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00ColdTurkey: sertraline messed my head up?


00ColdTurkey

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00ColdTurkey

I'm really unwell and frightened. Please be patient with me, I'll explain my dilemma here. I'm just terrified and desperate...

Be warned, I'm also autistic. This might effect how I express myself. 

 

TL;DR - 

1. Can Sertraline side effects stay permanently if I went cold turkey before getting past them? 

2. Can taking another antidepressant get rid of these withdrawal symptoms?

3. So far 5 months of emotional flatness, consistent dissociation and disturbed sleep (insomnia).

 

It's been a long 5 months since quitting Sertraline back in March. I have gone through a cluster of withdrawal symptoms ranging from uncomfortable to disabling. And after waiting this many months, I'm now caught between my options. 

 

Either 1. waiting it out, or 2. taking another antidepressant, or even 3. (which is a risk) reinstate with a smaller dose of Sertraline. 

 

Now in an ideal world I should be able to speak to a psychiatrist and seek their help, instead of being stuck here trying to figure things out on my own. 

 

A few weeks ago I found old notes of mine from 2016 regarding similar issues I'm having today, inability to feel tiredness, inability to sleep, anhedonia, detachment from myself and surroundings. This was after a negative reaction to Riseridone, a drug I tried using in 2016 to help my symptoms (anxiety, depression). 

 

It was a drug that I couldn't stick with as it tightened my throat and made things hurt. At the time I didn't have access to a psychiatrist who would help me taper off the medication, instead I resorted to calling NHS 111 on April 10th 2016. 

I was told it would be safe to go off cold-turkey.

 

Afterwards got thrown into heavy insomnia and my emotions flattened. 

Yet here is the catch. Around the same time I was prescribed Sertraline, and this means I'm now trying to figure out whether those symptoms were caused by stopping Riseridone or starting Sertraline. 

 

I'm hoping next week to retrieve my notes and see what date my prescription was given, as if the Sertraline didn't cause those issues I'm wondering if restarting that medication in March and stopping brought back my Riseridone withdrawal symptoms.

 

And this isn't all. I'm also trying to establish whether I was on a too high of a dose, because when I was first prescribed Sertraline I was given 25mg to begin with for 4 weeks before increasing up to 50mg. This time I started immediately on 50mg after being told by someone that "25mg is a child's dose". 

 

I shouldn't have taken Sertraline in March... but then again I shouldn't have taken 50mg and instead taken the lowest possible dose. 

 

I'm even trying to make a comparison between an experience I had when starting on 100mg Sertraline back in late 2016. Jumped from 50mg to 100mg and immediately felt awful and detached. 

Put myself back down to 50mg and those symptoms cleared up.

Same symptoms I had when restarting on 50mg this year... so now I wonder if there's any possible way to break through this. 

 

So far it's been 5 months of nonstop Hell and this needs to be stopped somehow. 

First I'll find out when I was prescribed Sertraline. If those are Riseridone withdrawal symptoms (insomnia, dissociation) then I might try 25mg and go upwards. (This is because I'm out of options, I'd rather go back onto an antidepressant to stop these symptoms and then taper off properly). 

 

I heard insomnia from SSRI can eventually fade out. The last time I had the insomnia and anhedonia I was taking Sertraline and eventually everything returned. 

 

I'm going to be taking a risk. I don't want to make things worse or prolong the withdrawal syndrome (since I've already overcome the worst of my mania). 

 

I don't want to take anything if things are slowly improving (if I could be SSRI free until March next year and have regained most of my brain, that would be a relief -- not because antidepressants don't work, but because I wouldn't need to use any to alleviate these issues). 

 

And I don't want to take Sertraline if a drug like Fluxoetine can get rid of these problems (if Fluxoetine or any other medication can get rid of these issues, I'd stay with it for a while, so long as the pros outweigh the cons.)

 

I just want my head back...

 

And just as a note. When I ingested 50mg in March, I wasn't expecting those symptoms. I wasn't expecting to feel instantly messed up. This is what scared me. I noticed the insomnia and detachment creep in shortly after and hoping that going cold turkey would prevent this from being an issue. I thought, "the sooner the better". Not realising that withdrawal symptoms can go dormant for a while, when it comes to Sertraline you can stop and feel fine for a while. Between 2019 (September) - 2020 (March) I was absolutely fine. 

Perhaps it reinstated the Sertraline withdrawal? Maybe my body went into shock from not taking it for so long. Who knows.

Riseridone (dose unknown) 2010 (no approximate end, short-term use), Aspergers. Tapered. Fluxoetine 10mg 13/14. Direct switch to -- Citalopram 2014/14. Quetiapine 2014/14. 1 week. (Cold turkey, advised by NHS). 

Risperidone, 20th March 2016, cold turkey April 10th, 2016 Zoloft, April, 2016, 25mg, increased to 50mg in May, increased to 100mg in late 2016, decreased to 50mg, September 2019(Accidentally)weaned myself off. Reinstated Zoloft 50mg for 3 days - March 23rd to 26th.

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, 00ColdTurkey.

 

So we may better help you, please complete a drug signatures using the following link.  We need to know the dates and dosages you were on the Sertraline, when you stopped and when you restarted.  A list format is best.  I've gone through your post and compiled as much information as I could.  Please fills in any blanks and correct any errors.  Then you can pick up the information and put it in your signature using the link that follows.

 

Risperidone  ? mg, month?, 2016, cold turkey April, 2016

Zoloft, April, 2016, 25mg, iincreased to 50mg in May, increased to 100mg in late 2016, decreased to 50mg

Zoloft ? at some point (September 2019 - March 2020?) you went off the Zoloft.  Dates you were off the drug?  Cold turkey or taper? 

Zoloft, March, 2020, reinstated 50mg Zoloft, cold turkeyed after ? days

 

Please fill in the gaps and put the information in your signature using the link below.  ?Don't forget to press  "save."

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Why did you reinstate the Zoloft in March?

 

It's impossible to untangle what's causing what because of so many changes.  Some of your symptoms may be protracted withdrawal from your cold turkey of Risperidone.  However, what seems most likely to me is that, rather than withdrawal or delayed withdrawal,  you are having a reaction to reinstating too large a dose of Zoloft.  During the time you were off the drug, your system became accustomed to functioning without the drug.  You brain in March is not the same brain you had when you were on 50mg previously due to intervening changes.  As we say here, you never step into the same river twice.  Then when you hit it with a large dose, it was too much for your brain and caused you to become destabilized. You describe it well when you say "maybe my body went into shock from not taking it for so long.".

 

To answer your questions:

 

1. If by "side effects" you mean withdrawal, no, the symptoms are not permanent.  You will heal, but we can't predict how long it will take.

2. We don't recommend starting a different drug to deal with problems from a previous drug. If you decide on that course of action, that would have to be between you and your doctor.

3. The symptoms you describe are typical of a central nervous system destabilized by psychiatric drugs

 

At this point, as I see it, you have two choices.

1. Continue without the drug and wait for your system to stabilize.  As I said, we can't predict how long it will take.  

2. Reinstate a small dose of Zoloft.  Reinstatement works most predictably within 3 months of your last dose, so you're a bit outside that limit.  It might work and it might not.  The 25mg you mentioned is too much and could overwhelm you system, as happened last March.  If you want to reinstate, I'd suggest 5mg Zoloft--no more.  The following link gives you information on how to get the 5mg dose you'd need for your reinstatement.

 

Tips for tapering off sertraline (Zoloft)

 

Please read:

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

 

It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  If you feel worse after reinstating, stop immediately.  

 

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, complete your drug signature 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.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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 00ColdTurkey: sertraline messed my head up?
00ColdTurkey

Thank you for replying to my post, I'm really grateful and appreciate it. Thank you for taking time out of your day as well to gather up information about my drug history, I should've filled in the blanks myself before posting this here and will be getting round to doing this after replying here. 

 

If I never posted here in the first place, I would've continued to think that 25mg was a small dose. Because this is what the psychiatrists I have met in the past had conditioned me to think, that doses such as 50mg or 25mg are "very insignificant". 

 

I'm relieved to hear that this could possibly by my central nervous system gone into shock, as for these last 5 months have been bringing down my life. I have reached points where there are plans set out for if things never improved. Which is alarming, as I don't want to end this. I want things to recover... I've been doing my best to distract my mind from these thoughts. 

 

By side effects, I meant if what I experienced were side effects from reinstating Sertraline. I've heard side effects take a while to fade out. I stopped after 3 days instead of waiting another 2 weeks. That if stopping after 3 days the side effects become permanent until I put myself back on Sertraline. (I'm hoping this makes sense, my head is very blank) 

 

As when last time when I was on Sertraline it took a while for the insomnia to wear off and the emotions to return. If Sertraline was the culprit. I'll be back here tomorrow with additional information as I've got a GP appointment where I'm hoping to recover the information from 2016. 

 

Is it okay to ask one question? You say it's not recommended to use another drug to counteract affects caused by a separate drug. If Riseridone was the culprit of my emotional numbness and insomnia, and Sertraline relieved it -- what's the difference between Fluxoetine relieving symptoms of Sertraline? I'm just curious as to what you may think. I understand you're not a mental health professional and it's best to speak to a doctor over this. 

(Just trying to gather up as much info as possible before making a decision). 

 

My main fears are:

 

1. Worrying about what effect Sertraline will have on my prolactin, as I could potentially have a pituarity gland tumour. My screening is on the 5th September. Levels are 1350ng. 

 

2. Fearing seizures or more permanent anhedonia is things don't clear up this time. ("seizures" related to the head twitches and shakes I've had since stopping - not wanting these to progress to a seizure). 

 

3. Fearing going through mania again. I'm not sure if I undiagnosed bipolar. Whenever I've missed a tablet in the past it resulted in mania, elevated stress and thoughts of power (ability to do everything at once). I have read somewhere that if a person experience mania on a medication, it could be linked to undiagnosed bipolar. 

Spent 3 months having manic episodes (heart racing, thoughts rushing, shakes, intrusive thoughts, elevated stress, agitation) since stopping Sertraline, which had only begun to reduce. 

 

This is why I'm considering Fluxoetine. As you've said though, it's best to try and find someone to speak to about this. 

 

I apologise for rambling on a lot here.. it's a double edged sword.. there really is a lot for me to decide on and it's tough.

 

As for why I've reinstated. I'm fearful of not being believed... in short I was pressured. I never wanted to reinstate but I had nothing else.. other people's wishes against mine. 

Riseridone (dose unknown) 2010 (no approximate end, short-term use), Aspergers. Tapered. Fluxoetine 10mg 13/14. Direct switch to -- Citalopram 2014/14. Quetiapine 2014/14. 1 week. (Cold turkey, advised by NHS). 

Risperidone, 20th March 2016, cold turkey April 10th, 2016 Zoloft, April, 2016, 25mg, increased to 50mg in May, increased to 100mg in late 2016, decreased to 50mg, September 2019(Accidentally)weaned myself off. Reinstated Zoloft 50mg for 3 days - March 23rd to 26th.

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00ColdTurkey

I apologise about this. Is it also okay to ask what symptoms pinpoint to the nervous system being distabilised? Anhedonia, insomnia? 

 

Just want to say again thank you so very much for taking the time to respond to this, please don't feel you need to respond straight away. It's a long block of text and people would need to have a cup of coffee and a sit down before reading this all 

Riseridone (dose unknown) 2010 (no approximate end, short-term use), Aspergers. Tapered. Fluxoetine 10mg 13/14. Direct switch to -- Citalopram 2014/14. Quetiapine 2014/14. 1 week. (Cold turkey, advised by NHS). 

Risperidone, 20th March 2016, cold turkey April 10th, 2016 Zoloft, April, 2016, 25mg, increased to 50mg in May, increased to 100mg in late 2016, decreased to 50mg, September 2019(Accidentally)weaned myself off. Reinstated Zoloft 50mg for 3 days - March 23rd to 26th.

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  • Moderator
5 hours ago, 00ColdTurkey said:

That if stopping after 3 days the side effects become permanent until I put myself back on Sertraline.

It doesn't work that way.  What happened, I believe, is that the large reinstatement of Sertraline was too much for your system and it became destabilized.  This destabilization is not permanent but it will take a while for your brain and central nervous system to recover.  What you need now is stability, meaning no more changes or drugs, which will allow your brain the time to heal itself without having to deal with the effects of more drugs, effects that nobody, including doctors, can predict.

 

5 hours ago, 00ColdTurkey said:

You say it's not recommended to use another drug to counteract affects caused by a separate drug. If Riseridone was the culprit of my emotional numbness and insomnia, and Sertraline relieved it -- what's the difference between Fluxoetine relieving symptoms of Sertraline?

As I said a moment ago, no one can predict what effect a new drug is going to have.   What you're describing is what we call the drug merry-go-round, taking more drugs to try to deal with another drug, then if that doesn't work, another drug, then another drug.  Another way to describe it is drug Russian roulette.  That's the doctors' approach.  It not what we recommend.

 

5 hours ago, 00ColdTurkey said:

My main fears are:

1.   You are overthinking, which is typical in withdrawal and destabilization.  It's best not to indulge in fears, which puts a big stress on your system.  

2.  If the anhedonia and head twitches are a result of the shock to your system from reinstating too much sertraline, these symptoms are not permanent.

3.  Regarding undiagnosed bipolar, we don't put a lot of stock in psychiatric diagnoses.  They are often arbitrary and vary from doctor to doctor.

5 hours ago, 00ColdTurkey said:

what symptoms pinpoint to the nervous system being distabilised? Anhedonia, insomnia? 

 

Anhedonia and insomnia, among many other symptoms, point to the system being destabilized.  This checklist, by no means complete, lists some of the symptoms of withdrawal, as from the Zopiclone, and would also be applicable to your situation with the Sertraline.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

 

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.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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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00ColdTurkey

Update:

 

I've given it some thought and I'm thinking about reinstating Sertraline. It's going to be a challenge though, as the mental health clinician I met doesn't believe 25mg is a high dose and only very tiny. 

 

I might have to get myself a 25mg pill and file it down myself... 

 

I've got 50/50 chance this is going to work, as I remember when I was emotionally numb and dissociated in 2016 after stopping Riseridone and starting on Sertraline, somehow my emotions and reality gradually returned. 

 

I'm terrified of things going wrong as I've only just gotten through the worst of my symptoms (in March - July had manic episodes, fast heart rate and intrusive thoughts). Yet if there's a chance the symptoms are linked to Sertraline, I'll have to gamble 

 

What I'm experiencing now is EXACTLY what happened when I accidentally missed a dose of my prescription while waiting for the pharmacy to restock. I'd continue to feel disconnected and emotionally numb until I took another tablet. 

 

This is going to happen next week after I get my MRI results back. 

Riseridone (dose unknown) 2010 (no approximate end, short-term use), Aspergers. Tapered. Fluxoetine 10mg 13/14. Direct switch to -- Citalopram 2014/14. Quetiapine 2014/14. 1 week. (Cold turkey, advised by NHS). 

Risperidone, 20th March 2016, cold turkey April 10th, 2016 Zoloft, April, 2016, 25mg, increased to 50mg in May, increased to 100mg in late 2016, decreased to 50mg, September 2019(Accidentally)weaned myself off. Reinstated Zoloft 50mg for 3 days - March 23rd to 26th.

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00ColdTurkey

If anything dares go wrong during this, here's my story. I am hoping this thread is an okay place to post this, as it's my introduction. 

 

I had untreated, undiagnosed Complex PTSD as a result of severe neglect by the school. I was bullied severely with no mercy. The teachers swept this under a rug. This was the main CAUSE of my "depression", but was never picked up on or assessed by CAMHS. I was never given a choice. My parents were forced to administer my medication, it was the psychiatrist's word against there's. I wasn't given a choice between therapy or medication, instead persuaded that I was "sick" and could only be treated with medication.

 

If only I was given trauma therapy back then. I wouldn't have needed medication. I was put on a cocktail of drugs. Nobody seemed to understand my autism, the trauma or my needs. My parents fought for me, they were the only ones who did. 

 

I have selective mutism that was also undiagnosed and untreated by CAMHS. I've had to fork out to go private. This isn't easy in a country without medical insurance. All payments are done up front, no direct debit. You MUST have the money available. Over £300+ each. 

 

In 2015 I was placed into a mental ward for 6 weeks under a false diagnosis of psychosis and anorexia. I was never anorexia or had psychosis. During my time in the mental ward I was never put on any medication, I asked the psychiatrist there "why?" 

She told me that I didn't need medication. 

 

After being shut in a mental ward for 6 weeks, sat on a table full of people with REAL eating disorders and made to follow a strict meal plan while being placed under surveillance. CAMHS did a follow up assessment and ruled out the psychosis. Anorexia only got ruled out once I was out of CAMHS' care. It was a mixture of my autism (sensory issues) and high metabolism that convinced that I was starving myself. 

 

This is only half of my story. 

Riseridone (dose unknown) 2010 (no approximate end, short-term use), Aspergers. Tapered. Fluxoetine 10mg 13/14. Direct switch to -- Citalopram 2014/14. Quetiapine 2014/14. 1 week. (Cold turkey, advised by NHS). 

Risperidone, 20th March 2016, cold turkey April 10th, 2016 Zoloft, April, 2016, 25mg, increased to 50mg in May, increased to 100mg in late 2016, decreased to 50mg, September 2019(Accidentally)weaned myself off. Reinstated Zoloft 50mg for 3 days - March 23rd to 26th.

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