Sunday, 11 February 2018

My Experience With Sertraline

I have been taking antidepressants for, at least, five or six years now. I've come off the meds, and gone back on them, more times than I can count. And the doctors know by now that I do what I want when it comes to my medication. The first antidepressant I was put on that really worked for me was Setraline, and I thought it might be useful for some of you if I put together a post about my own experience with Sertraline. 

Setraline is a type of antidepressant known as an SSRI. It is often used to treat depression, and sometimes panic attacks, OCD, and PTSD. Setraline helps many people recover from depression and has few unwanted side effects than older antidepressants. 

It's important to note, these are only my own experiences. You may have very different experiences. And remember, what works for one won't always work for the other. It can take time, and lots of trial and error, before you find the antidepressant that works for you. And even when you think you've found it? Things can always change. Read on to understand more. 

I started taking Sertraline (or Zoloft, as it's better known) after unsuccessfully trying out Citalopram. I had so many awful side effects with Citalopram, and felt much worse on the drug than off it. So I was very nervous about starting a new drug. I'd done my research, and been warned that my moods may get worse before they started to get better, so I felt about as prepared as I could possibly be. But honestly? I was totally overprepared. 

I experienced absolutely no side effects from Sertraline, at any point. No nausea, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, or problems sleeping/sleeping too much. The only noticeable impact Sertraline had on me physically? I lost my sex drive. A common complaint when it comes to SSRI's, and other antidepressants, and I was prepared for this. I was flummoxed by the lack of side effects, but pleased to be taking tablets that, finally, allowed me to live a normal life whilst working on my mood.

Because Sertraline did help my moods. It took probably six weeks, I'd say, before I started to feel any better. But Setraline did improve and stabilise my mood for well over a year. And then I decided to stop taking it, cold turkey, and go med free. This went well, for about another year or so. Then my moods took a nosedive, and I was prescribed Sertraline again, and warned about stopping the drugs cold turkey. Seriously, kids, don't do it. Wean yourself off any and all antidepressants. It's a much safer way. 

On this second go round with Sertraline, I saw no improvement in my mood. Not after six weeks, twelve weeks, eighteen weeks. The doctor's upped the dosage from the lowest dose, 50mg, to the highest dose, 250mg, and still nothing. Nada. Zilch. I was then referred to the mental health team, and there I was first introduced to the concept that you can become, effectively, immune to certain antidepressants. This is likely what had happened to me, and that's why Sertraline was no longer working for me.

Under the care of the mental health team, I was advised to wean off Sertraline and start taking Fluoxetine (or Prozac). Because I like to think I know better, though, I'd already stopped taking the Sertraline. I stopped cold turkey, but on such a high dose? Man, I felt it. I was so ill; I felt like I had the flu for about a week. The withdrawal was hard, and if I had to do it all over again, I'd 100% wean myself off rather than stop, cold turkey. 

So how am I doing on the Fluoxetine? Has it helped, where Sertraline no longer could? Well, you're going to have to wait for the answers to those questions. I'll be popping up a post in a few weeks, hopefully, about My Experience With Fluoxetine. So keep an eye out for that one! I hope this post helps some of you, and if you want to discuss anything about Sertraline/Fluoxetine then feel free to email me or find me on Twitter and drop me a DM.

Once again, please remember, these are only my experiences with the drug. I cannot guarantee this will be your experience, nor that the drug is right for you. I also do not recommend stopping any antidepressants suddenly. It's important to wean off them, and there's a very good reason the doctor's advise you to do this. Listen to the medical professionals, guys, and be safe. 

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