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RIED0523 - Recovering from long-term Sertraline use


RIED0523

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Hello,

 

From the age of 12 until 23, I took sertraline every day to help with social anxiety. At age 23, I felt as though I had overcome my anxiety and wanted to see how I functioned without medication. I decided I didn't want to have to rely on medication for the rest of my life. In addition, I felt like the sertraline wasn't having as much of an effect on me. Under the guidance and instructions of my psychiatrist, I tapered completely off of the sertraline in November.

 

During the first month or so of being off the medicine, I felt decent. I didn't seem to be having any of the usual withdrawal effects that are typically associated with stopping antidepressants. However, after Christmas, I began noticing painful, throbbing headaches around the temples. The headaches would occur almost every morning upon waking up as well as various times throughout the day. During these headaches, it would become very difficult to concentrate or focus. I tried to rule out what had been causing the headaches. My blood work and CT scan came back normal. I was no longer taking any other medication except for fish oil.

 

In addition to the headaches, I began to experience some other problems. Short-term memory issues, foggy and confused thinking, and sporadoic episodes of depression. I also noticed brain fog/blurred thinking after exercise. After ruling out a thyroid issue, brain tumor, and anemia, I was beginning to grow a little uneasy at this point. I was afraid that the symptoms were associated with coming off sertraline and I had significantly altered my brain chemistry. I began to monitor my diet very closely as well but couldn't make any real connections.

 

After approximately five months of being off the sertraline and feeling poorly, I decided to go see a natural/organic medical doctor and seek his advice. I wanted to avoid getting back on antidepressants at all costs. He believed that some of my symptoms were from seretonin no longer bring produced/recycling in my brain and that I would benefit greatly from 150 mg of 5-htp, 2 b-complex twice a day, 5000 IU of vit d3, 100 mg of COQ10, and fish oil. In addition, for my other symptoms, he ordered some blood work to be done. My testosterone levels were found to be low.

 

I am currently trying to raise my T levels and following the supplement regimen prescribed to me by the doctor. I have noticed slight improvement in my symptoms but still suffer many days. I have been on the supplement regimen for almost four months now. The headaches are less frequent but I still feel like my brain does not work the same way that it used to and still get very depressed some days. It's hard to think clearly about certain things and feel like I am thinking in slow motion oftentimes.

 

I'm remaining hopeful that things will continue to improve. I honestly feel like getting off sertraline threw my while system off. Can getting off antidepressants interfere with the production of other neurotransmitters besides seretonin (like dopamine, ACh, GABA)? If there is anyone that has experienced anything similar to my story or has any input/feedback, I would love to hear it and appreciate it very much.

 

 

 

 

 

Sertraline 2002-May 2012 for Social Anxiety/Depression
Prozac July 2012-November 2012
Tapered off and no longer taking any antidepressants

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Ried and welcome to SA. I suspect that what you are feeling is withdrawal from sertraline

and it saddens me that you were taking them from such a tender age  :( . I'm sorry you are suffering like this.

One of the experts will be along soon who can advise you. You are in the right place and will get good advice

and support here. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Reid,

 

Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you've found us. 

 

Since you have been off the sertraline for many months, reinstatement may not work - however, it might be worth a try to reinstate a very small dose of the medication to see if this helps. Could you please tell me what dose you were taking before you quit?

 

Also - a word of warning about supplements. They can sometimes do more hard than good, and may be exacerbating your symptoms. We recommend that if you are going to take supplements:

 

1) you introduce them slowly, at a low dose and one at a time. That way you can tell which supplement is working and which is not. If the supplement helps, you can slowly increase the dosage. If not, you can discontinue;

2) You avoid taking supplements that include a number of ingredients, because if you have an adverse reaction you won't know which particular element is causing the problem

 

When natural therapists prescribe supplements, they are doing so under the premise that your central nervous system is stable in the first place. Your CNS is compromised and unstable, and as a result you may be hypersensitive to these compunds

 

For my part, if I had my time over again I would not have taken any supplements at all. I am hypersensitive to the lot, and it only delayed my healing.

 

So, let me know what dosage you were originally taking and we can take it from there:)

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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Thanks so much for the replies both mammaP and basildev! I am very grateful that I found this site. At the time I went to see the psychiatrist about getting off sertraline, I was taking 200 mg. Yes, I was worried about taking so many supplements at first because I always thought you get adequate amounts from a well-rounded diet. Thanks again!

Sertraline 2002-May 2012 for Social Anxiety/Depression
Prozac July 2012-November 2012
Tapered off and no longer taking any antidepressants

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It sounds to me like you're definitely having withdrawal symptoms from sertraline.  Here's our topic on the subject:

 

Tips for Tapering Zoloft

 

Absolutely, getting off antidepressants can and does interfere with the production of other neurotransmitters besides serotonin, such as dopamine and GABA.  (I'm not sure what ACh is.)  As for the supplements, many people find the full B-complex to be too stimulating and 5-HTP is a very iffy supplement for someone in withdrawal (see 5-HTP and Tryptophan)

 

When you have a chance, please add your drug history to your signature (directions).

 

Welcome to the forum, Ried.  You'll find lots of solid information and friendly support here.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Reid,

 

You may want to try reinstating a very small dose of your medication, say 10mg to start with to see if that helps alleviate the symptoms.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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Okay, reinstatement sounds like a possibility. Have you heard of any one who has had success with reinstatement? 

 

Also, is it possible that coming off antidepressants could have a negative effect on the endocrine system? After I exercise, I feel like my symptoms are at their worst. I feel intense brain fog/fuzzy and slow thinking a couple of hours after lifting weights and/or running. I'm guessing this has something to do with hormones. Thanks! 

Sertraline 2002-May 2012 for Social Anxiety/Depression
Prozac July 2012-November 2012
Tapered off and no longer taking any antidepressants

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, withdrawal definitely affects your endocrine system. Gentle exercise is good, but don't overdo it, otherwise it will worsen the symptoms.

 

And yes, there have been many people who have reinstated successfully.

 

The key is to be patient. For some people it can take days to feel better, for others weeks and for some it takes many months to feel better.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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Hi Ried!! Sending you hugs & support

Dec 2004 - Put on Zoloft after having a panic attack from the Birth Control Ortho Evra Patch (the doctors thought I was completely insane when I told them I think the Birth Control Patch is giving me anxiety/panic. Funny how they tell you NOW that Birth Control can indeed cause anxiety) Started at 25mg, increased to 50 mg and 100 mg in 2007. They made me too sleepy so decreased back to 50mg until 2009. Reduced to 25 mg in 2010.

Oct 2010 - Decided to come off Zoloft to try and have children. Didn't know anything about tapering because apparently, my doctor didn't know about it either. WDs included heart palpitations, dizziness, tinnitus etc. Decided to go back on Zoloft within 2 weeks of stopping.

January 2011 - Knowing a little more about tapering, I decided to stop taking taking Zoloft with my doctors help again. She told me to hurry and taper in 4 weeks because the tinnitus could become permanent. I thought this was too fast so I took another month to taper.

March 30, 2011 - Last Zoloft pill.

Had a little dizziness & sadness, but felt fine until Aug 2011 after a relative died.

Since then symptoms include brain shivers, migraine headaches on right side of head, warm/hot sensations on right side of head and ears, internal vibrations, tremor, muscle twitches, strange sensations in right side of head, anxiety, nervousness, sadness, disconnected, depersonalization, numbness on left side of body at times, neck pain, muscle/rib cage pains,  just don't feel like myself :(

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Hi Ried!! Sending you hugs & support

Thanks, Dani! Same to you!

Sertraline 2002-May 2012 for Social Anxiety/Depression
Prozac July 2012-November 2012
Tapered off and no longer taking any antidepressants

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Yes, withdrawal definitely affects your endocrine system. Gentle exercise is good, but don't overdo it, otherwise it will worsen the symptoms.

 

And yes, there have been many people who have reinstated successfully.

 

The key is to be patient. For some people it can take days to feel better, for others weeks and for some it takes many months to feel better.

 

After successful reinstatement, then what? A very slow taper? I just feel like I would be going in the wrong direction if I started relying on the antidepressant to feel decent again. Although it's VERY tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel some days, I'd like to think I can beat this on my own and never have to go near those pills again.

Sertraline 2002-May 2012 for Social Anxiety/Depression
Prozac July 2012-November 2012
Tapered off and no longer taking any antidepressants

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

After successful reinstatement, then what? A very slow taper?

 

Yes, for 2 reasons - first it is the safest way to come off antidepressants. Secondly, your CNS has been compromised so it may be extra sensitive to cuts the next time.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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