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Steffi71: Zoloft withdrawal


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Hi everyone,


I’m reaching out because I am really struggling right now with withdrawal from Zoloft. 


I took it and cymbalta at different times in my late teens/early twenties but was completely free of meds for almost 10 years. I started taking 50 mg of Zoloft right after I had my son a year ago because I felt unable to cope as a new mom. I was also living in a new city. I don’t completely regret taking it because it did help me I suppose, but getting off of it has been extremely difficult this time, much more than in the past. 


I took it for 9 months and got tired of the difficulty losing weight, the vivid dreams and nightmares, and the diminished sex drive. I see a therapist and have solid coping tools in my life. But with a 1 year old child I feel very overwhelmed as I go through this process. 


I tapered down for two weeks and then stopped. I’m about 2 weeks out from the last pill. First I had horrible flu like feelings and lots of crying. Now I am dealing with horrible GI issues - cramping, diarrhea, nausea, no appetite. It’s hell. This, in addition to headaches, fatigue, brain zaps. I can deal with all that but the stomach issues are very intense. I’m growing paranoid it’s a different issue unrelated to withdrawal. Is it normal to have sudden GI symptoms 2-3 weeks after last pill? 


I guess i just really need some support. My husband is being kind of a jerk about it all; he’s tired too from our baby boy and studying for a CFA exam. But I’m furious with his lack of emotional support. 


I just don’t know if these stomach issues are related or not. Would really appreciate some support and advice. Thank you 🙏🏼 



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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Steffi71.  I'm sorry you're feeling so bad and that your husband isn't providing emotional support.  This site has very supporting and knowledgable members and moderators, so I'm happy you're found your way here.  This link may help:

Helping family understand 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 
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What you are experiencing are very typical withdrawal effects from tapering off the Zoloft too rapidly. (We recommend tapering no faster than 10% of current dose every four four weeks.)  So that you'll have an understanding of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal:




When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  

These explain it really well:



   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  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.
GI issues are a common withdrawal symptom.  You can also Google "SurvivingAntidepressant.org GI issues" for additional threads about GI issues in withdrawal.

The only known way to alleviate or reduce withdrawal symptoms from a too-fast taper is a VERY small reinstatement of the same drug.  You're still within the time frame when reinstatement most predictably works.  Reinstatement doesn't always work, but it's the best method known.  The only alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  Please read:


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
If you're interested in considering reinstatement, please let me know and we can suggest a dose.  Please don't reinstate without letting us make a dosage recommendation.  Too large a reinstatement can result in further destabilization.  If you decide to reinstate, you would wait to stabilize, then taper off the small dose using the 10% method.
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 




Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
This is your Introduction topic, where you can provide updates, ask questions and connect with other members.  Please remember to complete your drug signature.  It's very helpful to the moderators.  Please let us know how you're doing.



Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg   

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Steffi71: Zoloft withdrawal

Hi @Steffi71 And welcome to the group! so sorry to hear that you're struggling I understand though I've been there. Unfortunately Digestive and intestinal issues are common withdrawal symptoms.You'll find throughout this process that symptoms will appear and disappear just like that it's totally normal you’re central nervous system is healing and trying to get back to its normal state. I found that  educating myself gave me a little more control over what was happening during my withdrawal. I'm currently 9 months antidepressant free after 11 years and I feel great. no matter how difficult the journey was to get here it was totally worth it! Try to hang in there and stay strong it does get better! As far as your husband goes try to educate him About the symptoms of withdrawal, that may help with his empathy towards the whole situation if I can help in any way don't hesitate to contact me sincerely laydefish.


Edited by ChessieCat
unbolded font

2 years Drug History Prior to Tapering:

Between 2011 & 2018 I had approximately 58 dose changes between the 4 main medications I took as well as 14 new medications add & taken away.

Prozac (Fluoxetine):(Aug 2016-Dec 2016: 60MG),(June 2017-Nov 2017: 60MG),(Dec 2017: 80MG),(June 2017-Sept 2 2018: 60MG),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 5 2018: 40MG),(Sept 6 2018-Sept 8 2018: 20MG),(Sept 9 2018: 0MG).

Cymbalta:(Jan 2017-May 2017: 60MG).

Cyclobenzaprine: (Aug 2016: 30MG,(Feb 2017: 30MG).

Diazepam (Valium):(Aug 2016-Sept 15 2016: 30MG),(Sept 16 2016-Oct 2017: 15MG),(Nov 2017-Aug 19 2018: 6MG),(Aug 20 2018: 0MG).

Gabapentin:(Aug 2016-Aug 3 2018: 2400MG),(Aug 4 2018-March 26 2019: 2000MG),(March 27 2019-March 30 2019: 1600MG),(May 1 2019: 2000MG)

Hydrocodone:(Aug 2016-Oct 2016: 10-325/4daily),(Nov 2016-Feb 2017: 10-325/3daily),(March 2017-April 2017: 5-325/4daily),(May 2017-April 2018: 10-325/3daily),(June 2018-Aug 25 2018: 10-325/5daily),(Aug 26 2018-Sept 2 2018: 4.5daily),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 10 2018: 10-325/4daily),(Sept 11 2018-Sept 18 2018: 10-325/3daily),(Sept 19 2018-May 1 2019: 10-325/3.5 daily).

Oxycodone: May 2018: 10-325MG/4daily). 

Please see my Intro for full drug history.

         **Forgive Yourself For Not Knowing What You Didn't Know Before You Knew It!  -Maya Angelou/

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