Discussions that mention zoloft

Anxiety board


Hi,

I have experienced high levels of anxiety recently and both the psychiatrist and GP are recommending I take Zoloft. I am concerned about possible effects while taking the drug, and also long term ones. I have no idea about what they do in the brain or the risks involved, neither of the medical people mentioned have explained them, indeed I'm not sure they fully know what the risks are. I'm wondering if it might be possible to suggest trying to deal with anxiety by other means at least initially, although I suspect it might be difficult to persuade them against drug treatment at this stage. If someone here could come up with or knows of some good evidence of the risks that would help my case in persuading my GP. I'm sure he'd be interested to know too. (In the interests of impartiality, if there are not any significant risks, then I'd be happy to take the drug according the GP's advice.)

Thanks

Josh
from personal experience on zoloft....
i was on it for about 2 months and had to quite because it was horrible for me. it may be better for others, but it caused everything to get worse. it caused me to have more anxiety and major sleep disturbances. It is also the worst, and i mean worst for sexual side effects. orgasm? no way, not on this stuff. this stuff stays in your system for about 10 days, so even if you're not taking it, you still feel it.
a better suggestion is a SNRI instead of the SSRI. i'm on effexor and although people on here say it's bad, i've had no problems on it. it's been amazing!
Thanks for the responses.

armyofone05: I have heard of the possible detrimental effect on libido that Zoloft can have. When you say it is the worst drug in regard to that, presumably that's your own experience. If only there were figures on the rates of this. Is it 10% of users reporting that effect? Or more? One wonders whether the effect could become longer term if Zoloft is taken for a significant period, of 6 months or more say.

Will look into SNRI and SSRI, and Effexor as a possible alternative to Zoloft. But I wonder why it was not mentioned by my GP or phsychiatrist; why they would have a preference for Zoloft. Maybe the SSRIs have been found to be more effective for treating anxiety. Maybe Effexor has many possible side effects as well, and it's unclear which is the less risky to take.

Hyper: I did the same thing, tried Zoloft for only a few days, but that was all. You mention sexual effects and weight gain, possible side effects they mention on the information leaflet the pharmacist provided with the drug, but if only there was some more detailed information on the prevalence of those effects. If they said you have a greater than 50% chance of adverse sexual effects then, assuming sex was a part of your life that you wanted to keep, there would be a very signficant risk in taking it. But as you say, the risk has to be weighed against the seriousness of the problem. Still though, even if a serious problem, you'd want to investigate less risky treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), if they're effective. The psychiatrist told me that CBT has been shown to be more effective in combination with drug therapy, but how much more effective I do not know (one wonders whether the modified behavior would remain once Zoloft is discontinued, and about the risk of dependence). Foods such as garlic which you mention I am sure would be preferable to drugs, but their effectiveness in being consumed in larger amounts probably hasn't been demonstrated, certainly not in the time frame in which most would be wanting to achieve results, and consumed to excess as you say there can be adverse side effects as well.

Thanks again,

Josh
It sounds like to me that you want a guarantee for each of these meds. That is the problem with them. They don't have one. It is not like an antibiotic in that if you take it there is a good chance it will cure you. Not anti's. It is all trial and error. They affect each person differently. I know several people on zoloft and they do fine. I can't take it. I have tried prozac, celexa, wellbutrin, ect. None of them totally agree with me. Zoloft and wellbutrin the worst. If you are that wary of anti's then try other methods first. God bless
Hi JoshuaAnderson9, I did try the other methods as well as cbt every two weeks for 2 years, not saying it did not help but saw no major impact on my condition and my dr kept stating like a broken record you have a chemical imbalance and you indeed need a antidepressent medication before you will see positive changes in CBT but of course I did not listen.Like I said I gave the prozac a try, my appetite has returned, my sex life is 100% better. I had a traumatic experience 6 years ago and did not seek immediate help whith the problem but tried to deal with it all on my own but as time progressed and long periods of excessive stress my brain chemicals must have got out of balance, that's my theory? I'm sure if I got CBT at the start I would not be where I am today.I have saw more positive changes in the last 4 weeks on the ssri than I have in 6 years but along with a combo of the med and the cbt I think I will or at least continue to get better.I have 2 friends who do well on zoloft and another who hates Prozac, like marian100 stated it's trial and error.I quit playing doctor because I was getting no where,I feel they know a bit more than I do
> you want a guarantee for each of these meds

I would describe it as wanting to have a better idea of the risks in taking the drug. How likely is it that I will experience adverse side effects taking Zoloft or SSRI's more generally? Of the information that is available on its possible effects, how reliable is it? Any studies on the long term effects? How long has the drug been studied for? Anyone have any idea about the answers to these questions if they've taken Zoloft before?

> It's all trial and error.

It's the error part that's the worry.

> They affect each person differently.

It sounds like that is accepted as natural and to be expected, but why does it affect people differently?

> I have tried prozac, celexa, wellbutrin, ect. None of them totally agree with me. Zoloft and wellbutrin the worst. If you are that wary of anti's then try other methods first.

Cross for Zoloft in your case. Thanks for the advice.

Josh
Hi Hyper,

Surprised after 2 years of CBT that better results were not obtained. I tried CBT for a couple of months through at a uni psychology clinic and it was great. Just didnt have enough time to commit to it to make the treatment worthwhile, and being a student at the time cost was an issue.

The psychologist at the clinic, a doctoral student, didn't believe I had a chemical imbalance problem; I wasn't depressed. She was of the view that you'd have to have a significant nutritional deficiency for that to be so. Maybe prolonged high-level stress or traumatic experience as in your case however could lead to some imbalance, and depression could reflect that, but she thought it was more likely that my condition was an acquired behavior and the 'programming' of which needed to be undone. Chemical imbalance would seem an important issue, but whether drugs is the best treatment I'm not sure. The more severe it was the more reason you'd have to take it.

In CBT it would seem that if anxiety was severe enough that it was substantially impeding progress, drugs might be a good complementary option to consider although potential side effects and dependency would need to be weighed against the benefits.

> long periods of excessive stress my brain chemicals must have got out of balance, that's my theory?

Seems plausible, especially if CBT hasn't helped. Pity there aren't direct tests for chemical imbalance that are available.

> I quit playing doctor because I was getting no where,I feel they know a bit more than I do

Not all doctors I know recommend taking psychotropic drugs, and there may not have been enough research and opportunity for adverse effects to be discovered and understood for many doctors to have a strong enough reason not to prescribe them. Many may be too busy to research the effects themselves to know of the extent of the risks and their effectiveness as a treatment, and are having to deal with an increasing number of people with mental health problems who want a quick and easy solution. I would also wonder whether incentives offered to doctors by drug companies would not influence their preferring the drug treatment approach.

If you think doctors always get it right, you need only consider the recent case of the treatment of youngsters with ADD with the psychotropic drug Ritalin. I believe that recently it was found that for the majority of cases the use of this drug is unnecessary. Hopefully those children who took that during their developing years will not experience any adverse effects from it as adults. Whether they do or not will probably not be known until they have reached adulthood as I don't think there hasn't been a generation before that has grown up using the drug. If I am mistaken about this, I would be happy to be corrected.

Regardless, if there is a treatment option that is provided by a doctor it is reasonable to want to know of the risks in terms that are not too vague, rather than accepting the doctor's advice blindly and just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, and what I know about Zoloft so far is insufficient for me to be comfortable taking it, which is what I will have to tell the psychiatrist tomorrow. Although I do get the impression that while there are those who have had negative experiences with it, some have been positive, and in your case with Prozac, very positive. My interest is in what is best for my health, and if I believe that taking Zoloft would be, all factors considered, then I will. It's a quick and easy option after all.

Josh