I took Zoloft for all 4 PPD that I experienced. After Sweet Girl was born and me being on Zoloft, I decided to just stop.
Except that I couldn't figure out what was going on with my head. It was horrible. I'm pretty sure it was Zoloft Withdrawal.
I called my doctor. So I had to go back on to get off. But ooooh, let me tell you. It was pretty weird.
The signs and preventions for Zoloft withdrawalZoloft is a commonly prescribed is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other panic and anxiety-related disorders. At our law office, we have had a lot of folks contact us who suffer from painful SSRI withdrawal. Other commonly prescribed SSRIs that had the same affect on clients included Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Porzac, Luvox, and Effexor for the same purposes. Oftentimes, patients that are prescribed SSRIs suffer a variety of symptoms known as Zoloft Discontinuation Syndrome (or more commonly, Zoloft withdrawal) when they discontinue taking the drug within a few day. The symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal mimic the flu with the following similar affects on the body:
- Stomach upset or gastrointestinal distress
- Dizziness or fainting
- Vision problems
- Sensitive touch
- Irritable moods/mood swings
According to the Northwest Behavioral Medicine and Research Center in Atlanta, approximately 20-percent of patients who cease their prescribed SSRIs suffer from Discontinuation Syndrome. The study also states that approximately 15-percent of those affected experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms—while less than five-percent are stricken with more severe symptoms.
Are you at risk for experiencing Zoloft Discontinuation Syndrome?
Ceasing a prescription for SSRI medication causes Discontinuation Syndrome in patients depending on the following factors:
- The duration you’ve used an SSRI
- Medication dosage level
- How quickly SSRIs are eliminated from your body (i.e., could depend on the body’s absorption rate, etc.)
Can you prevent Zoloft withdrawal?
If you are thinking about discontinuing your SSRI medication, you should always do it safely by consulting your doctor first and foremost. Your physician is familiar with Zoloft’s affects on the human body and will likely recommend you take the following precautions to prevent or decrease your withdrawal symptoms:
1. Never cease a prescription medication suddenly
If the medication you are taking is making you feel worse or you are experiencing unpleasant side effects, it is important to consult your doctor before just abruptly stopping an antidepressant medication. Your drug treatment should be monitored closely by your prescribing physician, and stopping a drug cold turkey will only leave you in pain from withdrawal symptoms. Instead, make sure your prescriptions are refilled before you run out suddenly, and work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that makes you feel comfortable and works for you.
2. Let your doctor determine how and when you should stop taking a medication
No doubt your doctor has thoroughly assessed you before prescribing an antidepressant like Zoloft. Knowing your health history, clinical history, and current lifestyle, your doctor can also safely assess whether stopping a drug treatment is appropriate and in what time-frame to do so. So let the professional make the call.
3. Wean off your medication slowly
The best way to reduce Zoloft withdrawal is by lessening your dosage gradually and over time. Typically, a doctor would recommend a period of at least 2-weeks to reduce the dosage of an antidepressant in order to reduce the negative side effects of withdrawal.
4. Keep the rest of your life as healthy as possible
Not only is it prudent to get adequate sleep, exercise, and a nourishing, balanced diet if you suffer from depression, it’s vital if you plan to wean yourself off of any type of prescription medication. A clean bill of health will decrease your incidence of added stress and depression on the body during your withdrawal period.
About The Author
Colleen Harding is a guest blogger and staff writer for a personal injury lawyer who specializes on writing about law. Colleen hopes that sharing her knowledge will make us all happy, law-abiding citizens. She is also a member of Amnesty International as well as an active volunteer in her community.