How to stop taking Zoloft, Taper off or Cold Turkey?
How I stopped taking Zoloft
If you are on Zoloft or other generic brand and wish to stop, are trying to taper off Zoloft and wondering if the side effects from lack of Zoloft is causing depression or anxiety attacks, or just want to know some more about how Zoloft affects you, then please read on.
I am not a health professional. I am just someone with personal experience with Zoloft. The information I have to share is invaluable because most Doctors don’t understand unless they have taken the drug themselves.
Zoloft withdrawals are severe, and the physically addictive qualities of the drug are the last thing anyone on it probably had any idea about. Chances are you were diagnosed with a form of depression and amid tears the Doctor hands you a packet of tablets, or a script and instructs you that they will start to make you feel better in a few weeks.
Zoloft - All great until it's time to quit!
Zoloft has been considered one of the safest SSRI's (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) by Doctors and readily prescribed as it has been found to be extrememly effective in assisting the increase or serotonin, or happy hormones in the brain. It is considered so safe that I was advised to continue taking the medication while pregnant and breastfeeding.
This is what happened to me, and I was in no position to do anything except trust the Doctor’s judgement. I am not ungrateful, as although in hindsight a more suitable drug could have been prescribed, I am no longer suffering from depression.
I must advise that you shouldn’t do anything without consulting your health care professional. There are so many different types of depression and some people really need to stay on their medication.
I came to a point where I was happy, and just wanted to be normal. I longed to get off the tablets as I knew I wasn’t depressed anymore. My circumstances had changed so the factors which had caused my depression no longer existed. I did the right thing and asked my Doctor how I could stop taking Zoloft.
I was given the standard advice. I needed to start taking the dose down 50mg at a time. After dropping the dosage I had to wait until the side effects wore off before I took the dose down again.
I was obedient, after all the Doctor can’t be wrong. I even agree that this method is the safest possible way to rid yourself of the drug.
If only the smile was the only side effect!
WHAT THE DOCTOR WON’T TELL YOU
When I dropped the dose down I felt so sick. I couldn’t sleep and my mood dropped. I tried to stick it out for weeks but began to be anxious that I was getting depressed again. I was devastated. Maybe I would never get off these drugs.
So I bumped the dose up again (I got as high as 200mg) and just kept taking them.
I started feeling better after a while and thought I would give it another go. This time I turned to my trusted friend the internet search engine instead of the Doctor.
The first thing I discovered is that Zoloft contains a highly addictive drug. When you stop taking it there are severe side effects, more so for some than for others. One of these side effects is a depressive mood and sleeplessness! What a relief that I hadn’t been getting sick again when I had tried to stop taking it, it was just a side-effect. If only my Doctor had known.
It is very important to understand this as when you are suffering Zoloft withdrawal symptoms your brain can get very confused and you feel like you are going insane. Headaches, insomnia and nausea are only the beginning of what can be experienced. The fear of getting depressed again is so real for anyone who has suffered from any form of this mood disorder. To wean yourself from the drug you need to have mental strength to keep telling yourself that it is just a side effect and you are still sane!
The other important thing I discovered is how long Zoloft stays in your system. I won’t go into the technicalities, because what the scientists say and what I read about differed. Some people experienced side effects for months.
HOW I GOT OFF ZOLOFT
The thought of the pain of tapering off the drug, waiting months until the side-effects of a dose decrease wore off only to have to go through it all again just made me mad. So I was really really really naughty, and went cold turkey.
That’s right. Don’t do it. It is really dangerous.
I was very sick. I had to take tablets to help me sleep at night. I kept seeing my little dog running through my house when he was outside. The hallucinations made me jump, but it was the voices that were freakier. I couldn’t think straight. Overall I was very ill.
I was a tough cookie, and it paid off. It started getting better after a couple of weeks, and then eventually after about 6 weeks I was well on the mend.
I did it, and I have been drug free at the time of writing this for two years.
Not everyone is as bloody minded as me though, so here are some tips;
· Get some good medical advice. Don’t just let them get away with the standard blurb, but ask lots of questions.
· Make sure you have a support network of people who understand what you will be facing.
· Don’t give up. If it gets tough keep remembering the goal and use the support you have in place.
· Inform the people you live with. Most people don’t understand mental illness, but if you are jumping because you had a hallucination it’s best this doesn’t take them by surprise.
In the end it may take a lot of determination, and it appears to be better for some people than others. When I realised the effect Zoloft was having on my body I got angry and just wanted the drug out of my system.
May I humbly encourage you to talk to others about your experience with Zoloft? It is a highly effective drug, but some Doctors who don’t have an expertise in depression may prescribe it too readily, when other options which are not addictive are available.
Whether you are on other medication for a different mental illness such as Lithium for bipolar or Ambien for insomnia the professionals need real experience rather than just the manufacturers research and technical information on brain chemistry. Unless we spread information then this may not change, as it is not the editors of the medical journals having the real life experiences.
It is hard to admit to others when you have had a mental illness, but I always liken it to a broken leg. The only difference is your brain is broken and they can’t see it.
Information is power, so I encourage you to learn as much as you can about Zoloft and its side effects and this will empower you to overcome as I have.
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