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  • Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

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    Old 05-10-2006, 12:12 PM   #1
    EdmunBlackadder
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    Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    A couple of years ago, my doctor decided to put me on Zoloft. I Googled "zoloft", and found mostly positives posted online about it. Sure, there were a couple of sites that said it was bad, but you know, just a couple of crazies, right?

    So I go on Zoloft at 50mg, then we later upped it to 100mg. I have my own consulting business, so I had my insurance cover it. However, I live in the United States, which as you know, is a country that has gone completely insane in the last few years. I soon cancelled my insurance when I realized it was cheaper to just buy drugs from Canada and pay the doctor $120 for each 20 minute visit.

    Still, it ended up being far too expensive, so I decided to quit. I Googled "zoloft" again and was surprised to see that the one or two bad comments about Zoloft had ballooned into a bazillion posts from a bazillion people.

    Oh, dear.

    Following the advice online, I took an entire month to taper off. (My doctor originally said that tapering off wasn't necessary. He later amended this slightly, saying I should take a week or so to taper off.) I don't have any way to measure grains of chemicals accurately, so I just got a cutting board, and eye-balled it.

    The withdrawal symptoms started about half way through (2 to 2 1/2 weeks) the tapering off. The shocks, the shakes, the muddled head. The warm swelling at the base of my skull and the same for my forehead. Sweating hands and fingertips. Mornings are better, so everything I write, including this, is done over several mornings, with some re-reading for coherence in the afternoons.

    But I now know what people mean by "black spots before the eyes." There is no such thing. My eyes are strobing, and I can see this clearly if I experiment with lighting conditions. (I just put my head under the covers so that only filtered light penetrates.) There are no "black" spots, but there are areas of no data. I'm guessing that the brain is receiving impulses from my eyes, but intermittently doesn't process this information. This produces the areas of no data. Brains are always trying to "fill in" to make sense of the world, so we call these "black spots" instead of "no data areas".

    After about 2 1/2 weeks, the external body shakes stopped but seemed to move inside. I can tell you it is a most curious feeling to be standing perfectly still but have the strong sensation that every organ under the skin is suddenly roatating 1 centimeter to the left or right. Sometimes when I move my head I get this weird sound and sensation like the sound of sand grains being thrown against a microphone.

    By coincidence, I was about 3/4 of the way through writing my first book when the heavy withdrawals kicked in, and had to stop writing. It's just a few positive observations I've made from studying Buddhism, anthropologists like Ruth Benedict, the Mahabarata, the Tiben Book of Living and Dying, primate studies of the Bonobos and historical studies, including the examination of Machievellian belief systems and the ancient Aegean Sea civilization.

    I'm glad I stopped since I've noticed a couple of my base assumptions are now wrong. For instance, I've often just done small compassionate things for friends and colleagues, not to win points, but because 1) it makes me happy and 2) I'm told "evertything you do creates the world", and I'd like a world with some compassion in it, please.

    The base assumption was that while I knew most people aren't big enough to receive compassion and then reciprocate, it was a little more drastic than that. Knowing that I was going to need a little help until I get over this, I went to every "friend" and every person in my "family" and was simply rejected.

    This is a very hard and sad thing for me, of course, but the worst thing isn't even the harm it is causing me directly. The worst thing is contemplating that people are even more myopic and fear-clinging than I'd thought. This is very sad. I'd hoped that compassion could touch at least some people, and if that isn't true, then the world is certainly even uglier than I'd suspected.

    I own a car and a motorcycle, but both need a little work if I'm going to get the most money out of them. I'd crash my motorcycle pretty quickly if I tried to drive it. I do drive the car minimally, and actually blacked out for a second yesterday and struck another car. Fortunately, no damage to either.

    One of my neighbors is a long time colleague and a therapist. He knows me, knows just how corrupt the pharmaceutical industry is, but only quoted the industry's party line when I told him of my condition. Check it out:


    "It's unlikely that what you're experiencing is technically withdrawal from Zoloft. Most likely, you're having some kind of resurgence of whatever it is that was under the Zoloft plus a rebound effect involving dopamine and serotonin depletion.

    "The serotonin/dopamine thing may be causing some of the physical discomfort, but the flashing is anomalous."


    Anomalous, huh? Sheesh! If I'd wanted an almost direct quote from the Zoloft website, I'd have just gone to zoloft.com. Just in case you're not an American like me, I should tell you we have our commercial television flooded with ads for drugs that make a guy's penis bigger. Problem is, we know that these drugs work only in the most minimal way and only for the most minimal number of men.

    In other words, it's just pure B.S. to vacuum out the last money from men with more insecurities than reason. And yet, our government is just fine with these ads. ("Adverts", for you British. <g>) We have no law suits or even news stories to tell our people of this.

    My neighbor is completely aware of these facts, is an MFT, a longtime professional (his father is a very famous shrink, too) and is extremely intelligent. And yet he can only quote me the official B.S. line?


    Based on my latest online research, I expect these symptoms to last until sometime between the 3rd week of May and the 1st week of June. By then I will be completely bankrupt, of course.


    Well, as a Buddhist, I know our first rule about life: life is suffering. And no lie.


    I'm going back to my Buddhist affirmations now: 1) This life is only a dream, therefore this suffering isn't real. 2) I must work to generate compassion for all beings, even the *******s.

    Oh, boy. Wish me luck!

     
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    Old 05-10-2006, 01:20 PM   #2
    EdmunBlackadder
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    Oh, I forgot one more symptom: There's this pressure on my arms. Its like someone was following you around squeezing your fore and upper arms. Not squeezing hard, so it hurts, but squeezing firmly. I do not take this as a good sign.

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 01:04 PM   #3
    mayam
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    Wishing you all the best of luck with the Zoloft withdrawal. Hang in there and don't give up.

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 01:22 PM   #4
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    I have gone off Zoloft 100mg too this year. I read many of the problems too. I went off by one pill every other day for one month. Honestly, I had no real effects, and I am thankful. I think sometimes we read so much, that we call anything we have or feel a result of one thing or another. I am just the same, maybe not this time, but others. I like what the doc said when I complained about my hypochondriac wife, he said that because the symptoms can't be seen, doesn't mean the pain is not there. In truth, unless deliberately lying, pain is there to the one that feels it, and it can be as devastating as ever. The Zoloft I was on masked pain for up to two days. It was as unsettling as the pain itself. I could not feel pain from my injuries untill a day later and by then the ER doc's were giving me an odd look. I fell down a slippery stairway with an armload of ceramic tile. My back had two broken vertebrae, and now I have been off work over a year. Good luck with your Zoloft, and please speak to someone if the day happens where you feel the depression too much. LD

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 01:32 PM   #5
    EdmunBlackadder
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    Thank you for all thoughtful replies. I was hoping for just such small amounts of compassion from "firneds" or "family".

    Regarding whether or not this is "all in my head", it is not.

    Until my symptoms kicked in strongly, I specifically forbade myself from reading details of symptoms when possible. Of course, I did see a little of this, but have focused myself on just trying my best to do my work.

    I understand that the entire reason we have experts is so that we can go to them for "the straight dope" at times of uncertainty. However, this system is clearly broken in the United States, at least.

    Do you really believe those penis enlargement pills will work? Of course not. Only the most desperately insecure men do.

    So why are some people so eager to doubt me?

    Why would the pharmeceutical industry have any credibillity at all?

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 05:59 PM   #6
    Dan_Sims
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    EdmunBlackadder, when your were on Zoloft in the first months you took it.
    Did you feel better then you did in the months before you weren't on it.
    Or you felt worse on Zoloft.

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 06:25 PM   #7
    EdmunBlackadder
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    There were some changes, and I used these as way of re-examining everything from this slightly different perspective. This was, after all, a psychoactive experience. Just one that takes weeks to develop or subside. I was happy with these benefits.

    Pardon my directness, but I'm not sure I want to get too personal about specifics here in this forum. I prefer to speak in the company of those who validate my feelings and experiences. I apologize if that is too blunt, but I wouldn't want to be guilty of evading your question, and mean this therefore mean this with that respect in mind.

    (Oh, wow, I AM starting back to thinking again. I counldn't have written anything this dimensional while this stuff was blunting my head, say, half a week ago.)

    As you suggest, I expect feelings that changed one way to change the other way as I go back to "normal".

    As I come off, I also use every change as an excuse to look at things. For instance, I am happy to know what "black spots" are. I am simply learning whenever possible before judging.

    I'm convinced the stomach problems I've experiencing are due to the stress I'm under and have no dircect relationship to the Zoloft.

    The rest of the symptoms are unlike anything I've experienced. I'm certainly not arguing that my body really was rotating on the inside 1 centimeter to the left or right. I'm saying that this pyschoactive experience needs to be recognized.


    A couple of days ago I found one doctor who has posted some Excel spreadsheet to program your dosage decreasage. I didn't downoad it, but I should try to find it again. From what I remember reading in his post, he would have had me take much longer than one month. I should post the link when I find it.

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 06:31 PM   #8
    EdmunBlackadder
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    Darn. Half of those statements are upsidedown and backwards. That's why I proofread the other posts over and over. Sorry. I am that guy in all the Marc Chagall paintings who has his head on upsidedown.

    Anyhow, i hope you understand what I was trying to say.

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 06:31 PM   #9
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    EdmunBlackadder, no one on this messageboard knows who you are.
    Whats the big deal of saying did you feel better or worse on Zoloft.
    Also did you get side effects.
    Thats why people on these messageboards.
    To see how people react to these drugs.

    Last edited by Dan_Sims; 05-14-2006 at 06:33 PM.

     
    Old 05-14-2006, 06:38 PM   #10
    EdmunBlackadder
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    I have shared quite a bit, and have said that I share more when I feel comfortable. These are reasonable human responses that I respect in others every day.

    Since you are not comfortable with me setting such normal boundaries, I assume that my relectance to share was well taken and I shall now stop stop altogether.

    I am very comfortable respecting your boundaries, and I hope you will learn to do the same for others at some point. Thank you for your time.

     
    Old 05-30-2006, 02:20 PM   #11
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    Re: Zoloft Withdrawal Experience

    Hi Edmun,

    Just want to share your pain. I've been tapering off of Zoloft for almost a month now and it was about a week ago that I took my last pill. I haven't been nearly as miserable as you, but I still get those "shocks" where my eyes twitch and it feels like my heart skips a beat. It's hard to explain. I can't really stand or do any activity for more than 20 minutes at a time. I only started feeling this way after I completely quit taking the medication. Basically, I just feel blah -- all I want to do is lay down. I'm hoping this goes away soon so I can get back to my life.

     
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