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  1. Hey everyone. Im about halfway through my taper, and I’m starting to feel more fatigue, more nausea, and more anxiety. As a person in eating disorder recovery, it’s really important for me to maintain my weight. A lot of times my anxiety is so bad that it makes eating feel more difficult, even though I know my body is hungry. I’m still working on recovery, and a lot of times turn to junk food just because my body needs the energy. I also find that my hangovers from alcohol are way worse than they used to be. My most recent one lasted for four days. I don’t know if it’s a lack of sleep or proper nutrition, but, after having one Bloody Mary for brunch, I felt dizzy and nauseous. Is it possible for me to be that sensitive to everything right now? Ive undergone food sensitivity tests, given up various food groups, taken a variety of supplements to “heal my gut”, but the only thing that seems to consistently work is eating enough and sleeping enough. All tests have come back inconclusive. I can exercise only two or three times a week without feeling completely drained (I also bartend until 3-4am most nights). I know for me that treating my body well will be the baseline of healing, especially from antidepressants. If anyone has any non-restrictive (or at least realistic for someone in ED recovery) practices, dietary advice, or body work suggestions, let me know. I’d love to hear your experiences. xoxo
  2. I’ve been on Zoloft/Sertraline for almost 15 years and for most of that time my daily dosage has been 1 1/2 tablets. A couple months ago my anxiety level was high so my doctor (regular primary care) suggested going up to the max of two a day. Over the past few days I’ve been experiencing the same symptoms that occur when you run out of the drug or go cold turkey- the twitching/tingling when turning your head, being over alert, etc but I have not changed my dosage or stopped. Any ideas?
  3. Good Morning Everyone, I wanted to go ahead and introduce myself to this wonderful community. I believe I may be experiencing some protracted withdrawal from SSRIs and have some questions. I started my SSRI use around 10 years ago with Sertraline, with 150mg being my eventual dosage. This helped to eliminate some physical symptoms I had been experiencing that my doctor and I thought might be stress and anxiety related. After a few years I complained of some sexual side effects and Wellbutrin XL 300mg was added to my regimen. This didn't really resolve the issue, but I remained on both medications until I abruptly stopped about 4 months ago. As implied, I quit cold turkey. I now know that was not a smart thing to do and potentially dangerous. If I could go back knowing what I know now I would have started a long tapering process. Unfortunately I did not. To make matters worse, the time that I quit was right before I moved to a new state to pursue a promotion and new work environment. Writing this now makes me feel quite foolish. I did not experience any noticeable withdrawal symptoms during the typical acute withdrawal time period. I felt great up until about 2 weeks ago, when I fell into a state of constant anxiety and likely also some depression. I had begun to become very introspective about my career and the move I had just undertaken. I feel that my existential concerns and my added stress at work led to me falling into this state of anxiety and depression. I feel a high level of anxiety all day that will not go away and it particularly bad when I wake up in the morning. The anxiety level fluctuates a bit throughout the day, but is always there. It is extremely taxing and I am generally tense and slightly nauseous most of the time. It has become very hard to get things done at work and I am concerned about my ability to continue to hold onto my job. Since falling into this state I have been doing a lot of reading here and elsewhere and have now become familiar with the concept of protracted withdrawal. I am unsure at the moment if this is withdrawal or not, as I don't have symptoms beyond the extreme anxiety. However, the level and duration of anxiety I am experiencing is unlike anything I have ever experienced before, including before I started taking AD drugs. As I am finding it hard to cope and am concerned about the effect this is having on my life, I am considering reinstating the Sertraline to try and stabilize. Especially since I stopped my AD use cold turkey, it seems like it might be a good idea to try to reinstate and stabilize and then begin a slow taper once I am in a better place. While I know that the members here cannot diagnose me or give me medical advice, I am hoping that your insights might prove useful in helping me make a decision on reinstatement. I am currently seeing a GP and a therapist, and both are supportive of reinstatement if it is what I want. I have read the thread on reinstating and know that it seems to have worked for some and not for others and that we are all different. Given this, do I seem like a candidate for reinstatement? I see some recommended reinstatement dosages for various SSRIs, but since dosages between the drugs differ, I was unsure on what a good reinstatement dosage might be. I see it is recommended that a very small does to start is recommended due to potential hypersensitivity. For Sertraline, is there any consensus on what this kind of does would look like? Thank you for any insight you can provide. It has been a very challenging few weeks and I am so glad that there are communities like this for me to reach out to!
  4. Hi, my name is Asher and I have ADHD and generalized anxiety disorder. I struggled a lot with college after my first year and then sought help as I had done everything in my power to address my struggles. I started Zoloft in November of 2013 and have been on it since. My max does was at 150mg and that lasted about a month or two, as I was having decreased libido, thus I stepped the dosage down to 125mg (all this occurring in 2015). I didn't feel good about it still so I tried switching to citalopram for 4 months in February of 2016 into the summer. However, I became very lethargic on it and returning to classes in the Fall, I felt terrible. Thus, I switched back to Zoloft, slowly increasing the dosage while decreasing the citalopram. In 2017, I was back on Zoloft and up to 75 mg dosage, which felt great, until returning to classes in the Fall of 2017. I then went back up to 100mg and then 125 mg, and then back down to 75 mg, all by Christmas time of 2017. I decided to switch to Wellbutrin in January of 2018, slowly decreasing my dosage of Zoloft. I went from to 50 mg from January to February, then I added Wellbutrin in mid February and decreased the Zoloft to 25 mg. This was all up until last week when I stopped taking it completely (per schedule of my doctor). However, after a week I seemed okay but on Saturday, March 17th, I woke up feeling disoriented, having electric-shock-like feelings and a migraine. My symptoms have persisted since then, which has landed me here. I have read up on tapering and am so glad I found this place as once my doctor and I started the process of switching to Wellbutrin, I knew it seemed too quick to come off Zoloft. Today, I had to take an exam while my withdrawal symptoms seemed to be at there highest so far, and that was the last straw for me. I knew something was wrong and hopefully, I can utilize the resources and experiences of this forum to create a plan in which I can feel more normal again. After reading other posts, I am comfortable with mixing my own doses of Zoloft and just need to figure out the right process of doing so and am welcome to any and all feedback or recommendations.
  5. When I was 15, 2005, I started to have some insomnia and mild depression, it was winter time in Montana so not too much sun, I was diagnosed with SAD. I was started on Lexapro 10 mg and I remember it helped. When summer came around, I think I remember trying to taper off slowly but then having some bad depression. Doctor said I likely had a chemical imbalance and that I would need to stay on the medication for the rest of my life. I was told there weren't long term effects from taking the medication. At some point a few years later, I must have struggled because I was switched to Citalopram 5 mg and after 6 months, went to 10 mg of Citalopram. I don't really remember this point all that well. In 2008 I went on to college and had a successful couple years, grades were good and I had a girlfriend. During the summer I started to experience some major depression and anxiety, I didn't want to get out of bed, I felt scared. After a few days, we decided to go to the doctor and I was switched to Sertraline 50 mg and then a few months later increased to 100 mg. I remained on this dose for almost 7 years. I had graduated college and landed a great job in 2013. I moved away from family for work and when my fiancé finished college in 2014, I moved her down with me, unfortunately, she ended up leaving me suddenly with no warning shortly after and moved away. I was devastated. I remember being hysterical and then very suddenly, felt no emotion at all. At first I was glad that I didn't have to feel the pain, but I didn't feel any joy either. I took two weeks off of work and mainly stayed home alone. The emotions eventually came back and I got better. Since then I have dated a little but nothing serious. I currently live alone In 2017, I started to have some pretty severe depressive episodes, I decided to find a therapist and a psychiatrist and deal with my mental health the 'intelligent' way. Therapy was not too bad, but I really felt like the medication was not working anymore. The psychiatrist decided to start me on bupropion xl 150 mg. I transitioned from Sertraline 100 mg to bupropion xl 300 mg over the course of 2 months. I remember feeling OK, but looking back, I started to feel more and more trapped, afraid of making mistakes, thinking that if I did anything wrong, I was worthless etc. I got my prescription refilled right around Christmas time. I noticed the pills looked different but I wasn't worried about it, I saw it was still the same medication, just a different generic supplier. I started taking that pill Christmas day, within a few days, I started to get very depressed, even though I was working out, eating well and socializing. On that Friday, 5 days later, in the middle of a sprint on my treadmill, I broke down in tears. I was really depressed. I wrote in my journal that night, I was thinking it was all in my head. The next day, I got up early and worked out first thing, I made a list of things to go shopping for and went to the store. I remember taking a long time in the store and feeling very anxious about making the 'wrong' choice on everything. After an hour and a half, I bought what I had and went home. I broke down in tears again. I asked myself what the heck I was thinking about that was making me feel this way. I had been dabbling with journaling and mindfulness. I wrote down a lot of things like "I think I am completely worthless", "I don't know anything", "I'm no good" etc. I wrote down evidence for and against for each item and was able to prove all those negative thoughts false and I felt better. I thought I had found negative core beliefs I held about myself and that challenging them would make me feel better. Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. The rest of that weekend I was mainly confined to my bed and chair, feeling very anxious and depressed to the extreme. I was talking on the phone with family and my Mom thought the medication wasn't working right. I was thinking it would be weird for the medication to work for months and then suddenly start going haywire. I thought my mood was due to questioning core beliefs I had about myself and my life. After suffering through the New Years weekend and a night of very little sleep, I forced myself to go to work. The morning was awful but as the day went on, I felt better and better. I was able to go and see my psychiatrist that day and explained about the issues and my "mental breakthrough". He was very concerned about my symptoms and prescribed me venlafaxine xr 150 mg and told to switch. As the day went on, I almost felt euphoric. I decided to not switch and just continue the bupropion xl 300 mg. Over the next two weeks, I had some very depressed mornings that lifted to nice afternoons and better evenings. The second weekend, I woke up at 6 am, very anxious and realized something was wrong. I remembered my pills had changed, I researched if people had struggled with supplier changes and found quite a few in fact did. I also found that several years ago, the FDA actually pulled a generic supplier of bupropion off the market due to not being bioequivalent. I was furious. I found a way to report what happened to me to the FDA. I did not take that pill again and switched to the venlafaxine. I took it Sunday, and then Monday but then I thought to myself that I potentially had just gone through cold turkey withdrawal from bupropion and that maybe the worst of it was over. I was thinking maybe I had an opportunity to stay off of antidepressants, so I did not take anymore pills after Monday, January 8th 2018. At some point I found this site, and although it was helpful to find I was not alone, I was also terrified of potentially struggling for multiple years! I started taking fish oil, magnesium, turmeric, COQ10, D3, a multivitamin and eventually added a probiotic. I have had very little physical symptoms, its been mainly mental and emotional. I have experienced windows and waves daily, with a progression to having a couple good days in a row. During the waves, I am depressed, anxious, and cognitive abilities are reduced, my memory is not great, I can't seem to make decisions as quickly or as easily as I used to and I can't seem to be an active participant in most conversations. During the windows, I feel very good. My brain is firing on all cylinders. I am positive and optimistic about the future, I have confidence and good self esteem. I feel like "I can do this". Recently though, this past week, I have had more lows and deeper lows (not as low as the first two weeks). I am terrified. I know others have had it worse but I don't know what to do. I exercise almost every day. I have been journaling, praying, meditating, seeing a psychologist weekly, I eat well and I sleep well most of the time. I occasionally wake up around 5 am with some anxiety. I have so far been able to keep working full time. Its been 7 weeks since I stopped medications cold turkey, 9 weeks since my last effective pill, and 6 months since my SSRI. I believe I am definitely low on serotonin from the many years of being on SSRI's. I am struggling pretty bad lately with the depression. I am not getting any joy out of anything. I struggle to get out of bed. I am starting to lose hope that it will get better. The thought has crossed my mind to reinstate a low dose of sertraline, but its been out of my system for 6 months and from reading the forums it seems like it may not work or make things worse. The other thing I think I want to try, even though some have recommended not to, is l-tryptophan. If my thinking is correct, it could really help me. At least provide my body the materials it needs to be able to make serotonin on its own. I wish I would have never taken an antidepressant but I just didn't know and I trusted my doctors. I don't want to make my situation worse, but I don't know If I can keep going the way it is. Please, has anyone had success with l-tryptophan. Has anyone had success re-instating an SSRI after 6 months?
  6. Hi all, I’m new to using online support but feel I may need some support coming off of my Sertraline after 2 years on 200mg. I’m a little scared right now and just wanted, well hoped, there would be other people I could speak to about their experiences and any tips for getting things right and being successful on this journey. Thanks In advance xx
  7. FayM: PGAD

    Hi Everybody, I registrated because i have been sufferig from PGAD. I tried a couple of ssri’s, first was Lexapro but i was doing oke at that time and it wasn’t worth the side affects because i could function without Lexapro. So i stopped that (only took it for 2 weeks) after about 3 months i tried Zoloft because i was functioning but i still had a lot of anxiety problemen. When i started taking zoloft i noticed symptoms of PGAD, after 2 weeks i stopped with this ssri as well. But since then the PGAD stayed and it is really wrecking my life, i am sorry. I only took this for 2 weeks and now i have had PGAD for almost 5 months and there is not a lot to do about is. I was wondering what other people are doing for the symptoms. If you take medication what kind of medication. Does anybody think that starting with an ssri again can make a difference? I take clonazepam (rivotril) 0,5 Mg but it doesn’t do much. Also my anxiety is through the rough right now so i think i do need to go on some medication again (especially for social anxiety). Please let me know what your experiences are. Xxx Fay
  8. Hey everyone! Just wanted to introduce myself and let you all in on my journey and discontinuation of antidepressants. I am 28 years old and just ended an 11 year relationship with AD's. There was so much shame I felt being on these drugs. I felt like I was this great person because of the pills I was taking and nothing more. I wouldn't dare tell a soul I was taking antidepressants for fear that they would then see the pill and not me. Make sense? I said goodbye to Sertraline in November 2017. After completing yoga teacher training and having this new perspective of myself and my life, I started to actually feel the chemicals that weren't meant to be in my body. I had tried tapering off of Sertraline 3 times prior to the last over the past few years. The previous tries I would make it about a month or two before surrendering back to the pills to make myself feel better if I started feeling sad or uneasy. This time was different. VERY different. This time I started with intense research. I wanted to discontinue the dosage but this time was for real; I would do my homework and get off of these things once and for all. And what I found first broke my heart, made me angry and then gave me hope. The anger is still present when I try to find a reason 'why' people are enslaved to these prescription drugs. The research I found led me to this site, and I continue to research the effects and harms that these medications actually do to people, unbeknownst to them. The cause of our sadness is residual, stagnant energy trapped in our bodies from a traumatic event or life experience that changed our perspective of what is. When we take these medications, we are never actually dealing with the source of our problems, rather than masking it over with a clouded perception of reality. I used to love my prescriptions. Even after I would attempt to quit, that love would return after I felt 'better' taking them again. I was prescribed my first antidepressant when I was 16. I was missing a lot of school because I slept in too late. I just loved my sleep. Eventually, I was sent to the PCP to see what could be done about this sleeping problem.. Well, her answer was Citalopram (Celexa). This was the beginning of a battle I never wanted to be involved with but here I am. And P.S. the sleeping issue was not resolved in any way thereafter. To keep it short, I will just give you a brief history of how my dance with prescription drugs evolved after that: 2006 Celexa (Citalopram) 40 mg & Adderall XR 75 mg (a lot of the times more because I was heavily addicted) 2007 Citalopram & Ritalin (don't remember mg) .. soon after Vyvanse (don't remember mg) and finally to Amphetamine Salts due to unpleasant side effects from the Ritalin & Vyvanse.. ** indicates time period where Amphetamine Salts were prescribed 2008 ** Citalopram 40 mg-> Effexor XR 75 mg after a psychiatric evaluation (which I now understand was due to the medications and the effect they had on me mentally ... psh) 2009** Effexor XR 75 mg - Paxil (Paroxetine) 30 mg due to the INSANELY high cost of Effexor without insurance I was forced to wean myself off and switch 2010** Paxil 30 mg-> Sertraline 50 mg due to weight gain and lethargy 2011-2013 Sertraline 50 mg -> Wellbutrin (Bupropion Hcl) 75 mg due to sexual side effects and wanting to feel alive again 2013-2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg -> Back to Zoloft (Sertraline) 75 mg because the anxious side effects of the Wellbutrin made me uneasy and Sertraline seemed to be the only AD that had the least side effects at the time 2017 Sertraline 75 mg -> slow taper to 50 MG for two weeks -> halving the dosage & following this pattern until there was nothing -> 5 HTP 50 mg & 1200 mg Fish Oil NOW = 1200 mg Fish Oil and becoming accustomed to an Ayurvedic diet along with daily yoga practice**** this is HUGE and one of the main reasons I have remained clean from AD's Now, almost two months clean from prescription drugs I can say that there is still lots of work to be done. When you go through your teenage years and early twenties on AD's, you need to relearn how to interact and react as there is no longer that pill keeping you numb. Everything becomes real and raw. There are still days that I have my emotions consume my entire being in a negative way and I am still working on this. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. As of right now, it seems as though I am taking off from where I left off at 16 years old. This means emotionally and re actively along with maturity and sexuality. As many of you can relate, I could go on with this topic and how it has effected my entire life for ever and ever. There will be more posts that follow in regards to these drugs and how we can help each other become clean and free once again as we were made to be. Love and blessings to you all <3 we CAN do this..we are all in this together! LB Anti-depressants controlling tools of your system Making life more tolerable, making life more tolerable. The Unthinking Majority - Serj Tankian
  9. Hi all, New here. Was on Sertraline for 2.5 years until this Christmastime. Initially 25 then 50mg, attempted to go up to 100mg under the direction of my doctor. Suffered significant diarrhea due to this change, and so went back down to 50mg. And that is when the real issues started. Though I was not aware of what was happening. I was prescribed it during the midst of the breakup of my marriage, which started to break down due to the fact that my ex suffered significant pain on intercourse, which had meant our sex life had pretty much always been one of disappointment and difficulty. Towards the end of last year, I started to realise something wasn't right. I was in a fog, I have moved several times in the last few years as I got my life back on track. I moved to the Bay area in June. I am in the process of trying to start a new relationship, which started just before Christmas last year. I had the sudden realisation that I was having significant sexual side effects. To my horror, once I realised this, I also 'came to' and realised that this had been going on for maybe 6-8 months previously, and progressively getting worse, but I simply hadn't noticed because I had been in a complete fog. I was skipping doses... just unaware of my surroundings. I was having brain zaps, dizziness, confusion, night sweats, significantly decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, depersonalised. I remember people commenting that I seemed distant. I remember my doctor up in Fort Bragg California asking me last June if the sexual side effects were problematic and I cheerily said 'no'. When in fact they were - but I simply wasn't aware. How can that be?! Cue seeing my general practitioner, who is managing my medication here in the Bay area, plus quickly making an appointment with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist - who was the only one I could get an appointment with at short notice - told me I didn't have depression, and could stop taking the zoloft immediately. I told him I wasn't comfortable with that, and would like to taper, and was met with a response that I was the kind of person who got anxious about taking pills, and promptly asked me what I would feel comfortable with. Clearly he didn't believe in the need to taper at all. We ended up doing a taper over 2 weeks. To 25mg and then cold turkey. I then went back to my GP as I did not trust the opinion of a psychiatrist who went against everything I had read. I am working to get in with another psychiatrist, but no appointments until April. My GP has prescribed Wellbutrin, I am 2 weeks into that but honestly want nothing more to do with antidepressants. It is also making me break out into a rash and increasing anxiety. At present I am about 3 weeks in to withdrawal. I get spells of intense anxiety, partially I think due to the wellbutrin, partially due to WD. I did have anxiety before being prescribed an SSRI. My brain gets tired easily. On the positive side, I have started dreaming again - just little bits and pieces. Mostly odd/weird dreams, but dreams nonetheless. Sometimes I wake in a sweat and a panic. But if I can find a way to go back to sleep then often I wake up calmer and more in my body. The sexual side effects worsened initially, but have probably plateaued about where they were before I stopped sertraline. However, I am now aware of just how much difference there is between how I am now, and how I once was. Suddenly my memories of what it was like to have a solid erection have come back. Memories of past sexual encounters where I didn't feel ashamed and broken. And so my desire to be sexual is something I have to fight for. My new partner has been very understanding, but I have to get myself out of a mindset of shame in order to want to be sexual in any way. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I have started to be aware of birdsong, smells that I had forgotten about - woodsmoke, flowers. And I am generally more aware of myself and my environment. Like waking up from a long sleep and wondering where on earth I have been. Some sensation has returned to my genitals. But not much. Sometimes I notice what I feel is desire and attraction. But it feels weak. And erections are weak and unreliable. I have a meditation practice. I have started running and taking longish walks. I am taking fish oil with my food, and working hard to stay positive. I have a network of friends who are amazing and show up for me. At this point I am hopeful as things are early on in the WD process and I am coping. However, I am petrified that I will never get to fully enjoy sex again. It feels cruel, given that my past history was one of being a very sexual person, in a relationship with someone who couldn't give me a fun sex life, despite their best attempts. I am angry that I am in this situation. No one mentioned long-term sexual side effects or withdrawal when I was being counselled for this drug. It wasn't even mentioned as a possibility, although sexual side effects during treatment were. I will not be beaten. One way or the other I will become okay with myself again, whatever that looks like. I would very much like it to look like a regular healthy sex life and relationship again. Who knows. Maybe it will be with an asexual partner or as a Buddhist monk. But I have hope and am working to keep in a positive mindset overall. Not going into these negative thoughts, but just keeping moving at all cost. This is my journey thus far. I'm grateful to be here with you all...
  10. Hey guys First of all I’m astounded by the amount of compassion members give to each other on this site. You’re all very beautiful people and I thank you for doing what you do. My drug history can be found in my signature but basically I've been on Zoloft/Sertraline 150 mg for OCD for almost 2 years now and I've experienced very mild side effects, namely increased sweating, yawning and eyes watering. My condition had improved tremendously - before then I was constantly plagued by my worries and could not function, so I decided to begin tapering off. In November 2017 I reduced my dose to 125 mg (on GP's advice). On December 14 2017 I masturbated for the first time in years, then felt extremely guilty afterwards as I have read online that people have developed PGAD due to sertraline. Ever since I stumbled upon stories about PGAD in the 8th grade, I've been afraid of this disorder. I hoped that the feelings of arousal would go away in a few minutes, as they always did in the past after I 'entertained', so I tried to calm myself down and distract myself by playing video games. To my dread the feelings were still there. There's a constant urge to urinate, throbbing, pulsing sensations in my genitals, clitoris whatever it is. I just graduated from high school and I'm still a virgin so I have no idea what an actual orgasm is like, but after that incident I just randomly experience the 'climaxes' I get during masturbation. I believed it was nerve related because if I tried to do an activity that was more intellectually stimulating, the arousal feelings would become stronger. It was very difficult to concentrate. However I noticed that the arousal feelings were weaker at around dinnertime, before I take my daily dose but came back after I took the sertraline. These symptoms arose just as I was on holiday overseas to a third world country where psychiatry isn’t really practised safely if at all, so I couldn’t see a doctor. Distressed and desperate to do something about it, I skipped my meds for a day (NEVER DO THIS) and the feelings disappeared, which confirmed my theory that sertraline was causing the PGAD-like sensations. On 27 December 2017 I stupidly reduced the dose to 100 mg without a doctor’s consultation, not knowing it was likely a symptom of withdrawal. This in itself did not make the sensations go away, but I was able to change my ‘mindset’. January 2018: Seeing as the feelings were less noticeable when I was under pressure to socialise, I began to force myself to ‘think quick’ and pretend that I was under that same pressure. With this mindset, the PGAD feelings were completely gone and I was ecstatic. However on the plane ride back home, this mindset caused me to have migraines, so I no longer adopted that mindset, yet the PGAD did not come back! Another win! However this was proved wrong as after a few days it returned and with it, the hopelessness and depression. My GP suggested that I go back up to 150 mg and I was so down and suicidal that my mum and I agreed. I felt weird and uncoordinated on such a high dose so I went down to 125 mg which I am currently at. I’m going to see a new psychiatrist soon hopefully. Applying a different mindset doesn’t keep the PGAD at bay any longer. Before I even started the meds I’ve had almost constant migraines which is most likely anxiety related. Recently I’ve been able to make the PGAD go away by thinking about my headaches in a different way (it’s really complicated and difficult to describe), so it is probably due to the meds changing my brain chemistry, changing nerve pathways. I’m currently more emotionally stable. I want to ask does staying at 125 mg for another month sound like a good plan, then tapering off veery slowly (I didn’t know about the 10% rule back then)?
  11. Hi all I've been taking one or another type of SSRI for 14 years for treatment of anxiety and depression that started when I was a student at university. In this time, I've only experienced a few relatively short periods (i.e. a couple of months) off the drugs before having what felt like a relapse and consequently re-starting or switching to a new drug. For the past few years I've been taking Sertraline. I was originally proscribed 100mg; a reduced this to 50mg I can't remember when. For the last 9 months - 1 year I have been chopping tablets up in order to take 25mg a couple of times a week / when I remembered to take it. This was mainly to stave off the on-set of physical side effects, particularly the 'electric shocks' and feeling dizzy. Emotionally I felt fine, but was never in a rush to come off the meds as I wasn't bothered about taking a low dose if it made me feel okay. About 3 weeks ago I realised that I'd forgotten to take any medication for several weeks and wasn't experiencing any physical side effects, so I decided to continue not taking the drug. I'm now 5-6 weeks without any medication. For the past week I have been feeling increasingly depressed, which is worrying me a lot as I have quite a full-on job. I have run regularly for many years - something I initially started to help improve my mental health. Despite running increasingly long distances this week, it seems to be doing less and less to improve my emotional state, which is a real concern for me. I'm hoping that what I'm experiencing is late-onset emotional withdrawal as the drug leaves my brain / body. I'd be very grateful for any advice / shared experiences from people who have been on Sertraline (or any SSRI!) for periods of several years. I'm guessing my brain is very used to having these drugs around. Should I go back on a lower dose? I could go hunting for 50mg / 25mg tablets to break up further. Or should I just ride this out? I'm extremely pleased that a site like this exists, and thank you in advance for any advice you might be able to share!
  12. Weaning off Zoloft (100mg) on 50mg now, took me about 5 weeks tp get down without much issue. Anyway after a violent altercation with a family member i took my original 100mg just for that day to see if the rage i felt was withdrawal induced or not. I then continued on 50mg the following days, haven't felt much different maybe a bit more depressed. So would any problems arise if I reinstated my original dose on just that occasion? Can I continue my taper despite reinstating 100mg dosage?
  13. Moderator's note: link to Musk's members-only benzo thread - Musk: how to taper 5 mg diazepam every two days Hello, this is my first post. So grateful to find this forum. I am in Spain, not able to comunicate properly in english, I use googletraslator. My history: since spring 2015, postnatal depression with anxiety and somatization due to extreme fear of diseases, especially autoimmune diseases. Sertraline 100 mg & diazepam 5 mg from June 2016 to August 2017. Right after appendicitis with surgery (28 august 2017) and chronic hip and lumbar pain since 4 months. In consultation of rheumatology I discover that I have a hlab27 gene related to ankylosing spondylitis, which conditions me mentally more and more. But pain has not an inflammatory pattern and there is no sign of inflammation in blood. Now progressively more and more depressed with new symptom really the most disabling: severe insomnia. Medical proposal: return to sertraline. Big temptation, but I refuse. I continue with diazepam 5 mg (ocasionaly). Is this a possible case of withdrawal sindrome? Opinions welcome. In psycotherapy, I had some little epyphany (childhood trauma, obsesive negative thoughts...) Many many thanks.
  14. Hello, I am going to try and summarize as short as possible at first and add details in the later paragraphs. I am mentally blah so I will try to make as much sense as I possibly can. If you can help or know the exactly what will work, I will owe you the world. I will start just from the past few years. I had withdrawn from Zoloft and months later everything came back with a vengeance so I decided on my own to restart the drug. Everything was fine until a week later when I had one of my LSD flashback/panic attacks. (More severe than a standard panic attack.) That was enough to regret my decision and to trash the drug. A few weeks later I became unable to walk because I was so dizzy, body jerking, and hallucinating. I was scared out of my mind. I then make it back to the doctor who tells me to restart the zoloft and to take xanax until it works. It was tough, but a couple of months later I felt like the drug was normal and regulated. In 2016 I was doing better so cut back from 25 mg to taking it every other day which always seemed to work best for me. The doctor however didn’t like that and told me to take 12.5 each day instead. I shouldn’t have listened because I know better, but I did. I started swelling in my hands and feet after that. The doctor just blamed other things and kept saying it wasn’t the drug. I kept becoming worse and worse physically and mentally. I caught a bad cold on top of my chronic sinus infection and everything went downhill from there. I was given a steroid shot to reduce my facial swelling, but it didn’t work. I kept becoming more anxious so I then decided I would increase my zoloft back to 25 mg in March and started Allergra. Again for about 5 days I felt fine, but was noticing that my arms and chest would flush slightly about 1.5 hours after taking it. I felt ok so didn’t think much of it. On day 5 I was also taking an antibiotic I haven’t taken before even though I’ve taken others in the same drug family. On day 6 I took Zoloft and had sex. 1.5 hours later after taking it, I suddenly started to feel very hot and incoherant. I started getting white mosquite bite looking bumps and turned scary purple red all over my body. My heart felt like it was struggling. My fiance grabbed my purse so I could get my theromometer and check my temp. It was now at 101 and kept increasing so I immediately take tylenol. Scared it was an an allergy I also take benedryl. (Another serious mistake because it doesn’t react well to me.) I call my doctor and explain as best as I can what is happening, I was very incoherant could barely speak, and he tells me to go to the ER. By the time I get there the tylenol has worked and my temp has went down and the flushing has stopped. He then gives me another steroid shot. (The nail in the coffin.) Within minutes of leaving the hospital I have the worst seizure type panic attacks of my life with my legs myclonic jerking and all. I go back to the doctor next day and my heart rate is just staying steady at 150 while I’m still flushed with a temp and high blood pressure. The doctor gave me a EKG and tells me it’s just sinus tachycardia even though there is an extra beat present. He just tells me to go home and take more xanax. It hits me that I had the flushing prior to the antibiotic and then I know it was serotonin syndrome not an allergy and stop my tiny dose of zoloft and the allegra. (The doctor was insistent it wasn’t the zoloft, but there is no doubt to me it was.) So while all this is going on I cold turkey the meds. I only get worse from there. So basically I was probably already in withdrawal, decided to increase, only to cold turkey a week later. For months I only get worse. I keep flushing, although not as severe, and being out of my mind. Screaming, crying, panic attacks, unable to even shower alone. Because the flushing and high heart rate didn’t stop I insist on testing my cortisol like in cushing’s disease and for carcinoid syndrome. My cortisol and DHEA adrenaline hormone was high and elevated, but I don’t have cushings and serotonin levels were normal so now carcinoid syndrome. But the endocronologist pointed out other strange things like my right eye was now weak, tremors, and I had skin blanching/mottling. She was very concerned about those things and found I suddenly had colitis. My allergies are still severe after the withdrawal and I tried to take claritin and wound up in the hospital because my heart rate was high and again blood pressure plummeted. I then developed the worst PMDD ever. My hormones became awful. I have periods now with only clots when before on zoloft I barely had one. I also become severely depressed, clammy irrate, and cold. For the following year after zoloft my blood pressure is extremely low and my heart rate extremely high. I wake up everyday with a heart rate of 170+ with bad swelling in my eyes. Doctor just says take it more salt. I’m very scared and in pain, but because of all the added stress I can no longer leave my house or drive. I have been wasting away in hell not living. Doctor made me go to a psych who wants me to start lexapro. Since lexapro commonly causes increased QT prolongation of the heart, I have zero desire to make my situation any worse. (Zoloft can also effect QT, but Lexapro is more commonly associated with it. )They forced me to try Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium which I didn’t feel comfortable with and they all made me worse. All three made my anxiety worse. I wanted the Xanax back, but when I took it I also reacted badly to it. My legs quivered violently for an hour followed by severe leg weakness/numbness/pain, dysphoria, tinnutis, weird clogged ears, extremely low heart rate, and blood pressure. Every since I withdrew from the zoloft I have bad leg tremors and hand tremors. Very scary. I should also note I smoke so my blood pressure should never be low. I supposedly have asthma over night, but I keep asking them, “If my blood pressure is so low and I quit smoking, how low will my blood pressure get then??” No one will give me a straight and honest answer. I am failing miserably and 100% dependent. I just don’t see a way out of this. I’ve thought about restarting the zoloft, but have extreme fear that I can become worse. At the same time I am not living. I stay home alone 24/7. How much should I restart? The very first time I withdrew 4 years ago wasn’t as bad because it was my first withdrawal and it was much slower. I just have to do something because I have colitis among other things and am so panicked that I have canceled all appointments. My anxiety is just to severe to go through a colonsocopy and to my other doctors right now. I’ve given it 10 months and just have no more time left to lose.. The situation clearly isn’t going to get any better on its own. I should also say that I never had a good experience starting ssris. I am one who gets severe panic attacks before it kicks in worse. I have PTSD from where I was drugged with LSD so I have a huge med phobia. As of right now, I can’t even bring myself to take Tylenol for a headache. I have spent months trying to research a way to get better without ever putting the poison back in my body, but I see no other way at this point. I’m sure since SSRIs effect 5 ht receptors like LSD does that is the reason I have such bad reactions, but that is a different conversation all together.
  15. I've been a widow and single mom since 2004. I have a history of asthma, osteoarthritis, and slightly elevated blood pressure that is controlled. I am very sensitive to many antibiotics and blood pressure meds so it is hard for me to find something that works but doesn't cause horrible side effects. I have a very short list of "approved by me" prescription medicines. My doctor suggested I try an antidepressant when I mentioned some off and on depression in 2010. She prescribed Effexor first which was unbearable to me as it caused brain zaps and extreme dizziness. She switched me to Sertaline at the smallest dose. It didn't have the same effects so I got used to it. My depression mostly disappeared and I thought I was fixed. I only felt side effects if I skipped a day. In 2015, I started having memory loss. Not every day, but on and off. I might wake up in the morning and take a longer than normal time to determine the day and if I had anything going on that morning. It was such an unnerving and scary feeling! I noticed a harder time retrieving names and words. I was a teacher and trainer and it really scared me! I started researching side effects and found that it's quite common to have trouble with memory when on antidepressants. I also noticed that, although I didn't have worrying or depressing thoughts as often, I also had begun to notice that I didn't care about so many important things in my life. It was like I had an even setting but not a true joy. I also was able to completely ignore important things that a little worry helps keep me motivated to get accomplished. I felt unconcerned about deadlines when in the past, that same concern would have helped me accomplish more.I tried to take myself off that year but soon went back on because of brain zaps and dizziness. In June 2017, I decided to start cutting the pills in half and then quarters over a two month period. I used Benedryl to help with sleep (as I had seen suggested somewhere online) and was finally able to get completely off of Sertraline. I thought it was finished and done until the middle of September when I started having strange symptoms. I had just returned from a month long trip to Europe so I thought my body was just recovering from travel. It's now December and I still have the symptoms so I figure it has to be the withdrawal. I went back to researching and found this site! Here are the withdrawal symptoms I'm dealing with now: on and off depression that lasts for 2-4 days at a time poor appetite and some weight loss (I gained about 20 while on Sertraline) tension and pain in isolated muscle groups that moves around numbness, cold or hot feeling in feet burning soles on both feet after standing and walking for a little while fatigue and low energy feelings waking up in early morning not able to sleep again anxious or catastrophic thoughts and worries constant sinus issues (I do have allergies but usually not year round.) This forum has already calmed many of my worries because I've seen many of these symptoms listed by others!
  16. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  17. Hello everyone, I'm new to the site so I apologize in advance for any mistakes. I've been on sertralene for 15 years due to PTSD and depression. I'm trying to tapper off the medication and I'm finding it difficult to cut the correct dosages. I'm looking for advice as to what you use to split tablets? Thank you for any help you can give.
  18. Hello all, I have been taking sertraline for some years now for clinical depression. When I started to quit smoking, I took a course of Zyban for 4 months. I felt better almost immediately as the anti depressant effects of the drug made me feel sunnier. When the drug ran out, I felt awful and tried to get it again, but in Australia, it can't be prescribed twice within a year period. After a couple of years I had it prescribed again. I ran out a few days ago, and feel anxious and upset. I hadn't been told about tapering off the drug, but as I was loathe to give it up, I took 150 per day instead of 300 to make it last longer. I previously asked a doctor to prescribe me Zyban instead of Sertraline but he said no. Zyban wasn't for anti depressant use. I'm scared I'll get suicidal again which I haven't been for about a year. Has anyone successfully swapped sertraline for Wellbutrin?
  19. Hello Everyone, I am very glad to have found this forum. As you will see in my signature, I am a 28 year old female with a long history for Sertraline use. I began taking Sertraline at age 15 for severe OCD/anxiety and have been on it ever since then. At one point, probably around 18 or so, I maxed out at 200 mg/day of Sertraline and stayed on that does to about age 25. Around age 25 I was able to taper from 200 mg to 100 mg successfully without really any symptoms of withdrawl that I can recall. I have worked extremely hard to overcome my illness, and am finally at a point in life where I feel I have amassed enough tools through therapy and support to try to come off of Sertraline completely, especially because we would like to have children within the next 5 years. With the support of my doctor, I am tapering down to 75 mg from 100 mg. It has been about a week and a half since I began the reduced dose and the past few days I have experienced very serious dizziness, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. I have joined this forum with hopes that someone may be able to provide me with tips for dealing with these uncomfortable symptoms. It is so bad that I really should not be driving and had to stay home from work today. My understanding is that pain relievers such as advil and aleve can make SSRIs less effective, so I don't want to take any pain relievers for the headache if it will make the situation worse. I am determined to get off of this medication though it seems it will be a difficult journey. *I would just like to mention that perhaps there is one confounding factor in my situation - I began Gabapentin about 3 weeks ago to help with numbness/tingling in my forearm from cubital tunnel neuropathies. I know this is also a neuro drug, so I figured I would mention it as well. Any tips, support, or encouragement that you can provide would be a huge help! Thank you in advanced! Mademoiselle
  20. Hey all. Amazing forum, wish I’d found it sooner. The 10% method would’ve been great if I’d had it a couple of months ago. Ah well... So I’m sure my situation is nothing new. I was prescribed Sertraline because I’d been suffering common cold-like symptoms for some months. Doc said it was stress. I was sure it wasn’t, but as I’d enjoyed rec drugs occasionally I’d always been curious about ADs so gave it a shot. Idiot. I was on 50mg for around a month, didn’t feel too much, then 100mg for four months. I felt a bit perky mentally, but very tired, I was sleeping for 16 hours a day, could barely do anything, but felt ok in myself. I actually quite liked it, but couldn’t function due to the fatigue. The good was nowhere near good enough. Doc wanted me to go up again, but I’d read that some folks get fatigued even more, so I decided to quit. My doc said go direct to 50mg for two weeks, then 50mg every other day for a few weeks, then off. I did this, got to 50mg alternate days and started getting unbearable and strange headaches like I’d never felt before. They were scary and felt serious. Like water and electricity. Speaking to doc again, he wasn’t concerned, he said go to 25mg a day for three weeks, then 12.5mg a day for three weeks, then stop. I did that, put up with the ongoing headaches cos I wanted off. Well I’ve been off completely for three weeks and the headaches are gone, but wow these other zaps are going bezerk. It’s like the feeling when you jump from fright but not quite as intense. Some days they are almost constant. Some days they are just head but others full body. Thankfully I can afford not to work, as there’s no way I would be able to. This last week I’ve had a bad cold, along with the zaps, I’m almost hilariously incapacitated. So I’d like some advice, cos Christmas is coming up it would be nice if the family didn’t see me like this. I’m brave, I would rather have a hard time over a short period, so if these zaps are going to subside in the next few weeks, that’s ok I’ll watch Breaking Bad again. But I’m tempted to get back on the Sertraline if it makes the withdrawal *much* easier, but longer. Maybe I went off way too fast and this will go on for ages... Thankfully I’m still upbeat about the whole thing, and the other half is very supportive. The zaps would be quite funny in a different circumstance, but I’m kinda bored with them now. Oh and hangovers are totally debilitating which is a real bummer over Christmas... Any advice very gratefully received. Thanks in advance guys.
  21. Hi folks, After 13 years on SSRIs and SNRIs I stopped taking them due to parkinsonism, and it turned out that they were causing the rapid cycling up and down high to low mood swings in my bipolar disorder as well as the ramp up into mania. I didn't taper off as I read that it only affects the short term withdrawal syndrome and not the long term, plus as soon as I dropped the dose I went into the full rage and needed to get it over and done with as soon as possible (2 weeks of the bad bit). I experienced a number of symptoms including The Rage, Tardive Akithisia, Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal Impulses, Intrusive thoughts, Dissociation, Depersonalisation and a wrecked concentration span. I have started a website to collect some writings of people's experiences in long term SSRI and SNRI withdrawal, or of the rage in the short term syndrome. They would be a blog post of the whole experience rather than journal entries, maybe following up later with another post. I have started the site and put my experience on it (which needs rewriting) and was hoping to seek writings from folks on this site, if that's ok to ask folks to contribute? Support for my broken brain would also be nice. At one point I actually thought I was in hell. This is my site https://ssriwithdrawal.wixsite.com/discontinuation and I would love to hear your thoughts on the site, my writing and any ideas you might have. My email address is on the site, I hope this forum doesn't block my link, I would request that admin let it through as I am not a spammer, just a broken person trying to find meaning in other people's experiences. If the link is blocked you can email me at ssriwithdrawal *at* mail *dot* com (please let this though). For me this is my proactive way of holding it together, please help!
  22. Hi all and sorry we meet on this forum. I was put on sertraline 100mg when my husband entered his midlife crisis in 2014. I tried to quit them the next year but could not cope with the withdraw symptoms so I decided to take them again. So I had been on sertraline 100 mg for 3 years when a few months ago I decided that since my husband's state of mind improved significantly and we were a solid couple again, it was time to try to quit again. My gp recommended I should reduced the dosage to 50 mg for 2-3 months, then reduce the dosage every week (once every other day, then once every two days and so on). I wwent a bit quick on this last part and got it over in about 3-4 weeks. The first symptoms appeared during this last faze (reducing the dosage every week). I had one week on insomnia and I got ill with a strange virus that kept me off work for one week. I would get very irritated by my employer's impulsive decisions at work and my husband's messiness at home. During the PM period I had strange moments when I felt so anguished I wanted to scream. At some point I could identify that there was this part in my brain that was anchored in the present, which was like a lid covering a boiling pot. Every now and again I had thoughts (about the past or the future) that made me anxious and I would reject them. I have been off sertraline for about 5 weeks now. A few days ago I was due to fly back to my home country (I am an expat in Ireland). The anxiety had been taking my mind over little by little every day. The day when my flight was due coincided with a full moon and the PM period. I simply could not get on that flight. It felt like that boiling pot exploded. I have been going through this wave for a week now. Every morning I wake up with terror and fear. I would do anything to be calm and detached again, to have peace. Every morning I want to go back on sertraline. With this occasion I identified clearly that all these years my psychological issue has separation anxiety. During the moments of clarity I know that I learnt something while taking sertraline, which is that one can be happy if they focus on the present. But that seems a distant memory now, as the anxiety caused by withdraw is excruciating. The anxiety feels like a program that has been switched on and it took over my mind. It is a familiar feeling though, it is the old childhood trauma of separation. Exercise seems to make things better. Also, cleaning around the house, making a plan for the day, watching a film. Sadly, when I moved to Ireland I found it very difficult to make friends in a culture where drinking prevails, I am still working on that. I can talk to my family on skype and my husband, who is doing his best to support me, but I can tell that the whole situation is new to him and he finds it draining. A couple of days ago I woke up annoyed, it felt like when one had a broken leg and wants to feel fine and keep waling. Today I felt so anxious I agreed to see my gp for advice. Most likely she will just put me back on sertraline, as all testimonies point to on this forum. Of course, when I feel better I want t hang on and go through this to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have read the basic information on this forum and I can see that most of you have been going through far worse than me, for a longer time. I hope that given the low dosage and the relatively short time I have been on sertraline, this period will end sooner then later.
  23. Introduction: Hi everyone. I signed up because I found a great deal of useful information here. Thank you all for sharing your accounts too. Similar stories show we are not alone, while successful ones show that there is hope despite how severe and destabilizing withdrawal can be. I'm starting this log to track my progress in achieving some stability. Eventually I hope to withdraw slowly and successfully from SSRIs, but am in no rush to do so after withdrawal experiences. In a way it's also inspired me to start this log because I'm possibly one of the more severe cases (at least the ones I have read so far). Protracted withdrawals have led me to be totally non-functional and housebound with severe anxiety, severe insomnia and severe fatigue for two periods totally over a year. Beyond this, I have lost much more time struggling to keep afloat and trying to recover from these periods of intense suffering, instability and hypersensitivity. I understand what it's like to feel your nervous system is totally fried beyond repair. I say all this not to be dramatic, but as something someone in a similar situation might take inspiration in reading one day in the future, when I eventually recover. An outline of my history with SSRIs is as follows: 2008: Started 30mg Citalopram 2014: Tapered down Citalopram over 6 months and discontinued 02/2015 Severe withdrawals peaked after 6 months. Totally housebound. 09/2015: Sertraline 100mg started to mitigate withdrawals. 2016: Tapered down Sertraline over 1 year ending 03/2017 Severe withdrawals peaked after 4 months until present date 10/2017. Totally housebound. 10/2017: Reinstated Sertraline 5mg in an attempt to mitigate withdrawals Unfortunately, both times during withdrawals, Doctors have also thrown valium and zopliclone at me several time to try to rectify my insomnia. Zopliclone for 2 months from 07/2015 and Valium for 4 months from 06/2017 until present date 10/2017. I accepted because I felt no other option beyond reinstating SSRIs. Both times, these drugs created severe rebound anxiety and likely intense tolerance/withdrawal symptoms of themselves. This made the situation even more unclear, but given the low doses I suspect the effects are limited compared to protracted SSRI withdrawal. I am currently taking 1mg valium per day and remaining there to keep things stable while I reintroduce sertraline. Symptoms: During both withdrawal periods, my symptoms have been extreme. Both times, I tapered off relatively slowly, although clearly not slowly enough. I felt relatively functional for 1 month~, then quickly deteriorated to being housebound after 5 months the first time in 2015, and after 4 months in 2017. I probably should have learned my lesson by now. Descriptions of a hypersensitized nervous system do the symptoms some justice, as do similar descriptions of benzo withdrawals in the "Ashton Manual". I have dealt and am now dealing with: Extreme anxiety. Characterised by an extremely physical, gnawing and unremitting agitation. At worst (which is often), it feels like my entire body is filled with a corrosive acid that's burning me from the inside. This feeling combined with others like fatigue/weakness simply gives the feeling of being on the verge of dying. But unlike a "panic attack", it does not come in waves, but instead remains constant generally. It is worst upon waking in the morning, and even worse if I attempt to have a nap in the day then wake up. Insomnia. Extremely interrupted sleep. Physically, my body can be extremely tired, yawning, yet sleep does not come. The wired anxiety feeling described above does not diminish during tiredness. So I just lay there enduring it until somehow, at some point, I might fall asleep for a short while. I can invariably tell how long I will remain asleep based on the state in which I go to sleep, and this creates some dread for the awakening into a worse state that will come. Typical sleep stretches are 1.5 or 3 hours at best. Although I often lie there unable to sleep for the entire night with anxiety simply worsening the more tired I get. A very vicious and cruel cycle. If I wake up once, the stressful awakening reaction it produces ensures I will not manage to go back to sleep. So I generally get "one attempt" at a reasonable stretch of sleep. Fatigue. Truly chronic fatigue, I believe the above 2 factors are what underlies this, although it's hard to know. My body feels extremely fragile and weak at all times. Often it feels like it's barely there at all, like it has simply flashed out of existence in a strange kind of dizziness/numbness. I spend long periods feeling like I will simply collapse at any moment and have no real faith that my bodily will continue to function when feeling like this. I feel very unwell after minor physical exertion. Walking a few hundred meters to the post box leads to a feeling of dizziness and stress that it will take a long time to return to baseline from. Often, I can't even manage to leave my room. All this leads to being very restricted and housebound. This is one of the worst symptoms, simply because it takes away the ability to engage in so many other activities that are positive for health and recovery: e.g. exercise, work, and so on. Generalised hypersensitivity. Sounds, light, temperature variation, vitamins, minerals, foods that are different to normal, very light exertion, very light psychological stress (e.g. maybe a war movie), not eating for a relatively short period, waking up and many more. Most definitely no caffeine or alcohol. All of these will tend to create a big stress reaction and a crash that will take time to recover from. I feel like the balance of my nervous system is exceedingly delicate and that anything will throw it off. This leads to having to be incredibly gentle and cautious of anything that might upset it. Misc symptoms. Above is likely the worst, but other more minor symptoms include things like frequent loss of appetite, loss of concentration, loss of positive feelings, social withdrawal, and so on. I see these as results of the above primary symptoms. It is perhaps worth noting here that these symptoms never existed prior to SSRI usage and discontinuation. The initial reason for starting them was depressed mood. Current status: I don't wish to go too much into my history. It's outlined above and covers 9~ years of SSRI use. But this time I started sertraline 100mg~ in September 2015 after experiencing all of the symptoms above. The Doctor said to try it, so I did. I think I felt worse for 2 months before somehow finding a slightly greater stability. But this was not without side effects like a sense of being very stimulated (when being more restful was what I needed), and some strange ones like waking up with nose bleeds every morning. It did not feel healthy. After 3 months or so, I decided to reduce @ 10% per month to see if I could alleviate these side effects. I wasn't entirely convinced whether sertraline was even having a positive effect, since the improvement was 50% at best. At a dose of around 20mg is where I attained the most stability I have had in the last 2.5 years. Apparently sub-therapeutic doses according to medicine, but the right balance for me. I suspect this to be a mixture of alleviating SSRI withdrawals while minimizing SSRI side effects, rather than a positive effect of sertraline of itself. I then continued to reduce the dosage, over a year in total, thinking it would be healthy in the long run to get off, and doubting the therapeutic effect of such low (<20mg) doses anyway. Close to being off sertraline completely in 03/2017, things started to fall apart and gradually deteriorated until I had to leave my occupation and be totally housebound by 07/2017. It's all seems like quite a blur really. It happened very quickly and for some reason I had faith that I could simply ride it out and recover. But this did not happen. Instead, things got progressively worse up to the current date. Reinstating Sertraline: As a result, and due to reading information about withdrawals and reinstating, I see no other option than to reinstate a low dose of sertraline. I would give anything right now just to be slightly more stable and able to leave the house, even if this meant high dose SSRIs. The issue is, when you're in a delicate balance already, taking anything new or old represents a significant impact on that balance. It's hard to know what will help and what will destabilise further, which leads to a lot of apprehension about taking anything. I started with 5mg per day one week ago. This may be too low to have a therapeutic effect, so my current intention is to increase it by 5mg every 2 weeks until returning to the level at which I was most well, approximately 20mg. So far, it has been quite stimulating and has likely made my sleep even worse. I have had some of my worst days to date this week. I'd appreciate any advice as to whether this is simply the side effects of restarting the medication, or if it indicates that I should avoid it? My hunch is that one week is too early to tell and that discontinuing it would lead to an even more uncertain situation. Anyway, I will end things there and update in the coming weeks as and when there are any changes. Lots of gratitude again to everyone here and I very much appreciate and insight or advice. James
  24. Hi Everyone, I'm really happy to have found this support system for antidepressant withdrawal. I have spent the past 8 months weaning off of Zoloft 100mg (am now at 12.5) and am experiencing delayed withdrawal side effects. I initially was on for depression about my parents' divorce, as well as some anxiety issues. I experienced my first panic attack in Geometry class in high school- I'll never forget that day. I felt like I was floating, and completely disconnected from my body. It quickly subsided once I drank some cold water, and I never thought much of it after that until I realized what it was. Zoloft and I have had an interesting run. It leveled me out to put it vaguely. My high's were never too high, and my lows were never that low. I just went through the motions, sort of numbed out, but in many ways, grateful that my reactions were lessened. My father suffers from mental illness (depression, anxiety, alcoholism and drug addiction, and narcissist personality disorder), so I've always been very conscious of how I act in certain situations in an effort to not be like him. About 3 years ago, my Zoloft pooped out. Entirely. Either that, or my dose wasn't cutting it. I was in the midst of a new relationship, I didn't know which direction I wanted to go in in college, my grandparents were diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away shortly thereafter within two weeks of one another, my fathers addiction issues came to light, and my anxiety was through the roof. I was semi-agoraphobic; I had a 9-5 job which forced me to be social and stay in public, but I couldn't sit in a restaurant with out panic, couldn't go to a mall, a grocery store, etc. Then, one day, it was sort of gone. Either I had gotten used to it, the Zoloft started working again, or a combo of the above. I felt amazing again, and like I was on top of the world. My mom put her house on the market to be leased, I moved into my apartment with my significant other, we started a business, I wrote a book, I had an intervention for my dad and he went to rehab. I was at a place where I thought I could handle going off of the medication. I thought I was better. So, I took a trip down to my psychiatrist, and told him all of the above and told him of the recent positive changes. While he acknowledged the changes, and said they were indeed positive, he looked at me and said: "You sure you want to go off the Zoloft now? This is an odd time with you moving out of your home, the new business, your grandparents and your father." I told him I was sure, and away we went. I began that tapering off on February Feb 16, 2017 until early April 2017. Going from 100-75 was a piece of cake, and that was from April- May 2017. 50-25, was from May-September 2017. and then 25-12.5 from Sept 2017 to present (Oct 2018). I have done a complete 180 in anxiety (and even some depression) symptoms. My most troubling one is depersonalization/derealization. I've had it before, but never this bad. As much as I've read, listened to, and accepted that DP/DR is a direct result of anxiety, due to withdrawal, I can't help but think I am totally losing my mind. Or that I've made a huge mistake and need to go back on Zoloft altogether to help alleviate these symptoms. I exercise 4-5x a week, have just started neurofeedback, eat relatively healthy, but am still struggling. I'm back to being agoraphobic despite forcing myself to go to the gym, that's about all I can handle. I can't stand around for long without feeling fidgety, I always feel unstable when I'm standing, and again, depersonalization that's pretty severe. Again, the thought of going crazy or that I've done irreversible damage to my brain by this discontinuation is enough to send me into a complete panic. I'm looking forward to reading your responses, and I appreciate your taking the time in reading this. BlusMama
  25. Hello everyone, apologies in advance for the very long introduction. I am so glad I found this site. I have been on Sertraline 100 mg for about 4 years and did a taper recommended by my psychiatrist back in June 2016. It was faster than the recommended 10% with a rate of about 10 mg every 3 weeks (He recommended every 2 weeks but I increased it a bit (obviously not enough!!)) During the taper I had issues first with rage then irritability, some obsessive compulsive thoughts and a few episodes of low mood but nothing major (my wife would probably disagree with this one). Anyhow, I have prior experience of tapering diazepam and this was nothing even close (bizarrely I did not have the windows and waves pattern during the diazepam taper. I was under sertraline back then, could that have played a role?) Back in July 2017, I had a major episode of health anxiety completely out of the blue which made me go back to my psychiatrist. Since I was on holidays when this happened, I only saw him a few weeks later. By then I was starting to feel much better. I was puzzled. I asked to my psychiatrist if maybe it had been a “blip” and that all I needed was less stress at work and CBT. The answer (predictable) was that it was relapse of my underlying conditions (I have some health anxiety issues although the sertraline was prescribed because of the WD depression due to the first failed benzo taper…so relapse of what?) and that I have a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected,…. So I was told that I needed to restart on the sertraline (50mg one week and then 100mg). The reaction of re-instating sertraline was brutal, with what I think was akathisia (I could not stop walking for 2 days). This started a few hours after the first tablet and I finished prostrated at the end of day 2. Between the time I stopped the sertraline and seeing my psychiatrist again, I searched the internet and found the Surviving Antidepressants website (I cried as much as when I discovered BenzoBuddies during my benzo problem.) I had a few exchange of emails with my psychiatrist and queried about the protracted WD. The answer I got was: “Discontinuation syndrome is usually self limiting and lasts 2-3 weeks” so it had to be relapse. He then proposed to try all sorts of other medications including quetiapine, pregabalin, duloxetine, agomelatine, even diazepam…. After what I found on SA, what I read about the medications he proposed, I decided that 1) he was no longer my psychiatrist and 2) I was probably experiencing protracted WD and all I needed was time to heal. My health scare in July was related to my GI so I got it checked and I was diagnosed with IBS. I have developed several food intolerances during my time on sertraline (it was obvious with hindsight but ignored by me in my sertraline induced haze). So I have radically changed my diet. I have been put on the FODMAP diet but since I also have stomach and reflux issues (the LPR one not really GERD), my diet is even more restricted than the FODMAP. Regarding the reflux, I have been prescribed Peptac and I also bought slippery elm, does anyone have experience with these? I have not yet tried these. This is because I seem to have developed some hyper sensitivity to supplements and medications (I was quite unwell after trying lanzoprazole prescribed for the reflux and had to stop after 2 days) so I am very careful. Talking about supplements, I have introduced cod liver oil, Bio Kult and 100mg of vitamin C per day and they seem fine. I am also progressively increasing magnesium citrate (as of today it is about 40mg). Would there be something else I could try? I have bought holy basil but am a bit scared to try it (it is a mixture of 800mg of holy basil leaf and magnesium stearate), has anyone tried this? I force myself to have physical activity with 30 minutes of brisk walk everyday and 1 session of 45 minutes of fitness (treadmill + bicycle) once per week. I also continue to work (not easy but I have to). I go once a week for acupuncture and CBT. I am now about 9.5 months sertraline free and, since July, I can clearly see that I follow the windows and wave pattern. My windows last about 14 days and the waves about 10 days, so far. My current symptoms are: high anxiety (mostly around health), intrusive thoughts, and rumination, sleep problems (I wake up between 2 and 3am whatever the time I go to sleep), muscular pain, stomach pain (strangely it happens twice a day at set times, ~4am and ~4pm, It almost disappear at the best of time of a window), anhedonia, dizziness and memory problems. I fell I am slowly improving and the rage episodes were the first to go. They morphed into irritability which has also decreased significantly about a month ago. Is there anything that I could change or add to what I am doing now that you believe could help? Thanks a million in advance for your help.
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