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reluctantpharmagirl

reluctantpharmagirl: From Zoloft to Wellbutrin

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reluctantpharmagirl

Hi, very happy to have found this community. Last November 2013, I went to a water fasting clinic where people go to heal from various ailments and often get off meds. If been on Zoloft for 18 years, never diagnosed as needing it, and in addition to wanting to lose weight, I wanted to get off. I'd done unsuccessful tapers in the past. I now know why they were unsuccessful after reading here. At the clinic they have me Peter Breggin's book and Anatomy of an Epidemic. I immediately dropped from 100 mg to 50 mg and over the course of the 10-day fast, could not sleep until I tapered completely off Zoloft. Boom. Sleep was back. I was euphoric. No brain zaps. I thought if won the battle. They sent me off with amino acids (take 16 a day) and off I went home for the holidays. It was tough being around family, and as the weeks progressed, I got more and more agitated. I white knuckled it through the holidays and through January, buoyed only by my rapidly declining weight.

 

But January was very stressful work wise, and I finally buckled down and returned to Zoloft on Jan 23. It worked immediately. I took 25 mg, then up to 50 mg. I never went back to 100 mg. but my weight started immediately rising, and I was more disturbed than id ever been about my weight in the past. I couldn't take it and went back off by Feb 5.

 

I believed at this point that it was my particular chemistry at fault -- and I just needed to find the right med. I found a new doctor, jumped through tons of hoops, and requested to be put on Wellbutrin.

 

I've been on Wellbutrin XL 100 mg since Tues Feb 11. First side effects were debilitating insomnia, but that seems to be subsiding. I just couldn't stand to gain all that weight and Zoloft wasn't really working on my anxiety.

 

The other side effect I'm having -- aside from terrible anxiety, recursive thoughts, obsession with my antidepressant saga, and nearly divorcing my husband of 13 years -- is acne. Embarrassing facial acne like I've never had before. I suspect, after reading these forums, that I've wreaked havoc with my nervous system.

 

I've been meditating, doing yoga, listening to tapes, and trying to keep my work life calm.

 

But my question is this: now that I'm this far off the Zoloft and have gone on the Wellbutrin, should I just stay the course for a while, or should I go back on Zoloft? Or should I be on nothing and endure the withdrawal symptoms? I know in the forum on Wellbutrin it says it is not a effective to use when suffering other withdrawal symptoms, but that is essentially what I'm using it for -- to get through the Zoloft withdrawal. I'm not sure but I think it's taken some of the edge off, though I still have the anxiety and irritability.

 

Thank you for reading and listening, and for any sound advice. No doctors understand, nor do family/friends who tell me just to get back on, and I doubt myself constantly. I need to pick a treatment plan and stay the course. For now, I was hoping that could be "stay on Wellbutrin till I stabilize ... for at least 6 months." I just know that Wellbutrin is probably not addressing the Zoloft seratonin withdrawal, it's just messing with my dopamine and norepinephrine now!

 

Namaste.

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tezza

Hi reluctantpg,

 

Welcome! I'm sorry you're going through all this! It's tough to say what is the 'right' thing to do. I do know from experience Wellbutrin is known to cause anxiety and insomnia. I would also guess that you are suffering from the Zoloft WD.

 

If it were me, I would try to do a crossover back to a comfortable dose of Zoloft. Then, I'd stabilize for two or three months and very slowly taper off.

 

I hesitated to even suggest this because as you said you have yanked your CNS around pretty good but from all I've been thru with my own 'devil' drug, that's just what I'd do. Sometimes a new drug can help with some WDs but IMO, usually the one causing the WD needs to be reinstated, if possible. Wellbutrin, as you said, is not really good during WD because of the side effects.

 

Maybe someone else can offer some thoughts, here. I hope you feel better soon!

 

Namaste!

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mammaP

Hello and welcome to SA.  I had the same thoughts as Tezza when I was reading your post,

 that it may be best to cross taper back to zoloft and taper from there.  Cutting all drugs c/t could prolong

the withdrawal for months or even years.  I would start low with the zoloft,you may be able to stabilise

on a very small dose that will minimise the weight gain.  

 

It would help if you can put your withdrawal history in your signature strip, here is how to do that. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

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reluctantpharmagirl

Hello tezza and MammaP,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply, and share your advice.  

 

I think I neglected to mention in my first write-up, done quickly on my phone, that I *do* think I am feeling better on the Wellbutrin.  

 

When I went back on the Zoloft for 2 weeks or so, I don't think it worked any more on my anxiety. Yes, it did immediately quell my horrible Zoloft w/d symptoms (inner torment and uncharacteristic irritability), but longer-term, it wasn't really working on general anxiety, and I was obsessed with the weight gain, even at the lower dose of 50 mg. Water retention, etc.  I had been off it for 2 months already.  So I wonder if that changes your advice.  I actually think going back on it did NOT work for me.

 

My primary care doc (who admittedly knows nothing about these) said she didn't want me to go back on Zoloft, because clearly it didn't work for me anymore.

 

Wellbutrin seems to be quelling the Zoloft withdrawal symptoms. I am definitely not in the hell that I was in when I was not taking anything.  That, over the holidays, was the worst.  I probably won't know for sure for another week or two, because Zoloft withdrawal symptoms seem to hit me after 3 weeks, and I've only been off Zoloft for 2 wks now (after only being on for 2 wks).  

 

But If I'm feeling ok on WB, do you think it's possible I could just stay here a while?  I just can't stand the idea of having to taper off Wellbutrin after only a week on it, then going back on Zoloft, and staying on the devil drug that I hate being on, that causes weight gain, and doesn't really work on my anxiety anymore, etc, etc.

 

My face is all broken out from messing with my CMS this much.  I am really hoping to just stick with something so my body can adjust and at least I won't look on the outside like I'm going through as much turmoil as I feel on the inside!  I know it is vein, but I'm in a professional environment, and it really hits the self esteem.

 

Thanks so much for your thoughts.  I've updated my signature w/ withdrawal history.

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bubble

Hello reluctantpg,

 

I'm happy that you are here with us.

 

I found this site very helpful and it has given me new hope of finally getting my tapers right.

 

For the time being I will just share with you an article written by one of the staff, Rhi and attach a few links which will give you answers to many questions you might have and explain to you what you are going through.

 

I found this community very, very warm and helpful.

 

RHI: A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away.

That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning.

What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry. 

For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain.

So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along). It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall. 

To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly. 

This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle.

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay.

When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse.

SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. 

It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. 

I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long. 

With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and a history of being put on drugs at a young age.)

This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system. 

Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected. 

 

http://survivinganti...rawal-syndrome/

 

http://survivinganti...rawal-symptoms/

 

http://survivinganti...0-of-my-dosage/

 

best,

bubble

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tezza

Ultimately, the choice is yours to make. If you've only been on the Wellbutrin for one week, you may not need to taper it.

 

I thought about your situation from my perspective and, yes, that's what "I would do, if it were me". Sometimes when WD is delayed and someone thinks they've escaped it, it can be impossible to reinstate because they've become sensitized to the drug. At that point they are between a rock and a hard place.

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Altostrata

Welcome, reluctantpg.

 

How about taking a little Zoloft with the Wellbutrin? If you take, say, 5mg Zoloft and you feel better, you'll know you're experiencing Zoloft withdrawal. Then you might stabilize and taper off both drugs.

 

Zoloft comes in a liquid for titration http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

 

Tapering Wellbutrin http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/877-tips-for-tapering-off-wellbutrin-sr-xr-xl-buproprion/

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reluctantpharmagirl

Hello my friendly SA community.

 

Well, this went down pretty much as you all suspected!  Last night I had the closest thing I've ever had to a panic attack.  It was work-induced stress related, and I was just unable to regulate my response. I surmise the stress was made worse by: zoloft withdrawal kicking in (exactly 2 wks since my last Zoloft), Wellbutrin stimulation, and my lack of sleep on Wellbutrin.  I yelled at my boyfriend and just freaked out.  Could hardly breathe, heart was racing.  Did not know who to call or what to do.  The work crisis seemed insurmountable, though of course it looked better in the morning.

 

I went to bed, and woke up still in a panic. Crying, freaked out.  After discussing with my mother (and needing to go to work!), I finally reinstated zoloft this morning.  50 mg.  I have also emailed my pcp, but I know that she really don't know antidepressant withdrawal.  

 

In total i was on Wellbutrin XL 150 mg 1x/day for 8 days.  Do you think I am ok to just quit that cold turkey?  I am hoping so.  You all had mentioned a crosstaper, but i don't really know what that means.  My current plan is to c/t the Wellbutrin and stay on zoloft 50 mg for a while, if that's what the consensus is here that I should do.  I just wish I didn't have to because it causes weight gain, and I don't even think it works on my anxiety anymore.  I think I've may have stayed off it too long (2 months in Dec and Jan) to reinstate.  

 

IF it doesn't work, could I do a straight swap of Zoloft to Lexapro, since both are SSRIs?  My mother is on Lexapro, has the same anxiety I have, and it has worked well for her, without weight gain.

 

I am sort of thinking I can't even THINK about tapering off an antidepressant right now -- I just have to find a drug that will help me regulate my emotions in times of extreme stress, hopefully without piling on the pounds.

 

Thank you in advance for your advice and support.  I feel so alone in all this!  Family doesn't understand, though I have sent them to this forum.  And doctors don't get the withdrawal process.  In the meantime, I fear I have wreaked such havoc with my nervous system and hormones that I may never be stable again.

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Altostrata

My guess is you can just quit the Wellbutrin. If it was keeping you awake, that's not a good thing.

 

Please keep us posted on how you do with the Zoloft reinstatement.

 

If I were you, I wouldn't consider a switch to Lexapro. Milligram for milligram, it's much stronger than Zoloft and, if you're anxious now, will make it worse.

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tezza

It will take longer than you like but you will be stable again. Try not to worry about that right now. I don't think you've waited too long since it helped you from Jan. 23 through February 5. You may even stabilize fairly quickly, many do.

 

After you've stabilized well, you can certainly taper.

 

Please let us know how your doing.

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reluctantpharmagirl

Good morning, Tezza, Altostrata, MammaP, bubble, and everyone else on the SA boards.  

 

Just an update, and one question this morning.  

 

Update:  I stabilized almost immediately after taking a Zoloft yesterday.  This is usually what happens with my withdrawals. I am literally freaking out in w/d -- then one dose takes it all away. It's not placebo, either ... that one dose shuts up all the inner voices of turmoil in my head.  In fact, it was quite sedating compared to the Wellbutrin I'd been taking.  Whereas Wellbutrin is get-up-and-go, heart-a-racing, let's accomplish everything we ever set out to do in our lives this very second (!) -- a real speed type feeling -- Zoloft is a lay-in-bed, go slow, nothing's-that-urgent kind of calm.  

 

Question:  I am wondering if perhaps I took too MUCH zoloft by reinstating at 50 mg immediately. The previous day (previous 9 days, actually) I'd been on 150 mg of WB.  The Zoloft seems to have sedated me pretty significantly.  So this morning I cut the pill in half to 25 mg. Do you think that could possibly work for me?  Perhaps I wouldn't have as much weight gain then.  I could re-stabilize on the lower dose of 25 mg, stay there for a month or so, and then start a VERY SLOW taper (of course not being imprecise by cutting pills at that time, but switching over to a more precise liquid)?

 

Thank you AS ALWAYS for your advice.  

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Altostrata

Yes, it's possible you could be okay with 25mg. The Wellbutrin is not a factor in determining reinstatement.

 

Quite often, reinstatement works quickly. But -- do not assume it will always save you if you reduce too fast, because sometimes it does not work at all.

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reluctantpharmagirl

Hi everybody.  Thank you so much for your advice and help getting through the Zoloft withdrawals and Wellbutrin disaster.  

 

Update on zoloft reinstatement..  

 

Without a doubt I was going through withdrawal when I had the first panic attack of my life on Wed night.  Probably exacerbated by Wellbutrin.  Heart racing, couldn't breathe -- and so unbelievably and uncharacteristically irritable.  Freaking out over a basic work stress that was just not worthy of the major distress I was in.  YOU ALL WERE RIGHT THAT I COULDN'T USE WELLBUTRIN TO STAVE OFF/COVER UP ZOLOFT WITHDRAWAL.

 

Anyway, reinstatement worked, thank goodness.  I now seem quite stable on 25 mg of Zoloft.  Side effects from reinstating are acne and sexual disfunction, plus potentially weight gain ... I see I am up 2 pounds, but going to try not to sweat that so much this time ... have no choice but to stay on and safely and slowly taper down.

 

Will watch my moods as the stress piles on during the work week and see if I have more control over my emotions/irritability/anxiety.  It seems like I am still a little indecisive and worry about the same thing over and over in OCD-like ways.  But otherwise, I am pretty sedated.  

 

I just wanted to note, for future Zoloft withdrawal sufferers:  in my experience, the withdrawal goes like this: the physical symptoms (brain zaps etc) hit right away, and they are followed by a euphoria.  "I'm off!  I did it!  Life is gonna be sooo great now!"  The really difficult withdrawals (emotional ones, like irritability and hating everyone including yourself) don't set in until 2-3 weeks out.  It's almost like clockwork that everything will go south exactly 3 weeks after I've gone off the drug. As if my brain draws on all its banked serotonin for 2 weeks, and then {{boom!}} it goes barren by week 3.   Also, I never seem to be able to connect going off the drug with what's going on, either.  It's as if I've got amnesia.  And similarly, when I go back on the drug, it's hard to remember the distress I was in while off.  My brain can no longer access that level of despair.  Very weird.  This makes it difficult to explain the withdrawal to doctors and therapists.

 

So, my plan is to stay here at 25 mg, and wait 4 weeks to make sure I am ok and don't need to go back up to 50 mg.  Then, if I am ok, I will begin tapering down by 2.5 mg on/around March 23.  Do you think that is the enough time to let my nervous system calm down??

 

 

Thank you all for your advice and support.  xo

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Karma

Hi Reluctantphg

 

I think your plan is sound.  Here is an idea that has worked well for me.  Create a log of the symptoms you experience that tell you whether you are getting better or worse.  Log your symptoms and rate them daily:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawal-early/

 

The best way to manage a successful taper is to listen to your own system.  By logging your symptoms you will be more in tune with your body.

 

Karma

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Narcissus

 

when I go back on the drug, it's hard to remember the distress I was in while off.  My brain can no longer access that level of despair.  Very weird.  

 

Yes, I think some of these things are really too weird and intense to be remembered.

 

Sorry to hear about your ordeal with Zoloft, much of it sounds very familiar and similar to the experiences others have had here.  Wellbutrin can be very, very stimulating, I think it's probably best to stay clear of it.  I was prescribed Wellbutrin in high school, and for the three weeks I took it I was extremely irritable and violent, a totally different person.  Can't imagine what it would have been like during withdrawal.  

 

 

 

So, my plan is to stay here at 25 mg, and wait 4 weeks to make sure I am ok and don't need to go back up to 50 mg.  Then, if I am ok, I will begin tapering down by 2.5 mg on/around March 23.  Do you think that is the enough time to let my nervous system calm down??

 

This sounds good, just be prepared to make adjustments if things don't go smoothly.

 

 Glad to have you here, and wishing you a speedy recovery!

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bubble

I'm sorry that we were right and happy that you came here to minimise the damage.

 

This is exactly what happens when quitting cold turkey. Except that my panic attack after quitting Lexapro happened after 4 weeks.

 

You have the thinking of a winner now ;)

 

Just a small improvement on it as Karma suggested and I feel the need to underline it so that you realise its importance: to be successful (that is minimise suffering while getting off the drugs and really get off instead of ending on more and/or higer doses) the key is to listen to one's own body and not to rely on some external timeframes.

 

Depending on how long you were off before reinstating, you will probbaly find out that you have to wait longer than one month (that's why we urged for reinstating asap. The sooner you reinstate, the less time you need to stabilise). 

 

So there are no rules. For many reasons, everything is very individual. But usually I think getting stable (that is, having predictabe pattern of tolerable symptoms) takes longer than one month. 

 

The key is not to get impatient and getting focused on tapering and symptoms. Use that time to educate yourself about alternative coping startegies, eating well, being physically active, improving your well being in general while letting tapering unwind in the background.

 

Lexapro caused me to put on 1/10 of my weight, I can't wear most of the clothes I wore before but believe me it is not a factor I consider in my tapering... You will reach your goal sooner if you go slower (in the same way the turtle wins the race with the rabbit).

 

And come for support here whenever you need it ;)

 

best,

bubble

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tezza

Sounds good to me rpg. I'm glad you're feeling better!

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reluctantpharmagirl

Hi friends (bubble, tezza, narcissus, alto, karma ... my support group!) and all of the SA community,

 

Overall I'm feeling fine, functional and NO acute symptoms like nervous breakdown, panic attack, etc.

 

Quick check in and request for reactions on a couple things:

 

1) More subtle side effects:  I felt way too sedated on 50 mg reinstatement of Zoloft.  Went down to 25 mg.  That was fine, but I still don't have much motivation, energy, etc -- so today I tried 12.5 mg. I wonder if I can reinstate there.  I know I can't keep lowering the dose; I am just trying to find the lowest minimum effective dose for reinstatement.  I feel pretty stabilized and did almost immediately after the first pill.

 

2) For what it's worth, I have gained 5 pounds being back on Zoloft for just 5 days!  Without a doubt, this drug is a weight gainer for me.  That's why it's so hard for me to stay on. It makes me bloated, lazy and crave carbohydrates -- and it doesn't matter how low the dose is, which is what's really bizarre to me. If I'm taking less, shouldn't I have fewer/lower side effects? Guess not.  Any trace of it in my system seems to attract lbs like a magnet.

 

3) I saw a new MD today, referred to me by a therapist.  She studied for a year with Julia Ross of the Mood Cure.  Wants to put me on amino acids while I do a slow taper. Gave me a sheet to monitor symptoms, that will determine what aminos I go on.  I've already tried aminos back in November ... it was too many to take in one day, and they made me break out everywhere + didn't work with the cold turkey method I was using (of course!).  Is it possible they COULD work if I were to do the 10% taper solution that's recommended here?  She also wants me to eat animal protein (I'm vegan).  I'm guessing you guys do not recommend aminos since I've seen it listed multiple times that the only supplements recommended are magnesium and fish oil.  I was very happy sticking to the plan here -- but this doctor sounded so confident she has gotten so many people off meds, and she's willing to let me taper at my pace, and only take the recommendations that work for me.    

 

@alto -- fyi, it's not the doc you mentioned.  Can't get a call back from him.

 

Thanks in advance for all your advice, and as always for your very comforting messages of support.  I can't wait till I have some success under my belt so I'm in a position to offer similar advice and support to other newbies to this forum.

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Altostrata

rpg, I would not have zoomed down to 12.5mg from 25mg. Please stay at one dosage now to see what's what.

 

I saw a new MD today, referred to me by a therapist.  She studied for a year with Julia Ross of the Mood Cure.  Wants to put me on amino acids while I do a slow taper. Gave me a sheet to monitor symptoms, that will determine what aminos I go on.

 

 

I would be very, very careful about taking amino acids. We have topics on many of them in the Symptoms and Self-care forum.

 

The trouble with Julia Ross is that she's based her treatment on a "neurotransmitter imbalance" theory. This is nonsense in psychiatry and it's nonsense in alternative medicine, too.

 

We have not seen any evidence that taking any combination of amino acids or supplements replaces the need for slow taper to minimize withdrawal symptoms and get safely off drugs.

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reluctantpharmagirl

OK, I will go back to 25 mg tomorrow.  I don't have liquid yet, only pills, so am cutting them and that's imprecise. I'll stick to cutting the 50 mg pill in half and stay there. I felt fine going back on -- but am bloated, lazy and just unmotivated/depressed -- so I thought maybe I reinstated too high at 25 mg.

 

Will start now reading up in the symptoms and self care forum on aminos/neurotransmitter imbalance. If anybody has any specific links, I'd love those.  

thanks, alto, as always.

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Altostrata

You're welcome.

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reluctantpharmagirl

Wow, I am really not happy being back on Zoloft. I have gained 5-6 pounds in the past week being back on this damn drug.  I can see it in my face and in my stomach. I was doing so well at holding down to a new weight low, and I really can't stand seeing the pounds pile on this fast for no reason. This morning and yesterday morning I couldn't get out of bed.  I am just lazy and down ... and don't want to do anything but sleep and hide under the covers.   I see why I went off again back in Jan/Feb. My boyfriend says, it's either SANITY or VANITY, and he's right.  When I go off, I am fine -- euphoric -- at the beginning, but then totally anxiety ridden and irritable.  So there goes sanity.  But my weight goes down and at least I don't feel like a bloated Michelin man.  Then, if I go back on, I can hold the anxiety/irritability at bay, but I crave carbs late at night, and I guess I eat more. Actually, I don't really believe I'm eating more, but it seems like whatever I eat has more effect.

 

I just HATE this drug!  When I was off I was losing at a steady .5 lb every day or every other day.  I eat a plant based whole foods diet and there is no reason I should be gaining this much weight with no fat and no junk food.  Ugh.

 

Sorry to vent ... but I am just miserable and already feeling like I want to cut the dose back in half, or skip days, or do something to stop this weight gain from continuing.  I have a family photoshoot with a photographer who is flying out from overseas in 2.5 weeks, and I really don't want to look like this in the photos.

 

I took 25 mg this morning to see if it would help with my laziness. But I really don't want to be on this much of this drug ;(

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Altostrata

Okay, if it's making you lazy, you might reduce more. But give 25mg 4 days first to see how it affects you, then I might try 20mg.

 

Please be patient. You'll be tapering; side effects are dosage-related.

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reluctantpharmagirl

Alto, when you say side effects are dosage-related, do you mean weight gain, too? Eg, it will not keep piling on at such a rapid speed as I am tapering down? It just feels like no matter how little of this I take, the weight piles on.  Only when I am off it completely (and for a couple months, not right away) does my body start to shed the water weight and excess garbage that zoloft put on me.

 

I am going to email my doctor now to get the liquid.  I also think I am going to switch to taking it at night, which is what I used to do. To do that, I'd just skip tomorrow morning and take it tomorrow night.  Zoloft's half-life is long enough that I can usually go several days before feeling its absence.  That ok?

 

Sorry to be high maintenance. I'm finding it is really uncomfortable to feel this heavy and demotivated and lazy/sedated.  I never noticed it in the 18 years I was taking the drug, because I was used to it.  And 100 mg!  Only now that I've been off do I notice how really unhappy I am being back on this drug for ... quick check of the calendar ... exactly one week today.  Interesting to note.

 

Thank you.  I am going to force myself to smile now because all this complaining is self defeating  :)

I am grateful for your guidance and understanding.

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reluctantpharmagirl

One important question:  

 

The doctor I saw Tuesday (the one who studied with Julia Ross for a year and recommends Tryptophan/other amino acids during a taper) also suggested one other option:  a Prozac bridge.  I wasn't even going to bring it up, because I know folks here don't recommend using a new drug to counter withdrawal from another drug.  I shot her down immediately for that reason.  But then I saw the topic (link below) on this site.

 

If I'm stabilized on Zoloft but going berzerk over the weight gain and sedative effects upon reinstating, is it possible the Prozac bridge might be an option for me?  That is essentially what I tried to do with Wellbutrin, but obviously that was the wrong drug to do it with.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/

 

With much gratitude ...

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tezza

The reason we don't suggest it is that it doesn't always work, it really is a gamble. What is at risk is your very fragile CNS. If you did try the Prozac bridge and it didn't work you could become very ill. If you change meds back and forth like that or even go up and down in dose, you could be playing with fire, IMO.

 

The drug I'm tapering caused a lot of weight gain too and I hate it just as much as the others here who've gained weight. I think most would rather be as big as a barn than to suffer the pure torturous hell of WDs, though. If I were you, I'd stabilize and taper very slowly off the drug you're already used to.

 

It might not be a good idea to introduce another drug. I wouldn't dare risk my CNS because of weight, not after what I've been through and have seen others suffering.

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tezza

You should also be careful with amino acids. We have lots of info on those and other supplements in Symptoms and Self-Care.

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Altostrata

Please don't skip any doses.

 

The way to move a dose is to take it later each day by an hour or two.

 

Usually a side effect like weight gain will also be reduced as the dosage is reduced. Perhaps your metabolism is so sensitive, any amount throws it off. But -- be patient, you will be off the drug some day and you'll be okay.

 

Because of its additional risk, the Prozac bridge should be reserved when direct tapering is not working. You haven't even tried direct tapering yet.

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reluctantpharmagirl

Hi to alto, tezza, bubble, mammaP, karma, narcissus and everyone in this wonderful supportive and helpful community.  I hope you will read this post with patience and understanding.  

 

I am really struggling with being on Zoloft.

 

This weekend has been terrible.  Ever since I went back on the drug, it's been bad. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. I have no motivation and don't want to go to yoga or do any of the self care things I was doing when I wasn't on it. I continue to gain weight despite major vigilance with my eating, and my pants keep getting tighter and tighter.  I am in an all-out depression, and my anxiety/obsessiveness haven't really abated.  Maybe they are not at the absolute extreme, but they are still unbearable.   I talk about my problems with Zoloft endlessly with my boyfriend.  He thinks perhaps I should be hospitalized.  This morning he and my mother on a conference call decided maybe I should just go off the zoloft and tough it out for 6 months, trying to minimize stress during that time as much as possible, and going to talk therapy, too.  They came to this conclusion because it's not really improving my mental state and it's definitely not improving my physical state. My mother suggested I come home to her and try to stay there while withdrawing from the drug.

 

I guess I am at a point where I can't stand being on my "devil drug" anymore. This is what happened to me in January, when I was pushed to the limit by a very stressful situation at work, and after being off the drug for 1.5-2 months, i went back on.  I didn't feel good, and went off again 12 days later.  Every time I go back on, i can't stand being on and go back off.

 

Have any of you felt this bad about reinstating?  Is it possible that Zoloft just won't work for me anymore and I am better off toughing it out on my own?  Or switching to another drug?  

 

I am acutely aware that I keep bargaining with you guys for permission to try another tactic.  I just really don't feel good on this drug anymore.  

 

I am even starting to wonder if I should just make a switch to another drug and stay on that for the rest of my life rather than trying to taper at all.

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for your care in giving me your advice.  I wish I was having an easier time so I didn't keep coming on here to complain.  I do appreciate your counsel very much. 

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Altostrata

....

Update:  I stabilized almost immediately after taking a Zoloft yesterday.  This is usually what happens with my withdrawals. I am literally freaking out in w/d -- then one dose takes it all away. It's not placebo, either ... that one dose shuts up all the inner voices of turmoil in my head.  In fact, it was quite sedating compared to the Wellbutrin I'd been taking.  Whereas Wellbutrin is get-up-and-go, heart-a-racing, let's accomplish everything we ever set out to do in our lives this very second (!) -- a real speed type feeling -- Zoloft is a lay-in-bed, go slow, nothing's-that-urgent kind of calm.  

 

Question:  I am wondering if perhaps I took too MUCH zoloft by reinstating at 50 mg immediately. ....

The post above indicates reinstatement is promising.

 

Truly, you need to negotiate with your nervous system.

 

How much Zoloft are you taking now?

 

It's possible it's too much.

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reluctantpharmagirl

I'm taking 25mg now using pill cutter. I emailed doc for liquid last night so I could be more precise. Did go down to 12.5 last wk for 2 days but been back at 25 at your suggestion on Thirs. Only other variable: was trying to move dose a few hours later each day to to night so I wouldn't be so depressed in mornings.

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Altostrata

You may want to try 20mg next.

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reluctantpharmagirl

I wish that would do it, alto. But I have a feeling that small a redux will still have all the side effects for me and not feel any better.

 

There were the days I took 12.5 and one other day where the pill cut was uneven and the half I took was a little smaller than the other half (prob close to 20 mg). No better. I know, not long enough ...

 

My mother is happy on lexapro and has been urging I switch to a low dose of that. She says I have to find one that doesn't make me gain weight/feel depressed. I just don't know what to do anymore. Feeling great despair

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reluctantpharmagirl

I have been following the advice of this forum, FYI. It just doesn't feel very good to be on Zoloft anymore. Whether that means I need to be on more or less, I don't know ...

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Jemima

It won't be possible to figure out an optimal approach while you keep changing your dosage level.  You're no doubt having withdrawal symptoms from varying your dose of Zoloft by as much as 50% and you may also be having some symptoms from going off of Wellbutrin abruptly. Honestly, there is no quick and easy way to get through withdrawal. If we had a method for that, we'd be glad to tell you about it and we'd likely be rich from selling how-to books in the bargain. If you're currently taking 25 mg., it might be best to stick with that for a week or two and see how you feel. Or you could go to 20 mg. as Alto suggested, but stick with it for several weeks.  The important thing for now is to stabilize so you can do a slow, gradual taper that will be as comfortable as possible.

 

The other important thing to learn is that antidepressants don't solve any problems.  Lexapro is just another SSRI and you'd likely have exactly the same reaction to it that you've had to Zoloft, including weight gain.  All antidepressants do is numb a person's feelings and the risks involved aren't worth it.  Antidepressants increase the risk of diabetes, can cause heart problems, upset the body's hormonal systems, change the structure of a person's brain, and probably do other damage we're unaware of at this point in time.  I've met at least two people on this forum who've developed a Multiple Sclerosis-like disease from taking antidepressants.

 

So steady on, and let's see what happens once you've been on a stable dose for at least a week.

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reluctantpharmagirl

Thank you Jemima and Alto. Jemima, your post helped to keep me focused on getting off. Damn, it's so hard. Ok, steady on at 25 mg every morning. No variations! I'll check back in after a week to report. And try to keep those doubts and bargains at bay.

 

In the meantime, I just picked up some Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Purified Fish Oil liquid to take. Hope that's a good brand; couldn't tell a clear recommendation from that thread in the forums. Total Omega 3s are 1725, with 825 EPA and 550 DHA. Per teaspoon. I could take 2-3 per day?

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