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Getting off Zoloft? Would love to hear thoughts on this...

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

 I have been on anti depressants for about four years, after my first son was about 8 months and I was honest about having PPD and anxiety.  I was on Paxil until we decided to have our second and I got on Zoloft.  I was on 50 mg for about a year and a half, then felt real spacy, out of it, and a doc recommended I get down to 25 mg so we could go to something different.  I have been on 25 for about 10 months now and I feel SO out of it, can't focus, a very disconnected and detached feeling.  I had about two serious Panic Attacks (my first).  I have started to see a psychologist who I love, I'm getting so much out of it.  It's hard work going through all the junk in my past but I feel like I will be a more grounded person in the future for it. I have also read this book, the anxiety and phobia workbook, which has taught me SO much and panic and anxiety.


I'm looking for some advice on weaning myself off Zoloft.  I have heard some negatives on withdrawal, so I thought since I take 25 now I can half it for a couple days, and then go every other day and then stop?


I would really like to try a more natural approach, exercise, healthier eating, Kava Kava, Valarian Root, Sam-E?  Anyone been through the same? 


Thank you!

post #2 of 24

I got off Zoloft years ago after having been on a much higher dose.  It wasn't related to anything PP so that part I don't have experience with.  I went down gradually, eventually to 25mg every other day for maybe a couple weeks, then stopped.  I didn't have any withdrawal problems at all.

post #3 of 24

You need to wean off much more slowly than that or you risk having flulike symptoms that are really unpleasant, or even the dreaded brain zaps.


If you are on 25 now, you can go to 12.5 for a month, then 6.75 for a month, then 3 for a month.  You can ask your pdoc about getting the liquid form but when I weaned off of it, I just halved the half of a pill I was on and then went down from there, until I was taking tiny shavings of it at a time. 


I still had withdrawal, but nothing as bad as the first time I weaned, which I did quickly. 


Zoloft has a short half-life, so it's in your system for a short time, and the withdrawals are worse if you go quickly.  Go very slow.  You've been on it for this long, take your time going off so you don't have the awful physical and mental symptoms of discontinuation. 

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 

yikes, that slowly huh? 


I have been feeling sea sick the last day or two, I have been half-ing 25 mg for three days now. 


I want to just get off of it entirely!

post #5 of 24

YOu need to go much slower. I am in the process of weaning from a dosage of 25 mg as well. I did 16.7  for 2 weeks and right now I'm doing 12.5 mg for another 3 weeks and if everything goes well I'll do 6 mg and then 3 mg. And even that is considered pretty fast. A great website about ssri withdrawal is paxilprogress.org. It's not just for paxil users either.When I missed two dosages about three weeks ago I ended up incapacitated with horrible nausea, vertigo, dizziness, vomiting and extreme lethargy. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I have a 5 and 2 year old?

So no, don't taper off that fast unless you want to experience pure hell. I just got a book about weaning off of Zoloft, The anti depressant solution, and he talks about the entire process. One thing you should definitely not do is to alternating days of taking the medicine. Your brain needs a steady dose so that it can get accustomed to the lowered dose slowly. 

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. I have a blog about my weaning experience and you may find that helpful. Good luck and just remember to go slowly. 

post #6 of 24

Well, my advice would be to stay where you are for at least 3 weeks to a month, then halve that dosage for about a month, then another month on another half and then stop.  That's still pretty quickly, and you will feel so much better!  Please take it slow or you will be feeling sick for a long time, and your symptoms are much more likely to return.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

yep...feeling flu like.  spacey.  had a panic attack last night.  guess I do need to go slower. 

post #8 of 24

It truly is the kindest thing you can do to your body.  Go back up to whatever the last dose was that you were taking, take that for 2 weeks, and then halve that and take for at least 2-4 weeks, then go down again.  It's okay to start over, and you will be so much happier.  

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yes I went too fast but my doc advised me to stick it out, going up would have made the bad days for nothing.  The last three days are getting better and better... Thank Goodness.  It got scary there for a moment.  But now I know, it's true!  Go slow! 

I am staying on 6.5 for another week and then my doc said to skip a day for a week and then skip two days the next week and so on...


Thank you all for your advice,  I really appreciate it.  I hope this journey keeps getting better, I am def. more moody these days.

post #10 of 24

Was this a psychiatrist that told you this?  Because it really doesn't make any sense to skip a day... zoloft has a very short half life and if you skip a day you are inviting pain for no reason.  


Better to go down from 6.5 to 3 and then 1.5 (basically just a chip) and then go off.  But, that was just from my experience.  Doing as your doctor suggested could be just fine but it might be uncomfortable for nothing...

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

No it was my ob... your probably right I think that sounds like a better plan too.  Still feeling much better, just sleeeeeepy! 

post #12 of 24

I'm going to start weaning myself from my zoloft soon too. I came across this site: http://www.theroadback.org and the program seems very natural and straightforward. Best of all its free. 

So my plan is to start taking the supplements (omega 3, Vit E and Barley powder) for a week or two. Then they recommend you to start decreasing your meds by 5%, every 2 weeks for 3 reductions, then you can go down 10% until you are completely off. You are to continue taking the supplements through out the tapering process and 45 days after you are weaned completely.

It seems very slow, but it sounds like it would be as painless as possible.

A couple months ago I had tried cutting my dosage in half and I was having horrible panic attacks again. So I went back to my regular dosage of 100mg. I'll be trying again once I get all of my supplements.

post #13 of 24

I spent about a month totally weaning from 50mg zoloft (but I was only on it for a few months).  I halved for about 1.5 weeks.  then did the half dose every other day for another 1.5 weeks.  then every 3-4 days for another 1.5 weeks.  I also upped my omega's and b vitamin intake at the same time.  I didn't notice too many side effects during the weaning.  good luck.

post #14 of 24

I came online to ask about weaning from Zoloft specifically.  So glad to find this thread.


For the last 6 days I have been halving my 100mg tablet.  Do you think going from 100mg to 50mg is too drastic?  I have felt a little disoriented at times.  It is hard to describe, might be a brain zap...


I have been on zoloft for over two years now from ppd.  I am now 7 months pp with baby number 2.  I would love to be off of it!

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

I have been off completly for awhile now, things are going pretty well.  I had no "brain zaps" either.. thank goodness... creeepy!!




post #16 of 24

I've been on several different SSRIs throughout the years. Been medicating my depression since I was 18. I am currently 33. I am horrible at remembering to take my med, currently 150mg zoloft (1 and 1/2 tabs). Brain zaps suck! I have them on about day 3 of not taking my meds. I totally know better then to just not take my zoloft, but for some reason, forgetfulness, apathy, self-loathing, procrastination, not able to recall if I took them already, etc..., I routinely set myself up for withdrawl. On Friday I was basically disowned by my crazy (crazier than me!) mother. I had already forgotten to take my zoloft for a couple of days last week and was running low on pills. Was too devastated to leave my house for a refill, so took 100mg, planning to reduce my daily dose until I got a refill. Seemed resonable at the time. Now it's Tuesday and I only took 50mg. I have 50 mg left for tomorrow. Making myself get the refill on Wed since I have to leave the house to go to work then. Awful. I know. Feel powerless to do what I should. Don't be like me. I have probably completely fried my brain with SSRIs. I want to stop anti-depressants for good, but I'm afraid. On the other hand, research suggests that they likely don't help me much anyways since my compliance with regular doseing sucks. Just wish I could be happy. Or just not so pathetic. Going to see my therapist today. Not gonna cancel it last minute like the last time and the time before that. I  feel nauseous, anxious and ashamed. I take care of everyone else except myself. Classic codependent people-pleaser. Just realized Friday 33yrs of emotional abuse at the hands of my mother. I am so confused and hurt. And shocked! I am an experienced trauma nurse for f@#&'s sake! How did I not recognize a lifetime of abuse until now? Wow. Well, this is getting off-topic, so I think I'll create another post devoted to my mother issue. I need to get it out. These feelings are eating me alive. Thanks for reading this. Listen to those above about weaning slowly. You don't want to know what brain zaps feel like!

post #17 of 24

I have yet to wean myself. :/ There has just been too much going on. I'm hoping that once DD starts school in the fall,  I'll have a chance to breath and focus a bit more on myself. Until then, I'm trying to get healthy; started a new batch of Kombucha and making green smoothies everyday. How is everyone else doing?


post #18 of 24

My experiment with weaning off was pretty bad.  I think I have to wait until I can get more time to myself as well.  I think when I can get a good nights sleep (will that ever happen?) and can exercise regularly, then I can look at going off.  I feel pretty sad and guilty about it, but I have to be realistic.

post #19 of 24

The most important thing to remember when weaning is to go super slow.  Painstakingly slow.  It's not a guarantee of no discontinuation symptoms, but it's your best defense.  Supplementing with fish oil and vitamin B complex while doing it seem to help.  


I have been off meds for 4 years.  I am still not sure if I should be taking them or not, or if I am dealing with a hormonal imbalance (low progesterone) that could be causing my symptoms.  


post #20 of 24

Hi - your post brought tears to my eyes because I could have written it.  I am weaning off Zoloft now - I have to get some work done - ON A SUNDAY - or I'll get fired but I just wanted to say thanks for posting.  Hang in there - I'll be pulling for you.

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