoms of withdrawal - no nausea nor dizziness.  I do recall a couple of situations in which I felt like the ground was tilting.  Moreover, at some times when I have felt very anxious, my chest has felt tight or I have had a racing heart.  I actually went to urgent care for the chest tightness the first time I experienced it, but the urgent care doctor and I decided then that the chest tightness was due to a respiratory infection.  It may also be the case that  I attributed some digestive issues to keto flu when they were actually due to withdrawal (or due to a combination of the two).  (I was toying with the keto diet in the later half of June, got out of ketosis when working for a camp that provided a lot of free food, then went back into keto in earnest on July 1.  I stayed on keto until November.  I still eat a fairly low carb diet.)

 

 

In the interest of comparing my experiences with those of others:

(1) Did anyone on this forum experience emotional issues due to antidepressant withdrawal without experiencing many physical symptoms?

(2) Did anyone experience such a long delay (a matter of months) between a (fast) taper and experiencing withdrawal symptoms?

(3) For those who tapered too quickly off Zoloft, how long did it take to become mentally stable again?

(4) Is there anyone who had protracted withdrawal and experienced relief from reinstating after 6 months or more?

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Sarah.

 

Yes, all of your symptoms are familiar to many members here.

 

Your withdrawal insomnia is a giveaway. What is your sleep pattern now?

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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ConfusedSarah

Re sleep patterns: I often go to bed between 10:00 and 11:00 PM and get up for the day around 7:00.  (This used to be 11:00-7:00 or 12:00-7:00, but once I started having sleep problems, I started to get tired earlier in the evenings.) For awhile I was waking up every day between 4:00 and 5:00 AM feeling very anxious and would toss and turn for a while before getting back to sleep.  (When this happens, it is always a temptation to ruminate on life circumstances.  I try to avoid this, but have mixed success.)

 

When the situational stressors ramped up, I had trouble getting to sleep in the first place, culminating in a night in which I don’t think I slept at all.  Since then, I have done a variety of things to help me get to sleep - drink warm milk, take epsom salt baths, take a melatonin - and I can usually get to sleep initially, but I often wake up multiple times during the night.

The last few nights I have been waking up between 1:00 and 2:00 as well as waking between 4:00 and 5:00.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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  • Administrator

Waking in the early morning hours is a very common withdrawal syndrome pattern. Your sleep disruption is not too bad, relatively.

 

See Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes

 

More about how light stimulation affects our body clocks

 

Keeping the bedroom very dark can reduce this waking, see Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

and other topics in

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/ http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator

Hi Sarah, just popping in with some encouragement: You're doing all the right things, seeking out answers on here, learning more about withdrawal, and keeping notes of your symptoms and activities. I can empathize with your current situation, feeling like your anxiety is very difficult to control and also being a young person trying to balance work/school responsibilities and taking care of yourself.

 

You're also doing a great job finding non-drug strategies to cope with your sleep difficulties. In addition to what you've described, I've found the following to help with sleep: exposure to sunlight in the morning, long walks, teas formulated for sleep (with chamomile, passionflower, etc), and even massage and acupuncture.

 

I have found that having a support system is so crucial to this process. Do you have trusted friends or family that you can lean on and confide in during this time? Can you see your therapist again or find a new therapist in your city?

Apr 2018 - 10 mg Amitriptyline (Rx’d by neurologist for headaches & insomnia)

Jul + Aug 2018 - Reduced to 5 mg in July and then 2.5 mg in Aug (was too fast, hellish withdrawal at 2 weeks on 2.5 mg)

Sept 2018 - reinstated 10 mg Amitriptyline (emotional symptoms improved immediately, physical symptoms improved over time)

Oct 2018 - updosed to 11 mg Amitriptyline (compounded pills)

Stabilized in Apr 2019 (had 2 waves while stabilizing).

Began taper at rate of ~0.2 mg per month with liquid/dissolved taper. Current (Aug 2020) 5.3 mg.

 

Supplements: Omega-3 fish oil, Vit B12, coenzyme Q10, Hawthorn extract (for tachycardia)

Tools for insomnia/waves (as needed) : Epsom salt foot soaks, 0.5 mg Melatonin, quality time with supportive friends/family, remembering waves WILL PASS.

Lifestyle: Eat real foods, mostly plants; daily walking (30 min); track symptoms when needed on paper (adapted Glenmullen chart)

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ConfusedSarah
On 12/12/2018 at 3:13 PM, Altostrata said:

Waking in the early morning hours is a very common withdrawal syndrome pattern. Your sleep disruption is not too bad, relatively.

 

See Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes

 

More about how light stimulation affects our body clocks

 

Keeping the bedroom very dark can reduce this waking, see Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

and other topics in

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/ http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

Hi, Alto.  Have been taking magnesium for a few days now.  Slept better last night than many previous nights, but I think that may be due to exercise and/or positive social interactions that improved my mood a lot.  I was taking fish oil before I came home but I think it was giving me GI upset.  Maybe it was at too high a dose.  I could try adding back in at a lower dose later but for now am trying to see how magnesium and vitamin D3 (recommended by gynecologist) affect me.  

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

Link to post
ConfusedSarah
On 12/12/2018 at 10:52 PM, composter said:

Hi Sarah, just popping in with some encouragement: You're doing all the right things, seeking out answers on here, learning more about withdrawal, and keeping notes of your symptoms and activities. I can empathize with your current situation, feeling like your anxiety is very difficult to control and also being a young person trying to balance work/school responsibilities and taking care of yourself.

 

You're also doing a great job finding non-drug strategies to cope with your sleep difficulties. In addition to what you've described, I've found the following to help with sleep: exposure to sunlight in the morning, long walks, teas formulated for sleep (with chamomile, passionflower, etc), and even massage and acupuncture.

 

I have found that having a support system is so crucial to this process. Do you have trusted friends or family that you can lean on and confide in during this time? Can you see your therapist again or find a new therapist in your city?

Thanks, composter.  I have already been drinking some chamomile tea and trying to get exercise, though I have been thwarted by terrible weather (which has perhaps contributed to my sleeplessness).

 

I’m doing my best to balance everything but am probably going to take leave from school if I can get it approved.  I am rather worried about this because I had been downplaying my symptoms and attributing them to stress, even when visiting doctors at my school’s medical center.  Needless to say, I’m in a pretty high stress program, but that is all the more reason to get out of there if I can.  I’m hoping that if I see a doctor while staying with my parents I can get him/her to vouch for me. (I’m sorting through options, right now, including doctors from the SA resource list, but I’ve had lots of trouble making decisions lately.  I know that trouble with decisions is a symptom, and I’m trying to be kind to myself.)

 

Maybe I don’t actually present as that bad to folks on the forum, but I’m pretty much online only when I am past some minimum threshold of good feeling.  My mood swings have been ridiculous lately.  On good days I am almost normal, but on bad days, it’s really really bad.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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  • Administrator

No, you don't want to take so much magnesium it upsets your gut. Small doses throughout the day are better for you. If you get loose bowels, you're taking too much.

 

Small improvements are a good thing. Once you get your nervous system headed in the right direction, with some tender loving care, it repairs itself, slowly but surely.

 

You'll want to nurture your sleep, this can help you feel a lot better, see Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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Try not to worry.... if you wake up, just go with the flow.  If you worry, it gets your nervous system more anxious.  Tell yourself, when you wake up, that you'll fall asleep, if you do, then great. If you don't, just tell yourself it's no big deal.  People who are in certain professions go through many months of little sleep, parents with newborns do too, and they survive. You might be a bit tired, but tell yourself, "so what, I'll get through it."   Learn how to meditate, and try meditating when you wake up.  But, just tell yourself this period of poor sleep is temporary and will pass.  It will pass. It is temporary, and you will sleep well again.  Yes, these drugs affect sleep when we are in withdrawal, but even people who don't take them have varying sleep patterns throughout their lives.  So, try not to worry and have faith your sleep and all the other symptoms will resolve in time. 

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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ConfusedSarah
17 hours ago, Altostrata said:

No, you don't want to take so much magnesium it upsets your gut. Small doses throughout the day are better for you. If you get loose bowels, you're taking too much.

 

It was the fish oil that seemed to be upsetting my gut.  Am currently taking 125 mg of magnesium citrate per day with lunch.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

Link to post
ConfusedSarah

It’s with heavy heart that I ask this, but is six months out too late to reinstate?  I hate the thought of being back on Zoloft, but might do it if I thought it would be better for my long term stability. (If I did, though, I’d want to redo the taper under the supervision of a good doctor - not like the doctors who got me on and off the first time.)  Does reinstating and redoing a taper often improve long-term outcomes?

 

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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ConfusedSarah

BTW, in case it’s relevant to the question of reinstatement, I am afraid my nervous system might be hypersensitive.  I’ve gotten hives 2x since this summer, both while traveling and eating food I did not prepare myself.   I also have sensitive teeth.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Sarah,

 

Hypersensitivity is extremely common in withdrawal. It's one of the defining features of a dysregulated nervous system. 

 

It can vary from person to person—6 months out could be very tricky. Have you read the thread on reinstatement? https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

Please read at least the first page, especially the first post by Altostrata.

 

Current: 2019: 0.04 mg Paxil!! This is real. Soon, after taking Paxil my entire adult life, I will be free.

Long story short: After 18 years on Paxil, "tapered" almost completely off over a month, at doctor's advice in July 2015.

Self-care includes magnesium, reasonable exercise, mindfulness, this forum and nutrition/eating enough food.

Also on 100 mg Zoloft unfortunately!! (which I now will have the knowledge to taper properly)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Longer version: On Paxil since 1996--anxiety & depression caused by (undiagnosed) under-eating / eating disorder.

Doctor kept increasing dose, up to 60 mg; it never really helped but said it really was the best "med" for me.

Rapid doctor-led "taper" July 2015, down to 5 mg, with Zoloft as a "cross-taper" = Essentially a cold turkey. 

Severe withdrawal but didn't know it; believed it was my "underlying condition," and kept tapering, 5mg to 4 to 3  to 2 to 1.  

Feb 2016: Found SA! As of June 2016, tapering from 1mg at rate of 5-10% per month, Brassmonkey Slide! 

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ConfusedSarah

Thank you, SkyBlue.  I have read a good deal of the thread, including the full first page.  I guess I’m not only curious about the question of whether it would be safe to reinstate, but whether it would be advisable.  I went through a regrettably fast taper.  I am wondering: if I reinstated at a lower dose and tried to taper again, is it likely that I would have a similar outcome to someone who did a slow taper to begin with or not?  I realize that it is difficult to answer hypothetical questions but was looking for insight based on experience.  Thanks again for your comments.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

Link to post
ConfusedSarah

I’ve been having some dark days as of late - so much that I am having trouble getting myself to update a symptom diary, because I don’t like to think about the symptoms.  (This was how I was a couple months ago, before I suspected I was in withdrawal and I was too afraid of my symptoms to investigate what was going on.)  I also don’t like to update because when I’m anxious I tend to snack a lot, and I’m ashamed of having to write this in the symptom diary, too.

 

And yet, despite all that I find myself doubting that I am in WD and wondering if I am “just” anxious over grad school.  When I was sure (on an emotional level) that I was in WD, I was wary of therapists.  Now I am mad at myself for not looking for one earlier on in December.  (Its just one more reason I’m mad at myself - I seem to find a new one every day.  I know that it probably means I am experiencing neuro-emotions but each time I get mad at myself it feels real.)  I find myself wanting to go back to the therapist I saw during undergrad, even though he was the one who endorsed my desire to be on medication and suggested Zoloft.  (He couldn’t prescribe, but he sent me to a GP who would usually just rubber stamp his recommendations.)  I think I want to see him because he knew me from before.  I feel like I changed when I was on meds and  I changed again when I got off them.  I very frequently wish I could go back to my old pre-medication life.  I feel like I’ve done everything wrong since then.

 

Is wanting to see my old therapist Stockholm syndrome, or is it actually more sensible than finding one who didn’t know me from before?  He might be useless in terms of understanding withdrawal, but useful in terms of making life choices, which is something I could use at the moment, especially since  I’ve had so much trouble making decisions lately.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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  • Moderator

Hi Sarah, I'm reading your updates tonight. I am very sorry to hear that you've been having dark days lately. It's so tough to go through this, especially when it feels like the medication was unnecessary and caused more problems. I understand completely. 

 

I think it was a wise decision to take a leave from school. However it's best that you not worry what others would think about that choice. I've often found that people are much more understanding than you will think! We tend to judge ourselves much harsher than others do! Your health is truly the most important thing, beyond any other "obligation". That can all wait.

 

You could definitely give your old therapist a shot. I don't think it would be counterproductive. If he's a good therapist he'd be open minded and willing to learn. After one session you should have an idea where he stands. I had to educate my therapist about this a bit. I emailed her the PDFs of a few studies posted on this site. I also emailed her a few of the more instructive threads on here. She absorbed it all and recognizes this issue is under-researched but very real. 

 

Hoping for better days for you and peaceful, healing rest.

Apr 2018 - 10 mg Amitriptyline (Rx’d by neurologist for headaches & insomnia)

Jul + Aug 2018 - Reduced to 5 mg in July and then 2.5 mg in Aug (was too fast, hellish withdrawal at 2 weeks on 2.5 mg)

Sept 2018 - reinstated 10 mg Amitriptyline (emotional symptoms improved immediately, physical symptoms improved over time)

Oct 2018 - updosed to 11 mg Amitriptyline (compounded pills)

Stabilized in Apr 2019 (had 2 waves while stabilizing).

Began taper at rate of ~0.2 mg per month with liquid/dissolved taper. Current (Aug 2020) 5.3 mg.

 

Supplements: Omega-3 fish oil, Vit B12, coenzyme Q10, Hawthorn extract (for tachycardia)

Tools for insomnia/waves (as needed) : Epsom salt foot soaks, 0.5 mg Melatonin, quality time with supportive friends/family, remembering waves WILL PASS.

Lifestyle: Eat real foods, mostly plants; daily walking (30 min); track symptoms when needed on paper (adapted Glenmullen chart)

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  • Moderator

To address your question regarding reinstatement. Perhaps you can consult with an AD-withdrawal-wise provider in your area. You can search this directory: https://www.madinamerica.com/provider-directory/

 

There's also a thread on the SA site with a list of providers as well. I personally benefited from a reinstated dose, but it was not after a CT or fast taper so I was not hypersensitive; it was with a few weeks of experiencing withdrawal symptoms on a lowered dose. And at that point it was the only thing that could help address my major issues.

Apr 2018 - 10 mg Amitriptyline (Rx’d by neurologist for headaches & insomnia)

Jul + Aug 2018 - Reduced to 5 mg in July and then 2.5 mg in Aug (was too fast, hellish withdrawal at 2 weeks on 2.5 mg)

Sept 2018 - reinstated 10 mg Amitriptyline (emotional symptoms improved immediately, physical symptoms improved over time)

Oct 2018 - updosed to 11 mg Amitriptyline (compounded pills)

Stabilized in Apr 2019 (had 2 waves while stabilizing).

Began taper at rate of ~0.2 mg per month with liquid/dissolved taper. Current (Aug 2020) 5.3 mg.

 

Supplements: Omega-3 fish oil, Vit B12, coenzyme Q10, Hawthorn extract (for tachycardia)

Tools for insomnia/waves (as needed) : Epsom salt foot soaks, 0.5 mg Melatonin, quality time with supportive friends/family, remembering waves WILL PASS.

Lifestyle: Eat real foods, mostly plants; daily walking (30 min); track symptoms when needed on paper (adapted Glenmullen chart)

Link to post

Hi Confused Sarah,

 

I stumbled onto your thread after you posted on someone else's thread.

 

My first question to you is how are you doing now? Additionally, are you getting what you need from us here on this website?  Have your questions been answered?  I am not a moderator so I try to stay away from giving medical advice unless it is in the context of my own experience.  I am more of a moral support type of person.

 

I am also a Zoloft survivor, however my story is much different than yours.  I went cold turkey and then I reinstated and tapered at a much too fast rate; so I messed myself up twice. After going into free fall I managed to slow my taper and to stabilize. Now two and a half years later I am leading a good life and continue to taper, but very slowly. I was able to get a handle on it because of the good people here on this site.  The moderators educated me and guided me medically while many others rallied around me to give me the emotional support I needed. My symptoms are almost gone. My symptoms were also almost all physical as opposed to emotional.  Both types of symptoms though, emotional and physical are really awful in their own way and each need to be taken seriously.

 

If there is any way I can be of service to you please let me know.  I am concerned about you.

 

Warm wishes,

Rachel

Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.  Nov. 28, 2020 .75mgJan 16, 2021 .685mg (8.7%).

OTHER MEDICATION Gabapentin 900mg a day since July 2016, Prednisone 5mg a day and Qvar Inhalant since 2016. Vitamin D and fish oil.

   

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
On 12/11/2018 at 5:11 AM, ConfusedSarah said:

In the interest of comparing my experiences with those of others:

(1) Did anyone on this forum experience emotional issues due to antidepressant withdrawal without experiencing many physical symptoms?

(2) Did anyone experience such a long delay (a matter of months) between a (fast) taper and experiencing withdrawal symptoms?

(3) For those who tapered too quickly off Zoloft, how long did it take to become mentally stable again?

(4) Is there anyone who had protracted withdrawal and experienced relief from reinstating after 6 months or more?

Like I said, my experience was very different than what you are going through now. I will however try and answer your questions to the best of my ability.  You may also get lucky and find someone on this site who is experiencing withdrawal the same way you are and they might be more help to you than I am.

 

1. I experienced mostly physical issues, however I read more stories on this site about people who experience emotional issues due to withdrawal than I do about people with physical issues. 

2. I  went cold turkey and it took me about two months to feel the symptoms.  After reinstating I then went on a very fast taper so I can't really answer your question fully. During the too fast taper I had months of suffering and then I had months after that to stabilize. But I did eventually stabilize, and it is good.

3. I did experience cognitive fog ("cog fog"). Once I stopped tapering so rapidly I believe it was one, maybe two months for my head to clear.  It happened slowly so it's hard to pinpoint and exact time.

4. I reinstated after 2 months so I can't advise you on what it is like reinstating after 6 months. You have been given a link to read regarding this. If you still aren't sure or need more information you might want to restate your question and ask again. Keep asking until you figure out what you want or need to do.

 

Please don't give up.  You are a bright person, an articulate person, and you will figure this out and find what is the right path for you to take for your own healing.

 

Warm wishes,

Rachel

Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.  Nov. 28, 2020 .75mgJan 16, 2021 .685mg (8.7%).

OTHER MEDICATION Gabapentin 900mg a day since July 2016, Prednisone 5mg a day and Qvar Inhalant since 2016. Vitamin D and fish oil.

   

 

 

 

 

 

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ConfusedSarah

Rachel, thanks so much for your replies, and sorry if my absence concerned you.  I’ve unfortunately had to deal with some situations that would probably be stressful even if I weren’t going through withdrawal.   My symptoms were better for a while but then got worse again.  I think the worsening coincided with the situational stressors.  Right now, I’m just trying to get through all the chaos and have been thinking about that rather than withdrawal.

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

Link to post
On 12/11/2018 at 3:11 PM, ConfusedSarah said:

In the interest of comparing my experiences with those of others:

(1) Did anyone on this forum experience emotional issues due to antidepressant withdrawal without experiencing many physical symptoms?

(2) Did anyone experience such a long delay (a matter of months) between a (fast) taper and experiencing withdrawal symptoms?

(3) For those who tapered too quickly off Zoloft, how long did it take to become mentally stable again?

(4) Is there anyone who had protracted withdrawal and experienced relief from reinstating after 6 months or more?

Hello Sarah,

 

I tried to quickly taper 20mg of Escitalopram without knowing anything about withdrawal.I reduced my dose from 20 to 10mg back in May as I was advised so by my neurologist.Then according to his plan,in June I took 10mg every second day,but I noticed that OCD symptoms were becoming more intense and I quickly gave up on that and kept on with 10mg/day.

 

(1) Withdrawal symptoms started in September and mainly I am experiencing emotional symptoms.Physically,I only feel bit of a fatigue every now and then but it is manageable.The emotional symptoms include complete lack of motivation,social anxiety,cognitive fog,bad memory etc.

(2) As I mentioned withdrawal symptoms started in September,that is 4 months after the reduction of my dose.That is why in the beginning I thought I had some sort of depression because I was also experiencing some situational stressors in September,as I moved out of my old apartment.

(3) I don't have any experience with Zoloft,but I can tell you that I reinstated 8 days ago and I started feeling a bit better with the windows growing longer,but I still have not found my old self.

(4) I think I have answered you in (3) :P

 

Have a good day!Keep strong!

15th December 2015-14th February 2016:10mg Escitalopram

15th February 2016-30th April 2018:20mg Escitalopram

1st May 2018-28th December:10mg Escitalopram

Withdrawal symptoms started on 25th of September 2018

29th December 2018-23rd October 2019:20mg Escitalopram

24th October 2019-24th November 2019:75mg Effexor

24th November 2019- 29th December 2019:150mg Effexor

30th December 2019-18th January 2020: Switching between 150mg and 75mg Effexor every second day

18th January-28th January 2020:Switching between 75 and 37.5mg Effexor every second day.

28th January - 14th February 2020:37.5mg Effexor every second day.

Beginning of June 2020: Severe withdrawal hits.

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  • 1 month later...
ConfusedSarah

Hi, friends.  I’ve got an update (and what an update).  It’s probably been the most stressful few months of my life, but I am hanging in there! I’d heard from my roommate in the beginning of Dec that she’d be moving in the spring.  I heard on Dec 18 that she was moving out by the end of Jan, so I decided I would be too.   I’ve packed up my apartment in [grad school city] and am living in [undergrad city] where both my siblings are studying, so I get to see them a lot.  Moving was harrowing.  (Note to self for future reference: don’t ever try to move books via media mail, and if you do, insure the box!)  Meanwhile, the therapist I’d been seeing in the grad school’s medical center had agreed to write a support letter then didn’t do it until I went sleuthing to figure out why my petition wasn’t being processed, which delayed things significantly.

 

I’m pretty sure all this would be stressful even if I weren’t in AD withdrawal, but being in withdrawal, whenever I get bad news, I am down for the count for a couple of days  - I can’t focus; I cry at random times; I’ve even had suicidal thoughts.   Thankfully, I have learned to acknowledge, accept and float.  The presence of a thought in my head doesn’t mean I would act on it.  Nevertheless, I have had some windows since my last posting.  The windows are super short though.  It seems that as soon as I realize I’m in one, it ends.  Maybe they’ll start to get longer as I continue to recover?  That’s my hope.

 

My mom (who spends a lot of time researching things on the internet) has been doing more sleuthing and thinks that my underlying difficulties before ever going on Zoloft were caused by undermethylation.  I’ve had no tests done, but descriptions of symptoms seem to fit pretty well.  Not only did I have OCD symptoms back then; I also had multiple people tell me I was very driven and stubborn.  (This is probably what got me to grad school, lol.)  I am now looking for a good functional medicine doctor who can confirm or deny the theory.  

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

Link to post
ConfusedSarah

I am going home to my parents’ house tonight to stay for a couple of days because loneliness has really been getting me down and I’ve been having trouble making decisions - almost as bad as in December when I first discovered I was in withdrawal.  I’m somewhat uneasy about this, as my mom is not always the most pleasant person.  (I hope she doesn’t come across this.  She knows I post on here, but I don’t think she follows my thread.)  However, I’m thinking that maybe bogus company is better than no company, at least for the time being.  Wish me luck, friends!

March 2015: started taking Zoloft, eventually ramped up to 100 mg/day

March 2018: began taper which was probably too fast

June 2018: took last dose of Zoloft

October 2018: experiencing extreme anxiety

December 2018: experiencing anxiety, depression, sleep issues.

Currently taking (daily): magnesium citrate (125 mg), vitamin D3 (125 mcg),  1000 mg vitamin C x1, , sometimes take Calm (ft. melatonin, l-theaine, and GABA) before bed.

Self care: exercise, epsom salt baths

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