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herod

herod: Zoloft taper - roadmap of my recovery?

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herod

Hey. I'm a 24 years old male.

 

So I've taken Zoloft 50mg for 4 months, increased to 100mg for 2 months, then back to 50mg (100->75->50) for 10 months, so roughly 1.5 years of Zoloft. I tapered quickly from 50mg to 25mg, for a week, and then I stopped taking my pills. I decided to stop completely after a week because the side effects I had from from 25mg for a week were minimal; I was unaware that the withdrawals might appear later. I thought the side effects were totally related to the half life of the medication, which I knew to be much less than one week, and since I didn't have any, that meant I was safe to go further.

 

This was last November, 9th.

 

Right now, the withdrawal effects that are causing me trouble are:

 

1) I seem to be unable to learn new concepts. I can remember words like "red ball" just fine, and a short string of digits, but anything more complex than that and I'm at a loss.

 

2) I'm so uneasy mentally and physically that I can't concentrate, maybe related to above. Like something isn't quite right with my existence. Sometimes my body feels so tense that I twitch my shoulders together.

 

3) Debilitating disorder of my circadian rhythm. No insomnia, my body just insists on sleeping during the day.

 

The thing is, after almost 3 months, I'm definitely starting to recover. In December, it began with two hours of manic energy followed by a total crash. Then it got to 4, 6, 8 hours of manic energy followed by a crash for many days. But a few days ago, I hadn't been in a manic or depressive state, I'd been more even, I could learn, and I didn't feel physically and mentally uneasy.

 

But, today and yesterday, my withdrawal symptoms have come back.

 

Is there any way to guess how much longer this is gonna take? My good times seem to last for, at most, two days now, followed by some 6 days of misery.

 

My Bachelor's is already taking me 5 years, and now it might take 6. This sucks.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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ChessieCat

Hi herod and welcome to SA,

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

When the drug is taken away too quickly we can get withdrawal symptoms:  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Please read Post #1 of this topic:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

as well as these:

 

Reinstatement

 

CT and Fast Tapers

 

If you do decide that you would like to try reinstatement we can suggest a dose for you to try.  It would be a very small amount as explained in the reinstatement topic.  These drugs are strong and it is better to start with a small amount and increase if needed than to risk taking too much.  Once we experience withdrawal symptoms are nervous system may become sensitised and taking too much may make things worse.

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

 

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  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

 

 

This is your own introductions topic where your can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress. 

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ChessieCat

Here's some additional information which might help you to understand what is happening:

 

Recovery isn't linear it happens in a Windows and Waves Pattern

 

Withdrawal Normal Description


When we take a psychiatric drug, we are adding chemical/s to the brain.  The brain then has to change to adapt to getting the chemical/s.  It might have to change something to do with A and then once that change has been made it affects B so another change has to be made and so on down the line.  It is a chain reaction, a domino effect.

 

The same thing happens when we take the drug away.  That's why it's possible to experience such a vast array of withdrawal symptoms, and they can change, and be of different intensity.

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

These explain it really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

On 8/31/2011 at 5:28 AM, Rhiannon said:

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

 

AND

 

On 12/4/2015 at 2:41 AM, apace41 said:

Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are trying to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were trying to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and trying to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while life is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made.  

 

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ChessieCat

We strongly encourage members to learn and use non drug coping techniques to help get through tough times.

 

Understanding what is happening helps us to not get caught up with the second fear, or fear of the fear.  This happens when we experience sensations in our body and because we don't understand them we are scared of them and then start to panic.

 

This document has a diagram of the body explaining what happens in the body when we become anxious:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AnxietySelfHelp.pdf

 

 

Audio FEMALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

Audio MALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

dealing-with-emotional-spirals

 

Dr Claire Weekes suffered from anxiety and learned and taught ways of coping.  There are videos available on YouTube.

 

Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes

 

 
Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)
 
On 4/28/2017 at 4:03 AM, brassmonkey said:

 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float.  It's what you have to do when nothing else works, and can be a very powerful tool in coping with anxiety.  The neuroemotional anxiety many of us feel during WD is directly caused by the drugs and their chemical reactions in the brain.  Making it so there is nothing we can do about them.  They won't respond to other drugs, relaxation techniques and the like.  They do, however, react very well to being ignored.  That's the concept behind AAF.  Acknowledge, get to know the feeling involved, explore them.  Accept, These feelings are a part of you and they aren't going anywhere fast. Float, let the feeling float off as you get on with your life as best as you can.  It's a well documented fact that the more you feed in to anxiety the worse it gets.  What starts as generalized neuroemotinal anxiety can be easily blown into a full fledged panic attack just by thinking about it.

 

I often liken it to an unwanted house guest.  At first you talk to them, have conversations, communicate with them.  After a while you figure out that they aren't leaving and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them.  So you go on about your day, working around them until they get bored and leave.

 

It can take some practice, but AAF really does work.  I hope you give it a try.

 

 

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ChessieCat
On 1/27/2019 at 2:53 PM, ChessieCat said:

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  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

 

 

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Carmie

Hi Herod, 

 

How are you doing?💚

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herod

Hi Carmie 🙂 Thanks for asking

 

I'm slowly recovering. My last window lasted 3 days, which is a first; and the windows aren't manic like they used to be. They're just the normal me! Up until now, it's usually been 1 day of window followed by 4 days of wave.

 

My WD symptoms vary, which I think must be a good sign. Sometimes I'm dizzy and nauseous, and sometimes I'm completely void of all feeling and desire. My circadian rhythm is still messed up on my wave days, and it will pose a problem when I have exams this semester.

 

I did have to postpone my graduation for a year, which didn't feel good. But it's the destination that's important, not how or when I get there.

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Carmie

Hi Herod, 

 

Glad to hear that you’re getting more windows.Yay! The windows and waves pattern really shows are brains are trying hard to heal themselves.

 

As regards your circadian rhythm, do you stop looking at screens in the evening? Do you go to bed and get up at the same time every day?

 

Hope all goes well with your exams.💚

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RusTW

Are you getting anxiety or racing thoughts.im tapering zoloft .i have the same wave pattern almost as you.

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herod
9 hours ago, Carmie said:

Hi Herod, 

 

Glad to hear that you’re getting more windows.Yay! The windows and waves pattern really shows are brains are trying hard to heal themselves.

 

As regards your circadian rhythm, do you stop looking at screens in the evening? Do you go to bed and get up at the same time every day?

 

Hope all goes well with your exams.💚

So true, I'm just so relieved that after these months, I'm starting to recover!!

 

I definitely need some screen discipline, thing is that the internet works best for me to forget I'm in withdrawal. I need to find a balance there.

 

Thank youuu ^_^

 

5 hours ago, RusTW said:

Are you getting anxiety or racing thoughts.im tapering zoloft .i have the same wave pattern almost as you.

Glad to find someone similar to me. I don't have racing thoughts, but I have random thoughts, like my brain isn't fully under my control >_< I don't have anxiety, sometimes I get really angry over small things.

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Carmie

Hi Herod, 

 

Do you have some other hobbies you can do in the evening so you’re not looking at screens so late. I’ve stopped looking at any screens after 8.30pm or so lately. You could also get blue light glasses so the screens don’t affect you as much. Do you have any of those?

 

Sending hugs🤗

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RusTW
10 hours ago, herod said:

So true, I'm just so relieved that after these months, I'm starting to recover!!

 

I definitely need some screen discipline, thing is that the internet works best for me to forget I'm in withdrawal. I need to find a balance there.

 

Thank youuu ^_^

 

Glad to find someone similar to me. I don't have racing thoughts, but I have random thoughts, like my brain isn't fully under my control >_< I don't have anxiety, sometimes I get really angry over small things.

Check out my thread.ive tapered zoloft 125 mg to 37 from last summer. Doing better. You will improve 

Russ

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herod
On 3/24/2019 at 8:43 AM, Carmie said:

Hi Herod, 

 

Do you have some other hobbies you can do in the evening so you’re not looking at screens so late. I’ve stopped looking at any screens after 8.30pm or so lately. You could also get blue light glasses so the screens don’t affect you as much. Do you have any of those?

 

Sending hugs🤗

Oh wow I ordered those blue light glasses. Can't wait to try them! I'm going to start reading books and listening to audio books at night. Although I can't concentrate very much, the internet isn't much better in the end.

 

23 hours ago, RusTW said:

Check out my thread.ive tapered zoloft 125 mg to 37 from last summer. Doing better. You will improve 

Russ

I read through your thread Russ. What an ordeal, especially with your ride through diagnoses lol. It's good that you've improved so much.

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RusTW

Thanks Its gradually getting better with some bumps.its learning to live in the waves.they come and go.

Being proactive and staying positive are best remedies. Accepting this is the challenge.its day to day sometimes. 

Music art meditation exercises diet good company help also.

Good day to ya

Russ

 

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Carmie

Hi Herod, 

 

Glad to hear you ordered the blue light glasses and that you’re going off line at night. I stop looking at any screens, as I mentioned, after 8.30. I do other things such as arts and crafts, read from an actual book📖, listen to music etc. 

 

The blue light glasses actually give everything a yellowish glow, it’s like sunshine.☀️😁 

 

I’m sleeping really well now since I stopped looking at screens in the evening, and get up at 6am every morning. I’m not sure how I’ll go once I’m off the Seroquel, as a lot of people get really bad rebound insomnia. One day at a time does it though, no use worrying about what hasn’t even happened yet, or might not happen. 

 

Take care💚

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ChessieCat
45 minutes ago, herod said:

I do hear this internal static. In my case it's more like a faint rumble in my right ear.

 

Above moved to existing topic.  tremors-shaking-body-vibration-internal-trembling

 

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herod

The akathisia that plagued me at night is mostly gone, so I can sleep during the night for the first time in 6 months. This is huge!

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Glosmom

What great news, Herod!!   So happy for you. glosmom

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puthappinessfirst
2 hours ago, herod said:

The akathisia that plagued me at night is mostly gone, so I can sleep during the night for the first time in 6 months. This is huge!

 

Akathisia IS.THE.WORST!

 

I am so glad it has left and you're getting sleep! 

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