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Did Zoloft worsen my condition?

Posted by BR2002 on May 5, 2002, at 20:26:53

In December 1999 I started on Zoloft for social anxiety/panic disorder.
I felt increased anxiety for a 3-4 day period in the beginning,
but after that everything went back to normal. This was on 50 mg.
After a couple of months the dosage was increased to 100 mg, because
I felt 50 mg didn't help. Now I felt that Zoloft was actually helping,
nevertheless I decided to quit in January 2001. I was surprised that
I did not have any withdrawal symptoms. After a relatively good
period after this, I started having symptoms of anxiety again in November
2001. I was working much at the time and was stressed by this, and
I was beginning to feel a bit depressed as well. I told my M.D.
that I had been thinking of maybe starting on Zoloft again, and
he did not hesitate prescribing them. I was a little anxious about
taking them because I remembered how the first 3-4 days could
be a harsh experience.

Anyway, in December 2001, I took my first pill (25 mg). It didn't
take more than 15 minutes before I immediatly had an onset of
severe anxiety. Most of you here know how horrible it is. I thought
that unfortunately this was something I had to go through the
first couple of days. But this time it was going to be a lot
worse than in 99. The severe anxiety was present almost all the
time after the first pill. I didn't sleep for 3 days, nor did
I eat. I had frequent panic attacks among the anxiety. At times
I was just lying in bed having tremendous tremors, unable to
do anything else. I was in bed most of the time as I felt even
going to the bathroom was difficult. At night I couldn't sleep,
and my father told me I could take some of his Imovane to help
me sleep, but I refused because I felt I had to be absolutely
sure that the Zoloft and Imovane did not interact with each
other and worsen my condition. The anxiety made me feel
so desperate that at one point I begged my mother to drive me
to a nearby psychiatric hospital. I told her that she had to
get me some anti-anxiety tablets so I could have some relief.
Later the day a M.D. prescribed me Vival (diazepam) and at the
same time told me it was safe to take Imovane, Zoloft and Vival
altogether. I was so relieved by hearing this and getting
the Vival prescription it alone made the anxiety go away.
Now I didn't even feel I needed the Vival anymore, although
I took one together with Imovane to help me sleep (I hadn't
slept for 3 days). It sure worked (Imovane did the trick).
The M.D. told me I should continue Zoloft and up the dose
till I reached 100 mg. After having a good period on 50 mg,
I was a bit anxious to increase to 100 mg as I was fearing
possible negative consequences. But since the M.D. told me
to, I felt I had to.

On 100 mg I started feeling strange. It was like in a twilight
zone between dreamworld and reality. These feelings of derealization
nourished the anxiety, and I felt like I was going crazy. I started
to doubt reality and began to fear that I might suffer from
schizophrenia or another serious mental illness. A "mental hypochondria",
so to speak. It's hard to describe exactly how I felt, but it was
very unpleasant. I was getting very pessimistic and feared that I
was never going to get back to normal. I was certain that Zoloft was the cause
of all this, and eventually decided to discontinue them. I just felt
I had to get this shit out of my system and tapered off in something
like a two-week period.

It's now about two months since I completely stopped Zoloft. The fact
is that I have never felt the same after this. I still suffer from
derealization, and having doubts about reality. I have thoughts
where I philosophize over the fact that I can only be 100% sure
of my own existence, everything else may be an illusion. Or what
if everything is set up to con me? If you have seen the movie
"The Truman Show" or "The Matrix", you can imagine what I mean.
These kind of thoughts are bothering me, and at times make
my anxiety rise to almost unbearable heights. My short term
memory has been reduced. I feel "foggy", and my eyes are often
wet and red. Every night I have powerful and vivid dreams,
and many mornings when I wake up it's like I'm still in the dream.
Occasionally I have problems distinguishing dreams from reality
(I'm unsure if an episode occurred in reality or if it was just
a dream), although this does not happen very often. I have problems
being with other people, because I feel I just have to get away.
I'm almost never outside my apartment, but this was also a problem
before the Zoloft. I generally feel depressed, I have difficulty
enjoying things. I can easily get irritated. I usually end up in
front of my computer because it can somewhat calm me down.
In simple words: I don't feel like myself anymore. It's like I
don't even know who I am. I try to think positively, but all those
negative thoughts block everything else. I just feel generally

I have never been like this before. I have a feeling that the Zoloft
is responsible for my current condition. Of course it's impossible
to say what would have happened if I did not take the Zoloft, but I
just don't think it would have been this bad. I might be wrong.
It has to be said that there are better days in between, but the good
periods usually don't last long. I have become so sensitive that
my mood can jump from good to bad in a matter of seconds. There's so
much info on mental disorders on the internet, that it's easy to pick up
things you read, start imagining things and self-diagnose. I'm awaiting
an appointment with a psychiatrist, in the meantime:

Do you think it's possible that Zoloft worsened my condition?
From what I have described, can you make possible diagnosis?
And what kind of medication do you think could help me?




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