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Author Topic: Health anxiety sufferer here! Starting on Zoloft and Buspar, feeling nervous...  (Read 866 times)

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Offline treadstone

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Hi, everyone!

My backstory: I had my first panic attack in June 2010 and for about 2 years had 'vanilla' anxiety where there weren't many physical symptoms besides the shortness of breath and chest tightness that accompanied the panic attacks. However, for the last year and a half my anxiety has become more 'health anxiety'-ish in nature, and I spend a lot of my time suffering from symptoms like chest pain, stomach pain, and fatigue that have no real explanation. All my tests come back fine. Last month I spent a week and a half dealing with some absolutely dreadful chest pain. I could not focus on anything else besides the pain. I was so scared. I ended up going to the E.R. where they found nothing. Afterwards, I started on some acid reflux medication, which I'm sure helped but I'm positive it was the hospital visit that calmed my mind down. I decided to scrape together some money and see a mental health professional for the first time ever.

The appointment was today and he put me on Zoloft and Buspar. I don't want to start googling and freaking myself out with descriptions of awful side effects that only happen 0.001% of the time, so I thought I'd ask here. I've read a few threads that say that there's a high chance that the medicine will make me feel worse before it starts to make me feel better. That worries me! But maybe I can handle it. I don't know. I'm just nervous about doing something new like this.

I guess what I want is some advice on what I might feel when I start the medication, and any tips or advice you all might have for me. Thank you!
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Offline insights

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I guess what I want is some advice on what I might feel when I start the medication, and any tips or advice you all might have for me. Thank you!

It is possible that you will experience side-effects from taking Zoloft in the first few weeks, including heightened anxiety, but not everyone develops them and most only get mild symptoms. The best way of limiting their severity is to start on a low dose and ramping it up every 7-10 days by the same small amount until you get to the target dose. For Zoloft 25mg is usually a good starting dose. If the side-effects get too rough then drop back to 12.5mg. If your psychiatrist has prescribed a different starting dose then you should ask him about cutting the dose back. Don't do so without checking as there may be reasons why he wants you on a higher dose.

Ian
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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 treadstone

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Thanks, Insights! My starting dose of Zoloft is indeed 25mg for 15 days and then a doubling to 50mg. :)
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Offline Luisa1974

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Hi treadstone

How you getting on with the meds?, I started on 25mg and have now worked my way up to 100mg, I have been on 100 for a week now and the increase has heightened my anxiety a lot, but just to give you some hope after a couple of weeks the side effects should start to wear off, they did when I increased previously unfortunately it is just a waiting game, I increase further as I wasn't quite there yet and my doctor thought the increase might do the trick, so now I have to sit and wait (which is awful) but fingers crossed there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Let me know how you get on as all people react different to medication.
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Offline somaj

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I have been on Zoloft for a little over month now. I started at 12.5mg for 2weeks and then 25mg for 2 weeks. I just jumped up to 50mg this week as the side effects have been mild. I generally felt a bit keyed up in the mornings for a few days after increasing the dosage, but not too bad. I have a prescription for xanax that I have not needed since starting the Zoloft, so there is most likely a good placebo effect in play. I seem to balance out in the second week after upping the dose. Stick with it, it will get better.
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Offline treadstone

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Hey everyone!

I'm only on my second day, in between my morning and night doses right now.

I feel more tired than usual and I had a health anxiety scare last night when my chest hurt, but I'm pretty sure that would have happened regardless of the medicine. That's just the kind of person I am. I wouldn't want to feel like this every day for a long time, but for right now, I can deal with the tiredness. :)
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Offline insights

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I'm only on my second day, in between my morning and night doses right now.

Morning and night doses? Are you taking Zoloft in split doses?

Ian
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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 Potatoes

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My starting dose of Zoloft is indeed 25mg for 15 days

Lucky you.  :(
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Offline treadstone

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I'm only on my second day, in between my morning and night doses right now.

Morning and night doses? Are you taking Zoloft in split doses?

Ian

My bad, sorry for the confusion!

No, I take Zoloft once in the morning. I take Buspar in the morning and in the evening.
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Offline treadstone

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Day 3! It's going alright so far. I feel pretty good in the morning and early afternoon, but in the afternoon and evening I've been feeling anxious, tired, and my chest kind of hurts. It's hard to say if the medicine has any fault in it, though, because I've been having those symptoms for many months now. It does feel a bit worse than usual, though. It clears up in the late evening, though, and I go to bed feeling alright.
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Offline treadstone

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It's Day 5 now. I've slept rather poorly the last couple of nights, I feel dizzy and slightly nauseous, and my whole body hurts. I'm also anxious about half the time, and when I am, it feels worse than normal. However, when I'm not anxious, I feel a little better than I normally do, and I'm able to focus a bit more. I think. It's hard to tell this early. I hope I can get a better night's sleep tonight because I'm running on maybe 7 hours of sleep over the last two nights. I know that's par for the course for some folks, but I'm not used to it!
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Offline insights

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I hope I can get a better night's sleep tonight because I'm running on maybe 7 hours of sleep over the last two nights. I know that's par for the course for some folks, but I'm not used to it!

If it persists then ask your doctor to prescribe a small dose, 25-50mg, of trazodone (Desyrel) which is often prescribed for SSRI induced insomnia. It is a sedating antidepressant which at low doses only acts as a antihistamine so won't affect the Zoloft or Buspar.

Ian
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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 treadstone

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Thank you, insights! You always have good advice.

I slept better last night, about 7 hours' worth! I feel pretty rubbish today, though. Since I woke up, my heart has been thudding uncomfortably in my chest and my stomach feels heavy. I'm trying not to get too anxious about things, but I have a lot of housework to do today. I just took my 25mg Zoloft and 5mg Buspar. I worry about how I'll feel when I already feel this out of sorts.

Last evening was really weird. About 6 hours after I took my zoloft/buspar yesterday, I became very restless. I couldn't sit still. I kept sitting up in bed, then lying back down, then raising both my arms behind my head, then putting them back at my side, then sitting up, then lying back down, then rolling onto my left side and then my right side. I'm still quite antsy right now but I can keep still, at least.

I've read a lot of inspiring stories about how Zoloft can really help if you just endure the first few weeks of weirdness. I guess one advantage of being unemployed right now is that I can deal with this in the privacy of my own home.  :laugh3:
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Offline insights

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but I have a lot of housework to do today

Good. Exercise is good for both body and anxiety, plus it will take your mind off things. When you've finished your place you can come and do mine...purely as therapy of course.   :bigsmile:

Quote
About 6 hours after I took my zoloft/buspar yesterday, I became very restless.

That's all the extra serotonin at work. According to the popular mythology, serotonin is the feel good neurotransmitter. The myth is wrong. It causes most of the more unpleasant side-effects, including heightened anxiety. Not that neurotransmitters actually have an intrinsic quality. It all depends on the function of the receptors they bind with. Your brain will adapt to the extra serotonin activity and begin down-regulating its synthesis and expression after a few weeks.

Ian
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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 treadstone

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Well, it's been a week and I think things are going alright!

Yesterday was very difficult - I had a pretty gnarly ache in my chest that lasted all day. Today is turning out MUCH better. :)
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