Discussions that mention zoloft

Depression board

:wave: Hi. Thanks for pulling up my post. I know this somewhat long, but please take the time to read it. This is my story.

My dad passed away of skin cancer 16 years ago when I was seventeen. Ever since his passing, I have been a hypochondriac and a constant worrier. I have suffered severely with anxiety and stress, physically and emotionally. With family support and a wonderful husband, I have tried desperately to deal my dad’s passing, hypochondria, a fear of dying, and my anxiety symptoms, but finally had to make a trip to the doctor. My main problem, which has really been quite annoying and sometimes disabling, has been what I call “my breathing problem”. I always feel like I am not getting enough air. Breathing for me has become a chore as I acknowledge just about every breath that I take. Sometimes I get to the point of hyperventilating with tingling in my face and lips, a lump in my throat and nausea. Occasionally over the past 15 years I would have short episodes, maybe lasting a day or two, but now the episodes last for weeks at a time. When I finally went to the doctor in April, I had this “breathing problem” for three weeks and I was literally to the point of tears. Only at night time while I am sleeping do I have relief. Of course I have other symptoms, but this one is the worst.

In April, my doctor put me on Zoloft and I also take 0.50 mg of Xanax every night to help me sleep. I also take Xanax during the day for those really tough days. I am worried about addiction to Xanax, but at this point, I just want to be able to function normally on a daily basis. I was taking 100 mg of Zoloft a day, but couldn’t have an orgasm, and there is absolutely no way that I will give up orgasms. After all, that is a natural medicine that puts a smile on my face. So, my doctor cut my dosage to 75 mg a day. Thankfully, that isn’t an issue anymore. At any rate, some of my anxiety problems have gotten a little bit better, but I still have my “breathing problem”, just not to the point of hyperventilation and tingling.

These are my new symptoms. Over the past two months, I have had on/off tingling in my feet that sometimes radiates up my legs, but not to the point of pins and needles. The tingling would come and go, but over the past week or so, the tingling has been constant and is either in one foot or both feet. I also get some cramping in my right calf and have had charley horses in the middle of the night. I also get these creepy / crawly sensations on my legs. It feels like there is a bug crawling on my leg and usually lasts for a few seconds. Over the past few days, I have started to get mild tingling in my hands that comes and goes. The tingling seems to worsen with each passing day. And for the past two days, my right eye has been twitching, driving my absolutely crazy.

Has anyone had this “tingling” and “eye twitching” as side effects of Zoloft? Could these new symptoms I am experiencing be related to anxiety? I have also read on other posts that vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause tingling and eye twitching. Does anyone have any other suggestions as to what might be going on with my body? I AM REALLY SCARED !!! :confused: Any feedback or information that you have would be so very much greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my sob story. :rolleyes:
Here's some quick information. I took Zoloft for 6 months. I didn't have the twitching you mention while I was on the dose I was taking (only 25 mg), but when I started withdrawing I would get these bizarre twitches in my eyebrows. One time it happened in the middle of the night and I got up to look at my face in the mirror -- my eyebrows were both just twitching away. Good thing it didn't happen in public because it was definitely noticeable! When I called my psych about it, he said it was because of muscle tension, but I was EXTREMELY tense when I first went on the medication and have always been a tense person and have never in my life had eyebrow twitching. So I blame the Zoloft.

Regarding the breathing problem, I had that before I went on Zoloft. I had that problem off and on for about 6 years. It would get worse when I was more stressed out. When I had my extreme anxiety, it got even worse to the point where it was a huge problem for me. I also had tingling, burning and aching in my arms and legs (before going on Zoloft). I saw a biofeedback therapist and she did some muscle biofeedback (EMG) with me... she hooked electrodes to various parts of my body and showed me how tense I was, then showed me how to relax these muscles. I had been tense for so long that being relaxed was extremely foreign and at times uncomfortable. She suggested I wear a timer watch (bought a vibrating one from Global assistive Devices that had a countdown timer that would automatically reset itself) and set it to go off every 10 minutes. When it went off, I was to practice this relaxation for only 5 seconds. She said over the course of 3-4 months of doing this every day that I would reset my body's tension level. I was so desperate that I did this and IT WORKED! I hardly ever have the breathing problem anymore and when I do I just wear the watch for a week or so.

I've gone on to do neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback that involves brainwave training. It's also been a lifesaver for me. (I never really felt that great on Zoloft, so it wasn't a good medication for me.) I have been feeling really good, sleeping better. No more burning or tingling in my arms and legs. I really credit the biofeedback and neurofeedback for helping me with this. It's not an overnight cure, it's not cheap, but it can definitely work for a lot of people.

Typed more than I intended to and now I'm really running late. Let me know if you have questions! I'm gone all weekend, but can answer you this week.

Quote from Tabitha111:

Thank you so much for responding to my post. :bouncing: I have found your response to be extremely informative and helpful. I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday to discuss the problems that I am having with the tingling and twitching. Actually, my bottom right eye lid is twitching right now and has been now for four days. It is really starting to drive my crazy!!! :mad: In terminology that I can understand, what exactly is a biofeedback therapist? What do they specialize in? If I was to look in my medical insurance book to find this type of therapist, what would I look under? At this point in my life, I am really desperate to try anything. I feel as if I am wasting precious time worrying about what diseases I could have and about my breathing. Life is short. This website has really been very informative for me. It's nice to know that there are other people that suffer with the same problems as me. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? Do you have children? Thanks again and I am hoping to hear from you soon!!!

Tabitha :)

How did your doctor's appointment go?

To answer some of your questions -- I am a 40-year-old mother of two young children. I've had numerous problems with anxiety and depression since college. Most of the time I was able to overcome the problems and move on, but after the birth of my kids the episodes were getting worse and worse until in January 2003 I had a complete and total breakdown to the point where I was nonfunctional for months. I kept thinking I would overcome the problem like I had before, but I finally saw a pyschiatrist who told me I would be on medication for the rest of my life, given my history and the state I was in. I refused to accept that and did a lot of work in finding alternative therapies. Biofeedback and neurofeedback has been a lifesaver and has opened up a whole new world for me. Because of the success of my bio/neurofeedback therapy, I took Zoloft for only 6 months. I have not taken any other medication since withdrawing from Zoloft.

Biofeedback is basically technology that helps you become more mindful of what exactly is going on with your brain and body. There are different types of biofeedback. One of the better known biofeedback therapies is muscle biofeedback (emg) which involves placing electrodes on your muscles to measure how tense they are. When you see how tense they are on a computer screen, you can then experiment until the tension goes down. You can then make a mind/body connection to the tension. It can be very illuminating.

There's also brainwave feedback or EEG neurofeedback, which is the therapy I currently use. The therapist puts the electrode (or electrodes) on your head in various spots and the electrodes READ your brainwaves. At no time is any electricity (or anything) transmitted into your brain -- this isn't shock therapy or anything like that. The therapist can program the computer (which monitors your brainwaves) to provide "rewards" on the screen which you watch (usually sounds and moving pictures) whenever your brainwaves do the right thing. In my case, we downtrain excess beta waves, so whenever my brain figures out how to do that, the computer displays certain pictures and sounds. It all happens outside of your conscious awareness and it can seem like nothing big is happening, but afterwards you feel better -- calmer or more focused.

There's an introductory book called "A Symphony in the Brain" which explains the history and overview of the technology.

Some insurance does cover this therapy. You'll need to call neurofeefback providers and ask what their experience is. I think your insurance is more likely to cover it if there's a "medical" condition (you're in physical pain). Which is bizarre because mental problems cause pain too, but they don't recognize that. (Don't get me started.)

I have been going to weekly sessions for over a year. You don't have to do this the rest of your life, but since I am seeing continual improvement, I keep going. (Some people only need 10-15 sessions.) At some point I will cut down my frequency and then I'll probably only be going for "booster sessions" every now and then (perhaps a couple of times a year).

There are several directories for biofeedback and neurofeedback therapists on the Internet. Go to Google and do a search on "EEG Info The Complete Neurofeedback Resource" They provide a searchable directory by zipcode of therapists. As with any therapy or healthcare provider, do your homework in finding the best person, preferrably someone with good references and lots of experience and knowledgeable about your situation.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have other questions!