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KarenHv: Sigh. Back to square one.


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KarenHv

hi My name is Karen, I’m 46 and been on and off Zoloft since age 16.

i was off once in my 20s and 30s for about 6-7 years and that was a hard and horrible time. Then I went back on about twelve years ago and have been on them ever since. 
I did lots of work cutting out alcohol and smoking plus now I’m non dairy, non gluten, low grain, high protein (as much as possible) with a ton of supplements for a mast cell disorder and osteoporosis.
 

Fourth months ago I started tapering very slowly from 200 mg and just this past month I started having nightmares, high REM asleep, sleeping 10-12 hrs on weekends, horrible PMS, nearly got fired because of my crazy impulsive antagonistic behaviour and am driving my best friend insane…she hasn’t ever had mental health issues like this so she cannot relate very well even though she is generally sympathetic…

 

today I went back up to my full dose. I got scared because I have been feeling suicidal and so “off” that I was feeling that I wanted to die. I was not going to act on it, I was just having ideation. But…I finally realised my tapering is not working. I HATE depression, well, for obvious reasons. I can stand physical pain much better than the pointlessness, worthlessness, anger, and despair that gets on me when I spiral down.

 

in that four months, I only tapered down to 165 mg so I think it was slow enough… what did I do wrong…

im so tired. 

  • 1992 Prozac 20 mg
  • 1994 Switched to Zoloft 100 mg
  • 2000 quit Zoloft “cold turkey” 
  • 2005-2008. St Johns Wort
  • 2008 -2016 Zoloft 150 mg
  • 2016 Zoloft increased to 200 mg
  • No other drugs besides Zoloft and antihistamines
  • Attempted taper started March 22 at 194.25
  • End of April dropped to 187.5
  • End of May dropped to 175
  • Mid May dropped to 170 
  • End of June dropped to 165 mg 
  • Went back to 200 mg July 18, 2021
  • Magnesium, Omega 3, Vit D 
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  • Moderator
getofflex
Posted (edited)

Hello Karen, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I'm sorry to hear about your 30 year struggle with Zoloft and the withdrawal from going cold turkey at age 24.  Congratulations on cutting out alcohol, smoking, and making the dietary changes!  These are very big accomplishments.  

 

I know it must be discouraging to try to wean off the Zoloft, only to have the unbearable withdrawal symptoms.  No wonder you are tired and weary.  Can you possibly give us detailed information about your recent attempted taper?   Are you on any other medications?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your drugs in a concise list (no symptoms), only drug names, specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease or increase.  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

When we are on these drugs, our brains literally become dependent upon them, just as a plant becomes intertwined with and dependent on a trellis.  This video explains more: 

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

 Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

 

I do want to give you hope that you can come off the Zoloft.  The secret is to do an extremely gradual, careful taper.  We can help you do that.  It requires a lot of time and patience, but it can be done, and many here have done so successfully.  We taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

Tips for Tapering Zoloft

 

Another option for tapering is the Brass Monkey Slide method.  This one is even gentler than the 10% per month method described above: 

 

Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro Tapering

 

 

Also, as we are recovering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. This is extremely important. 

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called windows and waves.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

 

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

My suggestion to you would be to stay on your current dose of Zoloft for at least several months, and give your nervous system a chance to rest, heal, and stabilize.  Then, you can resume tapering as described above.  I hope the information I gave you here made sense.  This can be a scary and lonely process, but we hope to make it less so by offering support and information.  Many others have been through what you are going through.  I know it is very difficult, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is hope for healing and recovery for you.  Hang in there. 

Edited by getofflex

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07 

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • getofflex changed the title to KarenHv: Sigh. Back to square one.
KarenHv

Thank you very much gettoflex 

to be extremely honest I’m starting to think it is an impossible task. 
I will keep trying but yes, will need to take your advice and stabilise for a while. 
I need to prepare myself for this extremely difficult task, I think. It is amazing at how quickly i “come back” to feeling ok when I start the old dose again. It’s very convincing. 😕 

I need to do some more research so thanks for the links, I do appreciate it and your encouragement. 

  • 1992 Prozac 20 mg
  • 1994 Switched to Zoloft 100 mg
  • 2000 quit Zoloft “cold turkey” 
  • 2005-2008. St Johns Wort
  • 2008 -2016 Zoloft 150 mg
  • 2016 Zoloft increased to 200 mg
  • No other drugs besides Zoloft and antihistamines
  • Attempted taper started March 22 at 194.25
  • End of April dropped to 187.5
  • End of May dropped to 175
  • Mid May dropped to 170 
  • End of June dropped to 165 mg 
  • Went back to 200 mg July 18, 2021
  • Magnesium, Omega 3, Vit D 
Link to post
  • Moderator
getofflex

@KarenHvI can understand why you are feeling discouraged, after attempting a taper, and then feeling suicidal, so you went back to 200 mg.  I know this is disappointing. 

 

On 7/19/2021 at 6:24 AM, KarenHv said:

to be extremely honest I’m starting to think it is an impossible task.

I don't believe it is an impossible task.  It's just a task that will require immense amounts of patience, time, and courage.  

 

Give yourself a whole lot of time to stabilize on your current dose of 200 mg.  Give yourself an entire year, if you need to. Then, you can try a super slow and careful taper.   Many here have successfully tapered but to be honest, many of us have taken years.  However, at least for me, it is worth it.  I got tired of being only 1/2 of a person on Lexapro, and I'm now over 99% off of it, and I feel more like a whole person now.  You can try a taper of reducing by 5%, or even less (2 or 3%) of your current dose every 4 to 6 weeks, or you can try the brassmonkey method as described in the link above.  

 

On 7/19/2021 at 6:24 AM, KarenHv said:

It is amazing at how quickly i “come back” to feeling ok when I start the old dose again

I'm glad that doing the updose helped you feel OK again. Let us know if you have any more questions, and we will be glad to help. 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07 

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...
  • Mentor
ShiningLight

Welcome, Karen! I'm so glad you're with us. 

 

I have been on Zoloft for a similar amount of time and can totally relate. I've tried to get off in the past and had to go back up as well.

 

I hope you stick around.

Now: 143 mg Zoloft am, 50 mg Trazodone bedtime.  Daily drug burden decreased from 2050 mg to 193 mg 🐢🐢

Zoloft: 8/28/21 Cut 4 mg 8/8/21 Cut 3 mg  7/30/21 Zoloft: Converted 25 mg to liquid. Also take 100 mg pill & 25 mg pill=150 mg total
🌞 Feb 28, 2021 0 mg Gapapentin 2021 Gaba each dose 4x/day: Feb 27 7 mg (one dose only), Feb 10, 7 mg, Jan 14 10 mg 2020 Current taper schedule from Aug 30-present: drop 8 mg every 2-3 weeks. Aug 20 31 mg, Aug 18, 33 mg, July 29, 35 mg, July 23 38 mg, July 22 40 mg Jun 24 42 mg, Jun 15 44 mg, Jun 9 48 mg, May 22 50 mg, May 14 54 mg, May 7 56 mg, Apr 16 58 mg, Mar 28 60 mg, Mar 18 62 mg. Feb 26 64 mg. Feb 19, 66 mg. Jan 23, 70 mg. 2019 Dec 19, 72 mg. Nov 14 ,76 mg. Aug 8, 80 mg. Aug 6, 85 mg. Jul 26, 90 mg. Jul 11, 95 mg.

Jul 16 trazodone from 100 to 50 mg.

Jun 17-July 10 Slowly changed gab fr pill to liquid at same dose 100 mg 4x/d.

Apr 24 Stopped klon!!! 🌞 Apr 4  Decreased gaba to 400 mg (100 mg 4x/day)-Apr 4, 2019   0.25 klon March 11  Klonopin .5 mg twice daily, varied dose til Apr 15. Started Klon fast taper 25%, short use

Mar 16, 450 mg gaba 3x/day cut 600 mg--not exact!--updose after learning w/d

Feb 20, 2019 1800 mg gabapentin; MD taper; off 3 days=mvt disorder & autonomic instability. July 2018 temazepam 15 mg 1-2; prn several x/wk til Jan/Feb 2019 when cold turkey, flu illness for months

July 2018 started gabapentin 100 3x/day; titrated up to 1800 mg (600 3x/day)

Buspar, I forget how much, 2 pills a day Jan 2017-July 2018 cold turkey. On Zoloft since maybe 2004? After trying many.

*I speak from my experience. Nothing I say is medical advice. I'm not a doctor.

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KarenHv

 I am still trying to figure out this forum 🙂 see below

  • 1992 Prozac 20 mg
  • 1994 Switched to Zoloft 100 mg
  • 2000 quit Zoloft “cold turkey” 
  • 2005-2008. St Johns Wort
  • 2008 -2016 Zoloft 150 mg
  • 2016 Zoloft increased to 200 mg
  • No other drugs besides Zoloft and antihistamines
  • Attempted taper started March 22 at 194.25
  • End of April dropped to 187.5
  • End of May dropped to 175
  • Mid May dropped to 170 
  • End of June dropped to 165 mg 
  • Went back to 200 mg July 18, 2021
  • Magnesium, Omega 3, Vit D 
Link to post
KarenHv
11 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

Welcome, Karen! I'm so glad you're with us. 

 

I have been on Zoloft for a similar amount of time and can totally relate. I've tried to get off in the past and had to go back up as well.

 

I hope you stick around.

Hi ShiningLight 

Nice to meet ya. 🙂

sounds like you know the feelings that hit hard when trying to get free of this drug. 
I am stable again and I will be trying to taper but I’m going to wait a while and go extra extra slow. I reckon it is the only way I can do it. 
I imagine my brain has shaped itself to need the Zoloft. 
I wish I had known better when getting prescribed these things. Ironic thing is …I work with depressed teenagers as an art therapist now. I struggle with watching them get prescribed drugs … it makes me mad… I can’t say a thing…I’m not a medical professional so … 

so many young lives…

 

thanks for reaching out and I’m hoping you are doing well with your taper and all. 

  • 1992 Prozac 20 mg
  • 1994 Switched to Zoloft 100 mg
  • 2000 quit Zoloft “cold turkey” 
  • 2005-2008. St Johns Wort
  • 2008 -2016 Zoloft 150 mg
  • 2016 Zoloft increased to 200 mg
  • No other drugs besides Zoloft and antihistamines
  • Attempted taper started March 22 at 194.25
  • End of April dropped to 187.5
  • End of May dropped to 175
  • Mid May dropped to 170 
  • End of June dropped to 165 mg 
  • Went back to 200 mg July 18, 2021
  • Magnesium, Omega 3, Vit D 
Link to post

So sorry to read about your difficulties. I can thoroughly recommend the Brass Monkey slide when you are ready. I haven’t been on my AD nearly as long as you but have been on and off them over the years. The BM slide is a very gentle approach that is working very well for me. It seems like it will take ages, and it will, but it’s well worth it. I am only experiencing very mild WD symptoms as I have only been on it coming up to 3 years. After a failed withdrawal just under 2 years ago I took 18 months back on the full dose before I felt ready to try again. Good luck when you feel ready ☺️ 

Mirtazepine 15mg Nov 2018 -April 2019

April - Sept 2019 Mirtazepine 7.5

October 2019 - about 4 Nov 6mg Mirtazepine 

4-13 Nov anxiety & sleep problems caused by change of brand & jumping around with doses

13 Nov 2019 to 7 Dec 2019 10mg Mirtazepine 

8-10 Dec 2019 15mg Mirtazepine 

11 Dec 2019 to date 12.5mg Mirtazepine 

15 December 2019 to 13 June 2021 15mg Mirtazepine 

14 June 2021 started brass monkey Slide.  
23 August 2021 12.3mg

 

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3 hours ago, KarenHv said:

Hi ShiningLight 

Nice to meet ya. 🙂

sounds like you know the feelings that hit hard when trying to get free of this drug. 
I am stable again and I will be trying to taper but I’m going to wait a while and go extra extra slow. I reckon it is the only way I can do it. 
I imagine my brain has shaped itself to need the Zoloft. 
I wish I had known better when getting prescribed these things. Ironic thing is …I work with depressed teenagers as an art therapist now. I struggle with watching them get prescribed drugs … it makes me mad… I can’t say a thing…I’m not a medical professional so … 

so many young lives…

 

thanks for reaching out and I’m hoping you are doing well with your taper and all. 

You brain has made itself comfortable with Zoloft, but as it is slowly removed your brain will reshape itself to getting used to less of it and hopefully none of it!

 

From your signature it seems like you did a reasonable taper, but we all handle the discontinuation process differently. That is probably a clue to try and do even smaller drops and hold longer and see how your body handles it.

 

It can be hard to do but there is no downside to going super slow (once you become mentally okay with not being off quickly) and large consequences for going off too fast (or what your body interprets as too fast).

40 yo Male. Started Paxil about 15 years ago. 10 mg (pill weight .125 - .129 g). 5 yrs wanted less side effects, doctor took me off Paxil over couple week period and put me on Wellbutrin. Not good. Went back on Paxil. Relieved my symptoms, but didn't work as well and more side effects. Severe reaction between Paxil and Zomig Summer of 2012. Head was affected during warmer days (cloudiness, confusion, pressure). Began 10% withdrawal 10/24/12.

Withdrawel helped many symptoms, but also added side effects: nausea, dizziness, tiredness. Hyper-anxiety started January 2014.

Went through a 2 year period of de-realization (2016-2018).  Rarely any windows.  
Current dose: 0.00 as of 4/10/21.  Made a lot of progress in my withdrawal symptoms the last 2 years of my taper.  I think doing a liquid taper helped stabilize things on the lower doses.  A lot of my symptoms have reduced significantly.  Hoping for even more improvement now that I am off.
My thread: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8909-rusty1-paxil-withdrawal-help-and-advice-welcome/#entry150222

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  • Mentor
ShiningLight
7 hours ago, KarenHv said:

I work with depressed teenagers as an art therapist now. I struggle with watching them get prescribed drugs … it makes me mad… I can’t say a thing…I’m not a medical professional so … 

so many young lives…

 

 

Very hard since they're kids. I don't think you need to be a medical professional to comment. Just recommend the book Anatomy of an Epidemic to them or their parents, or just have a copy laying around your office! You can always come up with an innocuous statement such as saying that you always encourage everyone to do their own research prior to starting a drug. 

 

What made you decide that you wanted off the Zoloft?

Now: 143 mg Zoloft am, 50 mg Trazodone bedtime.  Daily drug burden decreased from 2050 mg to 193 mg 🐢🐢

Zoloft: 8/28/21 Cut 4 mg 8/8/21 Cut 3 mg  7/30/21 Zoloft: Converted 25 mg to liquid. Also take 100 mg pill & 25 mg pill=150 mg total
🌞 Feb 28, 2021 0 mg Gapapentin 2021 Gaba each dose 4x/day: Feb 27 7 mg (one dose only), Feb 10, 7 mg, Jan 14 10 mg 2020 Current taper schedule from Aug 30-present: drop 8 mg every 2-3 weeks. Aug 20 31 mg, Aug 18, 33 mg, July 29, 35 mg, July 23 38 mg, July 22 40 mg Jun 24 42 mg, Jun 15 44 mg, Jun 9 48 mg, May 22 50 mg, May 14 54 mg, May 7 56 mg, Apr 16 58 mg, Mar 28 60 mg, Mar 18 62 mg. Feb 26 64 mg. Feb 19, 66 mg. Jan 23, 70 mg. 2019 Dec 19, 72 mg. Nov 14 ,76 mg. Aug 8, 80 mg. Aug 6, 85 mg. Jul 26, 90 mg. Jul 11, 95 mg.

Jul 16 trazodone from 100 to 50 mg.

Jun 17-July 10 Slowly changed gab fr pill to liquid at same dose 100 mg 4x/d.

Apr 24 Stopped klon!!! 🌞 Apr 4  Decreased gaba to 400 mg (100 mg 4x/day)-Apr 4, 2019   0.25 klon March 11  Klonopin .5 mg twice daily, varied dose til Apr 15. Started Klon fast taper 25%, short use

Mar 16, 450 mg gaba 3x/day cut 600 mg--not exact!--updose after learning w/d

Feb 20, 2019 1800 mg gabapentin; MD taper; off 3 days=mvt disorder & autonomic instability. July 2018 temazepam 15 mg 1-2; prn several x/wk til Jan/Feb 2019 when cold turkey, flu illness for months

July 2018 started gabapentin 100 3x/day; titrated up to 1800 mg (600 3x/day)

Buspar, I forget how much, 2 pills a day Jan 2017-July 2018 cold turkey. On Zoloft since maybe 2004? After trying many.

*I speak from my experience. Nothing I say is medical advice. I'm not a doctor.

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