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Sunny1008 - off Zoloft

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Sunny1008

Hello everyone,

 

I was prescribed Zoloft 50mg in 2002 for anxiety and OCD. It did not help my symptoms at all, in fact it made them worse. However, I was not monitored at all by the doctor who prescribed it. He had no follow-up visits with me, so I did not know what symptoms I should be watching for that could indicate an adverse reaction. I thought the increased anxiety was just my "native" anxiety, but I now know that what I was experiencing was akathisia. So I continued to take the drug for seven years, unmonitored.

 

In December of 2009, I developed terrible anxiety and feelings of doom (more akathisia) while still taking the 50mg of Zoloft. (It is now apparent that Zoloft never agreed with me, and I should not have been taking it in the first place). After spending several months not knowing it was the drug causing me problems, I finally tapered off of it over one month. I stopped completely on August 5, 2010. After that, all hell broke loose. I tried to reinstate, but that failed - my body and brain completely rejected the drug.

 

I have been in protracted withdrawal ever since. Some symptoms have gotten better, mainly physical ones. But my mental symptoms, which are the most difficult to endure, still remain. The worst is the anxiety and feelings of terror/doom/fear. It is extremely difficult for me to work, accomplish household tasks, go to the store, etc. because of the terror feelings. It is difficult for me to be alone. Another terrible symptom I have is a sensation of burning in my brain. This intensifies during times of stress. It is truly awful and makes me feel like I need to be rushed to the nearest emergency room.

 

I am glad this site exists so that we can support each other.

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angie007

Hi Sunny and welcome. good to have you here.

Thank you for sharing your story, and know that all of us here understand and can sympathise,

we know all of those symptoms so well unfortunately, look around the board and pick up any

coping tips and know you are amongst friends that understand and care.

 

Sunny, have you had any better hours or days during your time zoloft free??

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Sunny1008

Hi Sunny and welcome. good to have you here.

Thank you for sharing your story, and know that all of us here understand and can sympathise,

we know all of those symptoms so well unfortunately, look around the board and pick up any

coping tips and know you are amongst friends that understand and care.

 

Sunny, have you had any better hours or days during your time zoloft free??

 

Hi Angie,

Thanks for the support. I haven't had any days where I have felt normal at all yet. :( But I guess I have had better hours, for example, I usually feel a little better at night. I also notice that I feel better when my mind is occupied, but usually it has to be mindless tasks, i.e. typing or surfing the internet, because when I try to concentrate, my central nervous system just gets all frazzled.

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Altostrata

sunny, I know that frazzled feeling all too well -- things are just too complicated to deal with.

 

For a long time, surfing was about all I could do, too.

 

That does get better.

 

You're in Colorado -- I wonder if you can talk to Dr. Mark Foster? See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/687-dr-mark-foster-speaks/page__p__6239__hl__foster__fromsearch__1#entry6239 and

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/141-its-happening-mark-foster-is-thinking-of-opening-a-psych-withdrawal-facility/page__p__841__hl__foster__fromsearch__1#entry841

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ajay

Welcome Sunny!

 

I went off Zoloft a few months after you, and I can definitely relate to your symptoms. I'm glad you've posted.

I haven't seen as many cases involving Zoloft here compared to some other SSRIs.

 

May I ask what happened when you tried to reinstate it? What did you try, for how long, and how did you react?

I ask for selfish reasons - I am having a hard time dealing with the anxiety and insomnia and I'm thinking of trying to go back to Zoloft.

 

I understand how being alone can be a problem.

 

Here's hoping for better days...

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Sunny1008

sunny, I know that frazzled feeling all too well -- things are just too complicated to deal with.

 

For a long time, surfing was about all I could do, too.

 

That does get better.

 

You're in Colorado -- I wonder if you can talk to Dr. Mark Foster? See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/687-dr-mark-foster-speaks/page__p__6239__hl__foster__fromsearch__1#entry6239 and

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/141-its-happening-mark-foster-is-thinking-of-opening-a-psych-withdrawal-facility/page__p__841__hl__foster__fromsearch__1#entry841

 

Sorry everyone, I let a few weeks go by without checking my posts on here! Alto, thanks for the info on Dr. Foster. I will definitely try getting in contact with him.

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Sunny1008

Welcome Sunny!

 

I went off Zoloft a few months after you, and I can definitely relate to your symptoms. I'm glad you've posted.

I haven't seen as many cases involving Zoloft here compared to some other SSRIs.

 

May I ask what happened when you tried to reinstate it? What did you try, for how long, and how did you react?

I ask for selfish reasons - I am having a hard time dealing with the anxiety and insomnia and I'm thinking of trying to go back to Zoloft.

 

I understand how being alone can be a problem.

 

Here's hoping for better days...

 

Ajay,

Sorry to be so late in getting back to you! When I tried to reinstate the Zoloft, my body and brain completely rejected it. I could not eat or sleep for three days - my system was in total shock, major agitation. My brain felt like it was cooking. I only tried it for a few days, but needless to say, couldn't go on taking it.

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Nadia

Hi, Sunny!

 

Man, I give us all a collective hug. Hats off to all of us for working through this.

 

I am one of the few Zoloft people on here, along with Ajay. Unlike you, however, the Zoloft did work for me with few side effects [the only real one at normal doses--not the wacko 200mg a psychiatrist once gave me for a while] was it took me longer to orgasm, but coupled with Wellbutrin it kept it in check). I have stopped and restarted Zoloft many times, and it always seems to work again after a break. BUT now I am realizing that some of the awfulness I am feeling now is NOT normal, and is probably caused by years of AD (ab)use, so I am doing my utmost not to go back and let my brain heal.

 

Like you, I have horrible feelings of dread and doom. And yes, things are worse in the morning than at night. I went on meds for depression issues, not anxiety (my anxiety before seemed directly related to trying to claw my way out of depression, or fearing rejection, and was focused on specific things. Now it is just out of control and completely general).

 

I'm not sure how much we can generalize about our experiences because I never had the dread and doom feeling while ON the Zoloft, only months after quitting. I wish we could have more answers... hopefully the stuff that works for others will work for us also. And I think things like walking, meditating, and eating healthy HAVE to be good for all of us and help us heal.

 

Here's to a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

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Sunny1008

Hello everyone,

 

I recently got a job at a market, and I was excited because it was helping take my mind off of my horrid w/d symptoms. Well, only the second day on the job, I fell and broke my foot while at work! So now I am basically out of work again for the next 4-6 weeks or longer. And what's worse, I cannot do ANYTHING physical because I am on crutches. Normally I like to go on walks or do yoga to relieve the agitation, but now I can't even do that! I can basically just sit around with my leg elevated, and the only things I can do are watch TV or read - both of which are extremely difficult for me to do because of the agitation and akathisia.

 

HELP!! How can I cope through the next 4-6 weeks not being able to do anything??!!

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summer

Sorry this happened to you, Sunny. Sitting around isn't easy for anyone. You have to help yourself heal tho by keeping your foot elevated. Key in on that when you start to get jumpy. The bones must heal properly or you are liable to have problems when the cast comes off. Lots of movies and good books... and there is always the telephone and the computer.

 

I hope you heal as fast as possible!

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Altostrata

This is a tough one, sunny. Chair dancing?

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btdt

I so feel for you. I broke my foot too can't quite recall the date think 2010 jan 1 did a hop on the kitchen floor and broke a bone in my foot in four places.

If you have a video camera in your family it is a good time passer to watch all the home movies from years past. I found this helped as tv bores me to death usually but when it is your own people it helps. I hope you have help to get food as that can make you cranky faster than anything or that is what I found. If you can get lots of food that you like to eat it helps. Cds and headphones relaxation music the ocean your fav songs if you can stand music I sure hope your past the can't stand sound part of withdrawal.

Read on here and talk to people.

Good luck it will take some extra patients to get thru this one thing I can say for sure this too will pass cause it will.

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btdt

Likely a bad time to tell you high serotonin weakens bones and beer is a treatment I know all sounds mad but it is true.

Researching it will give you something to do I hope you not in too much pain.

That is another thing take it easy on the pain pills if you can as they increase serotonin all opiates increase serotonin. I do not do well with pain pill at all. Hope you have a speedy healing.

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Rhiannon

Do you have access to a stationary bicycle? Could you use that, with minimal resistance?

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Sunny1008

Thanks, all, for the advice! This is a tough one.

 

Alto - LOL about the chair dancing.

 

btdt - I am still in the phase of w/d where light and sound really aggravate me, so it is tough for me to do anything really stimulating like watching TV, listening to music, etc. Although I might try to find a CD of just white noise b/c that seems to calm me. Also, I haven't had to take Rx pain pills, thank goodness! I am just taking Motrin right now.

 

Rhi - I don't have a stationary bike at home, but I guess if I get really desperate I could go to the gym and use it!

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btdt

If you can go to the gym with a broken foot my hat is off to you please give yourself some time to heal before you try it as moving the bone around will delay you healing best to ask your doctor first is my suggestion.

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Sunny1008

If you can go to the gym with a broken foot my hat is off to you please give yourself some time to heal before you try it as moving the bone around will delay you healing best to ask your doctor first is my suggestion.

 

btdt - You are right. It is too early to exercise. I need to let my foot heal more before I attempt that!

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Altostrata

Hi, Sunny. Good to see you on the site again.

 

How are you doing now? What are your symptoms?

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Sunny1008

Hi Alto,

 

I am still struggling a lot with both physical and mental symptoms, the worst being the overwhelming anxiety and depression. Sometimes the anxiety is so bad that it is difficult for me to leave the house. I am also still having lots of pressure in the left side of my head, a "rushing" sound in my left ear/head that is constantly there, 24/7. I also have tons of fatigue, and a hypersensitive nervous system (to light and sound).

 

Also, since March I have been dealing with lots of stomach problems, which has only increased my anxiety. Of course, the doctors can't find any cause for my stomach problems, so I am wondering if they are related to the withdrawal. The other option is that it could be an intolerance to gluten, so I am trying a gluten-free diet to see if that helps.

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Altostrata

How have your symptoms changed over a year?

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ajnjj

Sunny ,

 

Hi, I'm sorry for your suffering. A few things...there's a thread on here about anxiety, I think its under finding meaning, its called let's talk anxiety. Great thread. Also in that thread there is an article about anxiety posted by Tom. I suggest you read that and Claire WEekes bok "hope and help for your nerves".

 

Also, re the Gluten issues. It's very difficult to go completely gluten free. If that's an issue for you please note gluten is in many things. Soy sauce, caramel colring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein....

 

Just a little info for you and well wishes your way!!

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lotusflower

 

 

I stopped completely on August 5, 2010. After that, all hell broke loose. I tried to reinstate, but that failed - my body and brain completely rejected the drug.

 

 

 

Sunny,

I'm also tapering zoloft from 50 mg. Here you indicate stopping in Aug. 2010 and in your signature, it says drug free in 2011. Can you clarify? I'm asking because I started my taper in Dec. 2010 and went from 50 to now at 7 mg. Anxious dread is my constant companion. Sending prayers and a big hug, joanne

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Sunny1008

How have your symptoms changed over a year?

 

Alto,

 

I struggled a lot over the year with depression and anxiety, but I was doing okay. I was working part-time, and I even started dating someone. But then it all fell apart in early March when all of these stomach problems started. I dropped a significant amount of weight and had to go on a leave of absence from my job. That's when the anxiety got even worse. The doctors ran numerous tests but couldn't find anything wrong with my stomach.

 

That is when I started researching gluten intolerance, and how it can cause digestive problems as well as systemic problems, including depression and anxiety. It causes mood problems because your body is unable to absorb the nutrients from food, and therefore, your brain isn't getting nourished properly. I am trying a gluten-free diet, but it is still too soon to tell if it is helping....

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Sunny1008

Sunny ,

 

Hi, I'm sorry for your suffering. A few things...there's a thread on here about anxiety, I think its under finding meaning, its called let's talk anxiety. Great thread. Also in that thread there is an article about anxiety posted by Tom. I suggest you read that and Claire WEekes bok "hope and help for your nerves".

 

Also, re the Gluten issues. It's very difficult to go completely gluten free. If that's an issue for you please note gluten is in many things. Soy sauce, caramel colring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein....

 

Just a little info for you and well wishes your way!!

 

Ajnjj,

 

Thank you for the suggestions and support! I just started a gluten-free diet, and yes, I am finding that it is pretty difficult. I am having to read labels very carefully. But interestingly, gluten intolerance can cause a myriad of symptoms, from digestion problems to anxiety and depression. Maybe that is part of my problem? I don't know yet, I am trying it out to see...

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Sunny1008

 

 

 

I stopped completely on August 5, 2010. After that, all hell broke loose. I tried to reinstate, but that failed - my body and brain completely rejected the drug.

 

 

 

Sunny,

I'm also tapering zoloft from 50 mg. Here you indicate stopping in Aug. 2010 and in your signature, it says drug free in 2011. Can you clarify? I'm asking because I started my taper in Dec. 2010 and went from 50 to now at 7 mg. Anxious dread is my constant companion. Sending prayers and a big hug, joanne

 

Hi Wakingup,

 

I completely stopped Zoloft in August of 2010. But then I went on Remeron for a while in an attempt to help the Zoloft withdrawal symptoms (did not work). So I have been completely off antidepressants since May 2011.

 

I know all too well the anxious dread you are feeling. Thanks for the prayers and hugs, and right back at you!

 

p.s. - This is what I loved hearing from doctors - "Fifty mg of Zoloft isn't even that much, so you can't possibly be having withdrawal symptoms." (!!!!!) Maybe it's not a lot for most people, but for me, it was!

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lotusflower

Sunny,

 

I just want to add that I discovered that I was gluten intolerant in May, 2011 about 6 months into my taper.

It was tough at first but now it is simple. Just keep at it because for me, it was totally worth it.

I feel about 200% better. Stomach issues, flatulence are gone. Bloating is gone. More energy, less depression. And probably more that I have forgotten. If I accidentally get glutened, my body tells me immediately with stomach discomfort, diahrea. Also a great website to visit: www.celiac.com

 

I'm thinking about ditching the zoloft when I get to 5 mg. but after reading your history, I am re-considering.

Do you experience any windows? Do you have to go to a job? thanks so much Sunny, joanneso

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Sunny1008

Sunny,

 

I just want to add that I discovered that I was gluten intolerant in May, 2011 about 6 months into my taper.

It was tough at first but now it is simple. Just keep at it because for me, it was totally worth it.

I feel about 200% better. Stomach issues, flatulence are gone. Bloating is gone. More energy, less depression. And probably more that I have forgotten. If I accidentally get glutened, my body tells me immediately with stomach discomfort, diahrea. Also a great website to visit: www.celiac.com

 

I'm thinking about ditching the zoloft when I get to 5 mg. but after reading your history, I am re-considering.

Do you experience any windows? Do you have to go to a job? thanks so much Sunny, joanneso

 

Wakingup,

 

Thanks for the info about gluten intolerance. It has only been two weeks since I started the diet, and I am seeing some improvements, but still do not feel like my digestive system is normal. Most of my problems involve my stomach, like nausea, feeling very full all the time, acid reflux, etc...can gluten intolerance cause these symptoms in the upper GI tract? How long did it take for your digestive system to feel "normal"?

 

I do experience windows, but ever since I started having stomach problems, I have to admit that my anxiety has increased dramatically. I just wish my stomach would feel better because then I think I would have a lot less anxiety. About my job, I am on a leave of absence from work until I am feeling better.

 

Sunny

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Sunny1008

Wakingup,

 

How did you know you were gluten intolerant? Did you have blood tests?

 

I had the blood test for Celiac disease, but it came back negative. But I have since learned that the blood tests are highly inaccurate (only about 30%). So I am kind of going into this blind, not knowing if that really is the true cause of my digestive distress.

 

Thanks,

Sunny

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ajnjj

I tested positive for the celiac panel.

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Sunny1008

I tested positive for the celiac panel.

 

Ajnjj,

 

What is the celiac panel? Is that the blood test? I had a blood test done and it came back negative.

 

Thanks,

Sunny

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lotusflower

Wakingup,

 

How did you know you were gluten intolerant? Did you have blood tests?

 

I had the blood test for Celiac disease, but it came back negative. But I have since learned that the blood tests are highly inaccurate (only about 30%). So I am kind of going into this blind, not knowing if that really is the true cause of my digestive distress.

 

Thanks,

Sunny

 

Sunny,

It was suggested to me by friends that I may be gluten intolerant. I did not have the blood work because I had a strong feeling it would come back negative because that is usually how I test for everything. Also, in order to be tested accurately, you have to be eating a gluten diet and once I stopped eating it, there was no way I was going to go back to feeling like crap.

I've had symptoms since I was a young child but they got 100 times worse during my taper....I believe that is because withdrawal makes us more sensitive to everything. Gluten is hidden in lots of stuff but I am very happy with the many choices that are available to me despite that. Also want to recommend Dr. Peter Green's book: Celiac Disease, a Hidden Epidemic....also Elizabeth Hasselbeck wrote a decent book, forget the title. There is a great forum at www.celiac.com where you can post and get answers to a lot of questions.

As for my digestive system, the bloating and flatulence stopped immediately. The increased energy and mood changes (for the better) keep improving with time.

I'm also allergic to casein, a protein in dairy products and was tested for that...it was positive. Every time I drank milk or ate ice cream, I'd have severe pain, so bad I'd be doubled over.

There may be other things that you may try eliminating....like soy.

Good luck to you, Sunny. I'd be happy to answer any other questions anytime, joannexo

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Sunny1008

 

Wakingup,

 

How did you know you were gluten intolerant? Did you have blood tests?

 

I had the blood test for Celiac disease, but it came back negative. But I have since learned that the blood tests are highly inaccurate (only about 30%). So I am kind of going into this blind, not knowing if that really is the true cause of my digestive distress.

 

Thanks,

Sunny

 

Sunny,

It was suggested to me by friends that I may be gluten intolerant. I did not have the blood work because I had a strong feeling it would come back negative because that is usually how I test for everything. Also, in order to be tested accurately, you have to be eating a gluten diet and once I stopped eating it, there was no way I was going to go back to feeling like crap.

I've had symptoms since I was a young child but they got 100 times worse during my taper....I believe that is because withdrawal makes us more sensitive to everything. Gluten is hidden in lots of stuff but I am very happy with the many choices that are available to me despite that. Also want to recommend Dr. Peter Green's book: Celiac Disease, a Hidden Epidemic....also Elizabeth Hasselbeck wrote a decent book, forget the title. There is a great forum at www.celiac.com where you can post and get answers to a lot of questions.

As for my digestive system, the bloating and flatulence stopped immediately. The increased energy and mood changes (for the better) keep improving with time.

I'm also allergic to casein, a protein in dairy products and was tested for that...it was positive. Every time I drank milk or ate ice cream, I'd have severe pain, so bad I'd be doubled over.

There may be other things that you may try eliminating....like soy.

Good luck to you, Sunny. I'd be happy to answer any other questions anytime, joannexo

 

 

Joanne,

 

Thanks so much for the info. I just looked at Dr. Green's book on Amazon and I am going to get it. Looks very informative! And I agree with you that withdrawal makes us more sensitive to everything, and maybe that is why my intolerance (if that's what it is) is just coming out now.

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Altostrata

Sunny, clearly for you 50mg Zoloft was enough to cause withdrawal symptoms. Many of us have had withdrawal syndrome for a long time.

 

I know you are in a situation where you feel you need to convince people you are ill. This can cause a great deal of stress. Try to get to a place where you know what you know and don't try to convince them, simply state your truth in a quiet, assertive way.

 

You certainly don't need to explain yourself here. We all understand.

 

You don't need to test positive for celiac disease to benefit from a non-irritating diet. Our bodies each have their needs. It might help you to focus on taking care of yourself and finding out what's best for your body.

 

The elimination diet, where you reduce the things you eat to a few simple items, can help you find out what's best for your body. After you stabilize on a few foods, you can systematically add others in, keeping notes to see what works and what doesn't.

 

I'm sorry we don't have any easy answers for withdrawal syndrome. There are some things you can do to help -- such as reducing light stimulation if light seems to make you anxious or you wake up early -- but mostly it's taking care of yourself until your nervous system heals itself.

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Sunny1008

Sunny, clearly for you 50mg Zoloft was enough to cause withdrawal symptoms. Many of us have had withdrawal syndrome for a long time.

 

I know you are in a situation where you feel you need to convince people you are ill. This can cause a great deal of stress. Try to get to a place where you know what you know and don't try to convince them, simply state your truth in a quiet, assertive way.

 

You certainly don't need to explain yourself here. We all understand.

 

You don't need to test positive for celiac disease to benefit from a non-irritating diet. Our bodies each have their needs. It might help you to focus on taking care of yourself and finding out what's best for your body.

 

The elimination diet, where you reduce the things you eat to a few simple items, can help you find out what's best for your body. After you stabilize on a few foods, you can systematically add others in, keeping notes to see what works and what doesn't.

 

I'm sorry we don't have any easy answers for withdrawal syndrome. There are some things you can do to help -- such as reducing light stimulation if light seems to make you anxious or you wake up early -- but mostly it's taking care of yourself until your nervous system heals itself.

 

Thanks Alto. I appreciate the support, and I am SOOOO glad that there is a forum like this with people who DO understand and DO believe me. I am going to try the gluten-free diet and do my best to take care of myself in this time. I am the only one who knows how I feel, so I need to stop caring about what other people think and start caring about myself.

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Karma

Hey Sunny

 

I see you are in the Denver area - the http://www.denverceliacs.org/ is the Denver chapter of the Celiac Sprue - look under Chapter Info for the Product List. This is a guide for grocery shopping that was very helpful to me when I first started eating gluten free in 2005. I am 100%, religiously gluten free ... and we have gotten very good at managing it.

 

In the US food for purchase in grocery stores has to declare any of the eight major allergens ... of which, gluten/wheat is one of them.

 

I also recommend acquiring the Triumph Dining restaurant guide http://www.triumphdining.com/products/gluten-free-restaurant-guide for help when eating out at restaurants. There are a number of chain restaurants that can accommodate a gluten free request. There are also a number of independent restaurants that can accommodate a gluten free request.

 

I usually make sure the restaurant staff understands about cross-contamination and I ask them about whether their fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer - I ask them to make sure my burger is cooked on a clean part of the grill where they have not toasted buns ... as you become acquainted with eating GF these are things you will learn about.

 

Feel free to PM me if you have questions.

 

Karma

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Sunny1008

Hi Karma,

 

Thank you so much for the info and the links to the websites! Really appreciate that. I am hoping that going gluten-free will help relieve my symptoms. I guess time will tell...

 

Sunny

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