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Googi: Recovering From Zoloft


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Hi everyone, I’m Googi. 
 

I was first put on ADs back in January of 2019 for anxiety. Zoloft worked wonders for me, and I was able to live a pretty normal life on it. The side effects were minimal and completely manageable. I almost didn’t even think about taking it if I weren’t physically putting the pill in my mouth. Looking back on it though, I’m not sure if it was entirely for me. I still had weird panic attacks and got incredibly anxious while I was taking it. 
 

I stopped Zoloft cold turkey sometime in late spring/early summer of 2020. I give such vague dates because I genuinely do not remember when I stopped — I used to be incredibly bad at taking medication. I was used to taking medications for Lupus and having one or two days of a missed dose be completely normal. I did not know the risks of going cold turkey.
 

Looking back on that period though, I definitely did experience withdrawals as I was extremely suicidal at that point. I chalked it up to pandemic fatigue since it was so fresh at the time. 

 

I was completely of ADs during 2021, and that was honestly a great year. I did take up smoking pot during the year, so that’s probably what caused such a good year. I wasn’t doing it every day though, it was an occasional treat that really did boost my mood. However, after multiple bad experiences with edibles, I quit pot after about 9 months. 
 

After quitting pot, I had a period in time in which I had severe brain fog, almost to the point where I felt like I was living in a dream. This, coupled with the fact that I had heightened anxiety from being immunocompromised during the Omicron wave caused my parents to push me to go back onto Zoloft. Thinking it was safe the first time and would be again, I contacted my psychiatrist.

 

However, it turned out that my psychiatrist had left the practice I was seeing and that I needed to see another one. I waited weeks for his replacement to contact me, and once he got in contact with me we had a 2 minute phone conversation in which he basically asked me why I had discontinued the medication and refilled my prescription. There was no official appointment and assessment of symptoms. Wanting to trust the doctor, I received my prescription of 100 MG of Zoloft. 
 

Going back onto Zoloft was nothing like the first time. After the first dose, I had an anxiety attack that was comparable to the ones I’d experienced on edibles. I was shaking for the rest of the day, and I was advised to start cutting my pills down and slightly increasing the dose. I did that.

 

However, within days I started experiencing emotional blunting and sexual side effects, something I’d never experienced before with the drug. It was really concerning, especially since I’d just started a new relationship. Wanting to get to the bottom of things, I saw a different psychiatrist at a different practice at the 2 week mark. She was quite shocked that the previous psychiatrist didn’t do a full assessment of me, and advised me to stop the medication not only because of the side effects, but because it put me at a higher risk of bleeding with the medication I am on now for Lupus.  Go figure. I did not taper.

 

It has been 29 days since my last dose of Zoloft and I don’t really feel that much better. The emotional blunting has its windows and waves, but the sexual side effects have stayed mostly the same. I’m aware that I may need to give things more time, but I’m concerned about my relationship and everything else happening within my life. I’ve also been on antibiotics for a gum infection this past week, and since coming here I’ve discovered that this could be setting my recovery progress back substantially. I am at such a loss here, I want to say that I feel sad but it’s nowhere near the strength that it used to be. 
 

I come to Surviving Antidepressants for some support and maybe some advice, since it seems like this forum is a bit more fact-based and less doom and gloom than Reddit. Reddit really scares me, especially since most AD forums lead to the PSSD subreddit. I don’t even want to think about that.
 

Thank you for reading.

~~Past Meds~~
Zoloft 100mg: 1/2019 — ???/2020

Zoloft 25mg: 2/14/2022 — 3/9/2022

~~Current Meds~~
Orencia Clickjet 25mg

Keflex Antibiotic 500mg

Daily Multivitamin 

Bayer Aspirin 321 mg

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  • Moderator
Posted (edited)

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  Good for you for getting off the Zoloft.  It's fine that you cold turkeyed Zoloft in 2022, since you were only on it for a few weeks.  The brain will develop a dependency after 4 weeks of use, though.  It sounds as though you had an adverse reaction to it the second time you went on it.  This is not uncommon.  Many people who try a drug again that worked for them before have this experience.  These drugs are very powerful, and affect our nervous systems in profound ways.  

 

On 4/7/2022 at 12:10 PM, Googi said:

I come to Surviving Antidepressants for some support and maybe some advice, since it seems like this forum is a bit more fact-based and less doom and gloom than Reddit. Reddit really scares me,

I would strongly suggest you stay away from these Reddit forums.  The last thing we need in recovery is to hear doom and gloom.  A lot of people exaggerate for attention, and you don't know for sure if what people say is true.  Reading this stuff puts you at risk of increasing your anxiety, and what you need is optimism and hope.  We will give you that.  

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.   This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications.

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Here is a link with checklists of common WD symptoms: 

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklists

 

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Stability is really important when we are tapering off psych meds.  Please read the link about stability:

 

Keep It Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

 

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

 

Hang in there, and take good care of yourself using non drug techniques.  Definitely continue to stay away from pot and its derivatives, and any other mind altering substances - this can worsen your symptoms, and make recovery take a lot longer.  

 

Some antibiotics are worse for the nervous system than others.  I know the fluoroquinolones are the worse.  However, don't stop taking your antibiotic without discussing it with your doctor.  Keflex is a cephalosporin, and should not affect your nervous system.  This link will explain about antibiotics.  

 

Antibiotics

 

On 4/7/2022 at 12:10 PM, Googi said:

It has been 29 days since my last dose of Zoloft and I don’t really feel that much better. The emotional blunting has its windows and waves, but the sexual side effects have stayed mostly the same. I’m aware that I may need to give things more time,

You are right - the thing that you need is time, time, time.  These things take many months to recover from, because they nervous system is so incredibly complex.  You can help the healing by eating healthy, taking walks if possible, avoiding stress if you can, and just being gentle with yourself and taking good care of yourself.  There are many resources on here which will help you with this.  See the non drug coping link above.  Please let us know how you are doing. 

 

Edited by getofflex

I'm taking a break, so will not be responding to tags, messages, posts, or questions

 

***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, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

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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Hi, thank you for your response.

 

Quote

Good for you for getting off the Zoloft.  It's fine that you cold turkeyed Zoloft in 2022, since you were only on it for a few weeks.  The brain will develop a dependency after 4 weeks of use, though.

 

If I wasn't on the drug for nearly enough, am I truly experiencing withdrawals? I feel like the fact that I am still dealing with lingering effects from the medication signals that I might be withdrawing, but I am just honestly confused.  

 

Quote

I would strongly suggest you stay away from these Reddit forums.  The last thing we need in recovery is to hear doom and gloom.  A lot of people exaggerate for attention, and you don't know for sure if what people say is true.  Reading this stuff puts you at risk of increasing your anxiety, and what you need is optimism and hope.  We will give you that.  

Thank you, I really appreciate that. Part of me wishes I had never read those threads at all, I feel like they're adding a lot of stress to my already stressful recovery!! But I am happy to have found this place. 

 

On 4/8/2022 at 3:59 PM, getofflex said:

Hang in there, and take good care of yourself using non drug techniques.  Definitely continue to stay away from pot and its derivatives, and any other mind altering substances - this can worsen your symptoms, and make recovery take a lot longer.

I am inclined to recover naturally, but what about CBD? Would even that have an adverse reaction? My therapist recommended it to me since it was non mind-altering, but I'm curious to know your thoughts. 

 

Again, thank you very much for your response. It's made everything a lot less scary.

~~Past Meds~~
Zoloft 100mg: 1/2019 — ???/2020

Zoloft 25mg: 2/14/2022 — 3/9/2022

~~Current Meds~~
Orencia Clickjet 25mg

Keflex Antibiotic 500mg

Daily Multivitamin 

Bayer Aspirin 321 mg

Link to comment
  • Moderator
On 4/7/2022 at 12:10 PM, Googi said:

Going back onto Zoloft was nothing like the first time. After the first dose, I had an anxiety attack that was comparable to the ones I’d experienced on edibles. I was shaking for the rest of the day, and I was advised to start cutting my pills down and slightly increasing the dose. I did that.

From the above, it sounds like you had an adverse reaction to restarting the Zoloft, the symptoms of which are very similar to withdrawal.  This is not uncommon when people go off a drug, and then restart it again.  This is the kindling effect.  Once we've had an adverse reaction to a psych drug, it can take a long time for the symptoms to resolve themselves.  These links explain more:  

 

Post Withdrawal Nervous System Hypersensitivity - Kindling

 

Adverse Reaction

 

18 hours ago, Googi said:

I am inclined to recover naturally, but what about CBD? Would even that have an adverse reaction? My therapist recommended it to me since it was non mind-altering, but I'm curious to know your thoughts.

CBD oil is derived from the same plant from which marijuana comes, so it probably has some subtle mind altering properties.  We in this forum have learned to take with a grain (sack) of salt anything said by mental health professionals.  The vast majority have little knowledge of how much these drugs affect people, and cause significant withdrawal and protracted withdrawal.  

 

On 4/7/2022 at 12:10 PM, Googi said:

I stopped Zoloft cold turkey sometime in late spring/early summer of 2020.

Because of this, you may still have lingering effects from your cold turkey in 2020.  Often, people take years to fully recover from cold turkey off psych meds.   This, combined with your adverse reactions, is probably what is going on here.  It if were me, I'd stay far away from any psych meds, and any mind altering substances of any kind.  

 

Cold Turkey and Too Fast Tapers

 

I'm very glad that my responses have been reassuring.  You will get better!  It is just likely to be frustratingly slow.  

I'm taking a break, so will not be responding to tags, messages, posts, or questions

 

***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, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

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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