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Greenbean1: Please help. Zoloft adverse reaction.


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Greenbean1

Hello everyone, you all seem very knowledgeable on the dangers of using antidepressants and I would like for your insight. In February 2019 I was given Zoloft and for two days I took 2 pills of 50 mg each at night. They caused shivers down my spine (something I’ve never ever felt in my entire life), and a rapid heartbeat each time I drifted off to sleep. I stopped taking them after 2 days because of these effects but I went from sleeping 8-10 hours of deep uninterrupted sleep a night to lately 3-4 hours of sleep that is so incredibly light, I feel entirely awake, the sleep I do get is dreams only and I “wake up” or become more aware enough to rotate my body at least 40 times a night. At the beginning I would sleep solid and deeply for 4-5 hours and then the last few hours would be this kind of sleep but for the last 3 months my sleep as deteriorated to this type of sleep every single day. I though I was healing and getting better. I was such a good sleeper before like many of you I assume and it breaks my heart how it’s been 2 years and I’m still struggling. Could anyone explain to me what has happened and will I heal? I also still experience the shivers down my spine which is crazy because how could I still have this side effect two years later?

Edited by Gridley

Zoloft (1 pill 50 mg at night for two days total) - February 2019 

Quetiapine/was given for anxiety but came off once I realized it was not an anti-anxiety medication for which I then tried to

go on Zoloft (50–75 mg tablet a day at night for 3 months in which afterwards I tapered 10% for 6 months until finished) - January 2019-September 2019 

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  • Moderator
Gridley
Posted (edited)

Welcome to SA, Greenbean1.

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  In your case, all you'd need is the dates you took the Zoloft and the dosage.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

You had an adverse reaction to the Zoloft, which means that the drug is basically poison to you and threw your central nervous system into chaos.  We have a number of members here who have experienced adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs after taking only one or two doses.

 

The symptoms of an adverse reaction are very similar to those of psychiatric drug withdrawal, and the symptoms you describe are typical. The following list of withdrawal/adverse reaction symptoms will give you some idea of how various and often bizarre these symptoms can be.  The list is by no means complete.

 

 
Getting better then getting worse is also typical of withdrawal/adverse reactions.
 
 
The good news is that your condition is not permanent, nor have you sustained permanent damage.  We can't tell you how long it will take for your system to heal, only that you will heal.  Two years is not out of line.  This link will give you some idea of the often frustratingly slow process healing can be.
 
 
Brassmonkey, one of our moderators, wrote the following about adverse reactions and healing from them:
 

"I think that some of the most unfortunate members we have are the ones who only took the drug for a short time and had a severe Adverse Reaction. Over the years I’ve seen a number of members join who have taken their drugs for one day to a week and then stopped.  They suffer acute symptoms that hit immediately and hard.  Some people’s chemical makeup just isn’t compatible with psych drugs and their body immediately tries to reject them, but in doing so throws itself into chaos.

 

The good news is that their body will sort itself out and they will return to normal.  While this is recovery from a severe adverse reaction and not withdrawal syndrome, the bad news is the post-discontinuation symptoms are a lot like post- acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), and it’s going to take a long time and there is nothing that will speed up the process.  There are some coping strategies and tools that will help you endure the experience, but time is the only thing that will cure it, and it will take months rather than weeks.

 

These people tend to have a more linear recovery than those with true withdrawal syndrome. The first several months may be more intense.  Then, like PAWS, things start to improve very slowly. Eventually, normal life resumes and get back on track.  All the members I have known with this immediate Adverse Reaction have made full recoveries and gone on to normal lives and careers."

 

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 ae 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.

 

 
 

 

 
Edited by Gridley

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 changed the title to Greenbean1: Please help. Zoloft adverse reaction.
Greenbean1

Thank you @Gridley. This is so very helpful. It means the world to me that you share your wisdom. 

Zoloft (1 pill 50 mg at night for two days total) - February 2019 

Quetiapine/was given for anxiety but came off once I realized it was not an anti-anxiety medication for which I then tried to

go on Zoloft (50–75 mg tablet a day at night for 3 months in which afterwards I tapered 10% for 6 months until finished) - January 2019-September 2019 

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Greenbean1

I also just wanted to add more info. Coming off the quetiapine my sleep was alright. I’d have this half awake/half asleep excess dreams here and there and mostly if I wake up after a few hours and tried to go back to sleep. After I finished tapering the quetiapine up until before the last 3 months, I was averaging 4 1/2-5 1/2 hours of solid sleep a night but if I tried to go back to sleep I would get this weird feeling like I’m awake and just dreaming. So for a year and a half I never went back to sleep once I woke up I always got out of bed. The last 3 months have been different. Because of Covid I was working from home so I opted to try and sleep longer and would enter this half sleep state, then I found myself having my deep sleep at the beginning of the night replaced with this absolutely terrible quality of sleep everyday since. I don’t know how to fix it, I thought I was healing?

Zoloft (1 pill 50 mg at night for two days total) - February 2019 

Quetiapine/was given for anxiety but came off once I realized it was not an anti-anxiety medication for which I then tried to

go on Zoloft (50–75 mg tablet a day at night for 3 months in which afterwards I tapered 10% for 6 months until finished) - January 2019-September 2019 

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  • Moderator
Gridley
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Greenbean1 said:

but if I tried to go back to sleep I would get this weird feeling like I’m awake and just dreaming. So for a year and a half I never went back to sleep once I woke up I always got out of bed.

Pretty much everyone on this site has sleep issues.  If getting up works for you, that's fine.  Another approach is, if it's comfortable for you, is just to lie there.  You aren't getting sleep but you are getting rest.  My sleep has its own weird patterns, with sleep being okay at certain times of night, lying there awake but just resting at other times, then sometimes in early morning decent sleep.  You are healing, but progress is often very slow and comes in the waves and windows as described in the link I sent you.

 

Here are some links that may be helpful:

 

Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis

 

Tricks and tips to fall asleep faster

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/16/tips-tricks-fall-asleep-faster.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170216Z1&et_cid=DM133787&et_rid=188974895

 

This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  

 

 Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 

Some members have found Melatonin helpful with insomnia.   

See Melatonin for sleep   

It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.  

 

Don't forget the links I sent you about magnesium and omegas:

 

I found the following post by one of our moderators very helpful in terms of tips about sleep and also attitude toward sleep:

 

 

There is, unfortunately, no "silver bullet" to withdrawal or any of its symptoms, including insomnia.  If there were, SA would be a much smaller site than it is at this point.  Sadly, it continues to grow as more and more people get caught in the psychiatric medication "web."

 

insomnia and disordered sleeping is a hallmark of psychiatric medication withdrawal.  It starts earlier than that with many studies making it clear that SSRIs (and other psych meds) frequently suppress REM sleep for those who take the meds.  https://www.sleepio.com/articles/sleep-aids/antidepressants-and-sleep/  Given this as a backdrop, it should be no surprise that coming off the meds can wreak havoc on sleep.  The good news, however, is that the brain works hard to achieve homeostasis and, all other things being equal, the brain will return to a place where sleep becomes, as it should be, a matter of routine.  How long that takes for any one person is impossible to predict.  

 

So, what do you do?  In no particular order, some of the things to try:

 

  • Don't place too much significance on sleep.  Rest should be the key and when your body absolutely needs to sleep it will.  The anxiety that comes with lying awake and saying "I must sleep" is far worse than the not sleeping.  It's hard but it can be done.
  • Try a journaling practice before bed -- get out the things that are on your mind and add 3 things you are grateful for from the day
  • Get a sleep ritual in place so that you do the same thing day after day and start to repair your circadian rhythms
  • Take a warm bath with epsom salts few hours before bedtime and add in a cup of chamomile tea
  • Use lavender essential oils in a diffuser at bedtime
  • Exercise early in the day so that you aren't activated near bedtime
  • Get outside and get some sunlight early in the day so that your rhythms are reestablished
  • Make sure you have a consistent bedtime 
  • Try not to be too activated in the couple of hours before bed and, of course, no caffeine
  • Add a meditation practice
  • Try yoga
  • Go for walks in nature
Most insomnia is the result of the body being "hyperstimulated."  It is very hard to calm down an overstimulated body, especially when it is the result of chemical cascades that come as a result of medication use and withdrawal.  But, it can be done to a certain degree and the skills learned will provide valuable as your body improves over time.  

 

From my own perspective, my sleep is still not great, but it it better than it was.  I went through many stretches of 2 or 3 days with zero or an hour or two a night of sleep.  At this point, I have the occasional sleepless night, but most nights I'm good for at least 5 and usually closer to 6 hours.  By "normal" people standards that's not great, but it feels pretty good when compared to 0 or 2-3 hours a night.  As the saying goes, "in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king!"

 

Try not to let it become the dominant factor in your life.  Over time, it will get better and you will heal.  Just do your best to continue to live your life what your brain is repairing itself.
 
 

 

 

l

 

Edited by Gridley

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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