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Peaceout: 12 years of Zoloft and went CT and then had major breakdown


Peaceout

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Had been on Zoloft for 12 years and felt great. Didn’t know anything about tapering off them and just decided to stop one day as I was feeling great with life. A week later I had a very stressful event at work happen and all of a sudden I started having massive panic attacks. Went to my Doctor and told him I thought i was going crazy as I’d never really had a panic attack like these. He said I should get back on the Zoloft and wrote me a couple of scripts for Valium to help.

 

Was only suppose to have the Valium once a day for a week. Never had Valium before and after the first full tablet, slept like a baby and felt good. So I started drinking alcohol heavily every afternoon and then having Valium every night so I could pass out. Did this every night for about a month and started to notice that I needed more Valium to get the same result and sleep right though. Googled why i would need to up the dose and found a lot of articles on the dangers of abusing Benzo’s.

 

Scared me so I stop straight away. About 24hrs later I was having Crippling panic attacks far worse then the initial ones and they were constant for days and days... Didn’t sleep for 10 days straight. Torture.. Ive never really been super depressed in the past just had a bit of anxiety and would lose my temper from it, but since I went cold turkey from the Zoloft then the Valium (forgot to add I stopped Alcohol straight up as well and I’ve been drinking heavily for 20years) I have become super depressed, had very depressing thoughts and just in general **** thoughts all day since I went cold turkey 3months ago. Feeling like **** 24/7 isn’t fun.  

 

Been back on Zoloft now at 100mg for roughly 3 months since the break down and still not feeling better. Constantly depressed and even have suicidal thoughts sometimes and struggle everyday at work with just hating life. I now know that abusing the Valium and alcohol was the worst thing I could’ve done, as adding that to the Cold Turkey of Zoloft has just made things a lot worse then they all ready were.

Edited by Shep
name to title (MMT), removed formatting and added spacing for readability (Shep)

Currently taking 50 mg Zoloft

 

January 20, 2020 - reduced Zoloft to 50 mg

October 1, 2020 - cold turkey off Valium and alcohol

September 1, 2020 - Zoloft reinstated 100 mg and Valium 5 mg (also drinking 1/2 carton of beer per night)

June 20, 2020 - Zoloft cold turkey

early 2019 - Zoloft cold turkey, reinstated 50 mg two months later, took 5 - 6 months to get back to normal

2009 - Zoloft 50 mg

2008 - Zoloft 25 mg

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to Peaceout: 12 years of Zoloft and went CT and then had major breakdown
  • Administrator

Hi, Peaceout.

 

Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.

 

On 1/20/2021 at 5:07 AM, Peaceout said:

Been back on Zoloft now at 100mg for roughly 3 months since the break down and still not feeling better. Constantly depressed and even have suicidal thoughts sometimes and struggle everyday at work with just hating life. I now know that abusing the Valium and alcohol was the worst thing I could’ve done, as adding that to the Cold Turkey of Zoloft has just made things a lot worse then they all ready were.

 

Abusing Valium and alcohol are definitely not good, but since you survived it, it definitely isn't the worst thing you could have done. You've had a very hard journey and the doctors aren't helping you with that. But you've come to the right place to get information, and with a slow taper, you can heal from this. Please be kind to yourself. 

 

You mention being "back on" Zoloft at the 100 mg dose. Is that the dose you started out on? 

 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Please continue to use this thread to document your taper and to ask questions. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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Hi @Peaceout

Welcome and I am so sorry to hear of your suffering. I had a similar experience, was on Sertraline/Prozac for 15 years, then stopped, a traumatic work event occurred, and fell into a deep extreme depression. I also experienced a panic attack for the first time in my life around 2 months after stopping the Prozac. And I also can relate to struggling with work and depression during withdrawal. 

 

I am sorry you then fell into Valium and alcohol. The constant panic attacks and lack of sleep sound like complete torture. I hope you can maintain some hope. The moderators here are very knowledgeable and will be able to help. I will be rooting for you and thinking about you. ❤️

--

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Thanks Shep. It’s seems every Doctor I deal with has no idea what is going on with any of these drugs. I had done a fair bit of reading after what I call my “full melt down” happened and said to him I need to taper of this Zoloft and his response was he thought a 2 week taper would have been sufficient enough. I explained all the things I’d been reading about anti depressants his response was that he thought it would be best to up my dosage from 50mg which I had been on for 12 years before the melt down,  to 100mg a day once reinstating and that I would probably be on this for the rest of my life.

 

After joining this group a week ago and read a lot of people’s stories, I’ve read a lot about when reinstating that it should be done at the same dose or lower, whereas my GP has doubled my daily intake. Since I reinstated 3 months ago my emotions and feelings of hopelessness, extreme depression and constant fear about my future and also having the occasional suicidal thoughts, have been with me everyday. After reading about reinstating and no real help from my psychologist I’ve gone from 100mg back to my original dose of 50mg 3 days ago. Haven’t really noticed any difference yet. I go to work everyday as I run a small business by myself and we recently brought a house have 3 young children which my wife is a stay at home mother.. so all the responsibilities of my family are on my shoulders

 

Some days are just Ok and every other day is terrible. 


I think more than anything that I’m more scared then anything, more scared that this feeling of depression and worrying about things that never bothered me before are now consuming everyday and are here to stay. Every day is a struggle but I will push on because of my kids and wife. I’ve given up alcohol as well which is also really hard as I was a alcoholic and have gone cold turkey of that as well. I’m struggling with not drinking as well everyday which is not helping the head either. I’ve been getting fit as well going to the gym, I just want to get back to feeling great with life the way I was 3 to 4months ago before I stopped taking Zoloft Cold Turkey.

 

Has anyone got any advise on how I have gone from 100mg back to my original dose of 50mg. Should I have tapered back to 50mg? I couldn’t feel any worse on the 100mg so I was ready to try anything drastic as I can’t get much lower with depression.

Thanks in advance for any advise. 

Ill fill out my medical history when I get a chance away from the kids.

Edited by Shep
added spacing for readability

Currently taking 50 mg Zoloft

 

January 20, 2020 - reduced Zoloft to 50 mg

October 1, 2020 - cold turkey off Valium and alcohol

September 1, 2020 - Zoloft reinstated 100 mg and Valium 5 mg (also drinking 1/2 carton of beer per night)

June 20, 2020 - Zoloft cold turkey

early 2019 - Zoloft cold turkey, reinstated 50 mg two months later, took 5 - 6 months to get back to normal

2009 - Zoloft 50 mg

2008 - Zoloft 25 mg

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  • Administrator
14 hours ago, Peaceout said:

Has anyone got any advise on how I have gone from 100mg back to my original dose of 50mg. Should I have tapered back to 50mg? I couldn’t feel any worse on the 100mg so I was ready to try anything drastic as I can’t get much lower with depression.

Thanks in advance for any advise. 

Ill fill out my medical history when I get a chance away from the kids.

 

Definitely get that signature up when you can. It's hard giving advice without a solid timeframe for when you were on and off your drugs and the signature is really helpful for this. Right now, I'm unclear about your timeline, especially with the Valium, etc. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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
manymoretodays

Hi Peaceout, and welcome,

 

19 hours ago, Peaceout said:

I think more than anything that I’m more scared then anything, more scared that this feeling of depression and worrying about things that never bothered me before are now consuming everyday and are here to stay. Every day is a struggle but I will push on because of my kids and wife. I’ve given up alcohol as well which is also really hard as I was a alcoholic and have gone cold turkey of that as well. I’m struggling with not drinking as well everyday which is not helping the head either. I’ve been getting fit as well going to the gym, I just want to get back to feeling great with life the way I was 3 to 4months ago before I stopped taking Zoloft Cold Turkey.

 

From what I can see, from your narrative so far, is that well, Yes......you've got some WD(withdrawal) going on now.

 

And yes, do work on the signature, get some dates in there.........that will help us a lot.  I'm not sure of the dates of your reinstatement(s) with the sertraline yet, so it's hard to answer your question about dosing yet.  It does sound like you are functioning to some degree though, on the 50 mg dose.......and correct me, if I'm wrong on that. 

And then, I think that if your goal is to get med/drug free one day, it certainly will give you less to taper from once you've gotten comfortable with some WD(withdrawal) stability. 

 

And I'll just throw in some of the basics of tapering and withdrawal here too, the topics, so you'll have them for reference:

 

Our harm reduction model, for tapering:

*Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 
 
 
 

 

When we take 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.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.
 
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. 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

And then just one more topic:

Neuroemotions

you may relate to this one a lot now.  When in WD, sometimes it's like every emotion is amplified.  This might explain some of your feelings of "depression" now too.

 

Okay and best.  Welcome aboard.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

 

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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Just updated my signature. Pretty sure I’ve put to much info in. Let me know if that’s correct. Thanks for everyone’s advise so far.

Currently taking 50 mg Zoloft

 

January 20, 2020 - reduced Zoloft to 50 mg

October 1, 2020 - cold turkey off Valium and alcohol

September 1, 2020 - Zoloft reinstated 100 mg and Valium 5 mg (also drinking 1/2 carton of beer per night)

June 20, 2020 - Zoloft cold turkey

early 2019 - Zoloft cold turkey, reinstated 50 mg two months later, took 5 - 6 months to get back to normal

2009 - Zoloft 50 mg

2008 - Zoloft 25 mg

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  • Administrator

Thanks, Peaceout. 

 

I'm copying your signature here because I'm about to replace it with a simpler, easier to read one and I don't want to lose what you wrote. 

 

Quote

Started Zoloft 13 years ago at 25mg. Was put on higher dose to 50mg 12 years ago for anxiety and the occasional panic attack. Was feeling really good and happy with life 2 years ago and decided I didn’t need the Zoloft anymore. Took myself off Cold Turkey. A couple months later had a very stressful situation at work happen and I had a full breakdown, constant anxiety and panic attacks, no sleep for 2 weeks and depression. Reinstated Zoloft at 50mg and it took 5 to 6 months to feel back to normal.  Was on Zoloft till June 20th last year and was back to feeling great and really happy with life and decided to go Cold Turkey again on the 20th June. Once again about 2 months later, I had a major stressful event happen at work and had another full breakdown same as the first time 2 years prior with constant anxiety and panic attacks and no sleep for a couple of weeks. Doctor reinstated Zoloft at a higher dose of 100mg on 1st September. At the same time started taking 5mg of Valium per night and drinking a half a carton of beer per night. Did this for one month till the 1st October and then went cold turkey off the Valium and Alcohol. All feelings of the breakdown were then multipled. Since then till now I’ve had anxiety, insomnia, depression, feelings of hopelessness and fear and suicidal thoughts and basically struggle to get out of bed everyday.

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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  • Administrator
On 1/20/2021 at 5:07 AM, Peaceout said:

Been back on Zoloft now at 100mg for roughly 3 months since the break down and still not feeling better. Constantly depressed and even have suicidal thoughts sometimes and struggle everyday at work with just hating life. I now know that abusing the Valium and alcohol was the worst thing I could’ve done, as adding that to the Cold Turkey of Zoloft has just made things a lot worse then they all ready were.

 

Two things first:

 

  1. Please make sure I did your signature justice. I copied your original signature in my post above, as I didn't want to erase your narrative. 
  2. Please stop using the words "break down" for what you're dealing with. You're making it sound like there's something wrong with you. Nothing could be further from the truth. You have symptoms from a destabilized nervous system due to psych drugs, which is perfectly normal. Call it what it is. This will prevent you from having to carry a burden that isn't your fault. 

 

Also, it's possible that adding in 100 mg of Zoloft after you had been off cold turkey from 50 mg for a couple of months was way too high a dose to take and you got some side effects you may never have had before - craving benzos and alcohol. If you never had a problem with alcohol cravings prior to this experience, it most likely was a side effect of the Zoloft. Please see:

 

Driven To Drink: Antidepressants and Cravings for Alcohol

 

Now you're left with a very destabilized nervous system. Please see:

 

What is happening in your brain? (for benzos)

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain (for antidepressants)

 

Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do in the way of adjusting the Zoloft right now because you've been on the 100 mg dose long enough to have developed dependency to it. You'll want to wait until you're more stable to taper But knowing you are having an alcohol-craving side effect gives you the knowledge and power to not touch alcohol until you are completely off this drug and well into the healing phase. 

 

Until you're a bit more stable, you may want to check out the links that @manymoretodays kindly linked for magnesium and fish oil. Add in one at a time and at a very low dose to see how you do.

 

Please also check out the non-drug coping skills section from some powerful ways of finding stability with mindfulness, breathing exercises, music, art, etc. 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Once things have settled down some and you're feeling ready, we can help you set up a careful taper. 

 

Please post your thoughts and any questions once you've had a chance to read through the links. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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Thanks Sheps for your help. I left that part out that 7 days ago after reading a lot about reinstating problems of being put on a higher dose can cause problems I put my dose from 100mg back down to my original dose before going cold Turkey of 50mg. So I’ve been on 50mg for 7 days and I’ve noticed no change and still feel absolutely horrible. I’m so lost in what to do. I don’t want to cause my head anymore problems. Thanks for fixing up my signature. 

Currently taking 50 mg Zoloft

 

January 20, 2020 - reduced Zoloft to 50 mg

October 1, 2020 - cold turkey off Valium and alcohol

September 1, 2020 - Zoloft reinstated 100 mg and Valium 5 mg (also drinking 1/2 carton of beer per night)

June 20, 2020 - Zoloft cold turkey

early 2019 - Zoloft cold turkey, reinstated 50 mg two months later, took 5 - 6 months to get back to normal

2009 - Zoloft 50 mg

2008 - Zoloft 25 mg

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  • Administrator

Thanks for this additional information, Peaceout. I've updated your signature. Please see if it's correct. If not, please make change - a direct link is here:

 

 Account Settings - Create or Update Your Signature

 

You may have become dependent on the 100 mg, since you were on that dose for 4.5 months. SSRI's are notorious for delayed withdrawal, so you may get hit with more withdrawal symptoms later. This may mean you should updose a bit. 

 

However, there is some evidence that Zoloft (sertraline) has a high occupancy of the drug in the lower doses, so I want to ask the moderators with more antidepressant withdrawal experience (I'm more experienced in benzo withdrawal) to weigh in. 

 

I'm going to post the information we have on this for you:

 

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

The paper referenced there is here:

 

Serotonin Transporter Occupancy of Five Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors at Different Doses: An [11C]DASB Positron Emission Tomography Study

 

I don't want to recommend an updose right away until I can get a second opinion for you. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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  • Administrator

@PeaceoutI asked the other mods about your case, especially regarding the SERT studies I linked to in my last post. 

 

The response is to hold at 50 mg until you're a lot more stable before starting a taper. An updose isn't likely to help at this point.

 

Are you taking any supplements? If not, you may want to try a bit of magnesium or fish oil and see if that helps take the edge off. 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Start with one at a time and at a low dose. 

 

As you hold, please bring in as many non-drug coping skills as you're able. Mindfulness, breathing techniques, gentle yoga, etc. can all be very helpful. 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

 

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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Thanks so much Shep for your support and advise. The last 3 days have been good for me. They haven’t been awesome, but they’ve  seemed a lot better then the bad ones. I have and will hold at 50mg. Don’t want to get ahead of myself and start to think that because I’ve had a few good days that the Zoloft might be starting to level it’s self out, as I had a good day every now and then in the last couple of months then the following day I would be a absolute mess. Will keep you updated. Once again thankyou...

Currently taking 50 mg Zoloft

 

January 20, 2020 - reduced Zoloft to 50 mg

October 1, 2020 - cold turkey off Valium and alcohol

September 1, 2020 - Zoloft reinstated 100 mg and Valium 5 mg (also drinking 1/2 carton of beer per night)

June 20, 2020 - Zoloft cold turkey

early 2019 - Zoloft cold turkey, reinstated 50 mg two months later, took 5 - 6 months to get back to normal

2009 - Zoloft 50 mg

2008 - Zoloft 25 mg

Link to post
  • Administrator

Thanks for the update, Peaceout. It sounds like you're beginning to stabilize. You may want to hold for a few weeks to a few months to really get a solid baseline before you taper again. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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