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I have been using Zoloft for over 3 months. Now I am trying to get off all anti-depressants and to go on with my life. But from day to day I am feeling worse. I don’t want to give up but I am constantly nervous, have headaches, insomnia, night sweats and extreme tiredness. My doctor suspects that I have developed withdrawal syndrome?

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If you stopped using Zoloft abruptly and are experiencing the symptoms you do, you probably developed withdrawal syndrome. All of your symptoms including mental confusion, joint pain, dizziness, stomachaches, nausea, tremors etc. are signs of withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms usually last for 1-2 weeks but in some cases they decrease over a period of one month. It is recommended that the usage of Zoloft is gradually decreased. What happens is that Zoloft has a half life for about one day. That means that every day that passes without you taking Zoloft, the level in the blood falls about 50%. After two days the level of Zoloft is reduced to 25%, after three days to 12, 5% and so on until it wears out completely. And because of its half-life, it can cause many problems. There is one particular, very unpleasant withdrawal symptom called REM Behavior Disorder. When moving your eyes too quickly, you dream in sequences- you are awake but you have hallucinations like you are actually dreaming. If something like this happens contact your physician.

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It has been about three months that I am off the zoloft now and the withdrawal effects are still as strong as they were at the beginning. I am beginning to wonder if they ever go away. I did not just stop taking it. Actually, I tapered it off under my doctor supervision. I feel this electric zaps every once in a while. It's really annoying. I feel my eyes are moving very fast. Most of the times when I move my eyes, I get the electric shocks. I feel very moody too.

If only I knew about this before taking this terrible drug. I will never take it again though even if the effects do not go away. It's funny how something harmless like marijuana is criminalized and you have to take weird drugs with lots of serious side effect and withdrawal effects that they prescribe for you!

If I could I would really sue the drug company.

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what dose did you start with and what is your dr.'s recommendation as to weening it off? over how long of a period was it until u were through with zoloft? i'm on 50mg and thinking i may not need it anymore but i am really afraid of that electric zap headaches.

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Wow I was on the drug following a car accident for 4 months and I have those electric zaps very badly. I have been tappering off for 3 weeks like advised but its not helping. The zaps wont go away and they are very disorienting. Alot of people are sueing over this.... If its so bad, whats it doing on the market?? It has also sparked some very violent aggressive symptoms on a random basis as well as moodyness that is borderline suicidal. Stay away from this drug.

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After being on 100mg zoloft for 3 yrs I decided to stop. Under a doctors supervision, I weened down to 25mg. Then tried to stop entirely. I thought if I did it the "right" way would ease, if not alleviate any withdrawl. I WAS WRONG! It has now been at least three months since I've been down to 25mg and I really don't feel better. Without 25mg my brain feels as though it shakes in my head.(brain zap) I have even fallen down the stairs if I try not to take it. Without it I sometimes feel as though my nervous system would shut down. On top of everything else, I'm pretty depressed. When I started this drug I thought it was a wonder drug and that it changed my life, now I wish I just went to therapy. I have what I'm told is a good life I just wish I could enjoy it.

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For the guest who says they started on 350 mg. I must warn you, that is a lot. You most certainly will go thru withdrawal symptoms if you take such a high dosage for any length of time. Even 150-200 mg. is considered a lot. I have been on it for the past 10 years at 25-100 mg. and am just now starting my own taper down schedule to ween myself off. After having been on 25 mg. for a couple of months, and a 12.5 pill once a week, I am cutting my pills down so they're 6.25 mg. I currently have the foggy head and am not looking forward to the disorientation and vertigo as I have tried to ween myself off this nasty drug before with no success. This time I am absolutely confident I can do it. Do your research because this is one of the hardest drugs to get off of.

To Ctt, i feel for you. When i first started I too, thought it was a wonder drug. I suffered from moderate to severe depression and social anxiety disorder but in retrospect, 10 years ago, I didn't have it so bad. I wish I could've gotten therapy too but my family at the time insisted I didn't. I want to start that now and live drug-free. You have support here. It's going to be a long, hard road but I have faith in both you and I that we can kick this c**p out of our systems for good. Good luck to you.

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Thank you so much!! I hope nothing but the best for you too. It seems to be bittersweet that you really understand. As I'm sure you know it's not everyday someone's words really "hit home". Trying to think positive only gets you seems to get me so far. Then I read a post like yours and it gives me a little boost. I hope I can do the same for you. One day at a time!!

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i have taken zoloft for 1 day,25 mg, if i on't take ay more am i likey to have any side effects?

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Im pregnant and the dr told me stop the zoloft immedditly, there was no talk of tapering after all i have read why would the dr. tell me that ? now i really feel like c**p

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hi all. glad i stumbled across this site. have been on zoloft for 10 years after a nervous breakdown in 96 (generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks). started on 50 mg/day. after my father died unexpectedly i moved up to 100 mg/day in 2000. stayed on that for a while, kept trying to get back down to 50, 25, then off it. somehow never got there. every time i'd drop the dose i'd feel really dreadful (fear that my panic attacks were coming back would push me back up to 100mg). then i quit my job in the government and moved to a rural and 'relaxed' part of my country (australia, by the way). for some reason the move really depressed me, even though it was something i was desparate to do. as a result i found it difficult to get a job (i was not projecting a good image). my new doctor recommended going to 150mg for a while until things settled down. then when i did get a job after not working for a few months, i asked my doctor if i could go to 200mg to help with the transition to a new workplace. and that's where i stayed until 5 days ago. i need to get off zoloft or at least change to another med which doesn't have the weight gain side effects. over the past 10 years i've gained 40 kgs (about 88 lbs), which has put me at risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as shattered any self confidence i had. i'm finding lowering the dose difficult (like you guys). i'm so foggy sometimes i don't know where i am. i have constant vertigo and nausea. i'm praying it starts to subside within a few more days (fingers crossed!!). i guess the reason i wanted to share this (i've never done anything like this before) is that (a) it felt really good to read that other people are having similar experiences to mine; and (b) i hope that my story might encourage people to re-think jumping on the anti-depressant bandwagon without first exploring other options like therapy. best of luck guys.

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I'm reading your posts and I hope I can help. First of all, to the pregnant woman, GET A SECOND OPINION!!! I was on zoloft through two pregnancies. With the first one I was scared to be on anything so I quit cold turkey before seeing a doctor. (I'm sure I don't need to tell you how awful that feels) I was so depressed and sick. When I did see the doctor, they put me back on at the beginning of my second trimester. This was 5 years ago when zoloft was still a category C, now it is category B. So, when I got pregnant again there was no question about it. I was on 100mg through my entire pregnancy. My children who are now 1 and 4 are both perfectly healthy. My sister was even switched from her antidepressant to zoloft during pregnancy. She was told by her perinatologist that zoloft is one of the only safe ones to be on during pregnancy. Think of it this way, risk verses benefit! If you are miserable and not taking care of yourself the baby is going to suffer too. This is your decision. Also, if you use a midwife they will tell you that you should never take anything but vitamins. Most of time doctors will see that real medicine is sometimes needed. I hope that you read this and that it helps you. If you have any more questions...

Okay, I finally caved and decided to go professional! I was tired of dealing with ALL the side effects of going off zoloft. The psychiatrist made me feel great!!!!!! (No, not by talking) If you are still okay with the idea of taking meds then this is absolutely for you. I went in the office on 50mg of zoloft. She gave me a prescription for 10mg Lexapro to start right away but also take 25mg zoloft for one more week. WOW, this is the first time being off zoloft with NO side effects. I've tried switching meds before through my general physician and I couldn't do it. I suffered without zoloft. Now I'm on 20mg Lexapro and I'VE LOST 12 LBS in 2&half months, without even trying. I don't think Lexapro helped me lose weight, I think it's just not taking zoloft. Lexapro might not be right for you but there are many alternatives. See someone who specializes in this!!! They really can help you. This is coming from someone who thought about suicide just four months ago!!
Also, I was told that generic zoloft is not 100% the same as brand. (as with all generics) Maybe try going back on brand even though it's a lot more expensive. It might be worth it. I will check back on all of you soon, hope to hear good things!!!!!!!!

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Hi all,

First, to the pregnant woman, DO NOT stop taking zoloft cold turkey...that is not healthy for you or the baby. If anything, taper off slowly, maybe only to 25mg and stay on that throughout your pregnancy...it won't harm anything.

Second, I have been on 50 mg of zoloft for a year & a half and two weeks ago decided to taper down by cutting the pills...I am now taking 3/4 of the pill and so far I'm doing good with little symptoms. Today I had vertigo for the first time...but not too horrible. I expect that everyone will have some sort of withdrawal symptom when coming off of this drug.

Anyone who wishes to come off of this drug...do it very slowly. Take 3/4 of the pill for at least a few weeks, then go down to a half for several weeks (or more), then 1/4 and so on. I hope everything works out for everyone!

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I started taking Zoloft year ago for Severe depression & anxiety over my back pain. This was my second time on Zoloft and am on 150mgs. (stopped it in 1999 with NO problems under my doc's. supervision) & I just had the doc. lower my dose cause I had extreme sweating on the back of my neck hair line. I lowered per his recommendation to drop 50 mgs. down to 100mgs. The only symptom I am having if it is from the Zoloft is extreme itching so I scratch & scratch. I did do that some before I lowered the dose but it is worse now. I scratched last night behind my knee so much I drew blood. I have even used cremes but they only help a little bit. I see that one of the W/D symptoms is tingling so I am wondering if that is what is making me itch & scratch so much. I have a call into the doc. to find out what he says. I came searching on the net to find some answers in the mean time. Do you think this is a W/D symptom that I am having?

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To everyone reading these posts, a summary:

Stopping zoloft...
If you want to feel crazy like people do in the looney bin, do it cold turkey. If you want life to suck a lot for a month or two, taper off (2 weeks @ 25, 2 weeks @ 12.5 is practical, go lower if you can). Are there any other options? NO, except pray to whatever god you believe in that it won't affect you like it does a lot of other people.
To be honest, and I don't entirely recommend this, a number of people have reported that taking a single pill of prozac at the end of tapering or at first signs of withdrawal can greatly reduce withdrawal related problems.

What's so bad about withdrawal?...
Emotion - You took this stuff to control those amirite? Taper as much as you can, but it's still gonna get a little crazy for most people, that includes depression, mood swings, all that jazz.
Tingling - Not everyone gets it, but a lot do. This can range from simple tingling in the extremeties (similar to pins & needles) to all out itching. Personally, I experience this when exercising, basically it's an itch all over my body that NO amount of scratching will alleviate. Kinda drives you insane ya know.
Brain zaps - This one's the greatest, not everyone gets it though. Basically rapid movement of your eyes triggers some kind of extremely strange nervous response that can affect anywhere from just your eyes to your entire body, in EXTREME cases resulting in hallucination. Most people will just get a zap or a jolt, but it's still extremely annoying, and if you are trying to drive a car, extremely unsafe.
This is more or less the same as the 'brain shivers' first addressed by effexor users, and believe me as cool as it sounds it's not, it really makes you want to hurt things. This can and will last well outside the exit-range which has led many to believe that these drugs make permanent changes to brain chemistry, and has ended in unpleasant lawsuits.
On-label Symptoms - Abdominal pain, agitation, anxiety, constipation, decreased sex drive, diarrhea or loose stools, difficulty with ejaculation, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, gas, headache, decreased appetite, increased sweating, indigestion, insomnia, nausea, nervousness, pain, rash, sleepiness, sore throat, tremor, vision problems, vomiting... blah blah blah, note 'pain'.

But my doctor said?!?!...
Ask your doctor if he's taken any anti-depressants before. When he says no, look at him longingly and then say nothing. Doctors are great, but they simply don't have the time to care about the kind of details we care about when addressing individual drugs. Much of the information they are fed concerning a drug like zoloft comes straight from people that manufacture it, and needless to say the world Pfizer presents is a little brighter.
Your doctor should be able to tell you about contraindications and proper dosaging, but don't expect much else as the real-world experience of users hasn't made it's way into the doctor's office as of 2006... hope for a better future I guess?

Good luck all, and remember... drugs are bad Mmmkay.

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