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HS22: 10 years sertraline / Zoloft - crisis of confidence, should I be doing this?


HS22

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Hi everyone,

 

New to this forum and am very relieved to find an online support group here! So I'm sure this is a common sentiment on this site, but I'm currently really struggling with a fear that having been on these meds for so long, I don't even know what my baseline of anxiety and depression is as "just me." After 10 years of sertraline, going off them feels like stepping in to the abyss and I'm honestly really scared that there's something fundamentally wrong in my wiring that means I just can't handle the world without them.


I'm also questioning whether I should be taking myself off of these meds in the first place. I'm frustrated with the weight gain and lethargy that has come with taking them as well as he sense that I can't "live without them" but then again, I am constantly asking myself - is that a price I should pay for being more emotionally stable?  

 

Someone described this process as stepping out of a warm shower in to a cold room - all you want to do is jump right back in to the comfort you once had. I really admire everyone who is going through this process because it takes an enormous amount of strength. But I'm just worried for me, personally, I'm putting myself through hell and I'm scared I will emerge on the other side a more anxious, unhappy individual. Just wondering if anyone else experienced this as I feel totally alone in this process at the moment.

 

I'd love to hear other peoples' experiences with this. Thanks so much. 

Setraline: 50mg, 19/08/2019, 

25 mg, 26/08/2019

0 mg, 02/09/2019

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to HS22: crisis of confidence - should I be doing this?
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi HS and welcome to SA,

 

I felt very relieved when I found SA too, so I know exactly how you feel.  In fact I titled my topic "so I'm not the only one". 😊

 

We need to know some more about your drug history before we can offer suggestions.  The easiest way to do this is for you to create your drug signature.

 

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

 

Once we have more information about your situation we can give you the relevant information.

 

This is your own Introduction topic, which is where you can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress.

 

 

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to HS22: 10 years sertraline / Zoloft - crisis of confidence, should I be doing this?
  • Moderator Emeritus

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose with 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?

 

If we reduce the drug too quickly we can get withdrawal symptoms.  Are you experiencing withdrawal symptoms?  If yes, what are they?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

This is what happened to me.  I was taking 100mg Pristiq and started taking 50mg.  Over a 2 week period my brain fog got worse and worse and even walking took my full concentration.  It was at this time that I researched and found SA.  A couple of days after joining SA I was unable to type.  I have been a professional typist for 40+ years so I knew something was wrong.  I decided to take extra Pristiq and after only about 4 hours I was able to type again and the brain fog was lifting.  I had a benchmark so I had proof that it was the lack of drug that caused the brain fog and inability to type.  The difference was like night and day.  I also knew that there was no way that this was wishful thinking etc.

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

On Sertraline (50 mg) for about 8 years - initially prescribed for a stressful period in my life. The medication really helped and I am now in a much more stable place. However, I struggled with weight gain and lethargy connected to the meds so I felt this was the right time to go off of them, tapering down to 25mg the first week and nothing the second with the support of my GP although am questioning whether this was too fast...

 

I'm finding the withdrawal process difficult - heightened anxiety, low moods, extreme dizziness and vertigo and nausea. 

 

Please post the information which is currently in your drug signature into a post here in your introduction topic.

 

 

Please change the drug information in your signature the following format (include the date when you took 0mg)

 

drug name:  dose, date; dose, date; dose, date

 

We don't need all the extra details, just the above please and we need to know exactly how you tapered the drug.

 

Thank you.

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Sertraline: 50mg, 19/08/2019, 

25 mg, 26/08/2019

0 mg, 02/09/2019

 

You could try reinstating 12.5mg of sertraline.  It is better to start with a small amount than to risk taking too much.  You can always increase by a bit more later. (More information provided below - please be sure to read it.)  It takes about 4 days for a dose to get to full level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.

 

Please keep daily symptom notes on paper so that you can see how the reinstatement is affecting your symptoms.

 

You will need to be patient and try and stay calm so that you don't add stress symptoms into the mix, because then it can be difficult to figure out if the symptoms are from your anxiety or if you need to increase the dose by a bit more.

 

It's important not to panic and take too much, because this might make things worse.

 

The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  After stabilising, which might take 3-4 months you can then taper following SA's 10% protocol.

 

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

 

This is what I am gleaning from what you have written:

 

About 14th Aug you reduced to 25mg (from 50mg) and then about 21st Aug you stop the drug completely.  And you haven't taken any drug for about 2 weeks?

 

If the above is correct or nearly correct, you could try reinstating 12.5mg of sertraline.  It takes about 4 days for a dose to get to full level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.

 

Please keep daily symptom notes on paper so that you can see how the reinstatement is affecting your symptoms.

 

You will need to be patient and try and stay calm so that you don't add stress symptoms into the mix, because then it can be difficult to figure out if the symptoms are from your anxiety or if you need to increase the dose by a bit more.

 

It's important not to panic and take too much, because this might make things worse.

 

The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  After stabilising, which might take 3-4 months you can then taper following SA's 10% protocol.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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Thanks for sharing your experience with this - it sounds very similar. I'm finding it hard to compose coherent messages and talking to people is taking a lot of concentration. I'm going back to the GPs tomorrow to explain my symptoms. When you went back on Pristiq when you were really struggling to type, how long did you continue on the higher dose until you started weaning yourself off again?

 

Also, happy to update my post with the information previously in my signature. Sorry, think it's my foggy brain at the moment but could you show me how to edit a post that's already been published to add the new info to the top? 

 

Thanks

Setraline: 50mg, 19/08/2019, 

25 mg, 26/08/2019

0 mg, 02/09/2019

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  • Moderator Emeritus

No need to edit a post.  It can become confusing if responses are already being provided.   Just add it in a new post.

 

 

It's highly likely that your doctor will suggest a larger dose than SA recommends.  Please read Post #1 of the reinstatement topic.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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Actually, I've only been off of it completely for 4 days but I'm going to take your advice and ask if maybe the GP can give me a liquid version of the medication to help me normalise. Even if I'm back on it, but only at 12.5mg, that's definitely progress.

 

You're absolutely right that I'm panicking - I'm so carefully watching any fluctuations in mood that in feeling terrible, I'm thinking "this is it, I'm back to full-blown depression and this is my life now" which is of course, only making it worse. Self care and kindness seems to be another big part of this process. I'll read Post #1 of the reinstatement topic now. 

 

I'll add an update as soon as I speak to my GP. I didn't realise this would be one of the most difficult physical things I've ever done but I'm now realising how powerful this medication has been!

Setraline: 50mg, 19/08/2019, 

25 mg, 26/08/2019

0 mg, 02/09/2019

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You can make your own liquid from sertraline tablets.

 

You might find it helpful to write a script and rehearse what you are going to say so that you can get what you need to taper.  Be calm, gentle but assertive.  You are the customer, it is your body.  Use words like I'd like to try this, or I'd prefer to do it this way.  If a suggestion is made that you don't want to follow, say I'd like to think about it before making a decision.

 

how-to-talk-to-a-doctor-about-tapering-and-withdrawal-what-to-expect

 

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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Wow, I should definitely have signed up for this site before I started the process. I can't believe how naively I just walked in to this thinking I'd have a few days of feeling a bit down and then I'd be fine. I'm very grateful for these drugs because I don't think I could have gotten myself out of such a dark place. But I have a bit of a love/fear relationship with them now, realising how much power they've had over me! I'll go through all of this and write down some notes before speaking to my GP. My gut sense is he might have been a little too flippant about this process but then again, it's on me to know my own body as well. Thanks for all of your advice so far!

Setraline: 50mg, 19/08/2019, 

25 mg, 26/08/2019

0 mg, 02/09/2019

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

We have members here who have ended up on high doses and/or different drugs when visiting their doctor and telling them of their withdrawal symptoms.

 

Depending on what sort of a person you are, you could always play dumb and make out that you don't know that it is withdrawal and see what the doctor's response is.  The fact that they told you to reduce as quickly as you did means that they are unlikely to understand withdrawal.  And of course, that's up to you.  When you are feeling like your brain is full of mud and can't think straight you need to keep it simple because you can't think on the hop. 

 

But it would be a fun thing to do ... that's my wicked sense of humour - sorry.  Even though my doctor knows a bit about withdrawing off psychiatric drugs, he was still very surprised when I told him how long it was going to take for me to do my taper.

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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 Lol, very happy to play dumb on this. I think it's one of those things where unless you've experienced first-hand depression and anxiety and the withdrawal experience, it's very hard to understand how debilitating it can be. You're right, it's absolutely like my brain is packed with mud and I'm underwater and drunk. Not a great combination! I work in for a non-profit "in the field" a lot so I'm worried that if I end up in a rural place in Africa feeling like this, I'm going to be putting myself in danger. The end goal is to be free of these meds but it sounds like tapering them at my speed makes the process more sustainable. I think I've been anxious to go "med free" because then I can see for myself whether I'm naturally a neurotic anxious mess or whether it was all situational and actually, I'm more capable of managing my emotions than I thought. It's like I'm just meeting myself for the first time and I'm worried about what I'll find.


It sounds like your process has been full of ups and downs but you're making great progress. It's amazing you can help people like me along this journey while balancing your own experiences.

Setraline: 50mg, 19/08/2019, 

25 mg, 26/08/2019

0 mg, 02/09/2019

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