≡ Main Menu

Zoloft (Sertraline) Withdrawal Symptoms: List + Duration

Have you taken the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft (Sertraline) to help with your depression? Millions of people have taken this antidepressant and many have had success with managing depressive symptoms. However, since the drug doesn’t work for everyone and/or individuals may not want to be on an antidepressant for life, they eventually decide to come off of the drug. Withdrawal from an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) can be much more difficult than most psychiatrists think.

If you do not know what symptoms to expect, they may catch you off guard and your entire reality may get shook up. For many people, SSRI withdrawal is among the most difficult emotional experiences they will ever have to go through in their lives. For me personally, my withdrawal from Paxil was arguably the toughest thing I’ve ever experienced. It can be very difficult to deal with increased suicidal thoughts, dizziness, fatigue, and all of the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal may push you to your mental limits – most people would describe it as experiencing “hell on Earth.”

Factors that may influence Zoloft withdrawal:

Many people do not understand why different people have an easier time withdrawing from Zoloft, yet other people struggle. There are various factors that play an important role in determining your recovery time. Although doctors don’t explain this to you, the time span (how long you took your medication), the dosage, your individual physiology, and whether you quit cold turkey vs. conducting a taper – will all play a role in influencing withdrawal. Keep these things in mind as you come off of Zoloft.

1. Time Span

How long did you take Zoloft? Was it for a few months just to get over a depressive bout? Or have you been taking it for years to help treat major depression? In general, it is assumed that the longer you take a certain medication, the more difficult it is going to be to withdraw from it. The shorter duration that you took Zoloft, the easier it should be (in theory) to withdraw from.

2. Dosage (50 mg to 200 mg)

How much Zoloft were you taking? Most people take anywhere from 50 mg to 200 mg per day of this drug. 50 mg is regarded as being the therapeutic level of dose. If you were on a lower dose, it theoretically should be easier to come off of the drug than someone who was taking the maximum prescribed daily dose of 200 mg.

If you were on a larger dose for a longer period of time, it is going to take much more time to taper off of the medication and deal with the withdrawal symptoms than someone who was on it for a shorter period of time at the minimal dose.

3. Physiology

Individual physiology plays a role in determining how fast you recover from withdrawal. If you are pretty resistant to withdrawals from medications, you may not experience many symptoms at all. For some people, the withdrawal process is pretty easy and simple. For other people, the entire process can be a total nightmare. Other individual factors that play a role include: environment, social support, diet, and exercise.

4. Cold turkey vs. tapering

All antidepressant medications should be withdrawn from in a “tapering” manner to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Quitting cold turkey is not advised and may end up doing more harm than good. With a medication like Zoloft, it is better to gradually decrease your dosage over a period of weeks and/or months so that it gives your brain time to readjust itself.

If you quit “cold turkey” with no taper, you are essentially leaving your brain in a state of chaos. It is expecting to be fed a drug, and since it isn’t getting the drug, it is going crazy trying to make up for the lack of serotonin. In order to minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is highly important to do a slow taper from Zoloft.

Note: Most people retain the active ingredient “Sertraline” for up to 6 days and its metabolite desmethylsertraline for over 2 weeks after stopping.  As a result, symptoms may emerge with increased severity within 1-3 weeks after stopping.

Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms: Extensive List

There are an array of symptoms that you may experience upon discontinuation of Zoloft. Although you may not experience all of the symptoms that are listed below, it is likely that you will experience some. It is important to understand that these withdrawal symptoms are normal and that you are not going totally crazy. When discontinuing any SSRI antidepressant, you may experience very severe symptoms.

  • Anger: Some people experience extreme anger and/or rage at very minor things. Little things may really “set you off” and during the withdrawal, you may have a short fuse. Some people may get angry at the fact that they feel as if they cannot function.
  • Anxiety: Since Zoloft is known to help with both anxiety and depression, coming off of it may increase anxiety to an extreme. While you are on the medication, it is inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. When you come off of it, there is no reuptake inhibition so you are left with decreased serotonin which may make you extremely anxious.
  • Brain zaps: Some people experience a phenomenon known as “brain zaps.” This makes people feel as though they are getting electrically shocked or “zapped” in the brain by an electrical current. These may last awhile, but they will eventually subside as your brain readjusts itself to functioning without the drug.
  • Confusion: Cognition may be impaired to the point that a person may get confused. Confusion is a common withdrawal symptom along with memory issues. It is especially common if you stopped taking Zoloft “cold turkey.”
  • Cramps: It is very common to get cramps – especially in the abdominal area. You may notice stomach cramps and/or other cramps throughout your body as well. These should go away within a couple of weeks.
  • Crying spells: Many people experience such sadness upon medication withdrawal that they cry a lot. This is a result of significant emotional pain and the person trying to cope with how they are feeling. It is very normal to cry a lot during the withdrawal process.
  • Decreased appetite: For most people, SSRI medications tend to result in an increased appetite. Zoloft may have worked great at helping you eat and/or may have even caused weight gain. When coming off the medication, you may feel like not eating for awhile. Part of this appetite decrease may be a result of increased depression.
  • Depression: Your depression may be worse while withdrawing from Zoloft than before you even started taking the medication. This has to do with your serotonin levels being thrown out of balance as a result of the drug.
  • Depersonalization: It is common to feel unlike yourself and/or depersonalized. You may wonder if you are ever going to feel like your “normal” self again. Depersonalization may make you feel numb, like a zombie, or like an alien has taken over your body. This is just your brain chemistry trying to adapt itself to the withdrawal.
  • Dizziness: Some people report feelings of dizziness for weeks, and in some cases, months after quitting Zoloft. The first couple weeks tend to be the worst in regards to dizziness. You may feel drunk and/or like you have no control over how you are feeling. This is part of drug withdrawal that you should know about.
  • Fatigue: Coming off of an antidepressant may make you feel as though you have chronic fatigue syndrome – that’s how extreme the fatigue is. You may be unable to work out, and may have difficulty just getting through the day. Each step you take may seem as though it’s in slow motion – you just don’t have the energy to work quickly.
  • Flu-like symptoms: For some people the withdrawal feels like they have gotten the flu. They may feel nauseous, achy, bedridden, and be unable to eat. In some cases they may even vomit if the nausea is severe. These extreme symptoms tend to go away after the first couple of weeks.
  • Headaches: A person may feel as though they have a never-ending headache when coming off of Zoloft. This is because their brain is trying to figure out how to react without the drug to stimulate activity. The headaches in combination with the dizziness can make life difficult for awhile.
  • Insomnia: Certain individuals sleep for extended periods of time during withdrawal, while others are so anxious and/or stressed that they are unable to sleep at all. They may stay up well into the night and be so depressed and/or anxious that they cannot sleep.
  • Irritability: Little things may really irritate a person that is withdrawing from Zoloft. They may seem irritable during socialization and may have no desire to be around others. The irritability may build up to an extreme and they may act out with aggression.
  • Memory loss: It has been reported that some people experience memory loss while withdrawing from Zoloft. I experienced this symptom when coming off of a different medication. Just know that although your memory may be lacking right now, it will eventually return to normal – it may take longer than you think though.
  • Mood swings: It is very common to experience mood swings. One minute you might feel as if you are doing okay with the withdrawal, the next minute you may feel extremely depressed. Another minute you may feel extremely angry. Know that the mood swings are associated with your brain trying to readjust itself.
  • Panic attacks: Due to the fact that your serotonin system is dealing with an even greater imbalance upon withdrawal, you may experience sheer panic. This is because the anxiety and stress may feel overwhelming. You are not accustomed to dealing with the way you feel coming off of a medication.
  • Poor concentration: If you feel like your concentration is lacking for school and/or work-related tasks, you are right. Many people report being unable to function after withdrawing from an SSRI. Some people have had to quit their jobs because they were unable to concentrate following their withdrawal. This will eventually return to normal.
  • Sleepiness: Certain people may just feel like sleeping for hours on end. This is because their brain is attempting to stabilize itself without the medication and work out the chemical imbalance that has been created. You may feel extremely sleepy and/or drowsy with no energy while withdrawing – especially in the early stages.
  • Suicidal thoughts: Some people experience worsened depression while coming off of SSRI’s than they did before they first started. Most of these medications have a warning that while on them you may experience suicidal thoughts. These thoughts can increase tenfold when trying to withdraw.
  • Weakness: Your mind and body have been accustomed to a certain drug for an extended period of time. When coming off of it, it is common to experience weakness in your muscles and joints. Since you may feel weak and have no energy, it can make life very difficult.

Zoloft Withdrawal Duration: How Long Does It Last?

There is no clear cut answer here for how long Zoloft withdrawal is going to last. The drug itself will be out of your body in relatively short order, but making a full recovery back to normal body and brain functioning may take an extended period of time. As a general rule of thumb, I suggest that you assume that the readjustment period will last at least 3 months and/or 90 days. Although I have taken Zoloft in my past, I hadn’t been on it long enough to experience a major withdrawal.

Other people have had withdrawals so bad that they have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of the drug. Perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself during withdrawal is engage in healthy activities. Make sure you are eating healthy, exercising, getting outside, socializing with friends and/or family, and doing the best you can at work or school. Eventually the symptoms will subside and you will fully recover from Zoloft withdrawal.

Understand that upon complete cessation of the drug, Zoloft stays in your system for between 11 and 12 days, with its metabolite “Desmethylsertraline” remaining for an average of 30.25 days.  Variations in individual metabolism could dictate when the withdrawal symptoms become noticeable and/or most severe.  Just realize that the process takes time and you should not expect to be 100% improved overnight – it will likely take weeks and/or months. If you recover sooner than three months – more power to you.

Related Posts:

{ 504 comments… add one }
  • ClaireG June 6, 2018, 10:31 pm

    Hi all, Like others I’ve never posted on a forum before so thank you all for making sensible relatable comments that made it feel worth doing. I was on sertraline for around 2.5 years at 200mls after a sustained period of significant anxiety etc. Life is very different now circumstantially and I had quite easily reduced to 100mls around 6 months ago.

    The problem I’ve always had with sertraline is that I have pretty bad acid reflux which it makes a great deal worse. After a couple of days of severe stomach pain about 10 days ago I decided I’d had enough and to just stop from the 100mg. Unfortunately now I feel dreadful and on googling discovered all the classic symptoms that you all describe but doctors don’t.

    It’s a relief in a way, but of course I’ve also read lots of alarming posts on forums saying I’ll have damaged my nervous system and to go back on it straight away – then taper really slowly. In a panic (plus it feels like I’m walking around after a heavy night in one of those fairground funhouses) I thought it logical to take just 50mls again tonight with a plan to stabilize for a couple of weeks then reduce really slowly.

    However, I haven’t really a clue! Has anyone else gone back on after nearly two weeks off? Thanks in advance… oh and any tips on trying to appear like you can function at work during this time would also help!!

  • Rachel June 2, 2018, 6:26 pm

    This post has been really helpful. I have been on 100 mg Zoloft for almost 10 years, and it was amazing and exactly what I needed. But now I’ve decided I think I can be okay without it and I want to be more natural because I think I can.

    Like a genius, I quit cold turkey and definitely did not consult a doctor. It’s been… rough. And highly uncomfortable. I’m about 3 weeks in. This post helped me realize that a lot of what I’m experiencing could be from the withdrawals. Thanks person who wrote this!!!

  • James May 23, 2018, 11:17 am

    Hey y’all. Never done one of these posts, however felt real solidarity from reading everyone’s comments. I’m a 42 y/o male, was on Zoloft for about 18 months approx for anxiety, up to 100mg at times but down to 50mg before I tapered off (but too quickly)… with advice from my GP…

    What blew me away was that when discussing coming off Zoloft, my doctor didn’t give me any heads up on potential withdrawal symptoms… flu like aches, dizziness, mood fluctuations, brain buzz (this one freaked me out until I googled and realized this was “normal”), really emotional at times, crying (this one actually felt good…like a bit of a release), but like real bawling.

    It does get better. I’m about 6 weeks on, however I started googling again tonight as I’m still experiencing the dizzying and very disconcerting brain buzzes. Thinking of checking in with my doctor again, however after reading everyone’s posts feel reasonably confident that all symptoms are related to withdrawal from the Zoloft.

    Being on Zoloft certainly helped during the worst anxiety, however coming off has been a real bi$ch! Hang in there everyone, we are stronger than we realize… thank you for sharing your stories… I hope mine helps even 1 reader.

    Community, friends, family, exercise and me, have got me through… be open with those you trust, tell them how you feel, and go EASY on yourself! I think many doctors (while they do the best they can) haven’t experienced what we have so don’t have the knowledge or experience to truly understand the withdrawal process. Peace be with you all :-)

  • Laura May 12, 2018, 1:16 am

    I was wondering if anyone can answer my question. I was on Zoloft 50 mg for about 40 days for postpartum and when I ran out of my first prescription I decided to stop taking it cold turkey because it was making me into a zombie and making me not have any feelings.

    I went through serious flu like symptoms and nausea. I tried to eat as much as I could, but it felt like I was constantly starving. I am now past that “week of hell” and now I am at the point of overheating, anxiety attacks everyday, and constant outbursts of crying.

    There is about a 50% chance I could be pregnant again due to my sex drive coming back and I’m not sure if the symptoms pertain to the side effects or pregnancy. Any thoughts?

    • Lauren May 17, 2018, 6:11 pm

      Following this Laura, b/c I’m in the same boat. Been on Sertraline 25mg for probably 2.5 years though, started during pregnancy with my daughter. I just decided I want to try to get off of the medication and try to manage with a more natural method.

      I stopped my Sertraline last Friday 5/11 and since Tuesday evening I have felt miserable. Soooo many pregnancy-like symptoms. I too could be pregnant, but I just realized I stopped my medication so I’m wondering if it’s just the side effects of withdraw?

      So I know that was no help to you, but just letting you know you’re not alone. I guess I’ll see if I start my period next week? Ha.

      • L May 26, 2018, 5:22 pm

        I was on 50mg for 4 months. Tapered down to 25mg for 10 days then stopped. Emotionally I feel ok but yes – it feels like pregnancy. I’m not pregnant but it could 100% be described as the same feeling as morning sickness and the fatigue. It’s been 3 days of this. Hoping it’s not much longer.

  • Julie May 2, 2018, 5:02 pm

    I just read where someone in this discussion used the the phrase “Hell on earth.” When my husband asked me how I was feeling last night I responded with those same words like “hell on earth.” I have been on Zoloft (Sertraline) for 15 years vacillating between 100 to 150 mg per day.

    Over the last year I have felt like something wasn’t right and it was time to get away from this drug. I went from 100 mg to 50 mg and discussed this with my therapist. She was supportive of the decision. I also saw a new psychiatrist who was adamant that I get off of Zoloft.

    Her words…”Zoloft is a heavy duty medication.” She put me on a tapering down plan which I have been following completely unaware of the consequences. Within the first two weeks of being on 50 mg my hands started to feel and continue to feel like they are on fire. It is not just a “burning sensation.”

    They are hot to the touch and very painful. I often have to wrap them in ice packs to find relief. It did not occur to me that pain in my hands could be related to my lowering my dose of Sertraline. Arthritis, carpal tunnel maybe, but SSRI withdrawal symptoms, never. During this time I also started to feel like I was on the verge of getting the flu.

    Low grade fever, cold sweats, headaches fatigue and muscle aches. Again I did not think this had anything to do with lowering my dosage of Sertraline. After several weeks on 50 mg I dropped to 25 mg and that’s when thoughts started creeping into my brain that I was dying of some horrible illness. My tongue and lips felt thick and numb causing my speech to slur.

    I experience zapping sensation in my brain and cramping in my body. My hands not only feel like they are on fire but now my grip is weak. My teeth ache and my eyes feel like they are bulging. I see flashes of light which effect my vision. I am afraid to drive especially at night. Hot flashes and extreme sweating hit me out of the blue.

    There is a constant buzz and ringing in my ears impairing my hearing. My heart has a fluttering sensation and I have bouts of dizziness and feel like I am going to pass out. Despite the fact I am extremely fatigued I have a hard time falling asleep and when I do I have dreams and nightmares so extreme I cry out or wake up in tears with my heart racing and experience all the symptoms of a full on panic attack.

    Still it did not ever cross my mind that I am in some state of withdrawal. My thoughts became I have ALS, fibromyalgia, MS, Parkinson’s, a heart condition or cancer. Petrified I called my GP and got an appointment with her PA. Before leaving the house for the appointment I packed a bag certain the PA would take one look me and immediately admit me to the hospital.

    I didn’t tell my husband about the packed bag so he wouldn’t worry but I wanted it ready for him to bring to me. After a thorough exam revealing that I was not having a heart attack or some other extreme physical health issue the PA noticed that I was on a lower dose of sertraline than I had been during my last exam.

    Bless this man for suggesting I was in some sort of serotonin withdrawal. Although he did not go into detail about all the symptoms I was experiencing nor did he tell me what else to expect he did open a door I never would have looked behind. I truly had a “lightbulb” moment and at least no longer felt like I was dying of some horrific disease.

    Per my psychiatrists instructions I stopped taking Sertraline altogether about three weeks ago which brings me to the “living hell” state of my life. Profound sadness sweeps over me for no reason. It feels like there is a pressure inside of me that builds and builds until I start to sob uncontrollably.

    I am embarrassed and ashamed that I took this drug for so long that I hide these bouts of crying from even my husband. My body hurts, all my extremities either have a tingling sensation, are freezing and cold to the touch or feel like someone is holding a blow torch to them. I sweat profusely, go from hot to cold and am so tired small tasks feel insurmountable.

    When I sleep I feel like a door opens to another world and I am stuck in a terrifying dream cycle I can’t break free from. A zapping sensation hits my brain at random and oddly comes in threes. My ears are ringing, I feel like a weigh a million pounds and I have a hard time verbalizing my thoughts.

    Most of all I am deathly afraid this insidious drug has done permanent damage to my brain and maybe I deserve it because I was too weak to fight the depression and PTSD that caused me to take it in the first place. I fear my husband, friends and family think the same and the shame is almost unbearable.

    I am writing this today because I want people to know the dangers of drugs like Zoloft, Sertraline and probably similar medications with different names but are in the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). I can almost guarantee no matter how bad life seems right now and how much you are hurting (I know I have been there) stay away from this class of medications.

    I say this with confidence after reading many other stories like mine from people who took these medications for a much shorter period of time than 15 years; some only a few months. Finally if you are also in withdrawal I want you to know that I have found some relief in taking a low dose of Klonopin.

    I take it sparingly because I am afraid of the side effects, addiction and/or possible with withdrawals I might have to endure when I stop. Good luck to anyone who is this boat with me. I am 50 years old and certainly have had many battles in my life. This is the greatest of them all and it is so very lonely.

    The fear it will never end paralyzing. If you were a long time user of Zoloft, Sertraline or the like and have made it through this dark tunnel, I would love to hear from you. Hope it will get better fades with each day. Thank you, Julie

    • Dreana May 3, 2018, 12:51 pm

      Hi Julie. I can relate to the horror you endured in this story. I was on Paxil, the highest dose, for fifteen years. The doctor tapered me off too quickly like yours. How do you feel now? Did he reinstate you to go slower?

      My doctor tried to fix it by putting me on a different antidepressant. That only gave me side effects to go with the withdrawal symptoms! These doctors truly don’t have a clue on the horror of coming off antidepressants.

      Hell on earth does describe what I went through. I am now down to extreme anxiety which is hanging on for months. I pray everyday that it will soon pass, as my brain readjusts and returns to homeostasis. Let me know how you are doing. Dreana

    • DK May 3, 2018, 3:54 pm

      Julie, I feel like I could have written whole chunks of your post myself. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m also 50, going through menopause and it’s lovely symptoms, Restless Leg Syndrome too, so as the sun begins to set.

      I feel a pronounced sense of DREAD each night, knowing what lies ahead for the next 10 hours till dawn breaks. Horrible. During the day it’s the dizziness and and fatigue that make the days drag. Have you found relief from any practices or natural products?

      I’ve put on weight and seem to have no self-control where food is concerned, as opposed to the article referring to loss of appetite. I’m with ya sister, hang in. I hope we’ll come out the other end of this WHOLE and feeling like ourselves… sending hugs of support. DK

    • Elizabeth Thompson May 11, 2018, 2:40 am

      No matter what has happened to get you ON zoloft, you don’t DESERVE these feelings from withdrawals because you weren’t “strong enough” to fight the PTSD and depression. Your body and brain are trying to recover from trauma, allow yourself the time and grace to heal.

      It didn’t happen overnight, it won’t get better overnight. I was on 200mg daily for over a year, I worked my way up and down on Zoloft after about a 3 year period of tremendous loss, including the death of my mother and grandfather, the birth of my son and so many other deaths in my immediate and extended family.

      I’m so grateful to be off this medicine and experiencing a range of emotions again, but the withdrawal symptoms are horrific. I’m sad that more practitioners don’t counsel patients on these issues when they start the meds.

      It makes me a little upset that my psychiatrist didn’t tell me more what to expect, especially when I began seeing her to wean myself off the drugs in the first place. You’re going to make it through this, and you’ll be stronger for it. I will pray for you. And everyone else going through this $#!%.

    • Ana May 16, 2018, 6:58 pm

      Dear Julie. Great news, I stopped sertraline cold turkey after a year. There is hope at the end of this crazy tunnel. It has been about 6 weeks now and I am doing better, but not at the end yet.

      Crazy dreams, sweating like hot flashes, confusion, and dizziness. Hang in there you and I are not dying or going crazy. Good luck, Ana.

    • PATTI June 6, 2018, 12:19 pm

      I have been on Zoloft for over 30 years. I am 57 years old and was prescribed this for depression and anxiety. Mostly depression since I was diagnosed mildly depressed since childhood. I started at 50mg and after about 25 years, was increased to 100mg since the 50mg had become like drinking water.

      No benefits anymore. I felt fine for about two weeks after the increase to 100mg but then it was right back like before, no benefits. My doctor wants me to try Lexapro. I started the weaning process about a month ago. I cut the 100mg back to 50mg for about two weeks.

      Now I have cut the 50mg in half (25mg) and have been doing this for a week now. The only withdrawal I have had is the crying episodes and not being able to fall asleep. I sleep well when I finally fall asleep, it’s just getting to sleep that takes a while.

      I have had no brain zaps, loss of appetite, etc. I have had some anxiety but nothing severe or unable to handle. I have my pharmacist going thru this with me. Seems like they know more at times about meds than physicians do, but don’t get me wrong, all of my physicians are great.

      I do feel a little fuzzy in my head at times but all in all I think I’m doing pretty good. Can someone give me some feedback on Lexapro? I personally think it will be a good change for me. Thanks.

  • Megan A April 24, 2018, 11:06 am

    Been on Zoloft 100mg for I believe between 1-2 years. I decided I no longer felt I needed medication for my anxiety and want to handle it on my own (I am a counselor and know techniques that work for me). I weaned myself down to 50 mg for a little over a month and over the past 4 days have stopped taking it altogether.

    First 2 days didn’t notice anything, 3rd day had situation at work and felt high anxiety. Used deep breathing but heart still was racing. I used some self-talk to get through it and I was ok once I got situation under control and talked it (my anxiety) out with a co-worker. Later that day I began feeling very lightheaded, like I was going to pass out.

    This feeling continued onto the next day. I am still experiencing this now (day 4) hoping it will go away soon, don’t like feeling like I’m going to pass out. Any suggestions to help this? I was glad to see that this is one of the side effects of stopping the med. Also glad I wasn’t on it longer if this is how it feels coming off… and knowing it could be worse the longer you’re on it.

    When it comes to the vivid dream side effect, I’ve always been a very active vivid dreamer so that side effect is me normally, so I’ve been sleeping great actually since I stopped taking the Zoloft. I gained some weight when I first began the Zoloft as well.

    Had to work out extra hard to get it off and keep it off. Hoping by not taking it anymore I will be able to have more success with my workouts and diet. Last comment to everyone: Keep your heads up, you are strong, and you can get through this. Namaste!

  • David April 20, 2018, 1:28 pm

    I have been on 50mg Zoloft for 15+ years for social anxiety. It worked quite well for a long period, but the last several years my social anxiety seems to be the same as when I was not on the drug. I have tried to stop taking it, couple times cold turkey (mistake) and others I tried to taper.

    For me, it seems like even if I chip off a small amount of the pill I instantly get the withdrawal within 48 hours, no matter how little I try to lower the dose. It’s really frustrating, but I am going to give it my all this time and try pushing through it.

    I do not want to keep taking it when it no longer helps with what I was taking it for in the first place. I have withdrawn from opiates before and this is close to as uncomfortable as that was, just different. To anyone else going through it, we can do it. Don’t give up!

  • Jen April 20, 2018, 5:12 am

    I just googled withdrawal duration for Zoloft because I sort of go through my days “convincing” myself I’m okay, or just distracting myself, when deep down I know I’m not. I’ve been on medication for about 7 years, back and forth from Zoloft to Lexapro to Zoloft.

    I decided to come off the 50 mg of Zoloft I’d been taking for probably two or three years this time (my timeframe is so bad). I discussed coming off meds with my therapist and she agreed it’d be a good idea to find out my ‘baseline’ since I’ve been medicated for a long time.

    It’s been about a month since I’ve been off of it and I’m at a loss for words at how anxious I feel all the time. My anxiety had always been manageable while my depression was the main thing I’ve always struggled with, even while on Zoloft.

    Now my depression is back and my anxiety is unbearable – I am constantly irritated, angry, paranoid, depressed and so socially anxious. I feel like an alien around my friends and family because of how bad it is and I feel ashamed talking to anyone about it. I also am having really intense dreams/waking up in the middle of the night as opposed to always sleeping soundly.

    I’m not sure if I should wait it out the until the ‘3 month period’ or if this is just how I really am without medication. It’s so hard to tell, and it’s frustrating feeling like my doctors who are supposed to know this stuff can’t really give me any solid answers.

    I thought it was strange my psychiatrist had one 10 min conversation with me after not seeing me in years – letting me come off my meds without suggesting any kind of moderation… and then just sends me on my way.

    • Jane April 20, 2018, 4:56 pm

      Jen: I know what you are going through and it is a hard road. I found melatonin helped me sleep for a little while. It gave me some relief from waking up in fear. I know the 3 month idea is scary and hard to grasp when you are suffering so much. All I can say is, it is worth the time. Good luck and keep trying!

  • Jane April 18, 2018, 9:50 pm

    As it states above: “If you recover sooner than three months – more power to you.” I am now 3 & 1/2 months off and things are gradually calming down. My Dr. gave me Diazepam 10 milligrams 2x daily, as needed. It is helping and I am taking 1/2 tablets every 6 hours to maintain the feeling of relief.

    Still have some withdrawal issues, still some days I dip. Fresh air, exercise and lots of deep breathing along with some down time listening to positive affirmations helps my mind to change the thoughts that lead to anxiety etc. Good luck to all! Just my experience to date.

  • Kia Noori April 18, 2018, 8:48 pm

    I’ve been on 75 mg of Zoloft for a year now for OCD and severe GAD. For me personally, it has saved my life, and I’m very good on it. The only thing is that I’ve gotten quite large cause of it (gained like, 40 pounds). I lowered it to 50 mg last week, and it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve been super anxious, having negative intrusive thoughts and obsessive thoughts, and I really don’t know why I even bothered to lower it.

    I can’t even remember. I get struck with depersonalization and random fear, and this was the exact reason why I went on the medication. Is my brain just not okay without a certain dose (75 mg) of zoloft? I was able to live my life again, and honestly as I said earlier, the medication saved my life. I’m a Sophomore in college, and it’s nearing the end of the semester.

    Maybe it’s just a bad time to lower my dose? I’ve already lost some weight, and my sex drive is through the roof. Maybe my brain just needs Zoloft for now? I might need it for the rest of my life? I wish I knew why my brain was so obsessive and anxious, but Zoloft at 75 mg makes it so there’s none of that. Please let me know your thoughts. P.S. Sorry I was everywhere with this comment.

    • Dreana April 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

      Kia, I too have suffered from OCD. There is an OCD research doctor at UCLA that teaches a fantastic way to deal with OCD. It has nearly cured me. His name is Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz. He wrote a book called Brain Lock. You can change your brain chemistry without drugs. Look him up on the internet for more info on him. Dreana

  • Jennifer April 18, 2018, 3:37 pm

    I was only on 50 mg for three months. I started taking them every other day for a week or two, then stopped completely. (I gained 35 ponds while on, and felt numb all of the time.)

    The first two weeks off were awesome, then I started with extreme vertigo, and I’ m on my 6th day. Not fun. I’m hoping it stops soon. Never again will I let a doctor convince me to take medication!!! I was anxiety ridden before but would have been fine!!!

  • Eileen April 16, 2018, 10:24 pm

    My experience has been a bit of a roller coaster. Prescribed 50 mg from GP, took it for 2 weeks with no signs of helping so I stopped for 1 week. Had a medical event that required a follow up with GP, she suggested I get back on.

    I took it for 4 days when I started experiencing horrible side effects; excessive sweating, insomnia, racing thoughts all the symptoms the fact sheet you get with the medication indicate Serotonin syndrome. Called GP today and have yet to hear back!

    So much for contacting your healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms. I decided this medicine is not for me and am now after only 3 weeks of use experiencing bouts of dizziness. Everything I’ve read indicates this could go on for weeks while weaning myself off.

    I regret taking this but will work through the withdrawal and not put another one of these pills in my system again. If anyone has suggestions to assist with withdrawal that don’t require more drugs I’d appreciate them.

    • Kia Noori April 18, 2018, 8:53 pm

      I’m so sorry you’ve gone through such terrible withdrawals! The only thing that I can personally suggest is to be patient Keep yourself busy. Use your phone when you get negative symptoms, have a support system – call your friends when you’re not feeling good, watch Youtube videos.

      If you have a dog, just keep hanging out with your dog. Put your focus on other things, or try to at least. It’s hard, it really is but you have people in your life and websites that will be happy to get you through it!

  • Rupi April 15, 2018, 8:21 pm

    I’m just so confused about how all of it works neurologically. I am also on atomoxetine which is an NRI for my ADHD. It’s a non-stimulant, noradrenaline reuuptake inhibitor. I was on 80mg atomoxetine and 100 mg Sertraline. Before that was on 150 mg Sertraline. Then when I tapered down to 50 mg Sertraline I went up to 100mg atomoxetine.

    Right now I’m 50 mg Sertraline every other day, started less than a week ago and this is what I’m writing about right now. I’m not suicidal any more than usual, definitely not making plans. I’m someone who needs prompting/supervising to do a lot of things (that is I have Care needs) but also am high functioning because I have a full time job.

    I mean I’ve been off sick after a breakdown and stuff but I’m back now. However consultant psychiatrist is trying to get me off Sertraline as I’m not sure if it ever really worked for anything. We might try something else but then atomoxetine has been proven to help in cases of comorbid anxiety and ADHD so I guess we are seeing if that works first.

    However I have the dizziness and the fatigue quite strongly. I have no idea how I am going to go to work on Monday. I keep getting dizzy and having to lie down. On Saturday I didn’t eat enough solid food and vomited quite badly when I took my meds and then had to have three separate naps throughout the day.

    Today stomach has been ok but I still feel like I’m on a hangover or comedown and I don’t do drugs or drink alcohol because I’m also someone who has previously used both quite unhealthily/unwisely. But yeah. Depersonalization and dizziness and fatigue seem to be happening I’m a bit like wtf maybe I shouldn’t bother coming off it if it’s gonna get worse when I totally stop it.

    Feeling very confused and overwhelmed. TBH that’s normal for me though. But more so 😂 help?! I can’t drink caffeine as it makes me urinate too frequently and makes me more anxious so I’ve been drinking a Purdeys vitamin fizzy drink thing when I feel tired. So I saw someone say about vitamin D… what other supplements were people talking about?

    What is actually impacted physiologically? I don’t understand what I’m meant to be doing to look after myself and minimize the negative impacts. Yoga is my go to. And eating three meals a day is also helpful… any more tips?

  • Pris April 11, 2018, 5:45 pm

    I am wondering what the ages are of the people who have been commenting. I am 70 years old and am considering going off sertraline but am concerned that my body may be too old to adjust to such a change. Also, did any of you start another drug after you stopped the sertraline and if so, what was your experience? Many thanks in advance.

    • Corinna April 11, 2018, 9:48 pm

      Hi Pris. I am 34 years old and have been taking sertraline 6-7 years when I stopped cold turkey at the end of January. I’m no doctor but I think you have as good a chance as any of us of coming off them and coping.

      I think everyone’s journey when they stop taking this medication is different in so many ways. Maybe it would help to speak to your GP and put your mind at ease? Best of luck with whatever you decide. Corinna

      • Katrina April 25, 2018, 4:40 am

        Hi – I’m the same. How did you deal with the dizziness? Thanks. K

  • Karra April 11, 2018, 11:15 am

    I came off Zoloft after being on it for about 13 years. My doctor said stop taking it and 3 days later I stared Prozac. I thought I was losing my mind. I was crying, I felt like I was coming out of my skin, I felt like I was on fire… shaking. My doctor never told me that there was a withdrawal process even though I started something new. I’m only 5 days in with the Prozac. How much longer until I feel somewhat better??

  • Philippa Whittingham April 8, 2018, 7:49 am

    I put a comment here on March 18. I had come off sertraline, was feeling hellish and was worried because we were due to go to a bear sanctuary in Vietnam which I knew would be very emotional. (We support the charity Animals Asia). Well, I hardly dare say it, but since the visit I feel a million times better.

    The bears suffer truly barbaric cruelty at the hands of man, some of them have been in tiny, tiny cages for 20 years or more. But after a while at the sanctuary they learn to trust, to forgive and to be happy. Not all of them of course but many.

    It’s hard to describe the effect it had on me. An abiding sense of love, compassion and forgiveness just pervades the place. It was pure joy being there. It was a life changing experience and since coming back I’ve met other people who have been and they all say the same.

    Go there if you can. I’ve had therapy on and off all my life but this I believe has truly healed me.

    • Corinna April 9, 2018, 9:23 pm

      Philippa that sounds so so wonderful. How did you go about doing something like that? Can you volunteer? I think going back to basics and completely shutting out a lot of our first world dealings and every day society issues can achieve wonders.

      I grew up in Africa and we grew up so very basic and I remember it being the happiest I ever was. It’s lovely to hear positive news!

  • Abigail Anderson-Dundov April 6, 2018, 12:29 am

    I wasn’t able to get to the doctor to get a new script filled, and I haven’t had my Zoloft in a few days. I was on 50mg. I am getting dizzy (but nothing major [I had worse from another medication I was taking]).

    I wanted to go off the medication anyway, but should I go back on it and wean myself off, or can I just push through these few weeks? I have a new script now but haven’t actually bought the medication yet…

    • Alison April 8, 2018, 9:05 pm

      I’ve come off it four times now and each time gets harder. If your withdrawal symptoms are not too severe, I would persist and push on with staying off your medication.

    • Corinna April 9, 2018, 9:19 pm

      Hi Abigail. I was in the same boat. On 50mgs and then I went home to see my family in Austria and for the whole week I never thought of taking the meds’ and then I thought right I’ve been fine without it so I’m going to stop it right now.

      Mhmm it was ok while I was among family and busy and happy and then a couple weeks later, still being off them, I started to feel completely exhausted, angry, like I had the flu and generally crap. I’m almost 3 months off them (cold turkey) and while I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I know there is still a long way to go.

      But my head feels clearer and while I feel all these emotions and sometimes juts want to cry I also feel relieved knowing that my brain is slowly being de poisoned. I also thought about going back on them and weaning off but then weeks and weeks passed.

      Now I feel like I’ve already got through the very worst and I’m going to keep going. I think patience willpower determination and lots of hugs from someone you care about are essential. I wish you all the best and hope you’re staying strong. Corinna

  • Tresa April 4, 2018, 2:41 am

    I started taking Lexapro in 2003 and was on 10 to 20 mg until I became pregnant in 2013. At this time my doctor switched me to Zoloft and I was taking 50-75 mg and was fine. In 2016 I felt like I wasn’t feeling as well as I should and decided to switch bag to 20 mg of Lexapro. After 6 months all it did was kill my sex drive and cause 25 pounds of weight gain.

    I went back to 75 mg of Zoloft until Feb 2018 when I was put on a new drug called Trintellix. I started on 10 mg and was miserable. After 8 days I called my doctor and she said to cut the dose in half. After another month on 5 mg I felt even more miserable. Dizziness. Depression. Anxiety. All the things I tried to get rid of.

    Last Wednesday at work I was throwing up in the bathroom at work. I decided I was done taking this poison and stopped all medications. The doctor suggested to double my dose of Trintellix and I knew that would not help. I threw up again last Friday while taking a shower. The first few days off everything I felt better however now at one week I am feeling like I am losing my mind.

    Anger, anxiety, and not feeling like I am going to ever feel better again. So the choice at this time is do I push through another week and hope this starts to go away or give in and try yet another drug? I have Valium and take as needed for anxiety but right now I feel like I am dying. Will this end??

    • Jane April 9, 2018, 4:17 am

      Tresa: I am at 90 days and it is a slow process. Based on the comments here, I can’t say how long these horrible side effects take to end. I will tell you, it takes patience and time. The symptoms gradually become less and less but they are still there.

      I am trying as many here have suggested to: Exercise, breathing, supplements and hope. This is not an easy ride. Welcome to a place where you are not alone. Read and review the comments and I hope you find your way out of this tunnel of a nightmare. Good luck and you are not alone!

  • Michelle March 29, 2018, 10:48 pm

    I am only 3 days into tapering off Sertraline (Zoloft) I was on 200mg a day & my GP has said it’s ok to go immediately down to 100mg. I have experienced an electrical type feeling which coincides with seeing black spots like flashes. My mood has been ok so far, but am awaiting a fall!

    I have attempted reducing my medication previously with a failed attempt. I want to be completely off this horrid drug… but am unsure as to how to cope if side effects hit all of a sudden. I hope I can see it coming & that I don’t go into a full blown major depressive episode, be wreaked with anxiety or full blown panic attacks.

    I work full time in mental health and do not want the tapering off to affect my memory, work or anything else. Any suggestions on how to get through this?

    • Chris March 31, 2018, 10:54 am

      Hi Michelle. I came off of 200mg of sertraline, nearly a year ago now. I was on them for 15 years. Withdrawal was hell, but looking back, I wish I’d taken longer to come off of them.

      It took me 6 month tapering off of this horrible drug, but I think if I’d taken 9 months, or 1 year, maybe the withdrawal may not have been so bad. Love and best wishes to you. Chris.

      • Dreana April 11, 2018, 11:54 am

        How long did it take for you to complete withdrawal?

        • Corinna April 11, 2018, 10:08 pm

          Hi Dreana, I’m off them almost 3 months now. I did stop them out of the blue though so I had no gradual cutting down time. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster but I think I’m getting there. I’m almost a bit scared to say that I actually am feeling better because I think it’s my mind playing tricks on me and I also know there is still a way to go.

          I think everyone’s withdrawal takes different times depending on how long you were on them, your dose strength, generally what kind of a person you are, and the kind of lifestyle you lead. I think they all play a part. The hardest thing is wanting to give up because you think it’ll never end.

          But it will – and you have to keep telling yourself that. I have become quite adept at reasoning with my brain ;), and that can be a challenge when you’re not having a positive day. Best of luck to you. Corinna

          • Dreana April 21, 2018, 6:56 am

            Thank you for answering my comment, Corrina. I have been off of Paxil for almost six months now, and am still suffering from severe anxiety. My doctors don’t believe it is still a withdrawal. But I was never this way before being on the medication and know it is not me.

            I heard that with some people, withdrawals can last several months and anxiety hangs on awhile. So I am hoping it will pass. But how do I get through this? Much shallow breathing all the time. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go on another antidepressant. Should I wait it out? Dreana

      • Ann June 19, 2018, 2:25 pm

        Did you experience digestive problems?

    • Corinna March 31, 2018, 2:55 pm

      Hi Michelle. I had these brain zaps as well for a couple of weeks but they are completely gone now. I’m off for 2 & 1/2 months now and what I find whenever I’m busy and don’t have too much time to think everything is ok. Problem is when it just hits you and you can’t shake the feeling of dread.

      For me fresh air and walking and music definitely help and lots of sleep and knowing that there are other people out there who are going through the exact same thing. And I think everyone has a different journey. The hardest part for me is feeling absolutely drained most of the time and it’s hard especially at work and people asking why you’re so pale and looking not well.

      But I’m hoping this too will pass with time. Patience is the key and not giving up. Because I know how easy it is to go back in them again. Good luck.

      • Melissa April 7, 2018, 6:27 am

        This comment is so relatable. I have been off for 5 weeks and it’s exactly like you said, the moment you stop to think the dread comes. I’m also experiencing complete depersonalization in some of those moments triggering panic attacks. Nothing I can’t walk off after 10 mins but I’m literally afraid I’m ruined forever.

        • Corinna April 7, 2018, 5:19 pm

          Hi Melissa. Yes I know exactly what you mean with the panic attacks and depersonalisation. I don’t think we are ruined forever although it definitely feels like that doesn’t it? I wish there were groups that meet in person and talk about it. The worst thing is battling it by yourself because I don’t think anyone understands who hasn’t gone through something like this.

        • John April 9, 2018, 2:32 am

          Agreed. I’ve been off for 1 month now and I’m experiencing severe depersonalization, dizziness, and shaking.

          • Kailash April 9, 2018, 6:21 am

            Believe me, I have gone through all this, but if you keep patience, just don’t think when it will end, it will definitely one day. I have heard a lot of negative about supplements but Vitamin D3 in large dosage did help me in withdrawal, it did for me. I am taking 20000 IU per day.

            I needed it anyway otherwise as my Vitamin D level was low & maybe it was holding back my withdrawal. Long period of Antidepressants & Benzos do affect Vitamin & Mineral Balance in the body &amp.

            I suppose, through food or supplement, if you can correct the imbalance then it will definitely help withdrawal. All the best to everyone. Don’t ever go into despair as it won’t help and success is worth waiting for. Thanks.

  • Corinna March 29, 2018, 7:37 pm

    I am so so glad I came across this article. I have been on sertraline 50mg for about 5 years. I was put on after my relationship with my 2 daughters father ended. I’m the drug I was ok and I don’t quite know why I was so keen to get off it but I started realizing that it left me numb. That’s the best way I can describe it.

    I stayed on it for so many years because I’m a single mum I work full time and I have no family in the same country so I guess it helped me cope but also made me numb. Then I met this amazing man 3 years ago and we have been in a happy relationship ever since. He also has 2 children the same age as mine. In the beginning everything was good and still is but I – contrary to him – haven’t as much energy and enthusiasm all the time for everything.

    So I knew it was time to stop the drug. I stopped cold turkey before and it was so horrible that I went back on. Now I am off them cold turkey for 2&1/2 months and I have good and bad days. The brain zaps are gone, but lately I have been feeling absolutely exhausted to the point where I juts make it through the day and collapse at the end.

    I sleep quite well, I do exercises and my diet is not bad. Yet the exhaustion lingers and this overwhelming sadness that’s almost constant. I’m sitting here writing this with tears streaming down my face. I am determined to keep going because I I’ve already lasted so long. But what I really want to do every day is shut myself away from the world and be alone.

    I have 2 lovely daughters who also stay with their dad quite a bit and I’m trying my best for them not to see me like this. I am on auto pilot when they are with me and when they are with their dad I can have my breakdowns. I am so so scared in my mind that maybe I have to be on this medication to function.

    There is no one to talk to about this and writing it down feels really therapeutic. So thank you to all the people who share their stories. It’s a little light in the darkness to know that others feel a wee bit the same.

    • Chris March 31, 2018, 10:41 am

      Hi Corinna! I have just read your post. I know how you are feeling. I was on sertraline 200mg for 15 years. I came off of them gradually, it took me 6 months to get off of them, in all. I was in hell coming off of them, but it’s been nearly a year without them now, and I’m still here.

      I also feel exhausted a lot of the time, and have some really dark times, but I think I’m gradually getting better. I try my best to socialize, although sometimes it feels like the hardest thing in the world to do. Try to get as much help as you can, contact any mental health groups, mental health professionals/charities, as you can.

      They will listen to you. Sometimes just being listened to is a great help. Love and best wishes to you. Chris.

      • Corinna April 9, 2018, 9:13 pm

        Hi Chris. I I’ve just read your reply. I don’t know why I haven’t seen it earlier! I know exactly what you mean with trying to socialise and it feeling so difficult at times. I have always been a social person but for some reason even the thought of going into a crowd of people brings on anxiety attacks.

        Although I’ve a wedding coming up and I absolutely intend to get through it. This experience is teaching me daily that I need so much willpower and I can reason with my brain a lot of the time and then sometimes it just beats me. I’m so glad to hear you are slowly feeling better. Some days I think I am too and then a wee bad day sneaks in and then I tell myself that it will pass.

        You know I have two really beautiful lovely daughters and aged 10 and 12 they (unbeknownst to them) help me through so many days because when you have that pure unconditional love of children it’s hard not to carry on. I wish you lots of improvement and peace and love. :)

Leave a Comment