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    Old 10-12-2004, 02:16 PM   #1
    sgt207
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    Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    I was placed on Zoloft and Buspar in 1998 for severe anxiety and PTSD. I came off of it last summer and to say the withdrawal was a nightmare was an understatement.

    I tapered down to about 2 mg's of zoloft over a one year period from 12 mg's per day using a razor blade to cut the tablets. I stopped in the end of July '03. As soon as I stopped I started to get dizzy and nausea - no appetite. Anxiety increased and about a week later my stomach began to tingle [like nerves were being messed up]. Another week later my stomch stopped working while eating diner. My whole digestive system slowed to a near standstill. That lasted, along with all of the other symptoms, until the beginning of September. It seemed to level out some and I was trying like hell to ride it out. By the 3rd week of September '03, my body was acting like I was a diabetic [intense thirst, constant urinating, severe tiredness, etc.] but my blood sugar levels were normal. The anxiety continued to go through the roof, at night I would feel surges of adrenaline and throbing throughout my body, my ears would ring, brain zaps, etc.. Along about this time my body would not absorb water even though I was drinking a lot. I ended up in the ER twice and needed IV fluids but the Dr's just told me to drink more water. I was sent home. I followed up with a gastroenterologist who ran endoscopic tests on my digestive tract and told me all looked fine and that I had IBS, which I never had before. I went home and continued to feel as if I was going to die. The tingling in my stomach was worrying me. I knew that I would suffer some withdrawal but this was now going on two months and was continually getting worse. By this time I had lost 40 pounds and thought something was wrong..... The tingling in my stomach continued and worsened --- I ended up in the ER again, dehydrated even though I was drinking lots of water and gatorade. They scanned my pancreas and liver and all was fine. Gave me IV fluids again and sent me home. The next day my entire body from the waist down was tingling like nerves jumping around [I know this sounds crazy]. Also during this time I was constantly weepy and nervous.

    I called my psych and he told me that my PTSD had returned and that my body and nerves were craving seretonin. As per his orders, I re-started Zoloft at about 4mg's and the withdrawal went away, the tingling went away and my stomach and intestines returned to their "normal" functions.

    However, it seemed that the two months of withdrawal wrecked havoc with my system. For the next two months I had NO energy, no muscle strength, and suffered from all of the symptoms of Myesthynia Gravis(sp.) which is related to acytachline (sp.) deficiency. Now I am seeing in articles that when someone stops taking an SSRI there is the risk of this happening. Needless to say, by around February of this year, the weight was back on and I am still on zoloft [about 4mg's] and Buspar [down to 3 mg's] and feeling that zombie feeling again.

    Let me say this, I am not crazy - I used to be a cop who was run over by a drunk driver giving me PTSD and some Dr put me on zoloft 6 years ago. I used to be 6' 200lbs, now I am still 6' and 268lbs which I attribute to the zoloft. I have made it through law school and passed the state bar exam on the first try - it's just this dam medicine is ruining me, and I can't get off. Most Dr's I talk to either say there is no withdrawal or, if they say there is, say it only lasts for a few weeks. They don't have a clue. I think Zoloft is stored in the body in fat cells and slowly leeches out into the body when the person stops taking it, though the Dr''s don't agree. To me, that would account for the slow, but worsening, withdrawal symptom profile.

    I still want to get off of these meds but I don't know if it's an option.

    Has anyone here gone through such horrible withdrawal and/or was able to get off of the Zoloft.

    Thanks

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     
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    Old 10-12-2004, 06:42 PM   #2
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    Re: Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    sgt207,
    I've had suspicions that zoloft stays in the body long after we stop taking the last pill as well. I can't seem to find any doctors who corrobarate this theory though. I took zoloft for about 2 years and then started my slooow withdrawal process. It took total 10 months. 6 months later I thought the worst was over and I developed severe--and I mean severe--anxiety for the first time in my life. Yeah, some things in my life were not perfect, but I started having anxiety like 24/7. It was like my fight or flight response wouldn't shut off. I lost 15 pounds because I could not eat which was very hard because I'm a juvenile diabetic. I can't prove it was the zoloft, but I wonder if it was. I have since become a walking pharmacy. I took xanax, xanax xr, buspar, ambien, restoril, and now another SSRI, lexapro. I can't help thinking I would not need this now if I didn't take the zoloft in the first place.

    If you want to try to ween off zoloft, I would recommend the liquid. You can drop down to 1 drop which is approx. equivelent to 1 gram. I dropped down to 1 drop a day then each week skipped more day a week--it's the slowest process but more gentle on your body. Much luck to you and keep us updated.

    holst

     
    Old 12-13-2004, 09:41 AM   #3
    sgt207
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    Re: Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    Thanks for your help.
    I am just about off the Buspar now. Even coming off of that is giving me dizziness, anxiety, and breathing tightness but is nowhere near as bad as when I tried to come of the Zoloft last year.

     
    Old 12-14-2004, 06:40 AM   #4
    kspena80
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    Re: Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sgt207
    I was placed on Zoloft and Buspar in 1998 for severe anxiety and PTSD. I came off of it last summer and to say the withdrawal was a nightmare was an understatement.

    I tapered down to about 2 mg's of zoloft over a one year period from 12 mg's per day using a razor blade to cut the tablets. I stopped in the end of July '03. As soon as I stopped I started to get dizzy and nausea - no appetite. Anxiety increased and about a week later my stomach began to tingle [like nerves were being messed up]. Another week later my stomch stopped working while eating diner. My whole digestive system slowed to a near standstill. That lasted, along with all of the other symptoms, until the beginning of September. It seemed to level out some and I was trying like hell to ride it out. By the 3rd week of September '03, my body was acting like I was a diabetic [intense thirst, constant urinating, severe tiredness, etc.] but my blood sugar levels were normal. The anxiety continued to go through the roof, at night I would feel surges of adrenaline and throbing throughout my body, my ears would ring, brain zaps, etc.. Along about this time my body would not absorb water even though I was drinking a lot. I ended up in the ER twice and needed IV fluids but the Dr's just told me to drink more water. I was sent home. I followed up with a gastroenterologist who ran endoscopic tests on my digestive tract and told me all looked fine and that I had IBS, which I never had before. I went home and continued to feel as if I was going to die. The tingling in my stomach was worrying me. I knew that I would suffer some withdrawal but this was now going on two months and was continually getting worse. By this time I had lost 40 pounds and thought something was wrong..... The tingling in my stomach continued and worsened --- I ended up in the ER again, dehydrated even though I was drinking lots of water and gatorade. They scanned my pancreas and liver and all was fine. Gave me IV fluids again and sent me home. The next day my entire body from the waist down was tingling like nerves jumping around [I know this sounds crazy]. Also during this time I was constantly weepy and nervous.

    I called my psych and he told me that my PTSD had returned and that my body and nerves were craving seretonin. As per his orders, I re-started Zoloft at about 4mg's and the withdrawal went away, the tingling went away and my stomach and intestines returned to their "normal" functions.

    However, it seemed that the two months of withdrawal wrecked havoc with my system. For the next two months I had NO energy, no muscle strength, and suffered from all of the symptoms of Myesthynia Gravis(sp.) which is related to acytachline (sp.) deficiency. Now I am seeing in articles that when someone stops taking an SSRI there is the risk of this happening. Needless to say, by around February of this year, the weight was back on and I am still on zoloft [about 4mg's] and Buspar [down to 3 mg's] and feeling that zombie feeling again.

    Let me say this, I am not crazy - I used to be a cop who was run over by a drunk driver giving me PTSD and some Dr put me on zoloft 6 years ago. I used to be 6' 200lbs, now I am still 6' and 268lbs which I attribute to the zoloft. I have made it through law school and passed the state bar exam on the first try - it's just this dam medicine is ruining me, and I can't get off. Most Dr's I talk to either say there is no withdrawal or, if they say there is, say it only lasts for a few weeks. They don't have a clue. I think Zoloft is stored in the body in fat cells and slowly leeches out into the body when the person stops taking it, though the Dr''s don't agree. To me, that would account for the slow, but worsening, withdrawal symptom profile.

    I still want to get off of these meds but I don't know if it's an option.

    Has anyone here gone through such horrible withdrawal and/or was able to get off of the Zoloft.

    Thanks

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I guess I can start that I've experienced alot of the same symptoms while coming off zoloft, not the digestive part but basically everything else. For me it's been almost 1.5months since I've stopped taking it and I still get the electric shocks in my head from time to time, heart palps, dizzy and lightheaded. It's kinda funny actually because your right alot of doc's disagree that it stays in your system for along period of time and then you come here to find others have the same thing. My theory is, people on this board know what they are talking about because they experience it first hand, and doctors well, they are just reading what's in the books. Hang in there though. I know it sucks, but if you just keeping going back to the meds it's really a circled situation that never will stop. Eventually the withdrawl's "will" stop, just takes time . Good luck to you and may your journey be a success!

    KSB

     
    Old 01-01-2005, 01:09 AM   #5
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    Re: Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    Thanks for these really helpful messages--I'm 4 days into zoloft free after tapering down to 12.5 mgs. i have developed a raging sinus infection which I attribute to stress and illness phobia, among other things. i am having a hard time distinguishing between aches and pains of sinusitis/allergies and the zoloft withdrawal: muscle pains, esp in arms, dizzy, spacy, headaches (less than when I was on 50 mgs of zoloft!), etc. I will say i feel much better mood wise since going off the zoloft, but the physical symptoms are a bear; illness and pain phobia isnt a good mix with ssris for me--just feeds the disorder. Would appreciate any feedback/stories on this topic, Thanks!

     
    Old 01-02-2005, 06:51 AM   #6
    ratboy83
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    Re: Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    i was on it for 5 years. i came off it sucessfully by tapering down the dose and then transferring to st john's wort and valarian. they are both nerve tonics. it may some time for them to help but they will gradually sort out the nerve weakening that zoloft causes. also, i found that as i was tapering down the amount of zoloft i took, i gradually increased the amount of aerobic exercise i was doing. exercise i found reduced the anxiety levels in my body dramatically. it needs to be really intensive stuff though- the level that induces a real exercise high. i can't go on more about how much it de-stressed my body. i found essential oils very helpful too. lavender oil not only calms the nerves but also acts as a nerve tonic. flotation tanks are also meant to be very good for anxiety. don't be tempted to go back on drugs. they may be a good short term solution but nothing more.
    your body wants to heal itself, it just needs a helping hand. give it a natural helping hand.

    Last edited by ratboy83; 01-02-2005 at 06:52 AM.

     
    Old 01-02-2005, 07:48 AM   #7
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    Re: Has anyone suffered zoloft withdrawal and stayed off

    Thank you SO much for that reply! I now have what seems to be sinus/allergies and liteheadedness and dizziness. I can't tell whether it's sinus infection per se and/or withdrawal from zoloft. One of the side effects of zoloft withdrawal supposedly is 'flu-like" symptoms and dizziness. I'm treating the sinus issue, but dizziness/weakness just doesn't seem to match it--there's no infection to speak of, although I'm taking amoxycillin, as I have tons of mucus and sweating/chills (no fever). Would like more feedback on this, thanks!

     
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