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Author Topic: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice  (Read 5351 times)

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Offline hateanxiety

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Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« on: August 13, 2011, 09:39:44 PM »
I have been on 25 mg doses for only 4 days now, I do not like the side effects and really do not believe this medication is the answer.  I know it takes a while to adjust and get the actual benefits of the medicine, but I really feel like taking this won't solve my anxiety.  I can not speak to a doctor before Monday and am curious if I should take half a dose tomorrow, the full 25mg, or none at all.  Will I experience bad withdrawals after only 4 days on such a low dose?  I am also taking Xanax which has helped with the current side effects somewhat and hopefully any withdrawal effects.  Any advice would be appreciated very much.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 10:04:26 PM »
Unless the side effects are unbearable, this is not a fair trial.  Many side effects will diminish with time, and after 4 days you can't know if it will help.
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Offline hateanxiety

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 10:14:13 PM »
I do agree it has not been long enough to feel the effects of the medicine working properly.  However, I was put on this medication after I had some issues with Buspar, I just accepted the Zoloft because the Buspar issues and I feel like I was better off before the Buspar than I am now.  I really do not want to be on any anti depressant medication for a long period of time, especially Zoloft after some reading. 
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 10:23:46 PM »
Well that's a different story.  I would guess you could just stop after 4 days on a starting dose but maybe to be safe wait till you can speak to your dr.
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Offline hateanxiety

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 10:52:14 PM »
I appreciate your reply.  I am very torn on what to do.  I wish I would have tried a few days without Buspar to see how I felt without adding Zoloft.  I do not want to get too far in adjusting to the drug and make it more difficult for my body if I end up stopping the medication.  I'm afraid of the withdrawals I may encounter if I continue and the current side effects are not very pleasant either.   
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Offline WiSp

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 12:08:55 AM »
You will not have a withdrawal after being only 4 days on zoloft. You even don't reach the steady state. You will still have side effects during 4 days but that's all.

You think that this medication is not the answer. I don't know your medication background, what you tried etc. But the help of antidepressants must not be under estimated. In exchange of unpleasant side effects for a while, they can give your life back. Zoloft is known to be the second best potent SSRI on the US market. Its way of action explain why it's especially efficient for anxiety disorders.

You may read bad stories on any of all the meds available. And you can also read success stories for the same meds. The only thing that should break you to go forward, is side effects too hard to handle. I don't know what yours are. But a lot of people stop, hoping to get one with no side effects at all. Immediately when they get one, they refuse to live with it for some weeks. They usually also don't know how these meds can work so good.

I also thought that no med could help me. Because of the severity, the time spent in this condition, and how the whole disorders were looking like an unusual aberration. But I was wrong. Meds are a powerful help. I live again, and I would be probably in a hospital right now without this help. I'm also on zoloft, on the maximum dosage, and for more than a year. I almost don't even notice that I still take it. I've done several zoloft withdrawals in my life, and it was not horrible like you may think. Later I will try to live without it, and do another withdrawal. And this is not a problem. I never stopped to live for a withdrawal, or vomited or being too dizzy to walk, or anything like that. I've also done it correctly, slowly.

The side effects are not pleasant, you are right, but in my case, there was nothing that I could not handle. They also go away after a while. The little discomfort really worth it. Often, after 3 weeks, we think that it's useless because nothing changed for anxiety. And soon, suddenly, when you think it's not working, the things start to change completely. You feel like if your life is going back to normal, and you realize that you would have missed this by stopping too early. This is when you learn to give time to antidepressants to prove their power.

I wanted to balance yours feelings, because you seem to only see the bad stuff. This is not an objective view. But I don't know your story. Maybe you tried something else before and with no satisfying results. But each med is a different experience, and you never know how they can help unless you try. It's tricky, it's not fun, but it can work, really. You know, some people tried everything else before to finally try meds. Antidepressants saved lifes and given lifes back, and they continue to do it. They are the second most prescribed drugs after anti-infection meds.
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Offline hateanxiety

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 01:39:40 AM »
Thank you for the post.  You are exactly right I only see the bad things that are going on.  All of the things going on with this medication are completely foreign to me, I've never been on a medicine that requires weeks to take full effect.   I have been taking xanax for my anxiety for a few years now and up until about 2 weeks ago I had reduced my doses to under 1 mg a day, then I went through a series of panic attacks leading to multiple ER visits and the buspar prescription and an big increase in my xanax doseage.   I lasted one week on buspar before suffering from some bad confusion and more panic attacks as a result, so I was admitted to the hospital and was switched to zoloft.

The biggest problem is the doctor did not really prepare me for what I would encounter during the start up phase of this medicine.  The first two nights I could barely sleep, that could be related to the extreme anxiety and nervousness I was having being inside the hospital.  The things this medicine does to my body just feel wrong.  Not sure how to describe better, but its like electrical pulses at times through my body.  Very weird feeling which just does not seem natural, I have read other people who mention this feeling and refer to them as brain buzzes or something similar.  Other general side effects like increased anxiety, tingling sensations, and somewhat of a trembling feeling have been going on.  I am not physically shaking, but sometimes it just feels like I am.  These side effects are not so bad, a little scary but tolerable. 

The weirdest part and what has me the most concerned is this.  The first day being discharged from the hospital I finally felt like I could sleep and I did sleep most of the day and night, but I kept waking up with my hands being numb like they had fallen asleep or cut off circulation.  I called some pharmacists, did some research online and could not really find much info on this as a side effect.  I did however read from another person that this can be a side effect of depression and anxiety, which I have never experienced before, but scary still.  I have had around 4 blood tests in the past 2 weeks, 3 ekgs with nothing wrong physically reported, so I can only expect it is a result of the medicine or the amount of stress/anxiety I have experienced in the past couple weeks.  I did sleep for a few more hours later in the day keeping my arms down at my sides and did not experience any numbness.  Hopefully that will not return.  I'm kind of just shocked by everything thats being going on as far as side effects of the meds and stress and scared of what could be worse if I continue on the meds.  I have very little knowledge of the severity of the side effects I could experience and what is really dangerous.

I am very thankful for your post and apologize for the length of mine.  Without this forum I would probably already be back at a hospital and I am still unsure what I will do.  I can not reach the doctor who prescribed my zoloft without going back to the ER or my other doctor who prescribes xanax before monday.  Im trying my best to ride this out until then to get some more advice from a doctor, I really do not want to take another trip to inpatient care at the hospital so I am trying to fight to keep myself from a nervous breakdown.  If you happen to read this I would appreciate any further advice or just words of wisdom as they have been very helpful during a time when I can't seem to get much help elsewhere.

Forgot to mention I did notice around the first time I took zoloft that while I still had worries and anxiety, I could dismiss them much easier.  Especially the ones that are irrational that come with panic attacks, still a little concerned going forward because of the buspar issue I had.  It's hard to put it all aside because I just dont feel like I can do anything like go to work, I try to take my mind off by watching TV or reading but I just still have some fears in the back of my mind that wont go away.
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Offline hateanxiety

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2011, 02:07:00 AM »
Another thing I forgot to mention that was a concern was when I took my last dose the dizziness was pretty extreme. I felt like I was near fainting in the shower, the severity of the dizziness went away with some food and time after I had taken the meds.  I'm really considering taking a little less, possibly 1/2 or 3/4 of a 25 mg pill when its time for my next dose and see how I feel.  The first couple days the dizziness wasn't that bad at all.
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Offline ekoworld

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2011, 06:49:07 AM »
Hi I want to let you know I have been where you are,and not to long ago. First i want to say that Buspar is not an SSRI like zoloft is,it is a whole different medication. Secondly if you are taking xanax do you take it as needed or are you on a steady dose? when i started zoloft i was able to start at 25mg,but thats me,I have med phobia also,but it was when I reached 50mgs i had my problems and the ones you are describing ,some of the symptoms you are experiencing are not from the zoloft it is heightening your anxiety,which I have been told is a good sign,meaning it will probably work for your anxiety in the long run.I have to up my dosage very slowly,i did 25mg for 2 weeks,then i took a 25mg plus half a 25mg for 2 weeks,then went to 50mg as i said this is where i got my symptoms,scary yes ,they drove me wild,first 9 days were hardest,and I was taking ativan 1mg 3 x's a day,it lessened my anxiety but did not take care of all of it and have had many doctors say the benzos may just not take it all away. If you feel your better off starting slow than do so tell your doc you want to start at half of a 25mg,do it for 2 weeks if you feel good than go up,if not hold for another week I held at 50mg for 3 weeks,than took 50mg plus half of a 25mg and was okay,in my opinon it is much better to work with an SSri or an SNRI ,versus taking the benzos in your case the xanax if you have been taking it for awhile than the zoloft may help you even better so you wont have to take the xanax,or ask your doctor to prescribe a longer acting benzo such as ativan or klonopin to get you over this hump, I would give the zoloft a fair shot I to wanted to stop,but with the help of the forum here and a specific person I stuck it out ,its been i think almost 10 weeks now and i am only up to 75mg,on tues i will go up to 87.5mg that will be a 50mg breaking a 50mg and breaking a 25mg,my goal is to reach 100mgs,it has helped me my depression is gone and i am now tapering off the benzo which will be slow also,i was on zoloft before from 2003-feb 2010 i didnt taper it I just stopped taking it and i was fine i had been on it for PMDD and i had no problems going on it but it was being used for something different but I also dont recommend doing that as my circumstances were different than,and that was me not you,now i do take it for anxiety,and i do therapy which is also a very crucial part in all this i dont know what you have been reading but it is a good idea not to do that,you are not those other people, but having good communication with your doc is good,let them know how you feel and what you think might be best for you,they work for you,so express yourself,tell them what you want to try even if it means going slower,and/or switching benzos,advocate for yourself and be good at it. give it a fair shot i think you might be impressed with the results, you dont have to be on zoloft forever some doctors let ya do 6 months or 1 year some people need it longer,it just depends,I dont know what else i can say about zoloft and how its helped me this far but if you can hang in there i would,keep us updated on what you decide.
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“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength”

Offline hateanxiety

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 03:10:58 PM »
Hi, thanks for your response. Unfortunately I woke up with repeated panic attacks and some weird spasms in my neck so I went to the ER and they just told me to stop taking the zoloft.  I think I have developed quite a med phobia myself since I have had these bad experiences in the past couple weeks.  I am on a steady dose of xanax right now and have been for quite a while.  Hopefully it will help with any lingering side effects or withdrawal symptoms.  Its been about 28 hours since I took zoloft and the excess anxiety I had been feeling while on it seems to have gone away, hopefully it stays away and I get no worse effects over the next couple days.  It was only 4 days taking 25 mg...but I imagine it will still be in my body for a few days.  Im not sure exactly how it works, just hoping for the best now.
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Offline WiSp

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 09:15:28 PM »
When we start an antidepressant, we can think that it only worsen our condition. But in fact, your anxiety boost has nothing to do with your condition. It's coming from the med itself. You are not dreaming. Of course your fear can be added so you feel even more anxious. But this is all temporary. It often work like that. You feel worse, with several side effects. And after a week, some start to disappear, and anxiety is one of them.

It sounds weird to have our anxiety boosted by taking something that is supposed to get rid of it. But it's how it works. It's possible that you cannot live with the temporary boost. It happened to me for some meds. I had no choice but to stop. But when we can live with it, we must continue for at least 3 weeks to know how it can help. Some antidepressants given to me an anxiety boost that I was able to handle. But for some, I was forced to stop after 48h. Like you, except for zoloft because I was on celexa, I woke up completely panicked in the night. I was not able to up the dosage until the minimum required to get positive effects. Those night panic attacks only happened on celexa. Paxil was rough at the start, but I "tamed" it. And for zoloft, it was really not a big deal and I was easily able to continue on it.

I've myself a med phobia. Often before to take a new med, I will walk in the room for 10 minutes, trying to convince me to swallow the pill. And once it's done, I often panic, imagining all kind of scenarios. You are not alone with bad and scary experiences. Unfortunately you lack of good experiences. You have nothing to balance your fear, and nothing that prove to yourself that it worth the try. It can be extremely hard to be objective when we have an anxiety disorder, and when the new med is adding anxiety to the mix.

Since you don't really know how it works, maybe some infos will reassure you. Whatever how bad you feel when you try a new med, know that it's temporary. Even if it takes 4 days to clean your system, the worst side effects will already start to lower in the next 24h if you don't take another pill. So you always have a control. Nothing is permanent. And whatever the weirdness of the side effects, they cannot damage your body or worsen your problem definitively. Remember that you take a tiny dosage, and that it was prescribed after an analyze of your medical information.

Think about what is really bugging you. The side effects, or the fear of the med. If it's the fear, you must try to hang on, and maybe you should search for success stories on zoloft. Forget about the bad for now. If fear is pushing you to give up, you need to fight it and then to avoid any bad stories. If the problem is really the side effects, that your anxiety is completely out of control since you take zoloft, or that you cannot eat anymore, or cannot sleep anymore, any extreme reason is a good one to stop. Not because you are dying or in danger, but because it's simply unbearable.

You must just not stop except if something too big is happening. Because it's common to have side effects on most every antidepressants. What is changing, is the level of those unwanted effects, and their length. I want you to understand that you have some options, instead of just giving up. If it's rough but that you can live on it, for example a whole week, do it. Do not think about several weeks for now or you will likely give up. After one week, check the level of the side effects. It should be easier, and even a little, is good. Knowing this, you have high chances to see them getting smaller and even disappear. This is how you will gain hope and the courage to continue for another week.

Some may take more than one week to diminish. Every side effect has its own level and length. Now what to do if one seems to never diminish, even after 2 weeks? It doesn't mean it will never go away. Sometimes, a side effect doesn't go in the diminishing pattern, but in a trigger pattern. For example, when I was taking some med (else than zoloft), I had headaches often during the day, each day. After a month, I thought it will never go away. But one day, I stopped to have those headaches, and forever. A time trigger was necessary for this precise side effect to go away. And even when I upped the dosage, no headaches.

Reaching a month, you will be just around the needed time to see if the med can really help. Usually after a  month, you have only one or two remaining side effects, with minimal power. And more often, no side effects at all. It's not impossible that one may stay, and never lowered. But at this time you can also know if the med works. If yes, you must ask yourself if you can live with this remaining side effect or not. Does the peace of mind worth it?

Also, the minimal dosage will probably not be enough to work. You need at least 50mg on zoloft, and more according to the severity of your condition. Your doctor should have informed you about the dosage you need. So you may ask why to wait a month on a dosage that will not help anyway? That's why doctors usually up the dosage once you feel ok on the med. It can be a week, or two. What will happen when you will up the dosage? Usually, the same side effects than from the start are coming around again, but not with full power, and disappear faster. And often, the more you take, the faster you feel ok. It sounds weird, but it's true. I got the confirmation from a psychiatrist that it's seen very often. I take 200 right now. I got there slowly. And it was not a big deal, but the best is to never think about the remaining time to wait. Take it week by week.

You may feel discouraged to have to wait, and live with side effects for a while. But try to focus on the expected result. It's a little price to pay, to finally live normally again.
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Offline hateanxiety

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2011, 01:03:18 AM »
Once again I can't say how much I appreciate your info and support, you obviously have a lot of knowledge on the subject and have been very helpful.  I don't know exactly what caused my fears making it seem impossible to continue, but I was struggling to go hour to hour let alone considering a week on the med.  It is very difficult for me to put the bad thoughts out of my mind, even now after I have stopped I still worry something bad will happen or my feelings will get worse.  It has been a little over 36 hours now since I have taken my last dose and some side effects have gone and I think some remain, however it could just be worry and anxiety causing most of it.  I understand these meds come with side effects, but my experience in the hospital and with the doctor was not pleasant and I was not prepared for this, especially a second time. 

Sadly the support from my immediate family has not been great and I don't mean to go on sounding like I'm feeling bad for myself or looking for pity, but I don't feel like this was the right situation to try and stick this out.  That is why I came here desperate for some guidance and knowledge.  Hopefully after some actual visits with my new doctors, not just 5 minute sessions in a hospital I will have the strength to try something else if that's what is decided.  Right now I'm just trying to keep myself reassured that the side effects are lessening and will continue to get better.  For about the past 2-3 weeks I've spent every day trying to convince myself that I wasn't about to die, despite several blood tests and ekg's that showed no problems at all.  I have been sleeping a lot, but still kinda have a fear of going to sleep.  Had some really weird dreams that lead to my panic attacks and ER trip Sunday AM and that was just the last straw.  Taking the meds were just adding too much fear and anxiety for me to cope with.  Clearly something in my mind needs work, this happened a couple years ago where I convinced myself I was going to die from taking too many prescribed painkillers.  For years now I have masked the issue with xanax, but recently I had been seeking treatment and had lowered my xanax intake significantly.  I feel like with some therapy I may be able to put the irrational fears out of my mind and return to reducing my xanax dose.  Seems like I've had some hypochondria and those feelings have come back again.  It's even possible anti-depressants are not what I really need, I have lived without any meds before and kind of lean towards wanting to get back to that.     

Enough of my ranting, thanks again for listening and offering your advice, it has definitely helped me maintain some amount of my sanity.  Can't really express how thankful I am to you and everyone here for taking their time to help me.
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Offline Kristen1

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2011, 09:17:23 PM »
I do agree it has not been long enough to feel the effects of the medicine working properly.  However, I was put on this medication after I had some issues with Buspar, I just accepted the Zoloft because the Buspar issues and I feel like I was better off before the Buspar than I am now.  I really do not want to be on any anti depressant medication for a long period of time, especially Zoloft after some reading.

Could I ask you what your experience on Buspar was like? I too have not been able to find a med that has worked successfully for me. I was prescribed Buspar last week and after just a half of dose, I felt numb at first, like I could go on a homicidal rampage and then I cried for 5 hours straight.
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Offline Kristen1

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Re: Considering stopping Zoloft, could use some advice
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2011, 09:25:43 PM »
Also... did you enter the hospital for medical or psycological issues? i am just wondreing because i have considered checking myself in...
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