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Anders: Zoloft withdrawal after 12 years


Anders

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Hi everyone! I have been reading this forum for a while, and it has surely helped me a lot to recognize some off all my symptoms i have and had under and after tapering off Zoloft.

 

I am 34 years old now, when i was around 20-21 years old (i dont have exact timeline) i suffered from some sudden major anxiety panic attacks. Under my first attack i was rushed to "life crisis emergency room" since nobody knew what happened to me. Here i talked to psychologist that helped me calm down and to a psychiatrist that gave me my first Zoloft pills. I took these without even thinking twice or knowing what it was, i just wanted the panic anxiety to go away. And actually at that time it seemed to help a lot to the panic anxiety, i will never know if it actually did or just was placebo...

 

The weeks went to months and i visited my doctor regularly. Every time i got some more anxiety he heightened my dose, so i went from 25-100 mg over a quite short period. 

 

I will try to make a long story short, also because its actually much i dont remember anymore from this period but:

After some time i developed severe OCD with changing topics from fear of harming anyone, religious OCD (i thought i was obsessed by something evil or demons), and even worse i developed suicidal OCD where i was terrified of hurting or killing myself, without wanting to do it! I also got more of the regular OCD symptoms like afraid of hurting anyone else. It seems that the OCD is changig topics regularly, but still keeps the most terrifying ones.

 

The panic anxiety eventually disappeared, but i feel i got much other problems with my brain after starting Zoloft in addition to the «regular» symptoms they give.

 

After over 12 years of use with different doses i started tapering off myself, i didnt know about this forum, and still dont know if i tapered the right way, but: I lowered from 100-75-50-25-12,5 mg over almost 2 years (sometimes i had to heighten the dose if i got too much problems).

 

And in may 2020 i stopped taking them at all, and after that the real problems started….

 

I will make a list of what i have experienced and still experiencing, and maybe someone recognize themselves on some of the things?:

 

- Full comeback on the OCD

- Forgetting disturbingly much, i feel like i am getting some kind of dementia (i have always had very good memory before, which even makes this worse now)

- Cognitive problems, probles reading, writing (which i also was very good at before)

- I get very easily stressed and agitated

- I cant take desicions, and use very long time on it

- I often say wrong words, names, and i stop speaking in half sentence

- I have a weird feeling of not «being myself»

- I have vision problems, sometimes loss of vision (no hallucination)

- I feel depressed (not severely) and have absolutely no motivation

- I feel slow in my brain, everything takes more time then before to think, all the normally fast everyday descisions

- I have this brain fog feeling, feeling detached and depersonalised, i feel that im «not here». Its difficult to explain but feels absolutely terrible and is really scary..

- I dont understand and listen to what people say and people often must repeat themselves. They think my hearing is bad, which it isnt

- I have to really concentrate on all the everyday things that was 100% easy before

- +++, the list could be much longer

 

What it happening with me

 

Absolutely all of this came after the Zoloft discontionuation, and the worst is the feeling of «not being here» and the memory problems.

 

Have you other guys experienced this? I really feel that im loosing myself, getting dementia, have damaged the brain forever… Maybe it would be better to just be on Zoloft for the rest of my life? Even a weak dose? Will the problems i got after discontinuation be better?

 

I feel all alone about this, the doctors here have no idea about antidepressants…

 

PS. Sorry for spelling mistakes, im from Norway :)

12 years with SSRI Zoloft in all different doses from 50-150mg, around 2 years tapering off until may 2020. Been changing doses without big notices or challenges until tapering from 50mg:

 

Approximately 1 year on 50mg from 2018-2019, from beginning of 2019 lowering to 25mg (trouble starts), from mid 2019 lowering to 12,5 mg and then completely stopped may 2020. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Anders: Zoloft withdrawal after 12 years
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Anders.  Your English and spelling are fine. You're not alone.  Everyone on this forum has gone through or is going through some variety of your experience.   Doctors everywhere, not only in Norway, have no idea about the drugs they're prescribing.

 

Please add to your signature the dates and doses of your taper, including when you stopped taking the drug and the dose you were taking when you stopped.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

You tapered much faster than we recommend, and the symptoms you're experiencing are very typical of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome.  Your brain will heal, you haven't damaged it forever.  The symptoms will get better but unfortunately there is no way to predict how long it will take.  So that you have a better idea of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal and the healing process.

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

These explain the healing process really well.

 

 

 
Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug, in your case Zoloft, is the only known way to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.  The alternative is to wait it out until your brain returns to homeostasis.  As I said, there's no way to predict how long this will take.  Some recover fairly quickly, while others take months or longer.  Reinstatement works most predictably within 3 months of your last dose.  You're six months out, so reinstatement might work or it might not.  Please read:
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 
If you decide you want to reinstatement, let us know and we can suggest a reinstatement dosage.  Please do not reinstate without letting us suggest a dosage.  Reinstating too high a dosage can destabilize you further.
 
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. 

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, 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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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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Gridley, your answer both impresses and touches me! After all these years feeling absolutely alone and feeling that no one knows what im going through, feeling that no one can help me, not even professionals, after all these years i find this forum and your answer! Im forever thankful for that!

 

My only regret now is that i didnt find this forum before starting tapering, as i understand now that i have been tapering way too fast, and (of course) this was the tapering the doctor recommended me.

 

I have been reading a little bit here before, but thanks for the very interesting and helpful links you have given me, i will definitely read these carefully and learn/try to understand more whats happening to me.

 

I dont even wish my worst enemy this feeling of not being myself, its like i can feel that my brain is very stressed and struggling. I try to live a normal life as possible, but its not easy. 

 

I have been trying mindfulness, metacognitive therapy and will soon attend a OCD team in my city that specialises in OCD treatments.

 

I will do everything i can to not reinstate the pills that have destroyed so much for me, i have been close to reinstating but still have not! And after reading your post i have much stronger motivation to not reinstate (unless absolutely necessary).

 

Actually i was wondering about the supplements, and again, before reading this forum i thought the more the better, so im using: Omega 3, multi vitamins, Kyolic garlic pills, melatonin 3mg for sleep, vitamin D (i had too little).

 

I have also started using New Nordic Clear Brain to try to ease my brain fog and "undetached" feeling i have. Have someone experience with this?

 

I think i have to rethink my supplement use also after learning now that it can make things worse.

 

And thank you again, a million times for this forum and your answer 🙂

12 years with SSRI Zoloft in all different doses from 50-150mg, around 2 years tapering off until may 2020. Been changing doses without big notices or challenges until tapering from 50mg:

 

Approximately 1 year on 50mg from 2018-2019, from beginning of 2019 lowering to 25mg (trouble starts), from mid 2019 lowering to 12,5 mg and then completely stopped may 2020. 

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  • Moderator

@Anders

 

I'm very happy we're able to help.

 

As I said, we're cautious about supplements since those of us in withdrawal can be over-reactive to them.  I have a couple of comments on your current supplements.

 

Clear Brain is a natural brain supplement that combines extracts of walnut, ginkgo, and green tea with a complex of B vitamins that all work to support brain ...
B-complex vitamins tend to have an activating (stimulating) effect that can be too much for people in withdrawal.  Many supplements and even foods that are fine for the "undrugged" can be too much for our sensitized systems.  MSG, a food additive common in Chinese food and processed meats, can be agitating.
 
 
We also try to stay away from supplements with multiple ingredients, because if a problem arises you won't be able to pinpoint the cause.  This same principle applies to your multivitamin.  
 
3mg Melatonin is a high dose for someone in withdrawal.  If it's working for you, great, but too high a dose of Melatonin can have a paradoxical effect (keep you awake).  We recommend starting with a low dose (.25mg to .3mg) and working up from these.  I get my 0.3mg Melatonin from Amazon at this link:
 
(available on Amazon) 
 
 

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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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