I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted! I recently launched a new website for my freelance design. You can check it out here. But, I wanted to share a very important blog post with you guys. As many of you know, I have been on medication for depression and anxiety. And now, I want to tell you about my experience going off of that medication (Zoloft to be specific).
Disclaimer: I did go off Zoloft against my doctor’s recommendation. I am not a doctor and have no medical training. I am not qualified to offer medical advice. This is all based off my own experience.
Why I Went Off Zoloft
I gained about 50lbs on Zoloft. I’m completely serious. And, it didn’t matter what my diet was or how much I exercised, I only gained weight, and never saw results. It was one of the most frustrating things about this medication. It seriously killed my self confidence and discouraged any healthy habits I had tried because I didn’t see results. Of course, this isn’t considered a side effect of the medication. *insert eye roll*
I became apathetic on this medication. I didn’t care about anything and had no creative energy whatsoever. That doesn’t work for an art major! But, I just really didn’t feel or care about anything. While it numbed my anxiety, the meds also numbed my excitement and happiness about just about anything.
My doctor pressured me to stay on Zoloft when I told her I felt ready to go off of it! This got me researching if doctor’s got a kickback for writing prescriptions. There is no proof of it in my case, but I didn’t find it comforting. Nor did I feel comfortable staying on a drug I didn’t feel I needed anymore. Especially when my doctor didn’t allow me the chance to explain the issues and why I felt I should go off of Zoloft.
How I Went Off Zoloft
- The first thing I did was talk to my husband! This wasn’t going to be something I could do alone.
- Research! I researched going off of Zoloft like an obsessed person. I researched the safest and best way to do it. I researched the withdrawal effects. I researched how people felt after it was all out of their system. I researched ways to help with the withdrawals.
- I made a plan. I determined how long I would stay on a specific dosage and wrote it out. I also talked to my husband about vitamins I would need to take to help with the side effects.
- And then we started the process of weaning off!
I took A LOT of vitamins during this time to help with the weaning off. Surprisingly, there are a lot of natural supplements and vitamins that help with anxiety and depression. So as I was lowering the dosage of Zoloft, and effectively lowering the amount of the drug in my bloodstream, I was building up my reservoirs of other natural vitamins. The vitamins I took were as follows:
- Optimum Nutrition multivitamin
- vitamin D3
- vitamin E
I’m pretty sure there were more, but that’s something you have to figure out for your own needs. For me, I needed the separate iron supplement because I’ve always had a low iron count. There are tons of articles out there on vitamins that are good for anxiety. I do recall that tyrosine is one that is often listed, but can cause unreasonable anger and frustration. So I would stay away from that one.
Your schedule needs to be customized to you! I had been on Zoloft since January 2016. This is quite a while to be on a drug like this… another reason I was hesitant to listen to my doctor. I was on 150mg of Zoloft when I decided to go off. From my understanding, they typically go up to 200mg as the maximum dosage. My weaning off process took about 4 weeks. I weaned off slowly, lowering the dose every few days. When I got to the lowest dose (25mg), I would take on every other day for about 4 days, then every two days for about 4 days. Then I was all done!
My Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms were awful! People are known to sue the company because of the withdrawals. I was exhausted and moody. I slept a lot, sometimes up to twelve hours a day! I had a lot of muscle soreness and general flu-like symptoms. I had horrible headaches and some bouts of anxiety, although the vitamins seemed to help with that a lot. Honestly, no writing is going to prepare you for these symptoms. They vary for everyone. The best way for me to cope was hot tea, and soup (in the summer I know!). And a ton of sleep.
Ultimately, I am glad that I went off of Zoloft. I have more energy and can actually feel emotions. I’ve already started losing weight. Anyways, I hope you find this helpful. Again, I am not a doctor and have no medical training. I am not qualified to offer medical advice. This is all based off my own experience.