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SS1234: 23 year old student, starting Sertraline (zoloft) taper, guidance appreciated!


ss1234

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Hello everyone!

 

I am a 23 year old student. History of anxiety disorders in the family (mom, sister, and aunt all have OCD). No OCD symptoms myself, but diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and perscribed 100 mg Sertraline in a time of a lot of life transition about 6 months ago. Worked great, felt calmer, more social and "in the moment" ; but gained 15 pounds that I can't attribute to anything else. Now six months later, my life situation has stablized and I am frustrated with the weight gain and want to taper off. I also am doing it as I want to start having a family in the next 5-7 years and don't want to deal with withdrawal before getting pregnant.

 

My main questions that I would love for some first hand experience guidance on, as there doesn't seem to be a lot of actual scientific literature on the topic:

 

1) Has anyone had experience with rapid weight gain on zoloft and then lost it after stopping? I have found conflicting experiences in the forums (which I guess just means its different for everyone?).

2) I am worried about tapering while I am in school - I am in an intensive program 9-5 every day with homework in the evening. Any advice?

3) Any tips to minimize symptoms. I am down to 50 mg now and have headaches and feel almost "hyperaware" like my mind is going really fast all the time (does that make sense?)

On 100 mg of Sertraline for 5.5 months for generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and strenuous life transitions. Gained 15 pounds in first 5 months but worked great.

Started tapering one month ago (January) by going down to 75mg because of frustration with weight gain and stabilization of life situation (feeling ready to handle anxiety with strategies, excersise, and healthy eating).

Consulted doctor one week ago (Feb 18) about going off of it. Advised to go down to 50mg for two weeks.

Still taking 50 mgs now (Feb 24th) experiencing some withdrawal symptoms (hyper-awareness, headache, anxiety)

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Hey there SS... I can only talk about my experience with weight gain/loss on Zoloft. ADs make me gain weight, but it comes on gradually.

 

When I was on Effexor, the weight came on steadily and stayed on. There wasn't any diet or exercise that would take the weight off. When I tapered off that, I was able to lose the extra weight. But I was a nervous wreck and needed to go on something to stabilize me. Zoloft was the stabilizer and I lost a little more while I was on that as well.

 

I was able to take some weight off while I was on Zoloft, but it took some work (just like losing weight without it). Keeping a journal of what I ate and exercising everyday helped. Nothing fancy :) 

 

Something of note though: when I started to taper, I started putting on more weight. I think this was because I was covering up some of my anxious feelings with food. This might not have happened if I did a slower taper.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello SS, welcome to SA. I am glad that you have found us, we certainly can help you to taper off the drug safely. 

First.....STOP for now, you are going too fast and suffering withdrawal.  

 

When did you start tapering and how did you get down to 50mg?  Doctors usually  advise a taper that is much too fast and then blame return of the illness when withdrawal hits!   We recommend a taper of no more that 10% of the current dose with 4 weeks between cuts, longer if there are any symptoms. 

You could also consider a micro taper, cutting by a smaller amount more often. The time frame is about the same but the smaller cuts can mean fewer symptoms.  I will get some links for you to read.   

 

As for the weight gain, some gain weight and some don't. I had weight gain taking effexor and lost all the excess weight while tapering without dieting! I did crave carbs before tapering and the craving lessened then went without me even noticing.  Side effects lessen as the dose gets lower so the weight issue will hopefully right itself for you too as you taper. 

 

It would help us if you can put a brief note of your tapering history in your signature strip for us. Here is how to do that.  Once we have the details of how you have tapered so far we can help you to get on track and have a successful taper hopefully without disrupting your studies. 

 

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

 

Tips for tapering sertraline http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

 

About the micro taper http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/

 

The 3 KIS, it is important to understand this http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6632-the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/

 

Most people find that fish oil helps with any head fuzz and it is beneficial for the brain

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

And magnesium is very calming and may help with studies even if there isn't any withdrawal symptoms

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

We find that most people find these 2 helpful but any other supplements are very much trial and error. 

 

That is a lot of reading for you to be getting on with, any questions, please ask.  :)

**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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Thanks @mammaP and @NervousKitten . I appreciate the suggestions and personal experiences. It helps to hear about other peoples experiences. MammaP do you think I should go back up to 75 mg ( I put my history in my signature like you suggested).

On 100 mg of Sertraline for 5.5 months for generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and strenuous life transitions. Gained 15 pounds in first 5 months but worked great.

Started tapering one month ago (January) by going down to 75mg because of frustration with weight gain and stabilization of life situation (feeling ready to handle anxiety with strategies, excersise, and healthy eating).

Consulted doctor one week ago (Feb 18) about going off of it. Advised to go down to 50mg for two weeks.

Still taking 50 mgs now (Feb 24th) experiencing some withdrawal symptoms (hyper-awareness, headache, anxiety)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi

 

Did your symptoms only start when you dropped to 50? Are they staying the same, getting worse, getting better?

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Hi

Did your symptoms only start when you dropped to 50? Are they staying the same, getting worse, getting better?

Dalsaan

Hi Dalsaan,

I 'd say they have been staying the same for the most part, except I have only recently begun feeling exhausted way earlier in the day than normal.

On 100 mg of Sertraline for 5.5 months for generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and strenuous life transitions. Gained 15 pounds in first 5 months but worked great.

Started tapering one month ago (January) by going down to 75mg because of frustration with weight gain and stabilization of life situation (feeling ready to handle anxiety with strategies, excersise, and healthy eating).

Consulted doctor one week ago (Feb 18) about going off of it. Advised to go down to 50mg for two weeks.

Still taking 50 mgs now (Feb 24th) experiencing some withdrawal symptoms (hyper-awareness, headache, anxiety)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

A conservative approach would say up dose a little bit, maybe to 60. See if you can stabilise on that and then go very slow with the taper so as to minimise withdrawal and thus school disruption.

 

I hesitate to up dose higher because these are powerful drugs and the doses given are quite high anyway. I also hesitate to stay at 50 because you have dropped quickly, are starting to feel it, it could get worse and you are concerned for your studies.

 

So that's what I would do if I was in your shoes and why

 

D

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Feeling really easily frustrated today, easy to anger, and exhausted by the time I got home from school. I am sticking with 50 mg because my pills are the not the kind you can split and are 25mg each, so I can't really go up by 10mg all that easily. Thanks everyone for your guidance :) The only person who knows I was even on sertraline in the first place is my boyfriend, who lives out of town, so its nice to get the support.

On 100 mg of Sertraline for 5.5 months for generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and strenuous life transitions. Gained 15 pounds in first 5 months but worked great.

Started tapering one month ago (January) by going down to 75mg because of frustration with weight gain and stabilization of life situation (feeling ready to handle anxiety with strategies, excersise, and healthy eating).

Consulted doctor one week ago (Feb 18) about going off of it. Advised to go down to 50mg for two weeks.

Still taking 50 mgs now (Feb 24th) experiencing some withdrawal symptoms (hyper-awareness, headache, anxiety)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I am sticking with 50 mg because my pills are the not the kind you can split and are 25mg each, so I can't really go up by 10mg all that easily.

 

Hi ss1234,

If you are going to safely taper off sertraline, you will have to eventually learn how to make small dosage cuts.  This topic will give you various methods to do that with sertraline:

 

Tips for tapering sertraline http://survivinganti...oft-sertraline/

 

And these topics will give you additional information:

 

Using an oral syringe and other tapering techniques

 

How to cut up tablets or pills

 

Using a digital scale to measure doses

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

I hope you had a better day today.

 

 

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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