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NothingButHope: 6 months off Zoloft/Trazodone cold turkey


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Hi all, I have read this forum a lot and thought I should post about my own experiences. I had written a long post with more personal details but I decided to stick with this more concise version.


While benzo withdrawal is not the reason I’m posting, I feel I should include all psych drug experiences. In Dec 2018/Jan 2019 I was dealing with strong health anxiety and took lorazepam/Ativan at 1mg/day for about a month, and quickly developed a tolerance. Upon cessation I experienced extreme insomnia, palpitations, muscle twitches, extreme anxiety which I attempted to relieve with alcohol. Ended up in inpatient detox in Feb 2019 with Valium to relieve withdrawals from these substances and came out of detox without acute withdrawal symptoms. Was prescribed 50mg Trazodone for sleep while there as I feared further insomnia, I took the Trazodone for the next 8 months (Feb-Oct 2019). I did not notice any effect from the Trazodone except for helping me sleep (probably too much) and minor side effects such as dry mouth.


My health anxiety resumed, coupled with a deep depression, and in April 2019 I was prescribed 100mg Zoloft (I regret not seeking therapy instead of taking drugs). Initially I improved quite a bit, was able to face my fears and get appointments and tests for the cause of my health anxiety, I ended up not having the condition I feared, and I was satisfied with this result and ready to move on with life. Was feeling good and positive.


I, however, kept feeling “better” on the Zoloft and developed what I now recognize as hypomania, although I was unaware of it during the duration. I spent my savings, began to consume caffeine and marijuana in excessive quantities, attempted to change my identity (thought I was transgender, which I now don’t believe) and made risky decisions that cost me my job. Eventually, still unaware I was hypomanic, I made the decision to stop both Zoloft and Trazodone cold turkey in October 2019 mostly because I was “feeling good” and didn’t want to be on meds for the rest of my life.


I didn’t notice any significant change for my first 1-2 months off the meds, maybe increased anxiety, but I felt capable of dealing with it. I remember feeling teary often but it was almost a liberating feeling, just felt like my mind returning to normal.


I would say about 2 months after cold turkey (Jan 2020) I came into the state that I am currently in (Apr 2020), which has not changed significantly, i.e. I have not experienced windows or waves. My symptoms are: deep depression, constant anxiety (not extreme as it doesn’t manifest physically but it is always underlying), tinnitus, muscle twitches (mostly in legs), feeling emotionally numb/flat/anhedonic, irregular vowel movements, mild PSSD (decreased performance and libido, but still functional), reduced quality of sleep (harder to get to sleep, waking more frequently). I realize these are relatively mild WD symptoms and I am grateful for that, as well as the fact that I didn’t suffer strong acute withdrawals right after discontinuing. However, these delayed or post-acute withdrawals are strongly affecting my ability to live my life. I feel like I am living every day on repeat, worried about the same issues in my future and regretting the same decisions about my past, unable to make progress and unable to enjoy activities, social interaction, or other distractions. I am not using any mind altering substances and I am taking a multivitamin, fish oil, and a “sleep aid formula” supplement (small amounts of melatonin, l-Theanine, valerian root, magnesium, GABA etc).


Although reinstatement and tapering are out of the question for me at this point, I guess I am here to see about the following things:


1. If it is known if a hypomanic reaction to an antidepressant affects the withdrawal syndrome at all (symptoms, duration etc)


2. I have read that marijuana and Zoloft or other SSRIs used together can have a “synergistic affect”, one thing I read said it can increase the amount of available SSRI in the blood. Is anything known about this, or does anyone have experience? I am wondering if this might also affect my withdrawal.


3. If the absence of a “windows and waves” pattern, or the fact that withdrawal didn’t set in until 2 months after cessation, might mean anything. Like if this is more of a new normal than a withdrawal syndrome.


4. If anything is known about how Trazodone may have affected this. I’m very familiar with SSRI withdrawal stories and have attributed most of my symptoms to the Zoloft use, but perhaps Trazodone is also contributing.


5. If anyone in a similar situation has had success with other supplements (I am aware that the site only “officially” recommends fish oil and magnesium)


I guess that’s about it. I am 28 and hopeful to start feeling like myself again. I deeply regret using medications, they did pull me out of a dark place temporarily but I currently feel very stuck. I’m also aware that I could be experiencing PAWS from my alcohol, marijuana or caffeine use which I have all ceased in the last year after heavy use, or that this could be seasonal or situational, although it seems characteristic of medication withdrawal and is not quite like any other state I’ve found myself in in the past. Thanks for reading and best of luck to you all.

Lorazepam 1mg Dec 2018-Jan 2019 (1 month)

Trazodone 50mg Feb 2019-Oct 2019 (8 months)

Sertraline 100mg Apr 2019-Oct 2019 (6 months)

Hypomanic on Sertraline with heavy caffeine and marijuana use

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Welcome to SA, NothingButHope.


On 4/14/2020 at 2:08 PM, NothingButHope said:

I would say about 2 months after cold turkey (Jan 2020) I came into the state that I am currently in


It is not uncommon for there to be a honeymoon period after stopping psychiatric drugs, with symptoms kicking in at the 2-3 month mark.  The symptoms you describe are typical withdrawal symptoms.


What is withdrawal syndrome.


Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.


When we take psychiatric 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.  


This explains the healing process really well:


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


On 4/14/2020 at 2:08 PM, NothingButHope said:


We don't recommend multivitamins because if there are problems you won't know what ingredient caused it.


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. 


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 


Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 


Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.


To get to your questions:


1. I'm not aware of a connection.  Others may have more input.


2. There are threads on the Internet about this possibility.  The brain in WD is very sensitive and we wouldn't recommend using marijuana to deal with withdrawal.  


3. It is withdrawal, not a new normal.  As I said earlier, 3 months is when symptoms very commonly kick in.  That you haven't had windows and waves is not significant.  It will come.


4.  Trazodone, like all psychiatric drugs, needs to be tapered, and your cold turkey of it is almost definitely contributing to your symptoms.


5. As I said, we only recommend magnesium and omega.  You can Google SurvivingAntidepressant.org supplements to see other members' reactions to various supplements.


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.


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 Valium  

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 14.4mg  

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

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg 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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