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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.

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{ 553 comments… add one }
  • Renee October 1, 2018, 5:34 pm

    Hi everyone. So grateful for having found this website, thanks to all of you for sharing your stories in so much detail! I need some advice. I have tapered off 50 mg in 2.5 weeks and then I stopped completely.

    At first I felt great. But when day 5 hit I started to become extremely tired, dizzy, nauseous and have had flu-like symptoms. On top of that I feel lots of emotions mostly anger and sadness though and I cry a lot (which is kind of a relief but not always handy if you are at work).

    Now I have been off Zoloft for 10 days and I have put on 4 kilos already! I lost weight on Zoloft but now I am gaining weight and I feel so heavy and somehow my body feels disgusting. I think my digestive system is not working properly and have been taking lots of probiotics.

    Anyone who also gained weight when they quit? What can you recommend me? Does it continue or will it all straighten out eventually? Hang in there you sweet souls, glad that I shared. Renee

  • Jacque September 30, 2018, 9:24 pm

    I am wanting to inquire if there are others having similar struggles as I am having. I am suffering insomnia horribly and am lucky to get four hours of sleep a night. The mind fog is still in a daily basis, and the racing heart is a struggle to get a hold of.

    I went into the ER with chest pain last week and was told the EKG stated my heart is enlarged. I fear this is because of the racing heartbeats from the anxiety. I don’t know what to do anymore to get these all in line so I don’t suffer from them.

    I am 41 years old and weigh 144 lbs and am 5’4, so I fear this withdrawal process is doing more harm to my body. I am on day 65 from taking my last sertraline pill and quit taking my Prozac in April.

    Please I ask you to reply if you are having similar symptoms or even success stories to give me some hope. I don’t know how much more of this I can bear.

    • Melissa October 2, 2018, 12:40 am

      Jacque, You are definitely not alone. I’ve been off it for about 4 months now and my anxiety was through the roof and my heart rate was incredibly fast. I felt like I wasn’t even looking through my own eyes sometimes, but even though it’s annoying to be told. Deep breathing is so helpful.

      Drink some chamomile tea. Rub lavender oil on you or even just put it into your diffuser and breathe in deeply to let it calm you. I just went back onto my anti-anxiety meds which are called Vistaril. I take 50mg a day and I might up it to 25 in the morning and 50 at night because I still have troubles sleeping on just the 25 at nighttime.

      You are never alone in this and we are took this drug thinking it would help when it just made it worse. You wont die from the way you are feeling, just get out and do more things when you have the chance.

      Don’t let your mind eat away at itself. Once you start losing hope, you start losing the grasp on reality and yourself. Keep up the fight, it does get better in time.

  • Amanda September 27, 2018, 8:41 pm

    I ceased lithium 3 months ago due to chronic fatigue symptoms for the last two years which have since improved. I did my own research on this because my doctors weren’t interested and hadn’t checked on the side effects and interactions with the other drugs I was taking.

    I was basically a zombie spending half if not all day in bed with no quality of life. I have been on Sertraline 200 mgms for the past 17 years and have developed diabetes, high eye pressure, cataracts and heart disease during this period.

    I have managed to cease this drug twice but each time after 2 months have descended into a very deep suicidal depression. After having researched Sertraline recently have discovered it can exacerbate and cause diabetes, high eye pressure and cataracts and both lithium and Sertraline can cause heart problems.

    Being understandably worried about these findings I decided to reduce from 200 mgms to 100 mgms about a week ago experiencing dizziness and nausea culminating yesterday with dizziness, balance problems, non-stop vomiting and diarrhea for several hours. Feeling so ill with no support I grabbed a 100 mgm tablet and promptly vomited again 15 minutes later which continued and I could not leave my bed.

    But I am determined to get off this drug which seems to have caused or contributed to several life threatening illnesses and indeed I don’t think has been working for some time. I have just consulted a psychologist who wants to see me weekly for now and hoping this will help all round.

    I am 64 and not working due to ill health so hoping I can successfully withdraw albeit slowly from now on as I can stay in bed if necessary now. I’m really hoping in the future I will be functioning properly again so I can work and have other activities.

    I am very disappointed in the medical profession not being on the ball with side effects and interactions with this particular drug and for not monitoring me and just continually writing up scripts. I would not recommend anybody starting it as I think it is very toxic.

    It would be interesting to hear stories from others as to whether they have had similar experiences. Thank you for reading!

  • Yvette September 25, 2018, 8:15 pm

    I took Zoloft for 15 years total. I finally decided that I want to try life without relying on Zoloft, and can only imagine how bad it is to be on the drug for so long. I tapered down over the course of 2 months to where I felt that I could stop taking it. My last dose was at the end of July 2018.

    I was ok for the first couple of weeks, but then the terrible withdrawal effects began to ruin my reality. It’s much better now, but not over! At my lowest point, it honestly was so bad I almost gave in and started taking it again. I spent about 2 weeks crying all day, non stop and wanting to not be alive anymore.

    I didn’t want to leave my bedroom or get dressed. I felt horrible physically and mentally. My emotional state was a wreck. My loving husband was so worried about me that he didn’t want to go anywhere because he was afraid I’d do something bad.

    He was aware of the situation and knew that I wanted off Zoloft, and agreed that I should get off of it, but after seeing me struggling, he thought I should go back on it so all the sadness and illness would stop. I’m stubborn, so I hung in there and it started getting better finally.

    I’m still experiencing a few withdrawal symptoms, but it’s decreased quite a bit and I actually feel like I’m going to be okay. Some days are worse than others, and I’m still not sure how long it will take to ever say that it’s over. This a very powerful drug that alters the chemistry in your brain, and it takes time for your brain to learn how to live without something it expects to be fed.

    So scary.. I am a very strong willed person, and it almost destroyed me trying to get off Zoloft. Hang in there if you are serious about getting off Zoloft… it’s got a serious grip on you but you can do it. I highly recommend exercise, like long walks if you can manage to do that.

    Eat healthy and avoid alcohol. (Alcohol made brain zaps return after I thought they were all gone). And remember your mind is playing tricks on you… Life isn’t as bad as it seems at the moment… it’s Zoloft trying to trick you into taking it again.

    Don’t fall for it!! Stay strong. Meditate. Get some sunshine. Play music that makes you happy. Don’t forget this will pass.

  • Cristina September 24, 2018, 1:22 am

    Hello all! I just got off Zoloft 100mg a day cold turkey since they switched me to another medication due to some side effects. Long story short, this new medication got me worse and in the ER! Doctors decided to drop that one as well, cold turkey too!

    My side effects are severe dizziness, shortness of breath, vertigo kinda like symptoms and excessive sweating. I feel like this will never end. I have a hard time around people now and just an ill feeling. Does anyone know how long this will last?

    I’m afraid this is getting worse. Will this be the case? Prayers to all going through this!

  • Melissa September 18, 2018, 3:23 pm

    So, I don’t usually write online to people but I’m really struggling to keep myself afloat. I took zoloft 25mg for a month for severe PTSD and anxiety. I quit cold turkey after a month because I went to the er with severe anxiety attacks. I’m on about month 4 and my anxiety is crushing me to the point I feel like I cant control it.

    I feel like I’m going to be stuck in this for life and I’m really scared. I just wanted to know if anyone has overcome the anxiety they got from this? Sometimes I feel like giving up and not trying anymore in life. I feel like I’m stuck in this loop of anxiety and I’m only 24.

    Any comments back would help. I have an apt tomorrow with my doctor and might try Buspar.

    • Jeremy September 21, 2018, 11:49 am

      Melissa. Don’t lose faith. I started taking Zoloft for extreme panic attacks last year. I will tell you it was not a magic solution, but has helped to make my anxiety bearable. Whichever medicine you land on, give it some time to work.

      This was difficult for me with the many side effects I had to deal with. I also suggest that you also engage a therapist in your recovery (if you have not already). I tried the medicine alone route and it was a disaster.

      Having someone to talk to about what I was dealing with was extremely helpful for me. I wish you the best, remember your not in this alone. There are a lot of us working through similar issues and we need to help each other.

      • Glenn September 24, 2018, 2:48 am

        I just feel terrible because I am so irritable with my boys. I feel horrible after yelling and then I go back to the same thing. Horrid anxiety. Will this eventually go away? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • LIsa September 26, 2018, 9:21 pm

      I have PTSD and anxiety. I am on 50mg dose of Sertraline. I am feeling fine. I think I could go up to 100mg but it might be too much. I know I say I want to get off of it because I feel fine, but in reality, the reason why I feel fine is because I’m on it in the first place. Keep up with the hope.

  • Rick September 14, 2018, 9:47 pm

    Hi. I am new to this. I don’t talk about my issues, problems, whatever you want to call them because I don’t have anyone to talk to. Well, I was on sertraline for depression for 2 years and I decided to come off it cold turkey style. Not a good idea!

    Since then, 6-8 weeks ago, I’ve been thinking my wife has had enough of me, off running a lot, secretive on her phone, the password on her laptop changed, doesn’t seem to want to be near me or around me. Now, I’m not a manic depressive, just someone who gets down every now then and needs lifting.

    We have two amazing boys and I thought a really good life. Since coming off the tabs I’ve felt like everything is on the down. Maybe it is a huge side effect and I should believe what my wife says about wanting to be there for me and not feeling any different or I have a serious battle on my hands with adverse side effects of coming off the tablets.

    I feel like crying most days, heartbroken believing the worst of my wife. Fact and fiction become blurred… if you’re going through the same I’m sorry. I feel for you and wish I could help but I can’t. Anyway, needed to get that off my chest.

    • Jacque September 17, 2018, 5:56 pm

      Hi Rick, I too understand how you feel. I went cold turkey July 27, 2018 and every day has been a struggle mentally and physically. The insomnia and heart racing is horrible. I cry still a lot of days and I too have had thoughts of my husband of 20 years going to leave me.

      I keep hoping one day I will wake up and feel normal or at least not trapped inside what feels like hell. The withdrawals are awful and I just wanted to reach out and tell you, you are not alone in this battle of withdrawals. Hang in there.

      • Rick October 3, 2018, 11:28 am

        Hi Jacque. It’s a terrible feeling but stick it out. We have to find the strength to see this out. For me, the strength is knowing that my wife supports me 100% although I do need to be reassured nearly every day!

        I still feel awful and every day wake up with knots in my stomach. The anxiety seems to take for ever to wane. We’re with you Jacque.

  • Rick September 11, 2018, 8:08 am

    I feel for you all. I was on sertraline for two years and decided, unwisely, to come off cold turkey. The first couple of weeks were rough, zapping, palpitations, dizziness etc but that all turned very quickly to anxiety.

    Now, I’m in the middle of thinking my wife wants to leave me, is bored with me, prefers the company of friends, generally thinking the worst even though she tells me the opposite. It’s amazing what your brain can do, make you think and believe!

    I need this to stop so I’m off to my GP today to discuss the beat way forward. Cold turkey… not the best idea in the world. Just wanted to voice the hell as it’s been building up and you need to let go every now and then.

  • Jessica September 6, 2018, 2:17 pm

    Has anyone else experienced a severe cough?

  • Katie August 30, 2018, 1:03 pm

    Hi all, how you all doing? I’m coming off sertraline 200mg after five years and the rollercoaster from hell is an understatement, but I have found supplements that help. L-Theanine found in green tea really helps for the moods and magnesium helps with the acid reflux. I’ve bought these particular supplements and take them every other day. So far they easing the withdrawal. They may not work for everyone, but you can try. Good luck.

  • Martha August 28, 2018, 2:52 pm

    I’ve been on 50mg of sertraline for a year now and have been wanting to go off them for a while but with university there never seemed like a right time. I started going off it a week ago and for me the first day was very odd (especially those brain zaps its like you’ve been shot in the head!) but its gotten more manageable.

    The symptoms seem to be fluctuating as currently I’m feeling quite nauseous and fatigued, but yesterday wasn’t feeling that to the same degree. It’s a long process as I’m tapering off them for 6 weeks and then reducing the dosage. The doctor could have been more forthcoming about the side effects so I’m glad for a page like this!

    I’ve found that sticking to my routine but also being mindful of my current wellbeing has helped – its also good to let people around you know as they can help look after you/be aware of the process (which can be unpredictable). Good luck to everyone!

  • Stuart August 27, 2018, 8:15 am

    I was on 150mg Sertraline for 3 years, I tapered off over three months and felt that the tapering was easy. Since I have stopped taking the meds things have been really hard. Whoozy, dizzy sensations, ringing in my ears, loss of balance, difficulty verbalising my thoughts, negative thinking about if I’ll ever get back to the person I was.

    My wife has described it as lonely, it us lovely for us both. I feel like I am feeling again and it’s overwhelming after being numbed for three years. It’s been 4 months with no tablets. All of the above symptoms have subsided apart from the new issue of insomnia.

    This makes every day hard and I must remember to think that it is the lack of sleeping causing me to feel bad not me becoming depressed again. I wished I had never taken them. All the best, Stuart

  • Anne August 17, 2018, 11:44 pm

    To all you people recovering or currently suffering I’m sending you all positive thoughts and healing for each of you. I am also suffering and hopefully will start to recover now I am fully off sertraline. I’ve been on it for over 4 years. The dose has varied over this time. The majority of time I’ve been on 150mg.

    I’ve suffered with anixety and panic attacks for around 18 years now. I’ve been in and out of the system. My relapses are always more severe than the last. The last one 2 years ago being the worst and I’m still amazed how I made it through. Crisis team were heavily involved at this point. When the deemed me as “well enough” I was released from their care.

    I was then put on a waiting list for 3-4 months to have 3 separate assessments for them to determine what treatment I would be best suited for under secondary mental health care. I was then added to another waiting list for an additional 14 months. In this time I have had horrendous stomach and digestive problems. I have gained over 3 stone in weight (still while going to the gym 5 days a week, I even paid for a personal trainer).

    Over this last year I’ve had CT scans, Ultrasounds, numerous blood tests, even a Laparoscopy and nothing came back that anything was wrong. A couple of months ago I’d just had enough and explained to a GP that I thought sertraline was causing these issues (which they soon dismissed). I asked how much longer I would need to wait for my referral to come through, so I could hopefully get the treatment that would help me so I wouldn’t need to take these “masking the issue” pills anymore.

    I think it was roughly a week or so later I received a letter from the hospital that I was no longer on the waiting list (which I’d be on for 18 months) – this was due to the doctor chasing up where I was on the waiting list and asking their advice about me reducing my dose at some point.

    They said I obviously no longer need the place as I’ve talked to the GP about me reducing my dose, that means I’m in a good place and will no longer be eligible for the care as they don’t see I need it. Heartbroken was an understatement… I have since weaned myself off the tablets about 2 weeks since.

    I’ve got the itchy skin, some headaches and I am short of breath all the time, which causes me to panic. I’m really hoping this passes soon. Thank you for taking time out to read my experience and for all your experiences. It really does help to know you’re not alone.

    Remember you are: BRAVER than you believe, STRONGER than you seem, SMARTER than you think & LOVED more than you know. Stay strong. 💪🏼

    • Anon August 29, 2018, 4:01 pm

      Thank you.

  • Madeline August 7, 2018, 8:26 pm

    My GP prescribed Zoloft (Sertraline) 50 mg once a day. This was about 6 months ago. I recently had an appointment with my cardiologist who stated it is not recommended to take Zoloft with Tikosyn, a specialty medicine I take for Afib. I return to my GP and he basically said “I don’t know”.

    He told me to stop taking the Zoloft cold turkey. I responded and told him I will take 25 mg a day for a week and then stop them. I actually took it a bit longer than a week and then stopped. I happened to talk to a pharmacist with the pharmacy where I get my specialty medicine and she told me I should stop it, that Zoloft should not be taken with the specialty med.

    The withdrawal symptoms are horrible: swishing sound in my ears when I move my head, extreme fatigue, weakness, nausea and all around ill health. Why do these doctors not know about interactions with medications? I am hoping these reactions do not last long. If anyone has questions about their meds, ask your pharmacist and do not rely on your GP to know side effects of any meds.

    • Jacqualine August 18, 2018, 4:09 am

      I understand too clearly the hell it is going off sertraline and other antidepressants. Previously, I was taking Fluoxetine for 5-6 years before starting Sertraline, however the fluoxetine stopped working and I developed a rash from it. I went cold turkey from the fluoxetine in March and was not taking anything for a month and a half.

      Then was persuaded to try a different antidepressant, sertraline. I took the sertraline for 6 weeks before deciding that this too was giving me horrible side effects and quit cold turkey. Today I am exactly week 3 since I decided no more.

      I have had crying spells, facial flushing, heart racing, horrible anxiety, insomnia, bone pain, anger, headaches, mind fog, and the worst, suicidal thoughts. My heart goes out to anyone going through these kind of withdrawals.

      I pray every day that tomorrow will be better, even though it hasn’t been since March. I hold onto hope on a daily basis that these symptoms of withdrawals disappear eventually. Forums like this are nice to hear from others who are going through similar experiences with withdrawal.

  • Natalie July 30, 2018, 2:20 pm

    I was put on 50 mg Zoloft at the end of May 2018, and by the middle of June, I knew I couldn’t handle it. I started to taper myself off and I felt perfectly fine after stopping completely, around the first week of July.

    Now I am vomiting non-stop, having extreme panic attacks, basically this whole list. I was on on it for such a short period of time. I can’t believe how horrible this is. I’m hoping that because I was only on it a month that this won’t last long but it’s just getting worse and worse. I can’t take it.

    • Sophia August 13, 2018, 12:02 pm

      Hi there, sorry to jump on the post but I wondered – how are you doing now? I was literally on 50mg for 3 days!!! This is my 4th day not on them and I’m on a constant state of panic… wondering if it will ever go away. I am far worse now than I was before the tablets.

      • Jacqualine August 20, 2018, 7:59 pm

        Sophia, sorry you are feeling the anxiety. I understand how you are feeling. Hang in there. It may sound funny but remember to take deep breaths. I was given a free app you can use on any smartphone or iPad. It’s called “Breathe.” I was hesitant at first, but it has helped me in some ways with the withdrawal symptom of anxiety. Hope it helps you during this difficult time.

  • Greg July 25, 2018, 1:57 pm

    I have been on SSRI medications since 2011 when I got my first real full blown panic attack that changed my life. It’s like I was one person before this occurred and I’ve been totally different ever since. I started on paxil, then was switched to Lexapro, and now I’m on 200 mg of Zoloft that I take simply to avoid withdrawal.

    I don’t feel like it works at all anymore and I even forget to take it some days. I’m sure that doesn’t help but Every time I go days without taking it, I already start to feel dizzy and get this feeling that I’m falling straight down in a never ending free fall. I’ve tried many times to come off these darn drugs and I can never make it past a certain point because it becomes too intense that I simply surrender.

    I can’t stand being on these things and everyone I talk to about it, including doctors, all look at me like I have 10 heads or that I’m some crazy nutcase who’s making up stories. Life just isn’t the same, constantly thinking about when I have to refill next, forgetting if I’ve taken it or not on a certain day, the headaches, the dizziness, the anxiety.

    If I had known about all of this 7 years ago I’d have never started taking SSRI meds and would have simply tackled anxiety on my own with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy only. You only live on this earth once, why have to waste it feeling like garbage everyday and then having “normal” people basically laugh at you because they think you’re “weak” or “crazy” because they simply don’t understand in any way whatsoever.

    I’d advise anyone who is thinking of starting these drugs to closely evaluate your situation and decide if it’s right for you. Some people honestly need it and benefit greatly from it so I don’t oppose them. I do however feel that they are pressured upon certain people and then those people don’t realize what they’re getting involved in.

    It’s not just a pill that you can “stop taking” because it’s severe psychological dependence not addiction. I’m 31 years old and I’d certainly like to be off of these darn things and past the whole withdrawal thing before I’m 40 and actually enjoy my last years of my young adult life to the fullest.

    I have a son at home and the last thing I want is for him to think back of his childhood telling people “my daddy always didn’t feel well.” I wish everyone else who is struggling with these meds the best of luck and I urge you not to give up. Do things you enjoy and listen to happy music. Be with people you care about and don’t listen to the people who don’t understand you or think you’re “out of your mind” because they don’t know what it’s like to have a psychiatric issue.

    I wish I could go out into the world and talk to people who are considering taking these meds and make sure they understand what they are getting into because they may not need it. They may just need to make a few adjustments in their life, like I did. But I was desperate to feel better and started taking pills. It may be right for you and it may change your life for the better, but it may also bring you down.

    • Sandra August 2, 2018, 5:22 am

      Omg Greg, I feel like I just read my own story. I can totally relate to everything you have written. I have just recently been taken off 50 mg of Zoloft. I had been on it for panic attacks and anxiety since 2010. Started off on 150 mg for a few years; then down to 100 mg and finally 3 years ago went down to 50mg.

      I was taken off cold turkey by my doctor as she believed I was ready and so did I. First 3 weeks have been fine, until the 3 week mark hit. Boy was I in a for a rude shock. It’s week 5 now and the amount of feelings I am experiencing is overwhelming. However, in saying that, I can honestly say that I have had no feelings since 2010 – always felt numb.

      I am now crying for good reasons and feeling emotions again. So it’s kind of good too. But, like you, I hated my 4 children seeing me sad all the time when I have the best life and I couldn’t give them answers. I wish you well on your journey.

      I have no regrets as I know this treatment was ideal for me at the time. I’m hoping it gets easier now whilst I’m riding this rollercoaster. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Jacqualine August 18, 2018, 4:18 am

        Sandra, how are you doing currently? I am in 3 weeks today since the day I decided to go cold turkey from sertraline.

  • ChrisB July 21, 2018, 6:16 pm

    I’ve been reading comments here since early May when I decided that it was time to get off Zoloft (Sertraline) that I had been taking since mid 1996. I feel I owe it to the many good people here who have shared their experiences that helped me decide to wean myself off this medication.

    I had a total hysterectomy at age 45 and was put on HRT that helped tremendously with symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, among other symptoms that occur during menopause. After several months of trial with different dosages of PremPro, I was still not feeling quite like myself and experienced mild depression and occasional insomnia.

    My gynecologist told me that many of his pre- and post-menopausal patients had success taking Zoloft for similar symptoms, and he had also prescribed it for PMS and PMDD. He suggested a low dose of Zoloft (still a brand name at the time), and 50mg daily did much to improve my mood and sleeping habits.

    I tried unsuccessfully to wean myself off the PremPro several times but kept having to stay on HRT for much longer than I had hoped. When lower doses became available, I weaned myself gradually from the HRT but stayed on Zoloft. I made several unsuccessful attempts to wean from Zoloft but still seemed mildly depressed, so my gynecologist advised me to stay on the medication

    When I turned 65, I started with a Primary Care Physician who reiterated that getting off Sertraline could be challenging, but she told me that I probably didn’t need to continue taking it after so long. She advised me that it could be difficult to get off SSRIs after long term use but that it could be done gradually over a period of months, not weeks.

    We talked about a slow and steady weaning process that would be done over several months. First stage was 50mg every other day for 4-6 weeks until I was sure that I wasn’t having any withdrawal effects. I stayed on this regimen for 6 weeks until the next step: 25mg for two days in a row with a “skip” day in between.

    I’ve done this for three weeks and will continue until the end of July. I am not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms, and will begin the final weaning phase at the beginning of August: 12.5mg for two days with a “skip” day in between. My goal is to be completely off Sertraline by Labor Day.

    Talk with your physician and work out a weaning schedule that will meet your needs based on dosage and duration. Process must be slow and gradual so you don’t experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. I’ve been successful; you can do it, too!

    • Gina July 31, 2018, 6:29 pm

      So glad you’re going off Zoloft the slow way – it’s the only way! You will be successful I hope, as you’re determined to be. However, you have been on Zoloft for nearly 2 decades? So please be well aware that your brain needs to adjust itself after a long long time.

      The weaning off stages for me was not the hard part (18 years on 200mg per day) as I had a Plan with my nice and caring GP. It is the after-effects that I am now struggling with. And struggling is the issue. You have to understand why all your muscles suddenly hurt so much… your stomach is topsy-turvy… you can’t concentrate… you can’t sleep… you cry for the slightest reasons, even at a cartoon… everything makes you angry/sad/anxious/panicky, etc.

      I could go on and on – BUT this is what happens AFTER you have weaned yourself off. Going off is the easy part, really, for me anyway. I was SO DETERMINED. But wow, the after-part is crippling me. I was such a strong athletic woman, now I can barely walk up a few stairs without throwing up.

      This is not to deter you – but to forewarn you to be vigilant and to please understand what your body and brain will be dealing with ONCE the Zoloft is once and for all out of your system. If you know all this then you will be stronger in your mind to cope with and tackle these issues.

      At the moment I don’t even want to see anybody. I ‘should’ be happy. I am so lucky. YET I’m so damn sad and haven’t left the house in weeks.I’m running out of food so will have to make a move soonish. But I also know it’s not ME thinking all these morbid thoughts.

      My brain is trying desperately to adjust after nearly 2 decades of Zoloft at the maximum dose of 200 mg. Nobody (not even my nice GP) can understand why I’m feeling so horrible after having ‘successfully’ weaned off Zoloft 3 months ago. I remind her I was on the max dose of 200mg per day for over 18 years – but she just says “oh it should be well out of your system by now”.

      It’s sites like this one that have kept me up to date with the ‘after-effects’ one will go through and what to expect. Which is what I wish to tell others – prepare yourself for it. I hope all is good for you – as you were only on 50 mgs. Hopefully you won’t have the crippling after-effects I have. But please be vigilant as you’re on the right path.

      All the best!

      • ChrisB August 2, 2018, 3:19 pm

        Gina, Thank you for your thoughtful response. I appreciate your input and wish you continued success on your withdrawal journey. My current physician, who did not originally prescribe Zoloft, has cautioned me about the inherent difficulties associated with weaning from SSRIs but says it can be done gradually and over a period of several months.

        Since my dose never exceeded 50mg, long-lasting side effects might not be as pronounced as the experience of those who have taken larger doses of the medication. I’m generally healthy and active for my age. Good nutrition, regular exercise, and getting plenty of rest will contribute to my success in getting off Sertraline.

  • Lucky Pro July 19, 2018, 1:32 am

    Hello, here is my story. Six months postpartum of having my daughter I started having serve anxiety. I had never experienced anything like it before not even after the birth of my son who is 21 months older.

    After struggling with it for 3-months, I decided I needed something to help regulate my brain. It was out of my control. I would get numbness in my head and in my right arm and that didn’t help with my anxiety I was feeling in my chest. I felt like I always had an upset stomach and the water works came out of no where.

    I was on Zoloft (No name brand) for 15 months and gained 40 lbs and figured it was time to get off of it as I was no longer physically healthy. Mentally and emotionally I was back to my old self. I went from 100 to 75 for two weeks, 75-50 for two weeks, 50-25 for two weeks, 25 every other day for 10 days and 25 every second day for 10 days.

    Now three weeks later… I think I may have tapered to fast. I have a fever of 103, achy, chills, feels like I have Gastro-itis, very nauseated and crying spells have come back. Maybe I have the flu but it’s summer time and the rest of my family is healthy so I’m thinking either withdrawals or relapse. HELP PLEASE! I need someone to relate with. Thanks!!!

    • Cait July 29, 2018, 8:17 pm

      Lucky Pro – Has anyone replied to you? Have you discussed this with anyone in person (physician, therapist, family, friends)? How are you doing at this point? (I don’t know if I’m doing this “right” – was just reading a few articles to confirm that I’m tapering properly, decided to scan the comments on this one, and saw your post. Felt compelled to reach out!) Sending love your way!

    • Andre July 31, 2018, 3:04 am

      Hi. I hope you find the strength to ween off this drug slowly. Keep it up! I am now on two weeks of weaning from 50mg daily then 25 mg for two weeks now and now I’m cutting the pills in half again for two more weeks and I should be done. I feel ok now.

      Only slight out of body feeling but not sick at all. In fact, I’ve had more energy lately and significant pain relief in my joints and muscles. I’ve been exercising daily too that helps a lot. But the biggest improvement has come from a naturopath and getting my medical marijuana card. Purchase organic full plant cannabidiol (CBD) add small amounts of THC based oil or vape if you live in a State that allows it.

      The synergistic effect is amazing for many cures. I sleep way better, no more anxiety about anything especially silly things like traffic! Lol. My memory has improved because I also take Magtein (magnesium l-threonate), Curcumin BCM-95, brain cell support supplement, echinacea, and probiotics.

      Diet is gluten free and I drink 3 cups or more of yerba mate tea daily, only 1 cup of really good coffee in the morning. Why was I a wreck before? Bad marriage, but single and better now coupled with a teenage son who has a terminal slow progressive brain disorder that’s gotten worse this past year.

      Now he’s improving slowly the last two months taking these very same supplements I researched. I’d advise to see a naturopathic doctor ASAP. Peace love and the serenity prayer. Andre

  • Tess July 12, 2018, 4:42 am

    OMG. Reading the comments I realized the KEY to success with this withdraw is mostly your state of mind. I was on Z for 8 years, 50 mg, and never really felt the effects until after 8 months of going off totally, because in April and May I was homeless and had other and bigger issues to deal with.

    It gets better. Takes months for sure to start feeling yourself, but you will determine how long by the things you do to keep your mind healthy and body active. God bless us all, we’ve been lied to but we have a higher power on our side!!!

  • Kris July 11, 2018, 6:50 pm

    I was on Zoloft for 20 years and am on week 5 of my withdrawal. I have exactly the same side effects you do and was taking it for PTSD. I would like to tell you that by week 5 that all of the side effects of withdrawal are gone, but so far they are not. However, they have gotten better.

    Only a few brain zaps a day instead of constant. Only feel like I’m dying of a horrible disease every once in a while. I feel like you do in that I’m pretty sure the long term usage of this drug has damaged my brain because I do have balance and memory issues. We will see if that changes with time.

    I think it’s unfortunate that no one is given any warning as to the withdrawal effects of these medications but perhaps they are just starting to learn what they are for long term usage. To feel like I have a little bit more control over the situation, I have made a point to inform every person who will listen not to ever take this particular class of medication.

    I wouldn’t want anyone to experience this. There are other classes of medications that don’t cause this type of withdrawal. There is also something called a Gene-Sight test that can inform people what medications will work for them without them having to be the guinea pigs that I feel a lot of us have been.

    I have also researched things that can help with the symptoms such as 5-htp and will be trying that starting tonight. Benadryl or meclizine help with the dizziness and also make you mellow out a little bit so your reactions aren’t as drastic. Other things that have helped me is the following, saying out loud to yourself, “it’s just the medication, how I’m feeling is just because of the medication, it isn’t real and it will stop”.

    Seems pretty elementary I’m sure, but sometimes when you aren’t sure you have a tight grasp on what’s real, you need to tell yourself what is a fact. From a logical standpoint, every action has a reaction right? So if I’m dizzy and I haven’t been on a carnival ride, then I shouldn’t be dizzy…therefore, “it’s just the medication”.

    If I have an unrealistic reaction to something that logically I know should have a different reaction, “it’s just the medication”. For instance, the husband leaving a loaf of bread on the counter without the twist tie does not mean he hates me or that I need to start crying or that I need to start screaming. It’s a twist tie for crying out loud. Again, “it’s just the medication”.

    One thing that I feel is the most disturbing withdrawal effect and that I want everyone to know is that you always want to die while you are withdrawing. It is a actual presence that you can almost touch. Normally something would have to set you off, a death, an accident, physical pain, etc. but there is no trigger.

    It’s just there. You have to keep telling yourself it isn’t real. Please keep telling yourself it isn’t real. Go for a walk, look around, force yourself to do a hobby, take notice of what IS real and make a mental note.

    None of you are alone and while it may feel like it and that no one can possibly understand, that is just not real. Good luck and hang in there!

    • Andre July 17, 2018, 6:31 am

      Thank you, what a thoughtful, in-depth comment. Thanks for speaking out. It is a horrible med! I’m reading up on getting off it. Only 50mg a day for 6 months but I tried cold turkey last month without knowing and end of day three – a bad hangover hit me. Emotional too.

      This time I’ll go slow. My kidneys are affected now! Poor kidney function so no more Advil even though 200mg a day was okayed by doctor. Dark urine once a few days ago, but ok now so I’m drinking liquids like mad. Staying positive and actually looking forward to it!! I want off for good!

      I want to add that I strongly believe in natural remedies more so now than ever. I am seeing a Cannibis doctor. I’ve been taking pure CBD oil both in liquid and gel pills. It’s true that adding a little THC will help the CBD work to kill pain naturally and make you feel good mentally without side effects.

      I sleep better, eat better and exercise way more. It motivates and relaxes. Forget alcohol. Drink tea and healthy juices and lots of good water. Now to quit sertraline. I think I can now.

  • Casey July 11, 2018, 5:04 pm

    I took Zoloft for 2 weeks before having to stop because I couldn’t deal with the panic and anxiety it was giving me. It also made me afraid of eating because I always felt worse after. I lost weight pretty quickly.

    I have been off for 11 days now and I feel fine some days and can eat an almost normal amount, then some days I can barely eat anything but a little peanut butter. The dizziness has gotten way better and I barely feel it now.

    But now noticed my heart is beating faster than normal. I really freaked out one night because it was over 100 from just walking around my house. I read that a faster heart rate is normal, so that calmed me down.

    I’ve never felt out of breath which is such a strange thing for a racing heart. Figured since I only took it for 2 weeks it would be out of me by now. I don’t think I’ve been drinking enough water though.

  • Jane July 4, 2018, 2:25 pm

    I posted several months ago about my symptoms. I am now at month 7 without zoloft. It has been terrible and I actually broke down and took 1 a week ago. Suddenly, I feel okay.

    Like many have said, just know what you are experiencing and feeling are withdrawal symptoms. The suicidal thoughts, deep depression, anxiety is the drug not you. Hang in there!

    • Pip September 18, 2018, 8:34 am

      Hi Jane. Your comment helped me a lot – thank you. I was on 50mg of zoloft for about 20 years but came off gradually and was totally off by end of March this year. Sometimes I’m not too bad but sometimes it is pure Hell. For me mornings are always he worst – I wake with very strong butterflies in my tummy and terrible sadness.

      As the day goes by I feel somewhat better but I cry at the slightest thing and feel incredibly angry. Telling myself it’s the withdrawal symptoms makes me feel a bit better but now as it’s almost 6 months since coming off I wonder if this is just me.

      Reading that it’s also taking you a long time is comforting. I plan to give it a year and then if I’m still so bad I think I’ll go back on it. I can’t go through the rest of my life feeling like this.

  • Angie July 3, 2018, 6:49 pm

    I am so relieved after reading others comments on this. I started Zoloft during my last pregnancy because my baby was diagnosed with a fatal condition. I have been on it since her death and am pregnant again. After weighing the risks versus benefits with my psych nurse practitioner, I decided that I wanted to taper off for the last half of my pregnancy.

    This is my first week off of the medication. Starting at the end of last week I started experiencing the short fuse, anxiety, and crying. I am working through that, but now I am so dizzy. I slow down when it happens, but today has been worse and I was wondering if it would ever stop.

    Thank you for those who have commented and shared their own thoughts and experiences. This made me feel a lot better and stable.

    • Nicky August 28, 2018, 12:31 am

      I started Zoloft maybe two years ago 75mg then up to 100. Recently became pregnant and decided I wanted to get off the medication. Spoke to my doctor and was told to cut the pill smaller and smaller. From 100 I went to 50 and then 25. I kind of rushed it in the beginning because I had no idea how bad it would get…

      At first I was very sick and thought it was morning sickness (maybe it was – or maybe a little of both, I don’t know) but I lost my appetite and couldn’t really keep anything down. My doctor told me once at 25mg I can take it every night for a while then every other – and then every two and so on.

      So I did that but I felt like it was upsetting my stomach because I’m cutting the pill as soon as I would take it. Sometimes I would throw it right up. My stomach has always been sensitive to pills, but I feel like I’m sick if I take it… sick if I don’t… so a few days ago I stopped the 25 mg.

      It has been 4 days. I think I’m experiencing basically all the withdrawal symptoms: weakness, brain zaps, body jolts, dizziness, I had insomnia for awhile when tapering, but now that has gone away. I’m just exhausted and feel out of it. I just want to feel my normal pregnancy and if I knew it would have been this hard to stop Zoloft, I would have never started.

      I pray I feel physically better within a few weeks. I know I probably will get depressed, and I do have some anxiety now and then, but I will deal with that for my healthy baby. Message to all: Zoloft is extremely hard to get off of. Please research it.

  • 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!!

    • Casey July 11, 2018, 5:28 pm

      I also had bad acid reflux before taking Zoloft and my doctor never mentioned how much worse it makes it. I’m a bit mad at him for recommended this horrible drug to me after I had mentioned I had bad reflux to begin with.

      Within a few days of taking it, I got to the point that I was afraid of eating. I wish I would have stopped even sooner than 2 weeks. The only thing that I found to help is xanax.

    • Janice July 15, 2018, 6:51 pm

      Claire, if you are having digestive issues try Apple Cider Vinegar pills. You can get them at a health food store, inexpensive and they work. Take 1 before a meal. I was taking Prilosec for years and TUMS, then I started having stomach pain.

      The doctor said take 2 a day. That didn’t seem right so I searched for another solution. It took 3 weeks, but was able to get off Prilosec completely. Happy tummy now!

  • 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!!!

    • Priscilla July 29, 2018, 6:45 pm

      Like so many others have mentioned, I’m so happy I found this blog! Here’s my story. Two years on 50 mg Zoloft. Started to wean myself off two months ago. I basically just cut the 50 mg down 12 1/2 every week and a half or two. The last dosage of weaning was 12 & 1/2 mg but I took for a week.

      Literally I felt fine during the whole weaning process. I thought wow this is gonna be so easy it’s not gonna be that bad. Let me just tell you I’m kind of a hot mess. I still push through everything work, gym, social life, etc.

      Of course I have every withdrawal symptom you can have minus suicidal thoughts and I don’t have a lack of appetite… wish I did have lack of appetite. My sex drive has also been really insane… I didn’t realize how much the Zoloft was suppressing it. I’m on week three or four of completely discontinuing the drug.

      I’m functional but it’s hard and I cry a lot. A lot! I hate it! I have to keep reminding myself it’s the drug. I have a good life. I’m independent, successful, and beautiful – it’s just the drugs making me feel so pathetic.

      The things that are helping me push through are definitely my workouts, spending time with people who make you feel good and have good energy, first tier friends and family only! Everyone else just annoys the hell out of me and aggravates me.

      Did invest in a bottle of hemp oil made by charlottes web and it helps a lot!!! May make you a bit tired, But it’s better than feeling Rage or anxiety or extreme agitation. I hope this helped someone… this post defiantly helped me! We can do 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.

    • suzanna June 9, 2018, 10:38 pm

      I’m on sertraline, have been since 2004. I’m on 100mg – I’m 53. I’ve tried many times to come off but find it impossible! The minute I start to cut down I am sick and have extreme panic attacks.

      I’m thinking I will be stuck taking this until I die as the trial of tapering was so scary and full of evil that I could not cope. If I had carried on I would have killed myself. I have no idea what will become of me and that scares me even more.

      • Helen July 10, 2018, 5:21 pm

        Hi Suzanna! I wanted to respond because I get exactly how you feel! I’ve been on Zoloft 100 mg for almost 10 years now, and have tried to taper down but ended up feeling like crap every time. It’s only been these last few weeks I’ve been able to taper down successfully.

        I started taking Thrive (nutritional supplement) after recommendation from a friend and it’s made it a lot more bearable. I, like you, am very sensitive to a lowered dose. I had to take 100mg, then 50mg every other day at first.

        When I felt the withdrawal symptoms were lessening I went down to 50, stayed there until I felt ok. Now I’m down to 25 then 50 every other day and I’ll be there until I’m alright again! Just listen to your body is my advice. Don’t go by a strict tapering schedule.

        Everyone’s experience with these drugs are different. It may take few weeks for me to get off of it completely but I’m ok with that! I’m getting the brain zaps and irritability right now. So I won’t taper down again until that is almost gone.

  • 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.

    • Gary July 20, 2018, 5:59 pm

      How is it going? All withdrawal symptoms gone?

  • 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!!!

    • Ali July 20, 2018, 9:58 pm

      Hi Jennifer, I got the extreme vertigo and thankfully it does go away. I agree the anxiety I had I could have dealt with and I wish I had never been convinced to take anything!!! Never again. Good luck 😉

  • 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. :)

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