Zoloft helped relieve my depression, but when I didn't need to take it anymore, I found that stopping was not as easy as I thought.
Thinking of Going Off Zoloft?
If you are currently taking Zoloft (or a generic alternative) and are thinking about stopping or weaning off, but you're wondering if the dose-reduction process may actually be causing depression or anxiety attacks, please read on. In this article, I will share my story about being on and tapering off of Zoloft. Keep in mind that I am not a healthcare professional, and I am speaking purely from my own experience. Because everyone is different, and depression affects everyone differently, what worked for me may not be advisable for you. That being said, the information in this article is invaluable because you won't get it from any doctor. They only prescribe the drugs—they don't know what it's really like to be on Zoloft unless they've taken it themselves.
My Experience With Zoloft
Doctors will readily prescribe Zoloft because it is extremely effective at maintaining high levels of serotonin—the "feel-good chemical"—in the brain and is considered one of the safest SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). It's even safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding—and I did just that.
After taking Zoloft for a period of time, I was no longer depressed. At the same time, the circumstances that brought on my depression had improved, so I felt that I no longer needed to keep taking an antidepressant. I asked my doctor how I could stop taking Zoloft and was given the standard advice: reduce the current dose by 50 mg and wait for any side effects of the dosage change to wear off before reducing another 50 mg.
Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms
The first time I dropped the dose down, I began to feel very sick—I felt nauseous and had terrible headaches. I couldn’t sleep, and my mood dropped significantly. I tried to wait it out for a few weeks, but I became anxious that I was getting depressed again. I was devastated and thought that I may never get off these drugs.
I decided to increase the dose up again—I took as much as 200 mg—and just kept taking them. After a while, I started feeling better, so I thought I would try tapering off again, only this time, I searched online for advice instead of my doctor.
What Doctors Won't Tell You:
Zoloft can be highly addictive, but not for the same reasons as other drugs like nicotine or cocaine. With continuous use of SSRIs like Zoloft, you may become psychologically dependent on the drug to lift your mood and make you feel better. You may feel that without it, you cannot feel normal, and indeed, the side effects include depressive moods and sleeplessness. This is what my doctor did not warn me about.
What I Learned
It is important to understand that, although you may feel like you are becoming depressed again, your low mood is just a side effect of the reduction in serotonin levels in the brain. The fear and anxiety surrounding the side effects will only worsen the problem. To properly wean yourself off of SSRIs, you need to reduce the dosage very slowly—maybe even less than 50 mg at a time. You also need to remind yourself that the side effects are just side effects, and they will wear off with time.
How I Tapered Off Zoloft
I Tried Quitting Cold Turkey
After my failed first-attempt to get off of Zoloft, I fretted the possibility of going through the mood drops and having to wait weeks for the side effects to wear off. I decided to try a different (unadvisable) approach: I was really really really naughty and quit cold turkey.
That’s right. I just stopped taking it.
Immediately, I became very sick. I had to take sleeping aids at night. I also began hallucinating. I would see my little dog running around the house when he was actually outside. The visions made me jumpy, but the voices were even freakier. I couldn’t think straight. Overall, I felt very ill.
However, I was determined to avoid the temptation of getting back on Zoloft to ease the symptoms, and it paid off. I started getting better after a couple of weeks, and eventually, after about 6 weeks, I was well on the mend.
I have been drug-free ever since.
My Advice to You
Quitting cold turkey is not advisable for everyone; in fact, it can be downright dangerous. Although it worked for me, it wasn't without its own set of burdens, and it took a lot of mental power and self-control to endure the process.
Everyone is different, but here is some advice that does apply to everyone:
- Get some good medical advice. Don’t just let them get away with the standard regurgitation of facts—ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand all the positives and negatives about the treatment they are suggesting.
- Get help. Make sure you have a strong support network of people who understand what you will be facing.
- Don’t give up. If it gets tough—and it will get tough—keep remembering the goal. Stay strong and use the support you have in place.
- Inform the people you live with. Most people don’t understand mental illness, and if you are hallucinating or going through rapid mood changes, it’s best this doesn’t take them by surprise.
All in all, no matter if you taper off or quit all at once, it takes a lot of determination, and the process appears to go better for some people than others. I tried both methods, and I suffered the side effects both times. I figured the only way to get through it was to stick to your goal and know that you'll eventually reach the end.
Stay Informed, and Inform Others
May I humbly encourage you to talk to others about your experience with Zoloft? It is a highly effective drug, but some doctors may prescribe it too readily when it may not be necessary to take it or when there are other options that are not as addictive.
Regardless of the medication you are taking—whether it's lithium for bipolar disorder or Ambien for insomnia—there's a difference between how it's theoretically supposed to work and how it actually affects the patient. Doctors likely only know what the manufacturers tell them and aren't aware of the real experiences. Unless we spread the information, this may never change.
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 that 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 share this information with your doctors and other patients as well.
I must advise that you shouldn’t do anything without consulting your healthcare professional. This article is meant for informational purposes only. There are so many different types of depression, and some people really need to stay on their medication.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Melieni Ferreyra on October 29, 2019:
This is really inspiring and incredibly tough to do what you did the way you did it.
my mum on January 29, 2019:
She was 80 yo and having anxiety. The GP ignored our referral request to Psychologist and prescribed Zoloft 100mg once a day taken at night. Not long we noticed that she started to lose her mood, no energy, appetite and sleeping all the time like a dead body. She gained more pounds. We didn’t know that is the side effect from the medicine until I saw your sharing website. I observed her energy level getting better at night and worse during the day time coz the medicine cycle end at night and time to take a next one. After a few days observation, I decided to reduce her dosage to 50mg and found that all side effects were reducing. I followed what you guys shared to drop the dosage gradually. Now she was recovered after 2 months and stopped Zoloft completely.
From what I can see Zoloft 100mg too strong to mum on her minor anxiety and turned up other issues. Whoever you need to take Zoloft you should start from low dosage and increase gradually till it stopped your anxiety and negative thoughts, etc. that can reduce your side effects.
So wish i didnt take this on October 15, 2018:
It made me feel better but when I stop taking it I don’t feel good at all
Jill on September 24, 2018:
I went cold turkey. I have had my moments, but I am doing okay. I just want off these meds. One to sleep, one for mood. I am not sleeping but this too will pass.
Michael on August 08, 2018:
Zoloft is more dangerous than alprozalam wit PTSD patients it causes suicidal thoughts an death or harming others federal government research said not to treat PTSD with Zoloft but safest drug for them was marijuana.
Chris on November 20, 2017:
My doctor gave me permission to quit Zoloft cold turkey while the therapist recommended weaning off, so I split the difference and went from 50mg to 25mg for 7 weeks before disposing of the medication completely. DO NOT DO THIS... always see a psychiatrist as well because clearly my primary care had no idea what he was talking about. Obviously my situation may be a little more extreme than most, but from what I’ve researched it’s really not as uncommon as you think. Made a blog about it https://www.youarenotalone.me
Please do your part to spread the word, this should not happen to anyone!
Liz on September 20, 2017:
I'm going cold turkey to get off the Zoloft, I'm also on Xanax for sleep, and Vicodin. My plan is to get off the Zoloft, then the Vicodin, ill give myself a good rest and start cutting the Xanax, that one just cant be done cold turkey. I have recently started a vegan diet, and I'm determined to get healthy and stay that way, the industry is making us sick (it's the food you eat) then the drug company's are getting rich, treating us for illness that's caused from the food we eat. Well ive wised up and am taking control of my health, ill also be able to get off the BP med's I take once I get some weight off. (my BP went up as my weight did) Wish me luck, it starts tonight!!
Silver on September 08, 2017:
It's true. They seem to do more harm than good. I am sure that I don't want to be on them anymore. I went two days without my 50mg dose and was EXTREMELY depressed. I even began having suicidal thoughts. It was so scary. But I quickly realized how necessary weaning is. I plan to do 25mg for a few weeks or until I know it's safe to go lower. Then I'm going half that. I had no idea there where addictive ingredients in it though. Now THAT is insane.
Andra on July 11, 2017:
I agree they do more harm than good. I have currently been on Zoloft for 7 months and want to cold turkey, but everyone says to slowly do it. Just want these meds out of my system. After months on them I've gained 25 plus pounds on them and they are making me even sadder!! My doctors think I'm crazy because they say no weight gain but than I read everyone's reviews and a lot said weight gain. Anyone else gain weight?
Marysol on June 21, 2017:
I am so thankful that I am not alone in this mission with Setraline/Zoloft!! My doctor put me on 50mg thank lord I never upped the milligrams, i pretty much took 50mg for 8 months to almost 1 year. I did have depression which it helped me with to be honest, but the disconnected feelings, the restlessness, and the forgetfulness got to me. I want my life back i want to feel normal so I started cutting it in 1/2 i took it for a couple weeks and i am now currently on my 4th day without any of it. The hallucinations come in spurts and dont happen all the time, my head does feel funny at times like electro shocks but quick ones.. i definitely feel weird at times but I am going to do this because I will not let PILLS take over my life! Thank you to all for the comments i am not alone and that goes long ways for me!! Stay STRONG everyone and good luck to all.
Dozierdawn@yahoo. Com on June 05, 2017:
Anything over the countr that can put me down to help me sleep?
Zizanie on March 20, 2015:
I am unsure what you are referring to when you say 'it's all a bunch of
(expletive deleted)'. Having a mental illness is not about feeling unhappy. If people having a major depressive disorder or episode could
get over it, toughen up, they would. Pejorative remarks towards such people, are most unhelpful and show a lack of compassion.
I assume your 'Lord' is Jesus? The One Who empathised and did not condemn people? I have many in my life who went through the Holocaust or lost family members in it and I can assure you, the amount of Mental Illness and anguish they experienced, in the Camps and afterwards, was significant. Please, do not comment on things of which you appear to be ignorant. If you weren't interned, how would you know
how people behaved?
What would Jesus do? Forgive me for saying so, but first, I don't believe He would use foul language, second, He would not condemn or judge.
As Gandhi said: "I would have become a Christian....and then I met one".
Pamela Seymour on November 30, 2014:
Ok I stopped taking it. Only side effect I'm getting is excessive drooling. I hate it. I'm ok otherwise....and not depressed. I was on 100 milligram . None of those side effects your talking about.
Beth on November 02, 2014:
I am taking 200 mg of Zoloft. I still have moments where I want to cry; but, I think that is related to the fact that I'm not sleeping which is some of the reason why I was put on the Zoloft. My main issue is my eyes and head (behind my eyes) are killing me and I think it started when I started taking the Zoloft. Has anyone else had this problem? I am debating on stopping the Zoloft and was also wondering if I should go cold turkey to see if my eyes feel better; but, it sounds like I should wean off? I also don't like the idea of being on meds; but, if it helps with my sleep and depression...?
Vickie on September 08, 2014:
I've been on 200 mg of Zoloft for years. I am going through a very hard time right now and the Zoloft aren't helping. My Dr. Wants me start Viibryd. She stopped my Zoloft cold turkey. She told me nothing about the severe side effects of starting Viibryd let alone the side effects of stopping Zoloft. These Dr.s need to be better informed and keep their patients informed. At the state I'm in now I'm contemplating going to the hospital. With her having no idea what I'm going through seeings how I can't get into see her for another 2 weeks. Dr.s should not be able to treat people with these medications if they haven't taken them themselves or seen what a person goes through trying to stop them. I mean personally seen what a person goes through. Not just read about it. I think this is the only way Dr.s are going to start understanding what we as patients go through when they give us these medications or change our medications. We have to wait 4-6 weeks for the new one to start And I mean only start to help while we go through withdrawls from a drug we stopped taking because it wasn't working well enough. Often with side effects mirroring other illnesses. Some of which we don't actually have yet we get put on meds for. It's a lot more messed up than a vroken leg in my opinion but I am so glad that you made it. Hope the rest of us trying to stop do to. Thank you for the information. I feel a lot better and not quite so alone.
Stewart on July 24, 2014:
Reinforces my belief that this is all a bunch of crap. Life is tough, and what doesn't break you makes you stronger. A bunch of sissys we are in America who believe life is all about indulging ourselves, feeling good and being "happy" all of the time. Its about growning up and growing through trials and becoming the spirits God meant for us to become. Do you think the victims of Auschwitz or the children starving in Africa or (you name it) get to sit around and worry about whether they are depressed or happy? America is spoiled, and has become the most overrated, drugged up self absorbed society not even since the late great Roman Empire. Get over it, tough it up, find a relationship with the Lord and expect life to be bumpy, it'll be over before you realize it. 60-80 years is but a mist in the morning.
PA on May 01, 2014:
I've been taking 100mg of Zoloft for 2 years for PTSD...Last time I cried I was 12yrs old
PA on May 01, 2014:
I stopped taking my meds for a week straight and I have a huge headache and can't sleep and I cried all night a few nights ago...I just lay in bed and slept all day hoping I have enough energy for work...I took another pill just now....I'm not sure I can handle feeling like this
princess di 7 on April 04, 2013:
I agree that there is nothing addictive about them and I believe that people may be confusing the withdrawal effects as what one would experience from being addicted to something. While I believe that the withdrawal from them can be rough, I have since realized that I shouldn't have even come off them because I was right back to being the short tempered, tightly wound, ready to snap bitch that I was 20 years ago when I first went on them. As the side effects started to wane, so did the length of my 'fuse'.
Jay on April 03, 2013:
THEER IS NOTHING ADDICTIVE IN ZOLOFT. PEOPLE WHO WRITE ON THESE BLOGS WITHOUT M3E3DICAL TRAINING CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS!
paulsss on February 17, 2013:
Hello all, i am on sertraline and also feel that this drug like the rest are more of an addiction than a cure. The fact that the pharmo companies are not telling the truth about the withdrawal symptoms (discontinual syndrome as they like to say) to our local health advisers is enough for me now to stop taking this drug. They are for sure putting the money first before our health, this aint good at all as from this tuesday i will be seeing my pdoc and will be letting her know that i am coming off this.
princess di 7 I do hope you recover sooner rather than later , its not a nice road but you will reach the end of it, all the best
paul on February 17, 2013:
alex on February 13, 2013:
hello,i am 26 years old and i was on anafranil and xanaz for 4 years cause of anxiaty and panic attacks. ok realy helps panic attack, but i gain waight like 35 pounds. i feel like a thing not human just eat sleep and doing nothing more. no mood to go out and have fun.so i stop it litle by litle without talk to my doctor. after a few months i have anxiety issues again, but i have lost all my extra pounds. and i also have some "prepanic attack" thots. then i visit another doctor with huge success at hes job. he dont spend more than 5 mins on hes office with me and he just say ok take zoloft and still take xanax to sleep.he also tell me that zoloft dont makes you fat. i go up to 100 zoloft ( i start 25,50 etc) after 1 mounth i gain 10 pounds and i was on diet and gym. is like no way cant avoid the weight. and that depresses me. i felt like both roads is bad for me. what i can do now?? so here i am now, i stop zoloft . i go 50 for 4 days. then 25 for 4 days ( for less withdraw symptoms i suggest you do the same) . now i fight with my self every day to stop my bad thots and stop my panic attacks with no meds. if someone have some probles with me please share it :) even my parents help me but the worst think is that only the people experience it know how is it. thats why i love those post here I AM NOT ALONE this is huge help! thanks to all! keep up good mood
princess di 7 on February 10, 2013:
Hi all. I am particularly interested in hearing an update from 'Fifi brin dacier!' She is the one that has the most similar story/history as me. I started Zoloft approximately 20 years ago and, despite what a lot of people are saying on these sites, I truly do NOT regret it and found it to be quite a life saver for me! I have said many times over the past 20 years that "I never felt 'normal' (whatever that is for each person) from the time I hit puberty until I went on Zoloft"!! I do think perhaps 'puberty' or any change of hormones is the key thing here. I even witnessed the mental wellbeing of my son change with puberty! He was such a happy well adjusted child and seemed to change overnight with the onslaught of puberty and hormonal changes. As a matter of fact, when I was dealing with his attempts to quit an addiction to Crack, I doubled the Zoloft from 100 mg/day to 200 mg/day to try to deal with the terrible stress of thinking you are going to lose your child! All that to say; I am not trying to quit Zoloft for any other reason except I'm thinking that it might be time since I am not only post menopausal (IF that 'change' ever truly ENDS) as well as taking HRT (hormonal replacement therapy) It still may not have occurred to me to quit the Zoloft but I went away for a week & accidently left them at home. I did not intentionally quite NOR would I have ever quit any meds cold turkey! Upon my return home, I thought WTH, I have mild insomnia & I felt a little nauseous ~nothing I can't live with. It has been 3 weeks today & I'm continually feeling worse! Five days ago, I went to my doctor to get a shot of Gravol because I vomitted so many times that I never got past 10 minutes of injesting the Gravol by mouth! Also, I thought it was time to let him know what's been going on as I hadn't even told him that I quit Zoloft. He was 'pretty sure' that the symptoms I've been having are NOT related to the Zoloft withdrawal "after all this time" but I disagree! Between what I've read here & the mere fact that I have totally removed a medication like that (or ANY kind) after 20 years, I cannot believe it's not withdrawal symptoms that I'm suffering! So I would love to hear from anyone that was on Zoloft for that many years as well as that high of a dose (200 mg/day) and that subsequently quit cold turkey. 'Fifi brin dacier!' posted 6 months ago so she would probably be my best advisor if she managed to stay off them. As I said, it's been 3 weeks & as recently as yesterday, I had to take 4 Gravol in 8 hours for the nausea (haven't vomitted for a few days now) So if Fifi or anyone has perservered through similar circumstances & is further along in the withdrawal, PLEASE sign up and respond to me. I would like to add that I am soooo confused and frustrated by the people that have commented that they were also feeling weepy and depressed as a result of the WITHDRAWAL. Does that mean that we all NEEDED to stay on the meds or is it truly TEMPORARY symptoms???? Anybody?
Looking4mymind on October 25, 2012:
Wow - so glad I found this info. I too was using zoloft for at least 6 yrs. Even after weaning down to months of 50mg I am having so many problems. I have been totally off the pills for about 3 weeks and still having crazy side effects. I kept saying I was hearing a swishing noise in my head. This site as helped me realize I can fight this battle!
Angel Grodzki on September 02, 2012:
I am having pretty bad (but normal) side effects. Going on one week of totally being off the medicine. For the past couple of months, I have been cutting down my doses. Started at 150mg per day, then worked my way down to 50mg every 3rd day, then every 4th day. For the past 20 years, I have continuously been on some sort of anti-depressant/anxiety medication. Been on zoloft the longest, for about 10 years now. The dizziness, lack of concentration, sleeplessness, body aches, irritability, very funny feeling when I turn my head too fast, feeling drained, and crying at Anything and Everything, seems a bit overwhelming right now. But I am trying to keep the 'big picture' in mind. And that is getting this drug out of my body. I'm a little aprehensive to see how my body and mind will adjust to not having any medication in my system at all for the first time in 20 years. It's a little scary to be honest. I give you all a lot of credit for having the will power and determination to succeed in this. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. It makes this journey a little easier to know there are others out there fighting the same battle :)
tranquilitygirl on August 14, 2012:
I have been taking 25 mg of Zoloft for the past year mainly for my mood. I had previously taken 50mg for several years for postpartum depression. (No time frame from my doc on that one-- I feel I stayed on it way too long .) This time around my ob/gyn wanted me to take it for only 1 year. As before, I followed my original doctor's advice on weaning. For 2 weeks, I halved my dose -- a little difficult with 25mg -- but I broke the pill in half. So for 2 weeks take 12.5mg (or 25mg if you were originally taking 50mg) , then take 12.5mg every other day for 2 weeks, then 12.5mg every 3rd day for 2 weeks, and finally, take 12.5mg every 4th day for 2 weeks. I am in the 1st week of every 4th day. I started this process on the 4th of July. Some days are better than others but I have found that the worst day is the 2nd day/1st day of no meds. I get a little dizzy, my 1 ear feels blocked/buzzing, and definitely am short tempered/irritable. I have had some crying jags and unrealistic thoughts, ie making mountains out of molehills! I tell myself to get a grip and it will get better. I take an Advil or two for the headaches and try to limit my stress. Some of the early weaning days I couldn't do much. I started this process now instead of waiting until I see my ob/gyn at my annual checkup in the fall since I usually have seasonal affective disorder. I definitely have more energy and think clearer without Zoloft. Also, I am looking forward to losing a few pounds as I found that I tend to gain 5 pounds or so on Zoloft. I also feel it slows down my metabolism. So, the best advice is take it slowly not cold turkey. It will get better and you can do it. I was off of it for 3 1/2 years and did really well. Hoping I won't need it again but it is a really useful drug and does what it is supposed to -- make you feel normal.
boo on August 09, 2012:
I've been on zoloft for about six years. I had major anxiety issues in nursing school and was prescribed it. I ran out of it about five days ago and couldn't in to see me MD or get a prescription. This has been THE MOST miserable five days of my life. I finally got my MD call a prescription in and squeeze me in next week. I thought I was going crazy because I came home and opened the garage door and thought I saw my little dog in the corner. I closed the door and couldn't find him....thought he must have ran out the garage door when it was up. Looked for him for about 30 minutes outside. Was on the verge of tears, opened the door, and there he was. That's when I got scared and searched for zoloft withdrawl and hallucinations. You can bet your but I'll be asking for a safe way to come off these meds next week!
Fifi brin dacier on August 01, 2012:
I have been on Zoloft for 30 years for anxiety. It has been a life saver. Past menopause and having difficulty getting health insurance coverage, I thought I should try to get off it. In the last 6 months I have been tapering myself off it starting to skip one dose every other day for a few weeks, then one dose every 3 days. At any rate, I am not doing well since I stopped completely 2 weeks ago. The dizziness is totally unexpected and I have a very short fuse. Boy do I snap easily! seeing those comments has helped me realize that I am not going crazy. My concentration and attention spam are not good. I still want to keep trying and I do not want to switch to another product (prescription or herbal). Has anyone been successful in staying off the medication and am I bound to going back on it? I love to hear experiences of those who have been on it long term. Thanks
harper on June 15, 2012:
I stopped taking Zoloft cold turkey and am on about day 4 or 5. I've been feeling very light headed but so far haven't had any negative mood changes. I've felt more like myself but I'm worried this will change very soon. I've noticed that signs of an eating disorder I had a couple of years ago are surfacing again. (I was given antidepressants at that time as well). I've also noticed that I'm more tired and will get what I like to call "head shakes." It feels like a small seizure that lasts for about two or three seconds causing my head to shake.
I would suggest never beginning this drug. It made me gain about ten pounds and left me feeling like a zombie. Any type of chemical you have to put in your body to make yourself feel better is never a good choice!
missbeckydem on June 05, 2012:
Hey everyone. So glad I found this page. Been on 100mg for over a year now and if I forget to take them for a few days or run out I actually go nuts. Have hysterical crying fits and I don't even know what I'm crying about. I get very aggressive and it causes so much shit with my bf as he doesn't understand depression and thinks its a week ness which winds me up. Just searched this from a crying spiel on the floor coz I have not had any for 3 days. :( I hate depression so much! Hope your all well xx
Dyna on May 07, 2012:
Stay AWAY from the drug. I have only taken 2 pills then stopped because every time I swallowed I kept having a clicking noise in my throat and excessive saliva.
I stopped and after 8 days I'm experiencing vivid dreams/severe ear pain that last a few minutes at night that wakes me then goes away. I had been experiencing sweats hot/cold and muscle twitches/spasms and constipation along with anxiety. I'd advise anyone to who has just started that things only get worse the longer you leave it. It's really annoying. I feel so weak :-/
Julia on May 07, 2012:
Thank you so much for this. I've been on zoloft for about 5 months and I'm on 150mg now. I kept quickly upping my dose before, because after 2 weeks I would feel more depressed again and wanted that feeling to go away. I really felt the zoloft was helping me for a while, but the last month and a half or so I've been physically feeling worse. I'm not sure if I'm developing new side effects or not. I've had horrible insomnia and headaches after taking my pills. I was lucky if I was able to get two hours a night of sleep. So, after already becoming paranoid about any medication because of bad experiences with every other one i've tried (prozac, lexapro, and wellbutrin), I decided to try and skip a night here and there to see if it would make a difference. And it did. I seem to have much more energy and motivation and can finally sleep normally again. I've been skipping every other night or so, but have decided that I really want to be drug free. I'm tired of medications screwing me up. Reading this really helped me feel much better about everything now. Thank you!
Steve on April 22, 2012:
I started at 25mg, then 50mg, then 100, finally, i questioned my clinic practioner; saying why are you doing this, raising them up on me, when i said repeatedly that i was feeling better! It was free of cost to me through a program that helped people who didn't work, and/or had no income, so, yes i was and am thankful for them! But, don't forget their called practioner because they're practicing on you!!
Cassie on April 01, 2012:
I have only been on 100mg zoloft for 10 days.. Will I have symptoms quitting cold turkey?
George T on March 28, 2012:
I searched the internet this morning specifically to check if there were side effects when stopping the use of Zoloft. Glad to find I am normal! Funny, the Doctors say you can stop at any time and not have problems... Ubt I worry about cold turkey and always reduce dosgage slowly over the course of weeks...BUT I wondered why was I now having harder time sleeping, and why was I having these really strange dreams, which I ususally never had..now they were several times every night! I have thought now imporoved as I started walking, and yes tring to laugh, as these fill in and return to normal, and naturally, what the drug was trying to do... This posting was very helpful to me. Thank you!
Heather on February 23, 2012:
I've been wanting to get off Zoloft for a long time. I'm 40 y/o and I've been taking it for 12 years! It helped alot in the beginning but now, i dont know. I feel stronger and like i may not need it but Im scared to stop, I'm afraid I'll go into some horrible funk! After reading all of the above, I realize I'm going to have to face this one day and there will be side effects. I'll just have to be strong and do it!
gracex2 on January 16, 2012:
Hi all, I am a 31yo mother of two. I got on Zoloft for situational depression in college. The main side affects for me are sexual side affects (didn't know what I was missing until I briefly got off of it for a few months during my first pregnancy) and the memory loss (mainly short term). My memory used to be brag worthy. But now, it is the source of constant frustration and arguments with my husband. I saw "The Marketing of Madness" on youtube and decided at that point to get off Zoloft. I was on 100mg and slowly after a couple of months I just went down to 50mg. I am super irritable and I feel like my anxiety and depression are back. I have been experiencing sleep disturbances, disturbing dreams, irritability... My husband wanted me to get off, unfortunatley he doesn't understand depression, let alone withdrawls and tonight after I called him lazy for not turning off his cell phone that was beeping because the battery was low, his response was "you know, you are crazy." So, yea, he's not the most supportive person. That said, if anyone has any advice or success, I would be very grateful. I currently am eating a more plant based diet, but I definitely need to work on getting enough sleep (hard with a 8m old) and exercise (I never could force myself even before zoloft).
Caelan on September 18, 2011:
I was on 200mg and I've gone cold turkey because I felt too weird with them in my system, boy was I wrong. I get a ringing in my ears when I turn my head, I have thoughts that don't feel like my own, things that look like people in the corner of my eye, low moods, etc. I'd never touch them again but this is hell. It's apparent to me that these drugs have not been tested enough.
Josie Adams (author) from Australia on September 12, 2011:
Hey there polkadot, how bout you get yourself to a doctor. You need meds buddy. Just a fact of life for some. Worry about whether or not you can go without them when you are settled and not so lonely.
polkadot on September 01, 2011:
I recently quit my job and moved out of state. I had been taking zoloft for about six months after dealing with severe ocd and anxiety. My doctor told me that he would still prescribe me the zoloft after i moved to help me get through the tough time. I haven't heard back from my doctor after numerous calls and messages. I have been out of zoloft for four days now. I am moody and emotional, not to mention I feel so extremely dizzy and lathargic it is hard to function. After gaining about 18 lbs while on the zoloft, i want to stay off of it now that I'm going through this withdrawl already, but I'm just not sure if I can do this much longer. I am unemployed, chubby and lonely in my new city. Does anyone have any idea how long this withdrawl could last. I realize it would have been better to come off the zoloft slowly but it is too late now. My poor boyfriend can't understand, and my mom just wants me to take the pills for the rest of my life i think. Any thoughts?
mandypoole from UK on August 22, 2011:
I agree. Any type of antidepressant that is stopped suddenly can make you so ill. Your mood can come crashing down, you may experience irritability, cry loads, feel nauseous and become light headed.
Always come off prescribed medication slowly, its still tough but once its all out of your system you will start to feel better. Always with the advice and support of your Doctor though!
Moe on June 01, 2011:
Been on Zoloft for 3 weeks take ambien to sleep hate taking all the meds not sure I still want to take it will the side effects be bad if i stop it now.
Joni Lynelle from Kansas, USA on May 27, 2011:
Thank you, MellyMoo (great name by the way) Yes, I have also excepted it now. I started them about 11 years ago now, and after going through a few years of denial and rebellion I have come to realize that life is better with them. I do have DID though so sometimes an alter may forget them for a day. Usually not two days though thankfully, but I always know immediately when this happens because of the zap my brain goes through when I have skipped.
Thanks for your kind reply and encouragement!
MellyMoo from Australia on May 27, 2011:
Hi Joni. I know .... I feel weird after even taking them a couple of hours later than usual. I could definitely not take them a day or two late. I have read that they work much better if you take them at exactly the same time every day. I am just so thankful that I only need 50mgs to balance out the chemicals in my brain and if I have to take them forever, I really don't mind because they help me to be 'me'. I have tried without and it's just not worth it for me. I used to feel angry too that I had to have them but I accept it now. It is a physical illness, like any other and is not your fault. All the best.
Joni Lynelle from Kansas, USA on May 27, 2011:
Thanks for sharing your experiences. The thing I have found when I forget to take my meds for a few days is a strange almost crackling sound in my brain that is accompanied by a buzz feeling and maybe even something visual. It all happens simultaneously and lasts only 1 or 2 seconds, leaving it hard to really describe. I just know it feels horrid. Unfortunately I am in the "have to take them forever" group of people, but I absolutely loath it... It makes me so angry sometimes.
Josie Adams (author) from Australia on May 06, 2011:
Thank you for sharing, I too have a family member who may always need medication, and my grandmother was bipolar. I am very thankful that I no longer need medication, but it is good to remember as you have pointed out that there is a time and a place for it, and we all react differently. The more me talk about these things and get depression and mental illness out in the open the better.
MellyMoo from Australia on May 03, 2011:
Thank you for your story. I can relate. I had to go back on zoloft (which I had been on for a few months before falling pregnant) when 13wks pregnant with my fourth baby. I felt so guilty about having to be on an antidepressant while growing this beautiful baby, but the uncontrollable crying was worse and the doctor and midwives convinced me that a healthy, happy mum makes a happy bub. I am so greatful that I did. I took zoloft all the way through my pregnancy and while breastfeeding and it worked wonderfully. I weaned myself off it when my baby was 10months old, however 8months later, after a string of stressful events, I realised that I did infact need to be on zoloft and that I had severe clinical depression and that it was not my fault. Thirty minutes after taking my first tablet, I began to feel the chemical change in my brain and I began to get better from that moment on. There have been times in my life where I have been able to manage my depression with diet, exercise, meditation etc however there have also been times where I have been doing all of these things and more and have woken one day with the heaviness of depression throughout my whole body. I would advise anyone to listen to their own body as we are all different. Do what works for you. I agree that doctors do not always know and from my experience I have discovered that most of them have not experienced depression themselves and unless someone has, they have no possible idea of what it feels like. My father suffers schizophrenia and my sister has bipolar so unfortunately, for me, there is something genetic. Depression is not something to be ashamed of. It is an illness. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, just like a broken part, yes. We all need to talk about it more. I really believe this. Thank you
Nibi on November 11, 2010:
I told my family what I was about to go through and they all just said you making it up and being happy gets rid of the side effects. And they all have mental illness. I take it for anxiety i got off of it cause it was causing my body to stop being able to accept food and i never had panic attacks before until the 10 yr mark. So I sit alone at home...with a husband who wants to break it off cause he assumes I'm complaining to much. Its not like I'm doing the mood and comprehension issues and nausea on purpose, yes I like them makes me happy...geesh. So I sit and talk to my ancestral guides they've kept me bubbly sane all my life even through mental and physical abuse from my dad. Month 2 and still nauseous and right brain pain from sinus too back of my skull. Thanks for the write up I'm gonna show it to willing readers of my family.
scared!!! on November 03, 2010:
I have been on Zoloft for 3 years, suffering post natal depression after my first child, fell pregnant again and now have my 2 beautiful bubbas! Well Zoloft served me well! In fact i believe it saved my life! I was very suicidal, had implemented everything i needed and it was all in front of me ready to go! It was one last thought to reach out to my husband just to tell him i loved him that ended it - i confessed over the phone and he came straight home from work! Since that day I have been taking zoloft! That was until last week, most ppl who have taken it will know how it kinda makes you dull, forgetful etc, well i had gone to a friends house to visit for a couple hours and had forgotten that my husband had put my 11 month old baby in the car for me to take!!! I nearly killed my baby!!! I was in horror, luck and only shear luck saved him, had it been a few degrees warmer that day i would have been planning my babies funeral! Let this be a warning to all mums who take these meds!!!!!
I have not taken a single dose since that day! 8 Days in, going cold turkey! Yes it is taking its toll - but not taking my babies life!!! I have had very little sleep all week,major headaches etc, but i have asked for help with the kids and hopefully it will soon get a lot better. Never again will i take mind numbing drugs again! There has to be a better way!!!!!!!!
Mystery on October 10, 2010:
I am with all you guys. I was taking zoloft for about a year and went up Tomas far as taking 200mg. I didn't have money to pay the copayment to refill my perscription so I had to wait. Well a few days passed and I was ok. However, the 3rd day I started feeling sick. Shaky, anxiety, brain zaps and tiredness just feeling horrible. This continued the fourth and fifth day. I am
lying in bed today afraid to get up because when i
start to walk around, I feel dizzy and sick and I get brain zaps. I don't even know what's going on... Someone tell me please. How long does this last? And why the brain zaps? How
long do they last? I've decided to go through with this and stay off the zoloft to see how I do. But I am so dam sick.... Ugh!!! Help!!! Please.... What can indo to stop these withdrawal symptoms....
Gracie J on September 24, 2010:
Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. I've been off Zoloft for about 3 weeks and although the physical withdrawls and "crying about everything" are starting to pass, the anxiety and irritability are still there. I'm so worried I will lose my mind. I'm a single, 44 year old woman with only my dog (cute as she is) to keep me company. I have friends and family but I can't stand this anxiety/depression. Does it go away? How do I know if I still need the Zoloft?
maggie may_1959 on September 11, 2010:
A little over 2 years ago i was going thew a divorice and i took a FML to take cake care of my sick mom she passed away in six weeks one day when hospice was here they notice me and sugested i see my family doctor for depression and of corse she put me on zoloft started out at 25 soon 50 then 100 then 150 then 200 i gained 75 pounds over the past 2 years
i was told that is not a side effect well its been all most 3 weeks that i have stoped taking zoloft cold turkey and have lost 22 ponds i feel ok have my moments the crying for no reason and i snap easy but catch my self and say i can do this i am bound i can do this . i was so happy to find this site to know i am not alone
Mia on August 07, 2010:
1 year on 100 mg Zoloft. Dropped dose to 50 mg...no problems. Went to 25 mg..no problems. Discontinued use...withdraw symptoms started in a few days and have been building ever since although I think I peaked now going on 1 1/2 weeks. I get a weird dizziness when on getting off the computer and after driving. Also, it is kind of like quitting caffeine cold turkey. Starting to feel slightly like anxiety is returning - the reason I was on the stuff to begin with. It really helps knowing this is temporary due to withdraw. I'm confident all will be well, but I think it will take at least a full month.
pinetopgal on July 06, 2010:
Have taken zoloft for 11 years,have tried to just stop taking it as well. I am now trying again ,it has been only 5 days,not able to sleep well,cry @ all that youal' have gone through as well.It was good to read all your input,to know im not going backwards that i can tough it out @ come out to the other side.Thanks to all of you out there.
Adam on June 08, 2010:
Thank you very much for this. I appreciate your first-hand knowledge and your strength. I've been on Zoloft for six months and decided to not renew my prescription as I have never liked pills in the first place and was always fogetful about taking them. I went cold turkey about 1.5-2 weeks ago and feel good, no depressive moods, sleeping well. The only side effect for me would be "feeling a a bit weird in the head" LOL. I feel slightly detached and a bit light-headed. Helpful to read ur story and the comments here re: hallucianting, as sometimes I think I'm seeing things out of the corner of my eye at night, but it lasts a millisecond. I never told friends/family I went on meds and haven't been to the doctor since I got prescribed so these forums are so beneficial to a stubborn male like myself! Thanks again and I wish you good luck and health
carol on May 31, 2010:
I went on zoloft after I had my son, however I have turned into a pathetic drunk and put on 15kg, I also became incrediably forgetful and i feel numb all the time. I am just starting to taper of the drug, however I cant seem to do it as the brain temors driver me insane, I'm determined to come of this drug, but I soooo scared of the brain temors
Lisa Mckay on April 18, 2010:
OMG Zoloft and Xanax are horrible! I was suffering postpartum
depression and the doctor prescribed both of them! I also quit cold turkey and was horribly ill and hallucinating! Oh and incredibly irritable! I started working out at the same time to sweat it all out of my system! I made it but my Lord it was the hardest thing ever! Willpower people its no good for you! If I can make it and be a success story so can you! Be strong be patient and you will make it!!
Josie Adams (author) from Australia on February 07, 2010:
Hey Mandy, you are a tough cookie. It's a hard road to take and if you have to give in and take some don't feel like a failure, you can give it a go another time another way. Keep in touch with the Dr, and watch the wine it's a depressant and won't help in the long run (I have been there done that too). Better to get over the counter sleeping tablets that aren't addictive.
mandy on February 03, 2010:
Thank You for this article ! I thought I was going crazy. I tried coming off slowly like the Dr said but I am just so ready for these to be out of my system. This is my fourth day with no meds and the dr and pharmacy says to start taking them again , it will help. I have been up since 2:00 this morning , and that was after a night of hysterical crying that I have never experienced. I was able to subdue the crying last night with wine but I can't keep doing that I have a job and a family.I did see images last night while lying awake in bed , and again thought I was crazy so it is very comforting to read that someone else has gone thru exactly the same thing. I will not take another pill , I want these out of my system and will continue to tough it out. If you happen to look at this page anytime soon any more advice you can offer me would be greatly apperciated, this is such a lonley hopeless feeling. I have never felt like this and this stupid medicine did it. Thank you again.
Josie Adams (author) from Australia on January 20, 2010:
That must have been awful for you. I suppose with everything there are pro's and cons, but most people don't get consumer choice with these things due to the circumstances of the prescription. At least they don't give everyone shock therapy anymore!
Elayne from Rocky Mountains on January 20, 2010:
Sounds almost like my experience getting of Xanax (poison). I went cold turkey and nearly had a grand mal seizure with my husband and kids watching. Not fun. They should tell us these things when they prescribe them. Hope you are doing better now.
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on January 20, 2010:
I admire your courage in going cold turkey. My opinion of most prescription drugs, is that they often do more harm than good. Good luck in your journey. Good hub with good, first-person advice