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BeckIsBack: prolonged sertraline withdrawal or am I just like Tthis


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When I was 17 (19 now) I was put on 50mg Sertraline in late 2020 because of a stimulant overdose that triggered an intense OCD episode about the effects on my body. I believed I was going to die due to my overdose symptoms (chest pains, loss of feeling in left arm, heart palpitations) but with time and meds it faded away. 


I was on Sertraline for a year and a half and I was overall fairly stable, however I did experience multiple suicidal episodes and other issues.

I started tapering off in April of 2022, and had a rough but overall functional summer until I took my last dose of 1mg in August 2022 (under supervision of psychiatrist the whole time) after which I experienced quite acute and intense withdrawal with intense and uncontrollable obsessive thoughts. This lasted a few weeks, and after I went back to college in early September 2022 it faded away and had a month after my taper ended where I felt somewhat stable with somewhat manageable symptoms.


In Early October 2022 after being off SSRIS for about 1.5 months I had a single breakdown that kicked off another insane OCD episode with very graphically sexual themes. It’s been almost 2 months now and I am hardly getting any better and I’ve accepted my state as one of constant obsessions and only feeling at peace for a few minutes at a time. Progress is very slow and I feel maybe 25% better since the worst.

Anyways, is it possible that I’m still experiencing prolonged effects of my taper? I did feel good for a while but it feels like I’m back in early withdrawal but without brain zaps and the like. Before I ever took meds I did have some obsessive thinking, but it was always explainable and related to things that actually pertained to my real life. These days, I can scarcely hang out with people or go to class or even use my phone without being triggered by something completely irrational that leads me into a sometimes days long spiral.

I just feel messed up and insane now. I’m in therapy and it helps but I just don’t feel like myself, ever. My intrusive thoughts take up so much of my day and energy and I can’t tell if this is just how my brain is wired or if I’m still going through prolonged withdrawals.


Any advice/guidance is appreciated.

Oct 2020 - 50mg Sertraline 

Early Jan 2021 - Cold turkey

Mid Jan 2021 - Reinstated at 50mg

Late Jan 2021 - Attempted taper too quickly, 50mg -> 12.5 in a month

Early Mar 2021 - Reinstated 50mg

Apr 2022 - Attempted taper again with liquid solution

Aug 7 2022 - Last dose 

Oct 6 2022 - Protracted withdrawal begins

Nov 24 2022 -  Painfully slow recovery. Considering reinstating.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to BeckIsBack: prolonged sertraline withdrawal or am I just like Tthis
  • Moderator

Dear @BeckIsBack

welcome to SA. It seems like you are suffering from PAWS - post acute withdrawal and you are suffering quite badly with it. OCD like symptoms are quite common in withdrawal and SSRIs are known to cause suicides and suicidal ideation esp in young adults - the FDA has a black box warning for sertraline prescription for people under 25 - your doctor should never have prescribed them to you. 


You could reinstate 1mg of the drug to see if it relieves some of the symptoms (it often does!)


Can you pls create your drug signature with these instructions? It will help us help you better.


You can also search for your symptoms and see how others have managed them. There is a thread on OCD like symptoms. 


Hope you feel better soon, 


I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 


If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.


Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59


Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate


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hello, how are you feeling now?

2021/02 - now: clonazepam 1mg daily, 4mg when emergency

2021/05-2022/05: venlafaxine 225mg, rexulti 2mg, trazodone 100mg, zopiclone 7.5mg (sleep, anxiety and panic worsen)

2022/05-2022/08: lexapro 20mg, rexulti 3mg, trazodone 100mg (brain fog, fatigue, bad sleep)

2022/09-mid: venlafaxine 150mg(increased heart rate), rexulti 3mg, Seroquel 25 mg(sleep 12 hrs a day)

2022/09mid-10: trintellix 20mg, rexulti 3mg, Seroquel 25 mg(sleep 12 hrs a day)

2022/10: cold turkey rexulti, seroquel, decrease trintellix to 10 mg, wean off trazodone

2022/11: decrease trintellix from 10 mg to 5 mg. First week was fine, the second week pounding heart, bad insomnia, headache and dizziness, suicidal ideation

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