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Stopping Zoloft
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Stopping Zoloft

Hi
My situation is rather complicated and unique...I am 22 years old and I started taking Zoloft about three years ago.  The thing is, a doctor never prescribed it to me.  I was very upset, nervous, angry and sad all the time.  While at home, there was a lot of conflict and I believe that was the source of the anger I was trying to eliminate.  My father had a prescription for Zoloft that he did not take and I began to medicate myself.  

Now I am married and do not live at home anymore.  I am very happy and feel that the Zoloft I am taking is no longer necessary.  I am experiencing nightsweats and am not feeling well.  I don't want it to be a part of my life anymore.  I am currently taking 50mg a day and have tried to just stop taking it.  That was a mistake.  When I did that, I thought I was going to go nuts so I went back to taking it.  Now, I am trying to do it slowly.  I went down to 3/4 a pill for a week.  Now I am going to half a pill for another week and so on.  Is this the right thing to do?  Is that an acceptable progression or should I take it even slower?

I don't have a doctor to ask for help in this situation since my doctor did not prescribe it to me and I am embarassed to admit that I took it upon myself to medicate.  I want to endure the least amount of withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms possible.  What can I expect to undergo when I am no longer on it and how long should I expect it to last?

Thank you for your help.
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242532_tn?1269553979
You are doing the right thing. The principle is slow...taking 3-4 weeks and at the end be on a schedule of smallest amount every other day for a week, then stop.  Expect a few days of discomfirt, minor, which may last as long as a week,but then you should be through.  If not, see your doctor.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi!  I just wanted to add that I was on Zoloft for 1.5 years for anxiety.  When I tried to get off it, it seemed impossible!  Every time I tried I got dizzy, blurred vision, etc.  It took me close to 4 months to finally get off it!  I did go to see a doctor about my problems getting off it and was told I should have no problem getting off it.  But let me tell you, I did!  I know exactly what your going through and trust me, little by little is the only was that works.  It does work!  Just give it time.  GOOD LUCK!
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Avatar_n_tn
hey--I have been on Zoloft on &off for a couple years--I have tried several times to get off it. I do feel it saved me at the time I started, but now I REALLY want to be off it--plus! I cannot afford it!! But I am having sooo much trouble--I too am dizzy, nauseaus, headachey,and all shaky sometimes-plus I am really having trouble with breathing --and heart palpitations...do other people have any of these CREEPY things happen?? It is so sad to me that so many people in our nation would be so depressed,etc and on all these crazy drugs!! aaacckkk
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Avatar_n_tn
Well I have been on Zoloft for about 10yrs due to suffering from PTSD from being physically abused and bullied in the Airforce over a long period.  Zoloft was no longer working and so I saw a local Doctor and I went onto Prozac.  I immediately stopped the Zoloft and went onto Prozac, I know this was not good as this should not be done, but when you are desperate, you do as told by a Dr.  It has been about a month now and I am still not 100%.  I get words mixed up, can't focus or concentrate and wonder if any permanent brain damage has occurred from such a prolonged use.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to how long before the Zoloft is out of my system?  As I cant really go back and take it and cut down as i went 'cold turkey', and am only just surviving literally, very suicidal of course.  I suppose I am here just to voice where I am at and now realise I have complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is relatively new, at least I now know why I have been suffering as I have.I know my illness well and am willing to share any of this with anyone and what I endured in the military, as I am starting a book about it as someone has to know how women suffer in a male dominated situation, it is quite startling as to some of the incidents I have endured.  If you are interested, let me know.

Regards
Anastacia from Australia
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Anastacia. As you cannot redo the slow coming off Zoloft, I suggest some natural ways would be a great help to your body. It needs time to heal and rebuid your nervous system again. This requires firstly a day of fasting and cleansing your body if you could manage that sometime. Just drink filtered water and/or vegetable juices with maybe some spirulina powder added throughout the day, unsweetened apple juice is also good but keep off the commercial juices as they have loads of sugar. Also make sure your bowels are working well and if not, there are some good herbal capsules on the market for that.
After this, get into a good healthy eating plan of organic raw fruits, raw/cooked vegetables, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, tahini(sesame seed paste),some red meat, chicken, fish, seafoods and go easy on the bread. A lot of us are not too good on grains and flour products, also dairy products can be a no no to many of us although I must admit I love my acidophilus yoghurt. You can use feta cheese in place of the more fatty yellow cheeses. All of these things take a while to aquire a taste for (if you haven't already) but in time you will win through if you are as determined enough as I was to help my health. The biggest is to keep off sugar as it causes mood swings. Also get the "good" oils into you like cod liver,olive and avocado. I wish you all the best.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was on Zoloft for 5 years for PTSD. I started with 25mg's which made me sicker than a dog. Eventually, I was up to 37 mg's which was all I could stand. I then slowly reduced the dosage for two years - 37 to 30 to 25 to 22 to 20, etc down to 4mg [I used a pill cutter]. Each step down I was plagued by withdrawal, such as extreme anxiety, tingling in the arms and hands, insomnia, etc. I was told by the Dr. that I am extremely sensitive to the Zoloft.

In the end of July I finally stopped the Zoloft and about 10 days later my gastrointestinal system slowed down to the point that I feel my food is taking extra time to digest, and includes spasms. Now, this is 5 weeks from going down from 4 mg's to 0 and I still have the stomach issue. I have been told by three Dr's that this can happen with Zoloft. Basically, the medical community prescribes Zoloft for those with these stomach problems so it stands to reason that someone can start getting these problems when they stop taking the med.

HAs this happened to anyone else and what has been the result. My Dr. says to give it 6-8 weeks to settle down.

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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Guys! Well..heres my story....
When I was 15 I went through a period of anxiety and depression.
And instead of giving me someone to talk to, doctors prescribed me Zoloft.now fast forward 5 yrs and today I'm 20 yrs old.... attempting to get off this drug.I figure its been five yrs,and I should be able to deal with my problems without medicating them....
Let me tell you its been a helluva ride....
headaches, irittability, always feeling like im on verge of tears, insomnia,no appetite, feeling doomed,low self esteem,
Im still going through this now and am not sure when it will get better...
this is how im tapering off 25mgs
ill wait 2 days then take one,3 days then take one,then 4 days...
and so on......Im not sure this is a good way to do it but i do know that i dont want to take those **** pills any longer.
and everytime i tell my doctors i want off of them they tell me i shouldnt be getting any withdrawel symptoms....So im doing it on my own........
does any of you have any suggestions in how to deal with the withdrawels, I even feel sometimes i cant think straight,i get the sweats and the shakes................will it ever end???
please help.
hairsarestylin
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Avatar_n_tn
I went even slower

I went down from 25 mg to 2 mg by cutting the tablet with a razor until I was down to 2 or 3 mg, then stopped. Each time I went down I waited about 2 or 3 weeks before going to down again. I did it over the period of a year and still had withdrawal problems for about seven weeks. I couldn't eat - felt like my stomach wasn't working, bad stomach cramps, nausea, anxiety [real bad at times], dizziness, light headed, etc.

Funny thing, the doctor said it shouldn't be withdrawal --- I went to another doctor and he said it sure is ------

Good Luck and go slow
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Avatar_n_tn
Someone should really petition Pfizer to correct their advertising for Zoloft.  It's completely misleading.  The phrase "non-habit forming" implies you can go off it any time.  You can't.

It takes time for the medicine to reach the level in your bloodstream--brain?--where it is most effective.  Your body gets used to that level over time.  When you come off the medication, you must gradually reduce the level of medicine in your body.  I started at 100 mg.--each time I've dropped--down to 25 now--it takes about 2 weeks for my body to completely adjust.

Quitting cold turkey or skipping more than a dose or 2 is completely out of the question.  

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Avatar_n_tn
In the process of weaning from Zoloft I've found even short intense aerobic exercise to be helpful.
I'll warm up by walking a minute, jog in place for a minute, then do jumping jacks for a minute, then I'll repeat the set 1 to 4 times. Sometimes I'll turn up the music and dance my heart out. I notice a tremendous difference in my teariness, whether things seem futile or I feel able and willing to handle them, and my feeling of internal nervousness.

My lips have been tingling, is related to the Zoloft weaning?
I hadn't connected the two until I read aabout someones arms tingling in the above comments.
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Avatar_n_tn
This topic is exactly what I was looking for.

My husband has been on Zoloft (from a 5 minute conversation with our family doctor, his first visit with her ever) for about 2 months now.  He was having panic/anxiety attacks and stressed out due to some **** his parents are doing to make our lives miserable (they promised they would and they didn't lie).  Anyway, now that the immediate emotional trauma is gone (court is favoring with us), he's ready to drop this medicine and try to get back to being himself.  The side effects from being on it are no fun.  He's suffering pretty much every side effect they describe.  
He tried getting back in to see the doctor but they keep putting him off.  His job takes him out of town traveling quite often and the days when he can make an appointment are scarce.  They kept setting him up for an appt and then calling to change it, it got to be seriously frustrating.  So finally I told the receptionist what he needed and she went on to tell the doctor.  The doctor has the receptionist call me back and tell me my husband needs to be on this junk for at least 6 months before he can try to come off it!?!?!  
I read all I could find and we decided he would begin to wean himself off.  For almost a week now he has taken half the dose.  So far, he's experiencing hot/cold flashes, sleeplessness, nausea, stomach cramping and probably more he hasn't told me about yet.  

I've been curious how long he'll have to suffer the side effects before he can be 'clean' of this addictive junk.  

It really stinks because when I originally forced him to go to the doctor, I felt she would send him to counseling or something, not talk to him for 5 minutes and put him on medications.  


I want my husband back!  He wants himself back!  


heh.. thanks for listening.  Sorry I have nothing good to add.
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Avatar_n_tn
I quit my 100 mg of zoloft about 6 wks ago. (Wish I'd tapered down.  I had heard this recommendation before, but didn't think about it when I finally had the nerve to try to get off.)  Interestingly, I got off because I started a less carbs/more whole foods diet and the book recommended getting off certain medications.

The diet helps when I stick to it.  So would exercise and as someone recommended on this website, a day of fasting (possibly two) would really make a difference.

Additionally, I'm interested in tips on exercises that would help me deal with people who visit often who cannot be avoided who really get your hackles up.  Without the Zoloft I find myself being honest, though not rude, then I feel guilty.

Making this worse, probably, is the fact that I think you should err on the side of being helpful, loving, friendly, etc. -- even and maybe especially -- to those who are not.

I see the bind I'm putting myself in, but just thought I'd try this...maybe someone has some insight.

Thanks

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Avatar_n_tn
I'm interested in what you said about the medical community prescribing zoloft for stomach problems.  My 13-yr has had severe nausea for months now and is taking 25mg zoloft - he ahs been on it for 3.5 weeks now and is still very nauseous.  The Dr.'s (GI's and Psych.'s) all think it's the best thing for him but I think it has too many side effects.  And nausea may be one of them.  So the very problem they prescribe it for is intensified.  He's very sensitive to all meds.  If we add anything to help him calm down at night he has odd sensory problems and anxiety.  Any suggestions?  And the fat that he's only 13 doesn't help - they don''t like to use many of the available drugs on kids.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm interested in what you said about the medical community prescribing zoloft for stomach problems. My 13-yr has had severe nausea for months now and is taking 25mg zoloft - he ahs been on it for 3.5 weeks now and is still very nauseous. The Dr.'s (GI's and Psych.'s) all think it's the best thing for him but I think it has too many side effects. And nausea may be one of them. So the very problem they prescribe it for is intensified. He's very sensitive to all meds. If we add anything to help him calm down at night he has odd sensory problems and anxiety. Any suggestions? And the fat that he's only 13 doesn't help - they don''t like to use many of the available drugs on kids.

I had such a hard time with the stomach problems related to withdrawal that i ended up in the hospital with dehydration. I was so nauseous that I lost about 28 pounds in two months. I told the Dr's that I had stopped zoloft after being on it for 5 years. I had cut my dosage down very slowly but it didn't work. Anyhow, my stomach was bad!!!! I couldn't eat and experienced gastric slowdowns, and tingling all throughout my abdomin (abdomen).

The Dr's then re-started me on Zoloft [about 2mg the 1st day, then slowly up to about 8 mg's now]. After the 1st dose my symptoms slowly started getting better. After 2 1/2 weeks I am 99% backl to normal. Evidently, my body was suffering serotonin depletion of the gut and was giving me the symptoms.

Anyhow, it does seem that zoloft will relieve stomach problems if related to serotonin. The problem is that if you start at the normal starting dosage of 25mg you can experience bad nausea. That's why i re-started at such a low dose. Also, for stomach issues the Dr's are using lower dosages that for depression.

Ask your Dr if 25mg is too much for your son. When I started zoloft 5 years ago, I was 33 years old and weighed 210 pounds and it made me very nauseous - I can't imagine a kid on that dosage - however, if the doctor keeps him on the 25mg's, the nauseousness will go away in time!!!! It took me about 3 or 4 weeks for it to go away the first time.

Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
check out out this report
http://hometown.aol.com/drarielh/page1.html

Maybe it'll help some.
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