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2198057 tn?1338531205

Anyone used Zoloft for Anxiety/Panic Disorder?

I have pretty bad anxiety and about a week ago was prescribed 25mg of Zoloft, what are the usual side effects? Is it worth it? I've heard an equal amount of horror stories as I have positive stories. I took Celexa for 3 days but it caused me to have a severe panic attack that lasted 3 days and I'm not willing to have that happen again. About a year before taking Celexa, I took it with Wellbutrin for about 4 months for depression and never had a side effect like that. I also know Zoloft and Celexa are both SSRI's so I'm nervous to take it. At this point my Anxiety is under control more, but I'm still having at least one mild panic attack a day. I just wanted to know about other people's experience with the drug. I'm honestly very scared to take it, but I can't handle my anxiety anymore. I also don't do drugs or drink due to the fact that the feeling of being out of control gives me extreme anxiety. So I hate putting anything in my body that will make me feel different. Help please! Also I was prescribed vistoril for when I do have panic attacks and haven't taken it when I've had a panic attack just because I hate the feeling of being out of control if anyone has any experience with that please also tell me about it. I also have hypothyroidism.
29 Responses
480448 tn?1426948538
Hello and welcome!!

I can tell you that I also had a very positive experience with Zoloft.  If was the first medication I was ever prescribed for panic disorder.  I was on it for several years, I believe my starting dose was about 50mg and I ended up takling 200mg daily towards the end.  I decided after many years I didn't "need" it anymore and was weaned off of it.  Unrelated topic, but that was a big mistake.  My panic returned with a vengeance within 6 months.

Zoloft is actually the most prescribed SSRI for anxiety disorders, specifically panic disorder, and it has a great success rate.  You are always going to hear horror stories with any med.  As with any med, people will have varying experiences.  Your best bet is to go into this with an open mind and not any preconceived notions based on other people's stories.  Allow yourself to have your OWN unique experience.

As for side effects, there are some more common ones, but most side effects will start to improve within a week or two (if you even have any).  More common side effects are an increase in anxiety (feeling "jittery"), sleep disturbances (less or more), GI upset, headaches.  Obviously, you are going to be more scared about side effects based on your experience with Celexa.  Let me tell you that, even if you DO have some fairly bothersome side effects, they can be managed while you're waiting for them to subside.  A very common practice is for a doc to prescribe a short term course of an anti-anxiety med, like Xanax, or Ativan, while you adjust to the med.  That is always a possibility to consider, rather than throwing in the towel if you notice some side effects.  Taking Vistaril for anxiety is no different than taking a Benadryl.  Sincerely, your doctor could be better managing your panic (again, with something like Xanax short term).  I took Ativan along with the Zoloft for the first month, and I did great.  Your doc is starting you out at one of the lowest doses available, so that will help minimze any side effects you have as well.

Also, please understand that there IS an adjustment phase with these meds.  Even if you DO have side effects, they won't last forever.  You may have to endure some lousy days to be able to reap the benefits of this kind of medication.  These meds also take time to work.  It takes at least 4-6 weeks to be able to fairly assess the effectiveness of Zoloft or other SSRI.  Now, many people will start noticing subtle improvements before that, but again, 4-6 weeks is a more typical time frame.  Also, if you are started at a lower dose (which you are), you may even require a dosage increase before the medication becomes therapeutic for you, as you would again require the 4-6 wk adjustment period following the dosage increase.  So, patience is needed while adjusting, it may end up being a several month-long process.  Just try to be patient and go into it with an open mind.

These meds have been life savers for so many of us, and it just breaks my heart when I see someone give in so quickly due to side effects, or fear of taking a medication.  It certainly isn't always an easy process, but in so many cases, it is a worthwhile one.  It literally gave me my life back.  Always communicate with your doctor things that are going on.  If you are having side effects, ask what he can do for you to help make them more tolerable for you.  I would already start by asking for something more effective "as needed" for panic attacks, There are SO many medications that would be much more helpful for you than Vistaril.

Very best of luck to you, please keep us updated on how you're doing!  Try to keep yourself as busy as possible, the more distracted you are, the less you will be overanalyzing the Zoloft and how it may or may not be affecting you.
Valuable information-thx
Avatar universal
Hi there!  I am on Zoloft as well.  50mg though.  I have been on everything under the sun when it comes to psych meds and by far this is the best medicine I've been on.  My depression is bareable and my anxiety was under control but due to some recent stressors i may have the dr increase to 75mg for a short while until this passes.  I do not feel "high" on this drug, nor has it effected my weight and i am a very inactive person.  I do not feel hungrier or sleepy on this medication either.  It took about a week or two to not feel drowsy but it goes completely away when your used to it.  I hope this helps you out.  Oh i've been on this for about 1.5 yrs now
i also have severe anxiety and was recently taken off Xanax and put on Zoloft 50 mgs. anxiety was so bad was getting chest pains. Doc put me on clonazepam 0.5 mg 15 tablets. until Zoloft kicks in. im struggling with the panic. he said to take clon.. ONLY when I need it 1 tab a day? REALLY? any advise out there will be helpful
Avatar universal
Hi there I am another panic possessed lady, age 55 who has also suffered with PTSD, social phobia, and then on top of that, fainting attacks for many years.  I have quite low blood pressure, so one would assume that I would not pass out when in a panic attack because it increases heart rate, etc.  However, now I am told there is perhaps a vagus nerve issue and that this may be the cause of the faint.  Anyway, the issue is that I have been started on Zoloft since August 4, and increasing and now on 50 mg. to increase it to 100 beginning today.  The side effects have included diahrrea, stomach ache and a keyed-up feeling, especially in the morning when faced with the day.  The doctor gave me a prescription for 0.5mg. clonazepam (10 pills) and told me not to take one unless I really, really needed it.  Well, I can tell you that this stoic forebearance is driving me nuts and after my 30 minute workout, my 4 glasses of water, prayer and reading daily reflections books, I am worried beyond belief.  Because the last fainting spell happened a month ago, I ended up in emerg again, I am really nervous about getting back on the bus to go to appointments and I spend most of the day worrying about the next public attack.  
So when I increase the dosage again today, I am worried that I will be a mess.  I am also having to begin carting around a holter monitor for 2 weeks starting next week and need to take a bus to that appointment.  I am ridden with guilt, worry and am experiencing early-morning awakening.  Anyway, just wanted to know your opinion on taking Clonazepam to ease the jitters of this Zoloft.  I am currently trying to look for a job, look after 3 kids, am a single mom, kids ages 11, 18, 21 and so grateful for this site as I feel quite alone in all this.  Thanks
Avatar universal
I've never taken Clonazepam, but have taken Xanax, and while it doesn't entirely alleviate the jittery feeling or anxiety, it does help.  

I started Zoloft in early June and am weaning off of it right now, because the tremors and shakiness are not subsiding.  The nauseau and diarrhea, though, pretty much subsided two to three weeks after my last increase in dosage (100 mg).  I'm guessing that this will be the case for you as well.
Avatar universal
Yup, I have increased the zoloft to 100mg and having bad jitters and worrying a lot.  I have to go back to the doctors today and cannot even bear to get on the bus, so I am walking about 3 miles to get there.  My perscription for clonazepam has run out (10 pills) and so I am a wreck.  Because I fainted on the bus about a month ago and ended up at emerg by ambulance, I am scared to get back on there without clonazepam.  I feel like I am being treated like a little kid by the doctor who doesn't seem to take these feelings of panic seriously.  Meanwhile, I have all these appointments coming next week, EEG, EKG and have to haul around a heart monitor for a month.  Wish me luck.  As for self-calming techniques, my mind jumps back into worry mode and I have no control over it.  Thanks for responding though;keep in touch.
480448 tn?1426948538
You're experiencing one of the top 7 signs of self-sabotage..."being stuck in fear".  With panic...it's hard not to do.  When you start catastrophizing (thinking the worst, like what would happen on the bus)...try to put your focus on the present, and tell yourself, ""I can not control or predict the future or other people's behaviors.  All I can control is my own right here, right now".

I know that's easier said than done, but when you always think the worst, and then start avoiding places or things...it's reinforcing the anxiety in our brains.  Sure, what happened to you on the bus was terrifying, but it had nothing to do with the bus itself.  Something like that could happen, regardless of where you are.  Also, keep in mind, that while it was scary, you're okay.  Nothing bad happened to you as a result, and you're handling it with professionals..

Make sure the doc you are seeing for this is a psychiatrist versus a PCP.  They are much better equipped to deal with these kinds of things, and the meds associated with them.  The jitters you're having will subside...that's common when you increase your dose.  Just like there is an adjustment period when you START a med like Zoloft, there is also one when you increase your dose.  It shouldn't last but a couple weeks, if that.  Try to hang in there!
Avatar universal
I feel for you. Hope you're doing better!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comment - I am just starting zoloft. Been on 7 days at half dose of 25mg and just went up to 50 mg today. I take it in the morning and make myself get out of bed and go out side and work in the yarc ot garden - something physical - doing Reiki, Yoga and self hypnosis. I also tried Prozac and Celexa. Severe anxiety panic and depression - my family doc wants me to see a shrink because the other two didn't work. ( of course he gave me the sugestion that if the others didn't work neither would the zoloft but I seem to be tolerating it well - at least doing better than I was. I too have been terrified of drugs due to the horrible reaction I have had on celexa and prozac as well as ativan. so i try to work through the anxiety until the zoloft can fully kick in-
These forums have helped me so much not to be scared or the zoloft!
4981427 tn?1371670469
I have been on zoloft for over 15 years an it has worked wonders for me!!! I started on 50mg per say and took that for a long time!!! I increased to 100mg once the.n eventually weaned down.. I'm currently in a relapse partly because I was not taking y medication properly , trust me don't ever make that mistake!!!!!  I also do not drink nor smoke or take drugs however when anxiety is effecting my everyday life I will do whatever it takes and I accept that I have a condition that requires medication!  I now am waiting for my 200mg per day to work! I never had any side effects from zoloft on my 50mg or 100mg doses. Only when I got to 150mg I was a little more anxious and my stomach was a bit upset but that subsided fairly quickly!  I encourage you to give it a shot! Like nursegirl said it really can change your life for the better!!!!!  I. Know how you feel though because I am a big wimp when it comes to taking meds :). Best of luck to you!!!
Avatar universal
New to the forum. Have been on Zoloft for 5 days. 50mg mornings, it is not easy. Taking Lorazepram 1/2 dose pm to sleep due to PTSD/night anxiety. Was not taking Xanax until I started Zoloft. Anxiety did increase have been having to take 1/2 xanax by afternoon to calm the jetttery, jump out of your skin, hot flashes anxiety. Trying to stay with the Zoloft but do not like taking the benzos, but if the Zoloft helps in the long term will be worth it. Tried Wellbutrin way too much anxiety with little hope of getting better. Lexapro made me sick, lost too much weight. Gald to hear that it takes time to adjust as I feel like I am on a roller coaster. But will do just about anything to reduce the depression/anxiety. Have had depression for over 15 years but the anxiety is new due to a tramatic event. thanks everyone for the encouraging posts.
Avatar universal
wow I can really appreciate this site.. I have been prescribed by a psycharitrist zoloft  I am on Neurotin for panicm attacks and it seem to be working though they have to increase the dosage, he also has me on Inderal, and xanax  and I am still walking  the panic have stopped with pray  praise god  I hope they stop.  Neurotin is very good 4 the attacks  my dosage is 600 mg  and the attack are not that severe, he need to increase the doage  I was on this medicine for attacks 5 yrs ago 1200 mg  for a woman of 55  and they stopped, now I told him to increase the medicine  and he puts me on zoloft why do the SSRI  if the Neurotin is working fine  go figure..
Avatar universal
i've had great experiences myself with zoloft. i take it for panic disorder. if i stop taking it, a few days later i sometimes get several panic attacks in the same day. i currently take 50mg but years ago i was on 200mg. benzodiazepines like xanax, valium, etc are not good to take everyday. they're work but are dangerously addicting. i was on alprazolam(xanax) years ago but it is only meant to take once in a while. it has high addiction potential and withdraws can cause seizures. i decided to stick with something i could take everyday safely. i highly recommend not just going to a regular physician. you need to go to a psychiatrist who specializes with anxiety and panic disorder. they will help find the right medicine for you. my doctor started me on zoloft and he started me on an extreme low dosage. this way you slowly build yourself up and side effects are minimal. after taking for a while the side effects became nearly non existant. i generally feel in a better mood all day and my anxiety is much more controllable. i find however that caffeine does greatly increase it so i always limit my caffeine intake when i get up. some people have sleep problems with zoloft because it is sort of stimulating but i use medical marijuana every night i sleep fine. i cant say for sure if this is the zoloft or not though because i always had sleep disturbances, even before being on meds. another down side is anytime i tried going off it i would get what they call discontinuation syndrome. it's like a withdraw however you dont get a craving for it, just feel the physical withdraw. for me everytime i turned my head i felt a bit dizzy and like like an electrical feeling in my head. hard to describe. it's more of a minor annoyance and goes away after a while. also the times i went off it i should of tapered off much slower. my doctor told me 200mgs is pretty much the highest dose but even at that it's safe. the suicide thing is more to do with depression. depression and anxiety are linked but no the same thing. i've never been suicidal before or after meds. my doctor told me it's people are so depressed and at such a low point, they have no motivation to kill themselves. they get on an SSRI and they get that little motivation they need to go thru with it. thats why those people need to be monitored at all times and it is a risk to begin with. the way i see it is a lot of these people were suicidal to begin with. i think people with anxiety have more of a fear of dying usually. im not a dr but imo, dont let the suicide risks scare you unless you have been suicidal at some point in your life or if you're extremely depressed in which case you may need some kind of anti-psychotic like lithium. hope this helps. there is no stupid question to ask a doctor, ask them everything you can. research any drug you take also to know about it. sometimes patients learn more than the doctors from reading.
5739150 tn?1373378552
I really enjoyed your response and i have to say i got a lot out of what you said. I was given Zoloft today and i feel better about taking it now. Thank you so much. :)

Avatar universal
I'm glad to have found this site and have enjoyed reading your posts. I've been suffering with anxiety and OCD type thinking/ruminations for about 3 years now with a few boughts of anxiety and panic earlier in my life (mid-twenties and mid-teens, I'm 32 now). I have been having therapy for 2 years and it's helped me in lots of ways and even stopped the anxiety for periods of time. I went down the natural root first and saw a homeopath but the remedies I took gave me extremely bad reactions, I felt like i'd been given a 'depression remedy'. I've never felt so low in all my life, i was like a shell, crying everyday which is not like me, completely desolate. At this point my family got so worried about me I went to see my doctor who put me on 50mgs of Sertraline. it was a huge relief to finally go to the docs after avoiding it for a long time, to be vaildated and taken care of. the first two weeks were pretty rough; headaches, agitation, restlessness, jittery but there was also relief that i was finally going to get better. it lifted the depression quickly, after 1 month id gone from moderate to mild anxiety but 2 months on and its not helping with the anxiety. he increased my dose to 100mg after a few weeks and then to 150mg two weeks ago and at first i thought it had taken the edge off and now im not so sure. i thought i would have noticed a big improvement by now but im still feeling anxious and on edge every day, sometimes all day, and then i get worried that its not working, that i'll never get better and obviously that makes it worse. Maybe it takes a while to feel the benefits of the increased dose? has anyone else found this to be true? I'm not spiraling into complete dispair for which I think I have the sertraline to thank and my mind that was once so full of intrusive thoughts and ruminations is clear again, normal reactions & emotions are returning, my sex drive is back (!) so it's definitely working on a lot if levels. Has anyone got any thoughts on the anxiety thing?
Avatar universal
Sorry should have said, I've been taking sertraline for 11 weeks!
480448 tn?1426948538
It would be great if you could copy/paste your post into a new thread.  Often when a person posts on an older thread, they don't get as many replies.

To answer your question:

Maybe it takes a while to feel the benefits of the increased dose? has anyone else found this to be true?

Yes, just like it takes time to notice the improvements when you first start taking Zoloft, there is an adjustment period with dosage increases also.  Typically, it doesn't take quite as long as it does initially, but you definitely have to give it time.  Most times a person will be able to see improvements by 3-4 weeks.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply, it has reassured me :)

I have started a new thread as you suggested.

Avatar universal
I'm new to this site. I must say I'm thankful I found it as it is very easy to feel completely alone with this disorder. I've been prescribed 50mg of Zoloft for my anxiety. Any suggestions on when to take it? Morning or night? I've been using Paxil for past 10 years on and off. I've determined that to be a mistake. Cycling off and on is not the best way to manage it. Paxil has always given me terrible stomach issues for several weeks and hope that Zoloft will not be as bad. I do plan to stay on the medication for good.
Avatar universal
I am 24 and I take zoloft and adivan due to my panic attacks, stress ect.. I also faint and its.terrifying.  scared to.go out in public I stay locked up in my house all day everyday. I was.taking 50 mg zoloft then was raised.to 100 mg in a week. The 100 gave me huge migraines and I slept all day long, didnt eat or drink much of anything. Now I'm back to 50 mg and i.don't feel much diffrence.in how I have been feeling. I walked.outside today and my chest tightened up I was short of breath.
Avatar universal
Im a 25 year old Female. I suffer really bad from Panic Attacks. It all started last April when I was buying a house. I ended up in the ER and they ran all these tests, but everything was normal. I then went to my regular family doctor becase I still didnt feel normal. Went there for my normal exam and they put me on 25 mg of Zoloft. I thought the meds worked at first and recently Ive been have really bad attacks. A lot of times they happen at night time or early in the morning. Today I finally called the dr and they want me to take 50 mg for the next two weeks and then the 3 and 4th weeks to take 100  mg. Im really glad that there are other people out there that suffer like me. I always feel this worrying that Im the only one that has this condition. A lot of times I have this fear of dieing especially when I take medicine. I know the dr. says these are normal dosages, but I get to nervous. I feel so miserble its sad. I cant sleep, eat, concentrate on anything more then a little time frame, I can only handle being around people for a short time before I get worked up, and I cry. Its so sad. All I hope is that there is a brighter side to this, and it can get resolved. Oh and I forgot to mention Im going to mexico in a few weeks and Im really hoping I dont have any attacks while on vacation. That is also one of my fears:( Can someone help me out? Or give me some advice to anything.
Avatar universal
Karaanderson--- I would suggest creating a new post and posting your question there.  This is an old forum and many people might just overlook it.  More people will help you out if you start a new forum with your question.
Avatar universal
What do you mean? I have never used this site, but Im looking for answers.
480448 tn?1426948538
Hi and welcome!  Glad you found us!

To start a new thread in this community/forum (anxiety), click on the link below:


You can just copy/paste your post here into the body of the new post.  This is just an older thread, so it will get passed up by a lot of responders.
Avatar universal
From an old gal who has been on/off zoloft for over 20 years. My family uffers from anxiety disorders, as well as putting the funk in dysfunction.  The bottom line for me is that I am a 50 year old woman who has been blessed with two lovely children, and has managed to raise them in a loving nurturing home, that I did not have. My anxiety issues are chemical.  Many a time I felt "strong enough" to go off the medication, with my MD's help. I have employed therapy and cognitive tools in addition to the medicine, with great result. But here I am, going back to the Zoloft after four months because, you know what? I personally need it to keep my chemisrty at apoint where I can use those tools, and not panic around them to the point of forgetting them. I know what to do in a panic attack, but when I am off them medicine, I simply can't gather my thoughts. I am on a very low dose, 50mg.s and if this is what I have to do so be it. My youngest child also suffers from anxiety, and has been off her meds for 3 months.  We have discussed hr going back on it, and it is her decision, as she is a young adult. But my personal feeling is, that if something helps you stabilize to use the tools you learned in therapy, why suffer?  My daughter had the benefit of therapy and I feel has lost her way, as she is running in high gear without the meds.  I have been her stabilizing force, and only just told her that I had stopped the meds, but was going back.

I want to be at my best for her.  Whatever works for you, medically, be brave and accepting, patient and kind to yourself. . But please, also consider the great cognitive tools that therapy can afford. They do work in tandem! When you understand what is happening during a panic attack, physically, you take back come of the control you feel you have lost. I have PTSD and anxiety disorder, yet had the great good fortune to have wonderful therapists, so when my child experienced same, I knew what to do. I had hoped that my body chemistry changing in menopause would allow me to stop taking zoloft, but that is not to be. I have gotten over the guilt, and found an attitude of gratitude that I know this medicine will help me. Just started taking it today, and will be patient and confident as best I can, waiting for a positive result, as I know it can take weeks.I also tried a holistic medicine; it just put me to sleep! Best of luck to everyone on this forum.
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