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Gibson: Zoloft Withdrawal - Desperate for Help & Considering Reinstatement


Gibson

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My History

I was originally prescribed Zoloft in winter of 2013 (age 15) to deal with unrelenting and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. I stayed on it consistently for 3 years. I don't remember the exact dose, but I believe I was up to 150mg or maybe even 200mg.

On the advice of my doctor, I did a fast taper in spring 2016. A few months after getting off the pills, I began experiencing symptoms that I attributed to a relapse of anxiety. For the next three years, I went on and off the Zoloft at least 3 separate times in an attempt to manage the symptoms. I didn't understand what I was dealing with.

When taking the pills, I experienced severe symptoms of sexual dysfunction. I was prescribed Wellbutrin to counteract this, but it didn't help me at all.

Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I was fed up with the sexual side effects and scared they would become permanent. I quit cold turkey 250mg of Zoloft and 300mg of Wellbutrin in May 2019. I told myself that this was it. No more going off and on, I was done for good.

 

Coping Without Pills 

I didn't have any immediate or obvious withdrawal symptoms when I quit cold turkey. After about 2 weeks after quitting the medicine, my sexual function was about 75% improved. However, starting about 4 months later (in September 2019), I began experiencing severe anhedonia, depressed mood, lack of motivation, suicidal thoughts, emptiness, and fatigue. My doctor interpreted this as a relapse in my depression, and recommended I reinstate SSRIs. I refused, but my symptoms only got worse. Just a few months later, in December 2019, I was experiencing dissociation, derealization, severe panic attacks, dizziness, nausea, trouble sleeping, restlessness, brain fog, lack of appetite, and memory problems. I developed symptoms of agoraphobia and could not leave my house due to fear of panic attacks. I could barely eat due to the symptoms, and I lost 15 pounds. I was sick and not functioning.

 

First Reinstatement

Scared, and feeling as though I had no other option, I reinstated 25mg of Zoloft for exactly one month beginning mid-December 2019. My symptoms improved dramatically on only 25mg. After just one week I was nearly back to baseline, but sexual function was back down to 0%. I began panicking about the sexual side effects, and chose to quit again in mid-January 2019. Within a month, the horrible symptoms I described above had come back, and my worst fear had come true: I developed full-fledged PSSD. In addition to severe anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and depression, I now have no sexual function. My libido is nonexistent, I cannot feel sexual pleasure, and I am unable to orgasm. I have had some small windows in the PSSD symptoms, but they have been fairly consistent for the past month or so. In addition, the panic attacks are increasing in both frequency and severity. I am losing weight again due to not being able to eat. I feel like I am in a living hell. 

 

What Next?

I am at a loss of what to do now. The worst part of all of this is that my doctor and my loved ones do not believe in SSRI withdrawal syndrome. They believe that all of my withdrawal symptoms are actually symptoms of my mental illnesses, and they constantly beg me to go back on the SSRIs. My partner has discussed breaking up with me if I do not take the pills. I have tried to educate them on the dangers of these pills, but they will not listen. They tell me that it's just my OCD making things up. I have stopped trying to convince them of the real reason for my suffering.

 

After reading this forum, I understand the horrible mistakes I made in quitting cold turkey. If I had properly tapered, perhaps this wouldn't have happened. But I simply was not equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision at that time. Now, I am considering trying to reinstate 25mg Zoloft and conduct a proper taper. At the very least, I feel that being on the Zoloft for a short time will give me a brief respite from some of the horrible symptoms I am experiencing.

 

I am looking for advice on this matter. Is reinstatement followed by a slow taper a good idea, or will going back on the drugs do more harm than good?

I truly cannot live like this for much longer. 

 

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this or offers advice or support.

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Gibson.

 

I'm sorry you're in the position you find yourself in.  Doctors don't believe in withdrawal (it's what the pharmaceutical companies (predictably) tell them and invariably misdiagnose withdrawal as "return of the underlying condition" and give you more then more drugs.  I don't know if this will be of any help to you, but the U.K. psychiatric association has recently revised its guidelines to (finally) admit the existence of severe and long-lasting antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.  You might print out the pertinent information from the following link, highlight it, and show it to your partner, doctor or family.

UK's NICE health guidelines now caution about severe and ...

Reinstatement is the only known way to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.  Going on and off the drug has sensitized your system and you don't want to overwhelm it with too much, so I'd start out with a reinstatement of less than 25mg.  You could try 12.5mg Zoloft (cutting your tablet in half with a pill cutter) and see if that helps. t takes about a week for the reinstated drug to reach full strength in your system.  Please read:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic

 

If you decide to do this, keep daily notes on paper to track how well the reinstatement is going.  And please keep us updated.

 

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.

 

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 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Oct 13: 8.1 mg 

Taper is 56.8% complete.

 

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

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

Taper is 80% 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.

Link to post

Thank you for the helpful information. I am going to check out the links you provided.

 

I think 12.5mg would be a good place to start. I was considering going even smaller, cutting the pill into fourths and taking ~6mg instead. What you said about it taking a week for the drugs to reach strength in your system tracks with my own experience -- last time I reinstated at 25mg, I noticed a significant symptom reduction after exactly one week. Doctors say psychiatric drugs can't possibly work that fast to treat depression, anxiety, etc., so would my symptom reduction after one week be "evidence" that my problems are due to withdrawal, as opposed to a relapse in mental illness? 

 

I am worried about reinstating, even at 12.5mg, because of fear that I will have an adverse drug reaction due to my over-sensitive CNS. Additionally, I am reluctant to restart the drugs because of the fact that PSSD is such a huge concern, and I know that reinstating will only worsen the sexual dysfunction (since this is a side effect I have always experienced when on the pills). I am worried any more time on the drugs will worsen my PSSD prognosis, but I also have to balance this concern with managing the other withdrawal symptoms, which are arguably more debilitating. Is there any information on this site regarding PSSD/prolonged sexual side effects? When I first went off the drugs, back in 2016, I experienced what I believed to be PGAD. Reinstating solved this problem quickly by rendering me completely sexually dysfunctional again (which I was happy to choose over PGAD at that time). I am confused as to why I experienced PGAD when I went off the drugs in 2016, but am now experiencing completely opposite symptoms (PSSD).

 

I haven't yet made a final decision on whether or not to reinstate. I have done hours of research and weighed all the options, but I'm between a rock and a hard place with this one. 

I am going to start keeping track of my symptoms, and if I do choose to reinstate, will provide detailed updates here. 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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  • Moderator
2 hours ago, Gibson said:

I was considering going even smaller, cutting the pill into fourths and taking ~6mg instead.

 

That would be a good idea.

2 hours ago, Gibson said:

Is there any information on this site regarding PSSD/prolonged sexual side effects?

 

Google SurvivingAntidepressants.org pssd

 

2 hours ago, Gibson said:

so would my symptom reduction after one week be "evidence" that my problems are due to withdrawal, as opposed to a relapse in mental illness? 

Yes.

 

2 hours ago, Gibson said:

I am confused as to why I experienced PGAD when I went off the drugs in 2016, but am now experiencing completely opposite symptoms (PSSD)

 

There's really no rhyme or reason to withdrawal symptoms.  There's no figuring it out.

 

2 hours ago, Gibson said:

will provide detailed updates here. 

 

Sounds good.

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 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Oct 13: 8.1 mg 

Taper is 56.8% complete.

 

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

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

Taper is 80% 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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Gibson,

It's nice to meet you, and we're glad you found SA, although—of course—we're sad you're having this experience.  What you're experiencing is quite real, and it's a shame that your family and partner don't believe it.  One of the affirming factors that what you're going through is a real medical situation is the fact that people without any history of mental illness also get psych med WD; for those patients, it's obviously not a relapse of original anxiety or depression because they didn't have original anxiety or depression.  

You may be wondering, "Why would people without psych issues get put on psych meds in the first place?"  Well, there is something within the medical field called "off-label prescribing," which means that Medication A was invented to treat Condition A, but doctors sometimes discover that Medication A can also be used to treat Condition B.  Off-label prescribing happens a lot with psych meds. Psych meds are used off-label to treat chronic pain, nerve pain, autoimmune conditions, etc.  When off-label patients with no history of original anxiety/depression/etc. get WD symptoms, it confirms that the WD is not a relapse; it's very real WD caused by the meds.  

We have people in the SA community who were prescribed psych meds for various reason, off-label (non-psych reasons) and on-label (psych reasons).  What we all have in common is that we all got WD.  I'm an example of someone who had no history of mental health issues, and I was prescribed psych meds off-label.  Well, I developed rather wicked WD, but I came out the other side, got better, and lived to tell about it :)  I understand that you no longer want to feel like you're talking to a brick wall trying to convince your family and partner that this is real, but I thought you might like to know a little bit more.  You already know what's happening to you is real, and now you've got a little bit more context.

Gridley gave you some excellent first steps, and I like your plan to read those links and then decide from there!  Keep us posted.   
    

*I'm not a doctor and don't give medical advice, just personal experience
**Off all meds since Nov. 2014. Mentally & emotionally recovered; physically not
-Dual cold turkeys off TCA & Ativan in Oct 2014. Prescribed from 2011-2014

-All meds were Rxed off-label for an autoimmune illness.  It was a MISDIAGNOSIS, but I did not find out until AFTER meds caused damage.  All med tapers/cold turkeys directed by doctors 

-Nortriptyline May 2012 - Dec 2013. Cold turkey off nortrip & cold switched to desipramine

-Desipramine Jan 2014 - Oct. 29, 2014 (rapid taper/cold turkey)

-Lorazepam 1 mg per night during 2011
-Lorazepam 1 mg per month in 2012 (or less)

-Lorazepam on & off, Dec 2013 through Aug 2014. Didn't exceed 3x a week

-Lorazepam again in Oct. 2014 to help get off of desipramine. Last dose lzpam was 1 mg, Nov. 2, 2014. Immediate paradoxical reactions to benzos after stopping TCAs 

-First muscle/dystonia side effects started on nortriptyline, but docs too stupid to figure it out. On desipramine, muscle tremors & rigidity worsened

-Two weeks after I got off all meds, I developed full-blown TD.  Tardive dystonia, dyskinesia, myoclonic jerks ALL over body, ribcage wiggles, facial tics, twitching tongue & fingers, tremors/twitches of arms, legs, cognitive impairment, throat muscles semi-paralyzed & unable to swallow solid food, brain zaps, ears ring, dizzy, everything looks too far away, insomnia, numbness & electric shocks everywhere when I try to fall asleep, jerk awake from sleep with big, gasping breaths, wake with terrors & tremors, severely depressed.  NO HISTORY OF DEPRESSION, EVER. Meds CREATED it.

-Month 7: hair falling out; no vision improvement; still tardive dystonia; facial & tongue tics returned
-Month 8: back to acute, incl. Grand Mal seizure-like episodes. New mental torment, PGAD, worse insomnia
-Month 9: tardive dystonia worse, dyskinesia returned. Unable to breathe well due to dystonia in stomach, chest, throat
-Month 13: Back to acute, brain zaps back, developed eczema & stomach problems. Left leg no longer works right due to dystonia, meaning both legs now damaged
-7 years off: Huge improvements, incl. improved dystonia

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Please let me know if you reinstate? thanks

Prozac january 2010 to  october 2016 dose started at 10mg and went up to 80mg

welbutrin october 2014 to october 2016 dose up to 400mg

effexor october 2015 to march 2016 150mg

geodon january 2016 to july 2016 80mg

i did a rapid taper off everything in 8 months time span from march 2016 to october 2016

drug free for 2 years and 7 months

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, everyone.

 

I have officially decided to reinstate. I took my first dose (12.5mg) last night. 

I feel exhausted, defeated, and full of shame... like an addict who has fallen off the wagon.

However, I feel I had no other choice. The withdrawal symptoms were making it impossible to function. My partner told me I needed to move out... they cannot take me anymore. I do not blame them. I am not myself... these withdrawal symptoms have taken me over, destroyed my spirit, and caused me to be hopeless and miserable. 

I am angry. Angry at the situation I am in. Angry that I am one of the unlucky people who experienced debilitating, prolonged SSRI withdrawal. Angry that the people in my life do not understand. I resent everyone I know who is happy and is leading a fulfilling life. I am only 23 and my life and happiness feels like it has been stolen from me by these horrible drugs. 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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  • Mentor

@Gibson I totally get it, have felt many times angry and frustrated cause of these drugs. 

16 minutes ago, Gibson said:

 

I have officially decided to reinstate. I took my first dose (12.5mg) last night. 

I feel exhausted, defeated, and full of shame... like an addict who has fallen off the wagon.

Please don’t feel ashamed, you are doing your best to cope and function, as are most of us in here. 
 

 

19 minutes ago, Gibson said:

Angry that the people in my life do not understand.

All of us in here do understand, we are in the same situation as you. Yes a lot of people do not know, and even if we try to explain it will fall to deaf ears. And I have felt the same way, angry that nobody gets it. We have to be grateful that this side is available here for us.

24 minutes ago, Gibson said:

I am only 23 and my life and happiness feels like it has been stolen from me by these horrible drugs. 

Read the success stories, they are truly inspiring and bring to us so much hope. This journey takes time, please have faith and hope, you will get there.

My best wishes to you🙏
 

Prescribed Paxil 20 mg year 2000 for panic attacks.

Many attempts through out the years to quit.

2019 tapered from 20 mg to 10 mg. Got stuck there, decided to bridge with Fluoxetine. 
2020 March off Fluoxetine 

2020 Oct- nov started deteriorating, followed by severe crash. 2021 Reinstated fluoxetine by small amount, until I reach 9 mg

Tapering 10% every 4-6 weeks and longer holds if necessary 

12/5 2021- 8.5 21/5 8.0 15/6 7.5 20/6 7.2 changed to liquid tapering 10/7  7.0  19/7 6.5 20/8 5.8 20/9 5.2 20/10 4.7

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baquejohn

i hope things work out for you. Please keep us updated. thanks

Prozac january 2010 to  october 2016 dose started at 10mg and went up to 80mg

welbutrin october 2014 to october 2016 dose up to 400mg

effexor october 2015 to march 2016 150mg

geodon january 2016 to july 2016 80mg

i did a rapid taper off everything in 8 months time span from march 2016 to october 2016

drug free for 2 years and 7 months

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Hello, everyone. I am back for an update. 
 

Tomorrow marks one week on the 12.5mg of Zoloft. Thankfully, I have not noticed adverse side effects from the reinstatement. But my WD symptoms have not gotten any better, either. I am considering going up to 25mg for relief. 25mg worked last time I reinstated to cut the WD... 12.5mg might just not be enough, unfortunately. 
 

My main WD symptoms right now are constant anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, lack of focus and motivation, gastrointestinal distress, and sexual dysfunction. 
 

Wondering if I should try and stay on the 12.5mg to see if I stabilize, or go to 25mg for quicker relief...

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Have you felt any effect at all from the reinstatement?

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

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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1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

Have you felt any effect at all from the reinstatement?

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

 

Thanks for your reply. I just put my history in my signature. 

 

I do not believe I have felt any effects from the reinstatement. All of my symptoms seem to follow their own individual patterns of windows and waves, but this was the case before reinstatement as well, and I have not noticed any difference in length of windows or severity of waves since I reinstated.

 

I had a window of about 24 hours this weekend with my depression symptoms. I haven't had a window like that in weeks, maybe even months. It was very encouraging, but I completely crashed yesterday night, and am still struggling today. My appetite has been nonexistent since the emotional crash, and I've had bad nausea and general stomach discomfort. I felt a bit of hope during that window, and I still want to believe it's a good sign for my overall healing, but with how awful I've felt today it's hard to stay hopeful that anything will ever really change...

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

Link to post

Something I have really been struggling with is trying to figure out if my symptoms are related to AD withdrawal or a relapse in my mental illness. Unfortunately, I do have a lifetime history of mental illness long before I was ever prescribed ADs. In addition, one of my main mental health issues (pre-ADs) has always been OCD/health anxiety, so it blurs the lines a bit in trying to figure out what's a physical problem and what's psychosomatic. 

 

For example, I have been having classic symptoms of depression that I am attributing to withdrawals, including lack of motivation, anhedonia, crying easily, and just generally being in an awful mood all the time. How do I know if this is truly withdrawals, or if it is actually depression? 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Your history of cold turkey is a much more likely explanation.

 

You might get liquid Zoloft and see what 15mg does, don't overshoot the dosage.

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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I decided to go up to 25mg this morning. I know that this potentially risks overshooting the dosage, but since 25mg worked wonders for my WDs last time I tried reinstatement, I'm willing to take the risk in the hopes that it helps me stabilize as quickly as possible. Additionally, I don't have the ability to get liquid Zoloft, at least not anytime soon, so I feel like this is my best option for right now. 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

Link to post

Brief update... now that I've been on the 25mg for a few days, I'm actually starting to feel a lot better across the board in terms of my WD symptoms. The only symptoms that have gotten worse are the PSSD ones, but I expected that, considering that I always had bad sexual side effects while on the pills, at pretty much any dose. As distressing as the sexual symptoms are, when I set those aside, I feel like I can finally breathe a little bit again. 

 

As I'm starting to feel a bit more clear-headed, I'm beginning to panic about being on these pills. I want to be off them as fast as possible and I'm scared that I'm actively damaging myself every second I stay on them. I'm trying to relax, tell myself that it will come with time. It's too early to think about a taper. I need to stabilize for a couple of months at least before I start thinking about tapering. If I quit today, like I want to so badly, I will be right back where I was.

 

This is where it really gets difficult for me, and why I ended up in this position in the first place. When I'm on the pills, I begin to panic about being on them, and it leads me to impulsively quit CT because I'm convinced they're poisoning me. Which I do believe they are, but I've learned from reading this site that the way to heal is to take it very slow, and that quitting CT will only hurt me more. As paradoxical as it feels right now, being on these pills consistently for the next few months is the best thing I can do to help stabilize my nervous system and prepare myself for a slow, methodical, proper taper... and at the end of the day, it is this slow and careful taper that will allow me to get off these drugs for good. I have to be patient... and try to trust in the process, and trust in my own body that I can and will heal. 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

Link to post

that's great to hear that it has helped you. please keep us updated on how things go in the future. if your worried about taking these meds then just take the minimum you need to function. now that the meds have built up in your system maybe you get get by on 12.5mg. since it takes a few weeks to built up and that is why you were not feeling better on 12.5mg before. just a thought

Prozac january 2010 to  october 2016 dose started at 10mg and went up to 80mg

welbutrin october 2014 to october 2016 dose up to 400mg

effexor october 2015 to march 2016 150mg

geodon january 2016 to july 2016 80mg

i did a rapid taper off everything in 8 months time span from march 2016 to october 2016

drug free for 2 years and 7 months

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Well it looks like I spoke too soon about things getting better, because I had a terrible weekend with WDs. Friday night I had a horrible panic attack. Anxiety was still spiking on Saturday but I was trying to push through. On Sunday I woke up late and was still feeling sh*tty. Due to waking up late I forgot my Sunday morning dose which probably didn't help things. All day I panicked about the pills and how they are hurting me. By later that afternoon/night I was miserable, crying, anxious, etc. This morning I feel completely unmotivated, exhausted, depressed, I just want to lay in bed, and wish I could fall asleep and not wake up. I took my dose today, so hopefully it cuts some of the WD. I would say all of this is because I forgot my dose Sunday, but I was already feeling terrible on Friday and Saturday, and I took my dose both of those days. This is confusing and makes no sense. I believe I am doomed forever to either be suffering from debilitating WD that makes me unable to function or live my life, OR be taking these horrible pills. I will never be free and maybe I just have to accept that if I want to live even semi-normally. I don't want to be dramatic, but this whole situation has caused me to become suicidal again, perhaps this is just another WD symptom itself. If I die from WD everyone will blame "depression" the made-up mental illness they have convinced themselves I have... they will probably say I should have taken more drugs... oh how wrong everyone is. Antidepressants have a body count and I will be another Zoloft victim in due time if this does not let up.

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

It's very important to take the same dose at the same time every day.

 

Unfortunately, If you want to go off psychiatric drugs, it's not something you can do quickly. This just the way it is. Everybody here is in the same boat.

 

See Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

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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23 hours ago, Altostrata said:

It's very important to take the same dose at the same time every day.

 

Unfortunately, If you want to go off psychiatric drugs, it's not something you can do quickly. This just the way it is. Everybody here is in the same boat.

 

See Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

I've read through the Zoloft tapering thread, lots of helpful information there.

When do you think I can start thinking about beginning a taper? I know the process will be long. But I want to get it started as soon as possible. I don't know if I need to stay on the reinstatement dose for a certain amount of time to "stabilize" before beginning a taper, or if I can start the taper soon...

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Yes, you need to stay on the reinstatement to stabilize for at least a month before starting a 10% taper. If your symptoms continue, you may need to stabilize more than a month. Don't play games with your nervous system.

 

Please read our responses and read the links we give you. They explain the process and answer common questions so you don't have to ask them.

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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Hi, everyone. Back for an update and in need of some advice on next steps.

 

I've now been on the 25mg reinstatement dose for just over 2 weeks. In terms of my withdrawal, I have noticed a small (maybe 25%) improvement overall. I have been taking detailed notes on what I'm noticing, which I will reproduce below.

  • PHYSICAL anxiety symptoms have become muted. COGNITIVE anxiety symptoms remain unchanged. I consider this an improvement; however, it is kind of off-putting and makes me feel very disconnected from my body and emotions. For example, I will experience an anxious trigger (either an external situation or an internal thought) that would typically be followed by physical symptoms. These symptoms (dizziness, nausea, detachment from reality, feeling out of control, hyperventilation, shaking, etc.) can range from mildly uncomfortable to a full-blown panic attack, depending on the situation. Post-reinstatement, these symptoms have been more likely to stay in the "mildly uncomfortable" range. 
  • My body feels generally more relaxed. I am less "on edge" all the time. However, this does not "match" with my thoughts, which are often still anxious/racing. It kind of feels like my body is drugged, while my mind remains unchanged. As I mentioned above, this can be very off-putting, and makes me feel out of touch and detached.
  • My concentration and focus has improved. My work performance has gone up significantly in the last few weeks.
  • My irritability has decreased. I am more pleasant to be around. I laugh more.
  • "Bad" moods are less likely to sideline me for an entire day, as they did during withdrawal. It's easier for me to regulate my emotions. On the flip side of this, though, I definitely feel the emotional blunting notorious to SSRIs. It's a bit of a trade off.
  • PSSD symptoms are significantly worse. If 100% is "normal" functioning, my PSSD baseline during withdrawal was around 30-50% (depending on the day), and has dropped down to 5-10% post-reinstatement. I am not sure if I should call this PSSD right now, as it is better explained as a side effect from the drug. Either way, it is very distressing.
  • I am getting heartburn. This is not typical for me. I believe it may be a side effect from the pills.

Now, I am at a loss of what to do next. On one hand, I am noticing some improvements to my withdrawal that indicate the reinstatement is working. On the other hand, these improvements come at a cost... feeling detached from my body, emotionally blunted, and in a "drugged" state. Adding to this, my partner has made it clear that they will not stick with me through another withdrawal crisis. So, despite desperately wanting to be off of these pills, there is considerable pressure for me to stay on them. I am not sure what to do. I am definitely NOT stable enough to taper off right now, but I honestly don't think I'm going to get to that stabilization point on 25mg, which is a fraction of my original dose of 250mg. Where I'm at now is NOT a big enough improvement to justify staying on these dangerous drugs. Should I give it a few more weeks on 25mg to see what happens? Should I increase in an attempt to find a dose that relieves my withdrawal, and then stabilize and taper properly? Or should I just taper off now, let my partner leave me, because this isn't worth it anymore?

 

Sorry for the long-winded message. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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Ballardbeer

HI Gibson. I want to tell ya you found the right place to figure this out. Sticking with what @Altostrata said, you should stay at 25 mg for a month at least. You need to stabilize at a dose, and get a real good look at what your symptom patterns look like. Journal! Write down daily symptoms, stray thoughts/observations, anything you can think of. I literally had a day where I tried to write for maybe an hour and all I could muster was four-letter words in incomplete sentences. Sertraline takes a powerful grip on the brain, and it takes a long time for the brain to heal. Submitting to the idea that your recovery will likely take at least a year is a good idea. 

 

I feel for you about the relationship. I tried to rush my recovery along to save my relationship. My honest, tough advise on that is move out and get stable. If it's a relationship that has staying power, it's the right move. I tried to bunker down in my tiny apartment with a partner who had their own mental health issues (but did not want to put in the work like I was). As a result, I ended up working double effort to get myself better, and I put myself (and her) at risk because the bad days just don't go away just because you want them to. When I was about 6 months post-CT I called it quits on the relationship, moved out, and allowed the healing to take precedence. Handling a breakup and withdrawal sucked. Regardless of my situation, you need to be selfish here, and put yourself first. If your partner loves and supports you, they will understand and give you the space. If they give you a hard time, it might be time to move. Love the easy ones! 

Drug history:

Sertraline 50 mg (Nov 2018 - Apr 2019)

Sertraline 25 mg (May 2019 - July 2019)

Seroquel, partial pills at night for 2 weeks (July 2019)

Lamotrogine 100 mg (July 2019 - Sept 2019, ended w/ fast taper) 

significant WD symptoms until march 2020

long covid starts april 2020 😐

RX free. experimenting w/ herbs, diet, exercise, lifestyle.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today marks 4 weeks back on Sertraline (1 week on 12.5mg and 3 weeks on 25mg). I am sad to report that my symptoms are back full force this week.

 

I feel totally beaten down. I am so tired of feeling like this. I fear that I will never be happy. It is so difficult to muster up the will to continue living when I feel unable to get enjoyment out of anything. I'm staying on the drugs for now because it makes other people happy but it's taking everything in me not to CT right now and never look back. 

 

Here is a record of my withdrawal symptom pattern post-reinstatement.

  • Week 1 (12.5mg): No change in withdrawal.
  • Week 2 (25mg): Small improvements.
  • Week 3 (25mg): Continued small improvements.
  • Week 4 (25mg): Huge backslide, re-emergence of all symptoms, back to Week 1 baseline.

Could my decline in week 4 be poop-out? 

 

I know it is not advised to begin a taper until you are at a point of stabilization, but I just do not think I'm going to stabilize on this dose, especially with this rapid decline.

 

My doctor wants me to up the dose of Zoloft to 37.5mg, and consider reinstating a low dose of Wellbutrin as well. I know this site would strongly advise against either of those options, but I need to do something

 

I have been so focused on the Zoloft as the cause of all my symptoms, I did not take time to consider that some of my withdrawal symptoms could actually be a manifestation of protracted Wellbutrin withdrawal... but it would make sense. I CT 300mg Wellbutrin about a year ago, the same time I CT 250mg Zoloft. It would make sense... reinstating Zoloft would do nothing for my symptoms if they are actually caused by withdrawal from the Wellbutrin. 

 

I don't know what to say other than this situation sucks. I'm running out of hope.

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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I think welbutrin is easier to quit than SSRI meds.  If you only took welburtin for one years then one  year off is probably enough time to recover.

Prozac january 2010 to  october 2016 dose started at 10mg and went up to 80mg

welbutrin october 2014 to october 2016 dose up to 400mg

effexor october 2015 to march 2016 150mg

geodon january 2016 to july 2016 80mg

i did a rapid taper off everything in 8 months time span from march 2016 to october 2016

drug free for 2 years and 7 months

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Gibson: Zoloft Withdrawal - Desperate for Help & Considering Reinstatement
  • 2 weeks later...

Back for another update. 
 

Despite continuing my reinstatement of 25mg, my withdrawal symptoms have gotten worse yet again. I suppose, at this point, it may be reasonable to conclude that I missed my “window” for reinstatement, and it will just not work for me. 
 

One of my worst symptoms — feeling like I’m going to faint all the time — has gotten much worse. I have been spending the past few days in bed because any time spent walking around makes me feel like I may collapse. I am starting to wonder if I have an undiagnosed neurological condition, some kind of nutrient deficiency, or a disorder of the nervous system that would explain this particular symptom. It has rendered me housebound as I am petrified of fainting in public.

 

I ran out of my Zoloft prescription but cannot leave the house to go to the drug store and pick it up, because I am quite convinced that in my current state if I try to leave the house I will collapse in public. As a result I haven’t taken my dose in 2 days, and I may just use this situation as an opportunity to give up on this reinstatement.

 

Perhaps the worst part of all of this is the absolute crushing depression and defeat that I am feeling. I am burdened by hopeless emptiness. I will never get my life back from these drugs. That is something I have come to realize. But more importantly, I don’t want what they’ve left me with. I am a shell of myself. It’s a matter of time before I give up completely. 

2013 -- Prescribed Zoloft

2016 -- Tapered off Zoloft

2016-2018 -- On and off Zoloft, tried Prozac 30mg for a couple of months

Jan. 2018 -- Reinstated Zoloft (dose increased to 250mg) and began taking Wellbutrin (150mg, and eventually 300mg)

May 2019 -- CT 250mg Zoloft and 300mg Wellbutrin

Dec. 2019 -- Reinstated 25mg Zoloft

Jan. 2020 -- CT 25mg Zoloft

May 4, 2020 -- Reinstated 12.5mg Zoloft

 

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  • Mentor

Hey @Gibson

I am sorry to hear that you are struggling. I can identify with being scared of leaving your house, for me it’s about having panic attacks in public. Is there someone who can pick up your meds for you?

This journey takes time and patience, don’t ever let those drugs win and never give up on yourself. You have the strength within, reach for it and pull yourself up, I know it’s hard in the moment but I am telling you it’s there. Every tiny step you take is a step in the right direction. Have faith in yourself, you can do it💪
Sending you good vibes and hugs your way🙏

Prescribed Paxil 20 mg year 2000 for panic attacks.

Many attempts through out the years to quit.

2019 tapered from 20 mg to 10 mg. Got stuck there, decided to bridge with Fluoxetine. 
2020 March off Fluoxetine 

2020 Oct- nov started deteriorating, followed by severe crash. 2021 Reinstated fluoxetine by small amount, until I reach 9 mg

Tapering 10% every 4-6 weeks and longer holds if necessary 

12/5 2021- 8.5 21/5 8.0 15/6 7.5 20/6 7.2 changed to liquid tapering 10/7  7.0  19/7 6.5 20/8 5.8 20/9 5.2 20/10 4.7

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  • Moderator

Hello Gibson, 

 

8 hours ago, Gibson said:

Despite continuing my reinstatement of 25mg, my withdrawal symptoms have gotten worse yet again.

 

This is typical of what we call the windows and waves process. I see you reinstated in May 2020 : you're still at the very beginning of a stabilisation process.

People here have reinstated and it took months of ups and downs before feeling stabilised.

 

Please read  carefully these links, they may help you understand what's going on

 

1. the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-stabilization

 

2.about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms

 

 

8 hours ago, Gibson said:

I ran out of my Zoloft prescription but cannot leave the house to go to the drug store and pick it up, because I am quite convinced that in my current state if I try to leave the house I will collapse in public. As a result I haven’t taken my dose in 2 days, and I may just use this situation as an opportunity to give up on this reinstatement.

 

Gibson, I understand this symptoms as I've been through it too. But guess what ? Despite the strong feeling, I've never really faint. As I've read it often on SA : we often can do more than we think while in WD.

 

- Do you eat regularly ?

- Can you ask someone to pick Zoloft up for you ?

 

You can give up on reinstatement as it is your decision, but I must highlight the fact that you didn't give it time to work.

 

8 hours ago, Gibson said:

I will never get my life back from these drugs. That is something I have come to realize. 

 

Fortunately, the ones who went through this journey before us prove that healing happen. Very slowly and gradually, but healing does happen :)

 

Take a look at  Success stories, they can be great comfort.

 

Take care ❤️

 

2006 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2014-June2017 : Switch from Bromazepam to Prazepam, taper to 0.

2018 to August 2019 : Paxil 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22 Aug 2019 updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paxil. 

April 2020 : Paxil 10mg to Prozac 7mg bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :

* 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

* Prozac : 6.8 mg (15 Sept 2021)/ 6.88mg (14 Aug 2021)/ 6.92mg (23 Jun 2021)

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