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Author Topic: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions  (Read 364 times)

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Offline Wanttofeelbetter

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Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« on: December 15, 2013, 07:18:35 PM »
Hello,
I'm a 30 year old female. No health issues except for anxiety, panic disorder and becoming agoraphobic.

I had my first panic attack when I was 17. Never used medication before. Did well on my own with cbt therapy and regular therapy, but only stayed in my comfort zone. Just recently October if this year, my anxiety and panic swirled out if control. So my physiatrist prescribed Zoloft. I've been told I needed medication since I was 17, but felt like a failure if I took it and afraid of side effects.

Well here I am Day on Zoloft because I want to feel better. I want to live. I want to be happy, but I don't know if how I am feeling in it is normal. I started off December 1 on 12.5 mg for 2 days then 25 mg for a week and now I'm on 50 mg tomorrow will be a week then I'm supposed to move up to 100 mg.

For about a week now I've been experiencing more anxiety, like the second I wake up I'm anxious and don't feel good and just want to keep my eyes closed to shut out what I'm feeling. I've had to take half an Ativan twice a day for the last week just so I don't feel out of my skin and crazy. It hasn't evolved into panic attacks each time, but just an uncomfortable constant anxious state. Also, palpitations every day throughout the day for the lady week. I'm so afraid the Zoloft is "killing" me instead of helping me.

I promised myself to give it the 4-6 weeks to kick in and take it's therapeutic effect, but I am just scared no one else experienced this. So my question is has anyone else experienced these feelings when starting Zoloft and did the side effects go away after the Zoloft actually started to work? Has Zoloft changed your life for the better? Are you a different happier less anxious person now?

I've taken a leave from work and I can hardly stay at home with my husband and son. I always run to my Mom's my comfort zone and I'm not able to drive at all.

Sorry for the long post, I have a call into my dr., but wanted real life experiences from people. Thank you everyone for listening to me
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Offline kutekat

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Re: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 09:54:59 PM »
first off, the zoloft will not kill you. the anxiety you are experiencing is very normal when starting an AD. i see your doctor is dosing you up very fast, so it might be uncomfortable. if you feel too uncomfortable when you get to 100mg you should ask to go back down to 50, but nothing lower. is your doc also telling you to only take half an ativan twice a day? because i think you might get much more relief from taking a whole ativan, twice a day. zoloft has changed people's lives. the side effects will go away. just try your best to give it 6 weeks, maybe even 8 okay. this could be the drug that changes your life. i really recommend taking 2 whole ativans a day if your anxiety is getting that bad, but if your doctor said otherwise listen to them. good luck!
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Offline Abraham2007

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Re: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 10:06:17 PM »
Just to soothe your nerves, all of us anxiety sufferers have experienced extra anxiety during the initial weeks on an antidepressant.  So don't feel alone in what you are experiencing.
In the past few days, quite a few forum visitors, like you, have just begun taking an anti-anxiety medication, since the time Thanksgiving started.  And coincidentally, they're writing the same story as you.  And for myself, having gone through the same experience, know the extra anxiety should die down fairly soon, but it may take a few more weeks or days, since you just started Zoloft two weeks ago. 

You should call your psychiatrist, asap, and mention that you are titrating your dosage too fast.  At this point, you are not ready for 100mg.  Let alone, you're struggling at 50mg. A potential solution could be to raise your dosage on Ativan (a benzodiazepine), during the interim of adjusting to the Zoloft, however your doctor should first approve the increase. 

You should also tell your doctor that titration on an antidepressant is normally slower for an anxiety sufferer, than a person diagnosed with depression.   It's probably not information quite established in medical school textbooks, however it is information well known from people who suffer from anxiety disorders, and take these psychotropic medications.

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Offline insights

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Re: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 12:00:14 AM »
I've been told I needed medication since I was 17, but felt like a failure if I took it and afraid of side effects., but wanted real life experiences from people. Thank you everyone for listening to me

Welcome to AnxietyZone.

Would you have felt a failure if you had needed to take anti seizure meds for epilepsy? Both those with anxiety1 and epilepsy2 have similar deficits in benzodiazepine-GABA binding sites (receptors) and the ones we do have are less sensitive. This is why benzodiazepines work so well for anxiety.

They also have shrunken hippocampi caused by chronic stress hormone exposure which kills off brain cells in these brain regions and inhibits the growth of new ones. Antidepressants work because they reverse this damage by encouraging neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells in the two hippocampi. This isn't an instant process which is why it takes some weeks for antidepressants to work.

These are not the only brain differences associated with anxiety.

Quote
For about a week now I've been experiencing more anxiety, like the second I wake up I'm anxious and don't feel good and just want to keep my eyes closed to shut out what I'm feeling. I've had to take half an Ativan twice a day for the last week just so I don't feel out of my skin and crazy. It hasn't evolved into panic attacks each time, but just an uncomfortable constant anxious state. Also, palpitations every day throughout the day for the lady week.

Unfortunately, these are fairly common symptoms when first starting antidepressants. They are caused by the increased serotonin activity that antidepressants such as Zoloft initially trigger. However, after a few weeks the brain adapts and serotonin synthesis and expression drop back to baseline in most brain regions, and well below baseline in some areas associated with anxiety (and depression). See: Serotonin: The 'chemical imbalance' myth.

Quote
I'm so afraid the Zoloft is "killing" me instead of helping me.

SSRIs don't usually kill people even in huge overdose.

Quote
did the side effects go away after the Zoloft actually started to work?

They almost always do after a couple of weeks. However, they may return for a week or two whenever the dose is increased.

Ian


References:

[1]
Hasler G, Nugent AC, Carlson PJ, et al. (2008)
Altered cerebral gamma-aminobutyric acid type A-benzodiazepine receptor binding in panic disorder determined by [11C]flumazenil positron emission tomography.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. Oct;65(10):1166-75 (Abstract)

Geuze E, van Berckel BN, Lammertsma AA, et al. (2007)
Reduced GABAA benzodiazepine receptor binding in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mol Psychiatry. 2008 Jan;13(1):74-83 (Abstract)

Cameron OG, Huang GC, Nichols T, et al. (2007)
Reduced gamma-aminobutyric acid(A)-benzodiazepine binding sites in insular cortex of individuals with panic disorder.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. Jul;64(7):793-800. (Abstract)

Bremner JD, Innis RB, Southwick SM, et al. (2000)
"Decreased benzodiazepine receptor binding in prefrontal cortex in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder."
Am J Psychiatry Jul; vol 157(7):1120-6 (Abstract)

Bremner JD, Innis RB, White T, et al (2000)
"SPECT [I-123]iomazenil measurement of the benzodiazepine receptor in panic disorder."
Biol Psychiatry  Jan 15; vol 47(2):96-106 (Abstract)

Malizia AL.  (1999)
"What do brain imaging studies tell us about anxiety disorders? "
J Psychopharmacol Dec; vol 13(4):372-8 (Abstract)

Morimoto K. 1999
Benzodiazepine receptor imaging in the brain: recent developments and clinical validity
Kaku Igaku. May;36(4):307-13. (Abstract)

Malizia AL, Cunningham VJ, Bell CJ, et al. (1998)
"Decreased brain GABA(A)-benzodiazepine receptor binding in panic disorder: preliminary results from a quantitative PET study."
Arch Gen Psychiatry Aug; vol 55(8):715-20 (Abstract)

Tokunaga M, Ida I, Higuchi T, Mikuni M. (1997)
"Alterations of benzodiazepine receptor binding potential in anxiety and somatoform disorders measured by 123I-iomazenil SPECT."
Radiat Med May-Jun; vol 15(3):163-9 (Abstract)

Uchiyama M, Sue H, Fukumitsu N, et al. (1997)
"Assessment of cerebral benzodiazepine receptor distribution in anxiety disorders by 123I-iomazenil-SPECT: comparison to cerebral perfusion scintigraphy by 123I-IMP."
Nippon Igaku Hoshasen Gakkai Zasshi Jan; vol 57(1):41-6 (Abstract)

[2]

Vivash L, Tostevin A, Liu DS, et al. (2011)
"Changes in hippocampal GABAA/cBZR density during limbic epileptogenesis: relationship to cell loss and mossy fibre sprouting."
Neurobiol Dis. Feb;41(2):227-36. [Abstract

Morimoto K.  (1999)
"Benzodiazepine receptor imaging in the brain: recent developments and clinical validity."
 Kaku Igaku May; vol 36(4):307-13 (Abstract)

Savic I, Pauli S, Thorell JO, Blomqvist G. (1994)
"In vivo demonstration of altered benzodiazepine receptor density in patients with generalised epilepsy."
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. Jul;57(7):797-804. [Abstract]

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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline dgrease43

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Re: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 11:57:20 PM »
Wow I remember starting my zoloft for the first time.. It was honestly the worst thing ever. I tried for years to cope with therapy and it worked, but eventually it wasn't enough. The first 1-2 weeks my anxiety was unbelievable. I couldn't even leave my house. My doctor told me that during the first week or two most people will stop taking the pill because of the impending doom. Keep it up though.. after 2 weeks you are going to feel such a load off your chest. You will be able to live normal day to day. We are here to support you through every bout of giving up in the process! Good luck, stay calm and breathe deep! =)
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Offline Wanttofeelbetter

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Re: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2013, 08:51:57 AM »
Thank you so so much everyone. I'm glad I found this forum and some great people to help me :)
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Offline Gandalf the grey

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Re: Can you help me? I just started Zoloft and have questions
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2013, 11:20:47 AM »
You should feel better soon. I was very restless the first few days, starting at 50mg, but that subsided (except for at night and right after i take the medicine in the morning). Once it started to kick in fully, the first few weeks of transition were worth it. I'm just glad i've found something that seems to work well, with my first SSRI.
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