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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI. I started taking Zoloft 2 days ago for PPD. I've had GI troubles(loose stools), dry mouth, feeling tired but can't sleep, when I try to sleep my mind races and feels like hallucinations. Last night while trying to sleep I woke up in a panic, my skin felt like it was on fire and I was frightened.

I am 10 years in recovery from alcohol and drugs. Last night I felt how I used to feel when I was coming down off of meth. It freaked me out. I just want to stop the Zoloft altogether. I feel worse now than I did before.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Thanks!
 

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I also tried Zoloft initially for my PPD for 4 days and also had panic attacks. I went off of it because I just wasn't ready to handle medication. My PPD just kept getting worse though, so I tried Lexapro, it also made me feel the same way initially and yes, I was frightened with terrible insomnia for a week and a half. I KNOW how scary it can be, I felt like another person entirely for that week and a half, but then it went away and I felt better. However, I am having dizziness issues on Lexapro and my doc wants me to switch back to Zoloft. So, I may be in the same boat as you, although I am trying to explore other options (natural ones)
Were you having panic attacks before the medicine? (I was, so it was easier for me) What dose of Zoloft are you on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
THANK YOU for responding, mmkmommy. I have never had a panic attack before. I was so freaked out last night and didn't even realize it was anxiety until my husband said so. I calmed down after about fifteen minutes of talking to him and 4 chocolate chip cookies.


I am taking 25mg for five days, then am supposed to increase to 50 mg. I have never taken any medicine like this before.

I have taken it for two days now between 7-8 am. It's now 10 and I haven't taken it because I'm waiting to hear from my prescriber. I feel irritable and shaky.
 

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I also felt shakey and angry in the first 2 weeks on lexapro, to the point that it really scared me. I have almost gone off the medication so many times over the last month (I have only been on it for a month, and never in my life before) but it has helped, other than being dizzy. (BUT I can't live with dizziness) I had a really severe case though and anything feels better than living with anxiety.
I really hope you find what works for you and continue to hope I will find what will be right for me. There is a lot of good support here though, just so you know your not alone!
 

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Hi...it is a not so uncommon side effect of antidepressants. Some seem to have that effect more often than others and some people respond more to it than others. I would suggest you talk to your doctor...panic attacks suck.
 

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I could have written your post...I'm on my 3rd day of 25mg Zoloft and have the exact same symptoms....it's really bad, but I'm afraid to go off it and have my PPD get worse.

Let me know what your prescriber recommends.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh Mama2Mila...I feel your pain! My prescriber recommended trying to switch to Paxil. The Zoloft activated me, I tend to have more anxiety than depression anyhow. I haven't started the Paxil yet, but am SO glad I stopped taking the Zoloft. It was not a good fit for me.

Good luck! Keep me posted.
 

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My prescriber also switched me to Paxil and after spending one night in-patient last night (wow...what an experience...I never want to go there again) I'm also gonna be on Klonopin until the Paxil kicks in. In addition I'm gonna do a 2 week, 5days a week/5hours intensive outpatient treatment. I want to get better as soon as possible


Alex
 

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I can't believe I found this thread - I am literally sitting here crying.

I just started Zoloft (25 mg) four days ago and I am experiencing all the symptoms described here.

I feel like the top of my head is going to come off; I have dry mouth really bad, dizzy (almost a detached from my body feeling), horrible insomnia, and I can't focus for the life of me.

I was on Paxil about four years ago and had a really hard time weaning off of it when I was pregnant for Zoe, so I decided not to go back on it this time around.

I'm taking the Zoloft for anxiety/OCD issues, but I'm a nursing student and I have clinical rounds tomorrow - if I'm this freaked out (spacey, almost stoned feeling) on 25 mg, at night, in my own home - how the heck will I function in a high stress environment?

I had no idea that antidepressants/antianxiety meds could make you feel this way - isn't the whole point of taking them to get *rid* of these kinds of feelings?

I'm feeling very nervous/alone/scared right now. I was only trying to help myself by taking these meds; it was a hard enough decision to go this route - now I don't know what to do.
 

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I feel like I'm repeating myself here, I have posted this several times since yesterday, but here's my experience: whenever I started Zoloft, which was twice, or ramped up my dose, which was several times, I would get so fidgety and freaky I couldn't sit still - and these were very small incremental dose changes. Some of us are way more sensitive to weird chemicals than others. So, my psych, who is very pro-med but very sympathetic to discomfort, always gives me Klonopin or Buspar to take in tandem while starting or increasing med doses. Hugely, hugely helpful. I really recommend something to take the edge off until the side effects decrease. I did not need the klonopin or Buspar long-term, just while making the transitions - perhaps there is a useful herbal alternative you could try like kava or valerian or lemon balm?
 

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i took paxil several years ago and the first 2 weeks were so horrible i was literally housebound. i had non-stop panic attacks and couldn't drive and became totally agoraphobic. i was having panic attacks before that (the reason for going on paxil) but the paxil made it a million times worse.

the only thing that got me through those 2 weeks and out of the house and back to work was xanax. (and my loving husband)

it was scary. very. then the paxil helped for a little while but the panic eventually returned. i decided to go off it rather than ramping up.

i second the recommendation for a tranquilizer. it will really help the side effects
 

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My sympathies to you for having to endure all this. As other people have stated, I would really talk to your doctor about the panic attacks. They are the worst thing ever. I haven't had PPD, but normal depression with panic attacks in the past. I was perscribed Xanax for the panic and Zoloft for the depression. I hated the Zoloft, but the Xanax was a godsend.

I hated Zoloft as well, but my side effects didn't kick in till the standard time the drug was supposed to be taking effect, about 3 weeks. Can't remember my dose now unfortunately. However, I do remember feeling VERY speedy. And I don't know how to describe it exactly, I didn't have hallucinations per se. But I did feel like I was constantly in a fake world. Everything looked like plastic... Not cool. I decided I didn't really need to be on it, as it didn't seem to be doing anything but make me feel badly.

Also during that time, if I felt stressed out and maybe didn't want to get knocked out from the Xanax, I used some herbal remedies. I had a catmint plant, which I would use the leaves to make tea from. Believe it or not, it worked for me. So I'd try growing some of this just in case you have a bad day or two and don't want to take a full-on tranquilizer. Also those Kniepp herbal baths seem to work for me too... The hops bath for "relaxing" made me fall asleep in the tub, which I don't usually do. So just a word of warning if you use it.

Hope things work out for you soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey Mamas,

I've been out of town for a week, so haven't been online...THANK YOU all so much for your posts!

Zoesmummy: I hope you're feeling better. I know how scary it feels. If my husband weren't home when I freaked out I don't know what I would have done.

I started Paxil 4 days ago...10mg for 5 days then up to 20. But I feel so yucky. I know that the side effects are just temporary, but my body is just too sensitive I think. And my ds has had gastrointestinal problems up the ying yang...so today I am stopping it. I am going to try some other options (ie eliminating sugar and caffeine, Rescue Remedy and maybe some others I find here..., plus talk therapy). I hope that works cause I'm tired of being so moody and insecure.

If not, back to the drawing board with the meds.

Zoesmummy -- What side effects did you experience going on Paxil? How did it work for you after the side effects lessened? What was your experience going off of it?

Kirsten
 

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Mommak - some of the side effects I had when I initially started taking Paxil were nausea, dry mouth, dizziness and insomnia. The dizziness was the worst; my anxiety also spiked for about two weeks and then subsided. The side effects all went away within a span of about four weeks.

The Paxil worked wonderfully for me while I was on it. I was taking it for a combo of reasons - anxiety, depression and OCD. I really felt that it allowed me to function on an even playing field on a daily basis. I really had no issues with it while I was taking it; it was godsend.

I came off of the Paxil cold turkey (I've since learned that's a *very* dangerous thing to do); but I found out I was expecting and was worried about the baby (should have spoken to my doctor first).

Going from 30 mg of Paxil to zero induced a whole world of trouble for me; I had facial numbness, extreme nausea, shakes, hallucinations (very mild ones, just sort of seeing double and not really seeing what was in front of me), a huge spike in anxiety.

However, my very close girlfriend who was also on Paxil and weaned off of it in a very slow, and tailored manner was fine. She had some minor night sweats, and some anxiety - but she did great overall. She said coming off the Paxil was no worse than the initial going on side effects.
 

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I have tried both Paxil and Zoloft. Didn't care for either of them. I took the Paxil for about a year but when I came off of it I felt like a druggie would going through withdrawal, and I even went very slow. It took me about 5 months to get off of it. The withdrawal was soooo bad that near the end I was down to cutting a sliver off of a pill a day to avoid having the head "zaps". I really thought I would never get off of that crap. I was really really drunk, swimmy headed and just plain sick during withdrawal. The zaps in my head lasted FOREVER and when they first started, I honestly thought I was having some type of seizure.

While on Zoloft I did have panic attacks, but only a few. I also had severe insomnia and horrible migraines! The sad part is that I didn't realize for a long time that it was the Zoloft that was causing the side effects.

Today I do not take any prescription meds for anxiety. I take a mile long list of supplements though and feel reasonably okay. Some days I could use a little something to take the edge off. I tried Tryptophan for about 8 months and it worked okay for me....my cousin SWEARS by it!

Good luck!
 

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This is really common, and your psychiatrist should have warned you that it might happen. It goes away after the first couple of weeks.

It helped for me to know that these reactions were just my body adjusting to meds, and that nothing was wrong. I know how awful panic attacks can feel physically and mentally, and I so sympathize. But it's not a reason to stop the meds if you can help it. Just know that the insomnia, loose stools, heart feeling like it's racing... they ALL go away. It took a week for me and then things got SO much better. Usually a psychiatrist will prescribe something like Xanax for the panic attacks until the zoloft has a chance to take effect.
 

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Oh, okay.

I would suggest maybe making an appt. with a psychiatrist just to get the info on the meds and be able to work with someone who KNOWS the meds. Family doctors are great, but this is not their area of expertise.

Plus, when it comes time to wean off of the meds, you will want a psychiatrist to help you with a plan for that. What dose are you on?

It's just a good idea to deal with a pro on the meds issue. Family docs prescribe them all the time, but they really don't know a lot about side effects, and they don't know about weaning off them slowly. That's where a lot of people get in to trouble with meds and end up having negative experiences. I just want you to get the best care.


If you're in Chicago, there are LOTS of great docs and all you would have to do is see them every 3-4 months. Do you have a therapist? I am sure you could get a referral from there or from your Family Doc.

Anyway, what you have been feeling is normal and I know you will feel better soon. It would help to have a therapist who could help you deal with whatever is the root of your anxiety. Meds are wonderful, but they are like "water wings" while you do your therapy, they keep you supported so you can work on the behaviors and habits that lead to anxiety.

Best wishes,
 
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