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Zoloft has changed me - for the worst or better????

Hello all, I have been on Zoloft 25mg for about 5 months.  I take it for anxiety which came on strong this winter.  Over all it has helped me, it is rare that I feel anxious which is very nice.  However I have noticed some other changes and I wonder if anyone else has experienced this.....

I feel quite happy and full of energy yet I seem to do everything in excess now without out really thinking abou it, like working in my garden all day with out a break and barely remembering doing it.  Befor it was theraputic for me, I would constantly stop and take it all in - not any more.  I feel like partying more, gambling, shopping and I have always been a very conservative calm person hummmm, could this be the Zoloft?  Can it make someone a little manic?

I know myself and I have changed - it's not terrible but I miss my self control and joy of the simple things, I seem to be on automatic pilot.  I think I will wean off the Zoloft for these reasons and if my anxiety comes back I will try something else.  Just wondering if this is common with this drug - any advice??  Have a great weekend everyone, Erin
10 Responses
Avatar universal
I have never been on Zoloft but was on Paxil for about 5 or 6 months and I definitely felt that my personality had changed.  I became very complacent and I felt like a complete door-mate.  I, also, felt that it just didn't do the job as far as panic was concerned, so I had to take ativan anytime I knew I would have to be in a social situation.  I had vivid dreams that were very disturbing and had to take ativan before going to bed just so the dreams would not show up.  

My point is, everyone responds to medication differently and if you feel that this is not the medication for you, then it isn't.  There are so many meds to choose from that you will find something that will work for you unless, of course, you want to try it solo for a while just to see how that goes.  Whatever you decide is the right decision because it is your own.  I don't know if what is "common" is relevant here.  We are all individuals and even if this isn't common for this meds. it is a problem for you.  So if you want off of it then, go for it!  
432009 tn?1304753441
Yes, this is a function of the Zoloft and can happen with many SSRI's. You are in the start of a manic phase, and everything that you are describing is the symptoms of it. The problem is this: in the beginning, mania can feel quite good, but it can begin to ramp up and lead to many impulsive things - spending money in excess, partying in excess, feelings of grandiosity, etc.

You'll have to discuss this with your Dr., but I will caution you - this is where it can get quite tricky and is a subject of controversy. Some Dr.'s will then diagnose you as bipolar, even though the onset happened after taking an AD. I disagree with this diagnosis, and believe that this criteria is going to change in the diagnostic criteria in psychiatry. It is currently being debated by experts in the field.

There is much more I can write about this topic, but I'll save it for another post. What may happen now, Eronski, is two things: one, your Dr. may prescribe a mood stabilizer, or two, your Dr. may discuss other options with you, ie. discontinuing the AD.

I'm so sorry to hear about this development, but fortunately, you're catching it in the early phases so it should be easily rectified.

My best to you,
xan
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your comments -so it could get worse!?  One good thing is, so far I haven't experienced any lows that can come with mania.  I will not take anything else along with the Zoloft no matter what my doctor says.  I agree with you xan, about the bi-polar - I am sure this is all from the Zoloft.  I am very in tune with myself and the slightest change I notice (typical anxious person!).  I have cut my dose in half the last couple of days, so I have begun my weaning process and that's fine with me.  Thanks friends!  Erin
432009 tn?1304753441
Many times when mania sets in, there isn't an immediate low. There are different forms that it can take. In fact, the mania can last for months, with no lows at all.

I'm glad to hear that you are in tune with yourself, and are prepared for any "diagnosis" from your dr. I wasn't a member of any forum when my psychiatrist slapped that label on me. It's taken years of discussion and much research to get medical confirmation of what I knew intuitively all along.

Good luck with your weaning...and I hope that you'll soon be back to your old "self".
Avatar universal
Eronski, thank god you still had the insight to figure out "Hey this is not normal" before the drug completely took over you. Lucky you had Xanweaner confirm any doubts.

Xanweaner - I believe in another post you mentioned you used to sell pharma drugs. Didn't it  take years before a warning was issued in that anti-depressants should not be given to young patients as they are more likely to commit suicide. What about petite adults - wouldn't some of the dosages be too strong?

In the midst of all this debate as to whether SSRI's cause mania, or suicidal tendencies and others, I am saddened at the thought that it is us (mood disorder sufferers) who take these drugs and who are stuck in the middle, Not many doctors/therapists will believe if we told them the AD caused any of these side effects unless a big warning sign comes on the pack.

A few years ago I read an article that many on AD developed super confidence and apparently in the business field this is particularly dangerous when executives take too much risk due to this newly found drug induced confidence.

So what do we do if we find we are on some anti depressant and we know it is not doing us good, but many around including family and doctors say, it's working as we seem to be achieving more. I just wonder whether drug mania induced by the SSRI is perceived as a recovery.

I am looking forward to reading your other post.

Thanks,

Sumi



Avatar universal
Quote:  

believe in another post you mentioned you used to sell pharma drugs. Didn't it  take years before a warning was issued in that anti-depressants should not be given to young patients as they are more likely to commit suicide. What about petite adults - wouldn't some of the dosages be too strong?


I want to address this:  First off general practitioners are more inclined to follow what is the "average" dose for a client.  Case in point, my gp wanted me to go up in my dose of Remeron because that was the average dose.  It didn't matter that I was fine on the lower dose, the average dose was atleast 30mg, so that is what he prescribed.  After about two weeks on this dose and many panic attacks later, luckily I started to see a psychiatrist who immediately reduced my dosage once I told him I was having so many panic attacks and proved it right in front of him my second visit to his office.  His feeling was that typically, general practitioners will prescribe what is average without taking into consideration that a woman of 100 lbs. would not need the same dose as a man of 180 lbs.  Metabolism has to be taken into consideration too.  His feeling was that prescribing meds for mentally ill patients should be left up to those who specialize in mental health.  Once my dose was reduced, the panic attacks went away for the most part and I took ativan as needed as a precautionary measure.  In a year, I may have taken no more than 5 ativan...no worry of overdosing or dependency there. LOL


Quote:

  So what do we do if we find we are on some anti depressant and we know it is not doing us good, but many around including family and doctors say, it's working as we seem to be achieving more. I just wonder whether drug mania induced by the SSRI is perceived as a recovery.


I had to put my two cents in on this one too.  What we have to remember is that we are the boss.  If we feel that our meds aren't doing the job, then it is our own responsibility that we make it very clear we want off it.  Another case in point:  I got off paxil, as I said in my initial post on this subject because I felt my personality had changed.  I became very complacent and a much nicer person than I really was.  My husband loved it!  He thought the meds were great because he could do whatever he wanted and I would never complain.  Luckily, my husband is a relatively nice guy so he didn't take too much advantage but he certainly thought I should stay on the meds.  I felt that the meds were turning me into a Stepford Wife.  The problem was, they really weren't doing a great job on the panic and I still needed to take ativan before bed and whenever I went out.  I told my doctor I wanted off the meds and this was after 5 or 6 months even though my husband disagreed.  In the meantime, I had been to see an endocrinologist on another matter and she discovered that I had a very bad tremor.  She suggested I go to a neurologist because she thought it might be Parkinson's.  She asked if I wanted to be referred by her or by my gp.  I had my gp refer me.  Well, the neurologist took one look at me and said that I didn't have Parkinson's, I had an essential tremor that had been enhance by, you guess it, Paxil.  He talked with my gp, who at this point really had egg on his face for being so reluctant to taking me off of Stepford Wife drug and surprise, surprise, we went through a medication change.  My point to all this is, we have to remember, we are in the driver's seat.  We aren't crazy, we have GAD and panic.  If we let ourselves be treated like we are crazy then we allow other people to make decisions for us.  From that point on, I chose the medications that I wanted to try.  I researched them and some didn't work out at all and finally one did and I stayed on it for 5 years.  Once I decided to go off it, I started another that coincidentally Ryan had suggested and my doctor concurred.  Always remember that it is your body and mind, you are in the driver's seat and knowledge is power.

My only concern with telling this story is that it is important that we not inadvertently create hysteria because not all people are alike and one medication can work wonders for someone and be a complete horror story for someone else.  If we read everything that is written about a medication, no one would take it and that isn't a good situation either.  The reason there are so many meds are that there are so many people who have different metabolisms and you can't help everyone with the same drug.  I don't want to start bad mouthing all SSRIs because for some people they have been very effective.  Just like I don't want to bad mouth all benzos, for the same reason.  I've had bad luck with SSRI but know lots of people who have had great luck.  I've had bad luck with tricyclics and again, know people who swear by them.  We are all different and can't go by everything we read or hear.

I just needed to put in my two cents.

Avatar universal
Hello barfer

Quote:

My only concern with telling this story is that it is important that we not inadvertently create hysteria because not all people are alike and one medication can work wonders for someone and be a complete horror story for someone else.  If we read everything that is written about a medication, no one would take it and that isn't a good situation either.  The reason there are so many meds are that there are so many people who have different metabolisms and you can't help everyone with the same drug.  I don't want to start bad mouthing all SSRIs because for some people they have been very effective.

I agree with you completely with what you have written.

It is taking the driver's seat part I have difficulty with at times not with my family doctor but with therapist and at times family members. For instance my husband who is too scared to take any medications will sometimes get upset when I stop or change a particular medication due to side effects. My husband frequently remarks  "If your doctor/therapist told you to take the medicine, just take it, what's the problem".  Now this coming from someone who is scared of medications! It does upset me at times.

I am like you in some ways in terms of meds.  I discuss with my doctor and he comes up with a shortlist and then I decide which one I would like to try out.

As mentioned previously, I am not anti-meds of any sort and don't have any intention to cause any hysteria. If one cannot process medical information objectively, don't read any health/medical related information at least for a while until you can process it objectively. And this comes from a recovering hypochondriac.

Avatar universal
Thanks!!  I love this place, so much great info and all for free!!  

I too don't want to trash SSRI's - for me the Zoloft (so far) has helped and it has helped others in my family....  I mean the mania is unlike me but if I absolutely had to, I could live this way.  The key is I DON'T HAVE TO  I had a bad bout with anxiety but for the most part I am a very happy and content person and I loved the great highs or "NERVANA" I would feel on a regular basis.  I don't get that any more now that I am on the Zoloft - before Zoloft sometimes I would look at my husband and be so overwhelmed with love it would bring tears to my eyes.  Now I can look at him and think, he's a pretty cool guy and that's about as emotional as I get.

For those who are considering taking Zoloft or just starting, I am so glad I have tried it.  If my anxiety was terrible I would take it again in a heart beat.  But I would not take more than I was completely comfortable with.  Like Barfer said my doctor too wanted me to double my dose to 50mg and I never did - why should I the 25mg helped.  Take it slow and consider how other medications effect you.  I am very small also, about 115 lbs, 5'1" so that would obviously make a difference to.  If someone is feeling terrible, I would not be afraid to try it - it was worth it for me because I know I have another tool for my anxiety should it hit me hard in the future.

Thanks again everyone, you are all such a gift!!  Erin
Avatar universal
Quote:

As mentioned previously, I am not anti-meds of any sort and don't have any intention to cause any hysteria. If one cannot process medical information objectively, don't read any health/medical related information at least for a while until you can process it objectively. And this comes from a recovering hypochondriac.

I know that your intentions were not to cause hysteria and I didn't mean to infer that you would do that.  I only meant that so many people on this forum are very suggestive, including myself and that is why I was reluctant to relay my story.  I didn't want to make anyone feel that the medication that I took in the past and didn't have success with, would be the case for them.  I feel it is important to read as much information as possible about the medication you are considering taking so that you become an educated consumer, but to REMEMBER that it is not going to get good reviews from everyone and that you have to look at whether you would be a good candidate for a certain medication taking into consideration both the good and the bad aspects of it.  Most people on this forum are meds phobic or slightly meds phobic so my feeling is that we should keep informed but we must show a responsibility to or fellow anxiety forum friends that medication is an individual thing.  I admire you from coming around regarding your hypochondria.  That is a very tough thing to do especially someone with this disorder.  It is so common for many of us to think that we have every disease or disorder out there when we read symptoms that are similar to things we experience.  To recognize that there are so many different disorders and diseases that have similar symptoms and to not act on all of them, is a huge step.  Good for you!

Having to deal with a husband who is pushing you in one direction that is not appealing to you is a very difficult situation to be in...I know first had about that.  He just wants you to get better fast so that he can get his old wife back and it is even more interesting that it comes from someone who is afraid to take medication himself.  It's that up hill battle and we have to stick with what we know is right for us.  You are a strong lady and I know how tough it is to  follow what you think or know is right for you.  As I said before, knowledge is power!        


Avatar universal
Hi barfer,

Thanks for your response.

You mention that you were reluctant to relay your story as it may convince some suggestive members of the forum not to take meds.

I see it from a different angle, why bother about having a forum if the members cannot express their own individual struggles be it a positive or negative experience with meds. From my point of view I am pleased to hear your journey with meds and other therapies to help you through anxiety. I could be wrong but am sure there are many members out there who want to hear personal experiences to help them understand that they are not alone feeling like this. So please don't stop sharing your stories.

My personal experience is that I find many people around me coming clean with drug and alcohol addiction and some other bad addictions, you know. But not many own up to suffering from a mood disorder, there is such a stigma. And when it comes to taking a pill for the disorder, no one admits to it, everyone is like superman or superwoman.
At least this forum gives some peace of mind that I am not crazy as you put it, just have a bit of GAD and panic disorder and in my case blood pressure obsessing - health anxiety ( and that is because of those silly doctors fault for giving me such a fright)

As to the husband, yep he does claim he says all those things because he wants me to get better fast.

Sumi
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