[Story] Bad withdrawal from Sertraline

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Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Dec 28, 2019
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I am on my second week of tappering off Sertraline and I am beyond desperate. It’s my third attempt to come off these drugs, and although I am on a very low dosage (25 mg reduced to 12,5 mg) the struggle is bitter: insomnia, panic, restlessness, weakness, a generalized feeling of sickness and a whole host of terrifying sensations that make me want to crawl out of my own skin.

I don’t even remember exactly how long I’ve been on ssri - but it’s a very long time. My previous two attempts to come off stretched for months and ended up in defeat. No matter how hard I tried, how slowly I tappered off, my addiction was so strong it would not let itself be conquered.

I use the word ”addiction” because these seemingly harmless meds, despite being prescribed as if they were strawberry flavoured vitamins, are, in fact, very serious, heavy weight drugs. In Sweden 10% of the population is currently taking ssri - 10%!!! Doctors are giving these pills away like candy.


During my numerous visits to my health care provider, throughout the long years of my treatment, I have always voiced, in no uncertain terms, my concerns about ssri. Every doctor I ever met, without exception, assured me ssri medication is ”harmless”, that the benefits vastly outweight the drawbacks. And on each visit I expressed a strong desire to come off them - a desire firmly checked by my doctors who told me depression, exhaustion and chronic pain are no trifling matters and I should be on some kind of meds, ssri being the most ”harmless” of them all.

”Harmless”... indeed.

If they are so harmless as advertised, why am I banging my fists against the wall, feeling nauseated, restless and coming undone despite being on the lowest possible dosage?


Perhaps there’s something particular about me. Perhaps I am that one in a million who suffers from the worst ssri withdrawal. Perhaps the doctors are right and ssri meds do work, and people do not get insomnia or the shakes, or generalized panic for months when they tapper off. I mean, it must be so, otherwise 1 in 10 Swedes would not take them.

I must be an oddity.

Anyway, I am determined to quit Sertraline once and for all, cost me what it will. I refuse to continue living with a Damocles’ sword constantly hanging above my head, so the sword will fall once and for all, no matter what. I am staying the course this time.
 
Underscore

Underscore

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Huuuuugs! :hug:
So sorry you are suffering Amiga.
They tried to get me on that shit and I just laughed at them. However, my sister took it and came off fine. Everyone different I guess and you are unlucky. There are guides to tapering online which serve better than any doctor's advice, but I can see you are already doing it as well as you can and slowly.
SSRIs are indeed evil and harmful. That doesn't mean they aren't necessary for some and can be a great help in the short term, but it's never without a price and in the long term they are harmful.
This will be preaching to the choir, but I'll post this here for reference to my opinion:
 
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Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Thanks for the link @Underscore and the kind words. What you said is so true: ”never without a price”.

:heart:
 
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Acerakis

Acerakis

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Jun 5, 2020
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Absolutely hated going on, being on and coming off Sertraline. It's a horrible drug. I hope your withdrawals clear up soon. I think after a month or so being off it I felt like negative effects were finally gone.
 
Claudia

Claudia

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I’m with you on this. I’m in 100mg a day and tried to start to come off them recently but couldn’t cope with the headaches and my head feeling shit all the time. I feel like I’m going to be on them the rest of my life.
 
Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Absolutely hated going on, being on and coming off Sertraline. It's a horrible drug. I hope your withdrawals clear up soon. I think after a month or so being off it I felt like negative effects were finally gone.
Thank you for your input @Acerakis . A month sounds like a long time, but in my case it would be a dream. I am happy to hear you succeeded in coming off them. I agree that it is a horrible drug for some of us. Like @Underscore pointed out, some people seem to tolerate ssri and even come off them easily. I know someone who stopped taking Zoloft when she was on 75 mg - no tapering off, no nothing. She just ”threw them in the bin.” Imagine that!

I’m with you on this. I’m in 100mg a day and tried to start to come off them recently but couldn’t cope with the headaches and my head feeling shit all the time. I feel like I’m going to be on them the rest of my life.
I hear you and I understand you so well. Several doctors told me I would probably be on one ssri or another for the rest of my life because of the difficulties I experienced tapering off.

I was also on 100 mg, although not for a long time, because the side effects were unmanageable, so I took 75 mg for the longest time.

Good luck to you and all the best! As you can see there is life after 100 mg he he he...
 
Underscore

Underscore

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I've personally never had an issue coming off them, even cold turkey, but then they've not worked for me either. I wonder if there is a correlation between how effective they are/how much they impact your biochemistry and how easy or hard they are to withdraw from.
 
Soulless_Angel

Soulless_Angel

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interested in hearing others stories, my husband is currently going from sertaline to mirtazapine, he is grumpy, constantly tired, despite sleeping all night, he has hallucinations at night instead of dreams,
is this the transition or the withdrawals of the sertaline which he has been on for just over a year?
 
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Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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I've personally never had an issue coming off them, even cold turkey, but then they've not worked for me either. I wonder if there is a correlation between how effective they are/how much they impact your biochemistry and how easy or hard they are to withdraw from.
I suspect there is. Ssri did help me at the onset of the treatment. My mistake was not listening to my gut instinct and getting off them as soon as possible. I am not prone to webdoctor.com-ing my conditions, I usually trust the doctors. But on this point, I should have trusted myself.


I am extremely sensitive to all medication. That’s one of the reasons I do not like to take pain meds, despite my neck pain. I don’t have any allergies to food, or other things, but meds seem to interact badly with my system.

Do you have other experiences with tapering off or going cold turkey from taking other meds? How did that go?
interested in hearing others stories, my husband is currently going from sertaline to mirtazapine, he is grumpy, constantly tired, despite sleeping all night, he has hallucinations at night instead of dreams,
is this the transition or the withdrawals of the sertaline which he has been on for just over a year?

A whole year, god, that sounds really, really rough. Is he cross-tapering or did he do a direct switch?

Ssri do not stay in your body for a year after you stopped taking them, so I am guessing he is cross-tapering, but even that should not go on for such a long period of time.

I have no idea if it’s the transition of the withdrawal. Or maybe side effects of the new drugs.

But I can tell you I experienced (very) vivid dreams on high doses of ssri and also both during set it and taper off. I have read that hallucinations are common as well.

All the best to you both @Soulless_Angel!
 
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Underscore

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I've never had any issues coming of these medications, bit the only one that worked was Prozac right at the start in 97 and then only for about 8 months. I do however suspect that all these years of trying other ones had worsened the current metabolic distress I suffer.
 
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NoCoast

NoCoast

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Oct 9, 2019
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I’ve always had the hardest time adjusting to a new SSRI/change in dosage & also while tapering off them. I’m extremely sensitive to medication & tend to experience a lot of the side effects. I really feel for you. Try to hang in there :heart:
 
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Soulless_Angel

Soulless_Angel

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I suspect there is. Ssri did help me at the onset of the treatment. My mistake was not listening to my gut instinct and getting off them as soon as possible. I am not prone to webdoctor.com-ing my conditions, I usually trust the doctors. But on this point, I should have trusted myself.


I am extremely sensitive to all medication. That’s one of the reasons I do not like to take pain meds, despite my neck pain. I don’t have any allergies to food, or other things, but meds seem to interact badly with my system.

Do you have other experiences with tapering off or going cold turkey from taking other meds? How did that go?



A whole year, god, that sounds really, really rough. Is he cross-tapering or did he do a direct switch?

Ssri do not stay in your body for a year after you stopped taking them, so I am guessing he is cross-tapering, but even that should not go on for such a long period of time.

I have no idea if it’s the transition of the withdrawal. Or maybe side effects of the new drugs.

But I can tell you I experienced (very) vivid dreams on high doses of ssri and also both during set it and taper off. I have read that hallucinations are common as well.

All the best to you both @Soulless_Angel!

He's on his third lot in as many weeks! his head is a mess, sleep is fucked, the hallucinations are worrying him , surely he shouldn't just keep changing them? One lot caused him serious anger issues, which is why he moved over this next lot, now he's just constantly tired.
 
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Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Severe mood swings, fits of anger and a difficulty in keeping an even temper are listed as common side effects of ssri. And fatigue also. It sounds like your husband is going through the wringer. I hope he finds the Goldielocks dosage sooner rather than later. Sorry to hear it’s so hard...
 
SuicidalSymphonies

SuicidalSymphonies

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Oct 13, 2019
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I am currently on Sert. This is my second attempt at it. After I came off of it the first time, the brain zaps were unbearable. I just wanted to eat a gun. Terrible sensation. It's not painful, just incredibly uncomfortable.

But being on this medication really helps me, so I went back onto it. As far as it works, I'll be on it for life. But if I have to come off of it again, I can't say I won't turn around and ctb over it.

That being said, everybody reacts to drugs differently and there are plenty of folk who don't suffer from those withdrawals. Guess we're a little bit unlucky.

Sending lots of love and positivity your way while you go through this. x
 
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Epsilon0

Epsilon0

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Dec 28, 2019
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I am currently on Sert. This is my second attempt at it. After I came off of it the first time, the brain zaps were unbearable. I just wanted to eat a gun. Terrible sensation. It's not painful, just incredibly uncomfortable.

But being on this medication really helps me, so I went back onto it. As far as it works, I'll be on it for life. But if I have to come off of it again, I can't say I won't turn around and ctb over it.

That being said, everybody reacts to drugs differently and there are plenty of folk who don't suffer from those withdrawals. Guess we're a little bit unlucky.

Sending lots of love and positivity your way while you go through this. x

Thank you for your lovely message. All the best to you as well! I think it’s the right thing to take Sertraline if it helps you, even if it’s for the rest of your life.

In my case the side effects interfered too much with my life (especially the low blood glucose levels), so I had to quit.

I am now starting my third week.

I slept a little better last night for the first time since I started tapering off, but now the exhaustion is starting to take its toll on my motivation.

The battle of Helm's Deep is over; the battle for Middle Earth is about to begin.”
(a quote for LOTR nerds)
 
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SuicidalSymphonies

SuicidalSymphonies

I think I'll take a dirt nap.
Oct 13, 2019
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Elseweyr
Thank you for your lovely message. All the best to you as well! I think it’s the right thing to take Sertraline if it helps you, even if it’s for the rest of your life.

In my case the side effects interfered too much with my life (especially the low blood glucose levels), so I had to quit.

I am now starting my third week.

I slept a little better last night for the first time since I started tapering off, but now the exhaustion is starting to take its toll on my motivation.

The battle of Helm's Deep is over; the battle for Middle Earth is about to begin.”
(a quote for LOTR nerds)
I'm sure you'll figure it out! Yes, my doctor warned me about the low glucose levels as well, but now that I've been on it so long, my readings are just fine. Hopefully the same happens for you.
 
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