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Hello all,

I began .25 mg of Zoloft last Saturday (eight days ago) and am wondering if anybody else can tell me their experience with the drug.  I'm both an anxious and an unhealthy person, so it's difficult for me to tell what's anxiety, what's sickness, and what's the drug.  A week prior to beginning the drug, I think I had a touch of the flu, which in turn triggered more anxiety.  I barely got out of bed for a week.  I have been dizzy since about day two or three on Zoloft, but I'm not sure if it's the drug, or the fact that I'm so sedentary lately.  I know one of the side effects of the drug is that it can cause dizziness, but that is also true of Lexapro, Trazodone, and Atenolol (all of which I currently take, minus the Lexapro) and I've never felt this way on any of those.  So, I guess my question for you is has anybody else experienced dizziness when taking Zoloft?  If so, how long did this side effect last?  It's starting to drive me crazy.  
7 Responses
Avatar universal
I have been prescribed Zoloft off and on over the years, and for me it has worked really well, but of course we all react differently to these types of medications.  I initially had some side effects like dizziness and an upset stomach for a couple of weeks when I first started taking it, however, as you said it is sometimes difficult to distinguish side effects from other things.   For me, I would attribute any out of the ordinary feelings with the fact that I was taking Zoloft regardless of if it was caused by it or not.  Afterall, we are already anxious, so it can be hard to distinguish, but in the long run it really helped me.  SSRIs like Zoloft have been prescribed safely to literally millions of people, so take comfort in that.  As far as side effects, go I gave it about 3 weeks and I really started to feel the benefit of it in my opinion, but I believe you should remain in close contact with your prescribing doctor and counselor to discuss your concerns and experiences with it....keep us posted!
480448 tn?1426952138
Yes, dizziness is one of the possible side effects, but as you already mentioned, it is nearly impossible to determine what the culprit is...could be something else causing that (your illness, etc).

The good news is, any side effects of Zoloft will typically start to resolve after about 2 weeks (give or take, varies per person).  The key to really being able to fairly determine the success of these kinds of meds is sticking it out.  They can take up to 4-6 weeks before they REALLY start making noticeable improvements in your anxiety. You will likely start to notice some subtle improvements before then.   Also, sometimes, dosage increases are needed too, to get you to the most optimal level of relief.  That is why it's important to just try to accept that this can be a little bit of a lengthy process, the more patience you can have, the better you will do.  Try to remain as busy as you can, that will keep your mind off the thoughts surrounding the medication.  Resist the urge to go crazy searching for info about Zoloft...there is some scary stuff on the web, a lot of it inaccurate, and the horror stories, while unfortunate, are FAR from the "norm".

Zoloft was a life saver for me as well, and is the most commonly prescribed SSRI for anxiety disorders (and panic disorder).  That's because it has a great success rate, and is pretty easy to tolerate for most people.

If you aren't already...get yourself into some therapy (CBT is a good choice).  It will help you to learn valuable coping techniques to help you get through periods of high levels of anxiety. Meds are great, they work to decrease the symptoms, but the therapy will arm you with knowledge that will be ultra important in keeping your anxiety to a manageable level.  

Lastly, remember to never stop taking the Zoloft abruptly. If a time comes where you are looking to stop the Zoloft, have a discussion with your doc, weigh the pros and cons, and if you decide to d/c it, your doctor will taper you off to minimize any symptoms you may have.  Zoloft can be taken long term, something else to keep in mind.

Very best of luck to you...I hope it helps you like it has so many others.  Keep us in the loop!
Avatar universal
Thanks for both of your posts.  I saw a therapist for two months and she kicked me out of therapy.  She believed there is something medically wrong with me, perhaps just that I needed a different SSRI.  I had bloodwork done to rule out ailments related to thyroid, diabetes, etc., and the tests all came back normal.  The only thing that makes me wonder if I couldn't have something medically wrong with me is that I've had a low-grade fever on and off for about two years.  It's been persistent now for the past three weeks.  When I asked my doctor about it, she didn't examine me; she just said that a fever can be a symptom of not sleeping (I haven't slept in eight years).  I've never been a healthy person, so I never know what is actually something and what is just anxiety.  

My anxiety is so bad right now that I barely get out of bed or off the couch.  I know I can't keep up this way because things will never get better that way, but I feel like I'm on a cruise ship right now and don't feel like doing much but sitting or lying down.  

I'll give the drug a few more weeks as far as the side effects are concerned, as you both said it took a while for you.  That makes me feel better.

Thanks again!
Avatar universal
Nursegirl6572,

Thanks for all that you do for this forum.  You provide more thought out responses and information than I have gotten from my medical provider.  

I actually contacted my doctor yesterday to ask her about the dizziness and she ignored the question.  She just said I should increase my dosage to 50 mg, as I've noticed no improvements with 25 mg, and now she said I should see a psychiatrist.  (My therapist recommended this a month ago, but my doctor shot that idea down.)  Anyway, I know it takes time for these drugs to kick in and that I can't really give up on them for a good six weeks.  However, the dizziness is making me crazy.  I am not sure that the dizziness is even from the Zoloft.  It started about three or four days after I began Zoloft, but I'm wondering this, and since you're a nurse, am hoping you can help.  Being that I was on 20 mg of Lexapro for eight years and stopped that to go on 25 mg of Zoloft, do you think the dizziness could be from withdrawals of the Lexapro?  My therapist said since I was on Lexapro so long I shouldn't experience many side effects from Zoloft, but I was on the highest dose of Lexapro (which I know is pretty mild), but now am on a really mild dose of Zoloft.  Have you ever heard of that happening?  At this point I'm probably just fishing for an answer that will tell me it's not the Zoloft making me feel this way or something else medically.
480448 tn?1426952138
Hey there!  Sorry, I missed your last post.  Your question is a very good one.

While I obviously cannot tell you with any certainty (and there is no way to find out either),YES, the transition from the Lexapro to the Zoloft COULD be causing some of your symptoms.  Reason being, while both meds are SSRIs, the specific and intricate mechanism of action of each med varies quite a bit.  Therefore, you could be experiencing a form of a discontinuation syndrome (fancy term for a w/d like situation).  The good news is, introducing the Zoloft WILL help to minimize the severity of those symptoms.

Again, your dizziness could be caused by several different things, no one can say for sure, but yes, you are correct that your theory is a possibility.  Unfotunately, not a lot of doctors will acknowledge that SSRI meds are not a direct replacement for one another.  In my opinion, the most optimal way of handling a drug change with SSRIs is to start a SLOW taper of the initial med, while at the same time start a gradual "uphill" taper of the new drug.  So, you're coming down in dosage on the old med, while at the same time, working UP to a therapeutic dose of the new med.

I think you should start noticing improvements soon.  I know it's awfully hard to stick something like this out,.  Try to hang in there, keep the lines of communication open with your doctor.  The good thing,,,whether this is a side effect, an adjustment issue coming off the Lexapro, or even due to your actual anxiety, as you adjust to the Zoloft, the dizziness should subside.

Wish you the very best!
Avatar universal
Hi Nursegirl,

Sorry to be a thorn in your side, but since I believe that nurses often can be better at diagnosing things than doctors, I thought I'd ask for your advice.  I'm back on the Lexapro (a month now) and am noticing very little improvement.  I'm a little less anxious, but not much, and now I'm extremely depressed.  I don't feel well physically much of the time and when I feel the worst, it's generally when I'm running a low-grade fever.  My anxiety all started because of physical symptoms I was having (lightheaded, "off" vision, dissociation, etc.).  It's kind of turned into a vicious circle because when I don't feel well, I'm down and more anxious.  

What I am wondering about right now is my temperature.  My normal body temperature is usually between 97 and 98 degrees.  The past year and a half or so, though, I have gone through periods where my temperature will be between 99 and 100 degrees, which I know is no cause for alarm, but I don't feel well when this happens.  Lately, I've been noticing when I feel the worst, I have a slight fever.  According to a doctor I saw a while back, she said a fever is considered 101 or higher, but I'm wondering if you know of any reason my temperature could be elevated so much of the time lately.  Lately my temperature will be higher for two weeks or so at a time, then go back down for a week or so, then back up.  

I haven't slept well in nearly a decade, so I've been taking Trazodone and it makes me sleep 10+ hours a night.  Before I thought maybe the fact that I never slept may have had something to do with it, but I'm sleeping again.  Any thoughts?  
Avatar universal
Wow, I feel exactly the same as you.  I've always dealt with anxiety in on one level or another, intermittently, but not severely except for briefly, in certain situations.  It always subsided and I felt very healthy when I was back in my element and with people I loved.  Over the last year and a half though, I've dealt with severe anxiety, panic attacks, etc.  It started because of feeling exactly what you describe---physically "off" (lightheaded, "off" vision, dissociation).  I couldn't figure out where this came from and the anxiety slowly built up until it was too much to bear.  I eventually started zoloft, which helped quite a bit, but after a year when I decided to taper off of it, the physical "offness" came back rather rapidly, and therefore so did my anxiety.  I've just started 0.25mg zoloft about 5 days ago and am also experiencing increased dizziness, but waiting it out to see if it subsides, as the zoloft helped before.  I think it's really hard to sort all of this stuff out while you're in the midst of severe anxiety.  Once the medicine kicks in, I feel less afraid to search for help/information and work through it.  Since my life is quite stressful right now, and will likely be for awhile, I'll probably decide to stay on the zoloft longer this time, even though it did make me gain weight last time.

Question, were you dealing with a long period of chronic stress prior to the physical symptoms you mentioned coming on?  I feel like the feverish feeling is from the anxiety, as I get it too when I'm feeling super anxious.  
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