My horrible 5-day experience with Zoloft



First off, these drugs are absolute poison and should be taken off the market NOW! People’s troubles with anxiety and depression CANNOT be solved with the equivalent of LSD/PCP/Ecstasy! These drugs only inflame the symptoms and make recovery impossible.

I am still coping with a mild case of PPD, brought on by the stress of having two children in two years (my second pregnancy wasn’t planned), and a very troubled stepson that lives with us. I went to my OB/GYN, and while he sent me for a complete physical, including a thyroid/anemia screening, he also handed me three bottles of Zoloft to take for three weeks. He said they would help calm me down, because my anxiety level was awful. I had no idea my anxiety would go from bad to manic.

The first day I took the Zoloft, I felt fine. The next day, I had a vivid, disturbing nightmare and a hypoglycemia-like reaction. Thank God I was able to get down to the refrigerator, even though I was in a near-catatonic state, and consume an ice cream bar. I stabilized, but had no idea what happened to me.

For the next few days, I had severe nightmares, and sometimes when I woke up, I was in a state of anxiety and confusion that I can’t even describe, it was so bizarre. Thought upon thought upon thought, all making no sense.

It was an act of God that I found and read through these stories. Even though I knew MORE anxiety was a possible reaction to Zoloft, I had no idea it would happen to me!

To make a long story short, I stopped Zoloft after five days, with the encouragement of my OB/GYN. Even he was horrified at my reaction to the drug. I do not blame him for what happened. I don’t think he’s fully aware what this drug can do to people. I would bet most doctors are not aware.

It took another two weeks for the drug to wash completely out of my system. I still had nightmares and severe insomnia for a week after I stopped the drug. Only after two weeks did I start to feel like myself again. Now, I’m back to square one with the PPD. I’m furious that I lost two weeks of recovery because I spent two weeks trying to recover from Zoloft!

I am now taking natural supplements, getting a hormone test (to see if my estrogen/progesterone levels are contributing to this), and eating better. In my opinion, this is the only cure. Don’t rely on a drug. I am fortunate that I stopped using this garbage before I got even further down the road with it! If my reaction after five days was that horrifying, imagine if I continued with this “treatment,” which I now know was no better than pumping my veins full of LSD or PCP!

We can’t cure what’s ailing us with the equivalent of illegal street drugs. Now that I know what these drugs can do, I will do whatever I can to keep people away from them. My life could have been ruined. Many others’ lives ARE ruined. I was lucky. WE NEED A FULL BAN ON SRRIs BEFORE MORE LIVES ARE DESTROYED!!!

Lisa Spinelli



This is Survivor Story number 34.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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It All Started after the Zoloft

“…suicidal urges, feeling out of it, feeling faint, heart racing, nervousness, dizziness, feeling out of it like You’re not here, feeling cold which accompanied the EXTREME anxiety and shaking…”


Jan 22nd & 23rd 2002, I took 25 mg of Zoloft each day.

The 24th I woke up at 7 AM shaking all over & petrified for no reason. I automatically linked it 2 the Zoloft cuz I was great before I took them. Again it happened that night. Friday morning I went to ER, I was given some medicine (did nothing because it wasn’t what was wrong)

For about a week-a week and a half I would be shaking and petrified Mostly the symptoms were at night. Somewhere I read on these boards that it usually happens after the time period that U took the Zoloft. I was taking them in the middle of the day. So maybe that explains why it happened at night. Anyways. My mother slept in my room 1 night, was w/me other nights/& I was even in her room sleeping some nights… I haven’t waked up with that shaking and PETRIFIED since then BUT I have had a long list of other symptoms. I will say which just so U can inform others…stomach aches, diarrhea, stomach burn, chest pain (left, right, middle areas) SPINNING feeling, SWAYING feeling, nausea, WEAKNESS real bad, feeling unreal, VERY sound sensitive, VERY food sensitive, suicidal, suicidal urges, feeling out of it, feeling faint, heart racing, nervousness, dizziness, feeling out of it like You’re not here, feeling cold which accompanied the EXTREME anxiety and shaking.

I got slow motion one time, and very light sensitive once, one time I felt like I was gonna black out (things actually got dark).

So many others probably I missed.

A few calmed down. But sometimes I feel as though I’m worse in some ways.

Sometimes I fear going to sleep; sometimes it’s hard for me to eat cuz my symptoms get worse. And most the time I want to give up. If I weren’t so afraid to do something to myself (afraid of pain or More pain should I say) then I probably wouldn’t be here. It’s sooooo hard to deal with this. Day in and out I get soooo weak and have to lie in bed all the time. I feel sad from this. I feel alone at times. And scared a lot. I mean dr’s don’t agree, and most people say Oh but Half time life on that pill, or oh how could it do that. I worry cuz I heard something on serotonin syndrome, yet I know drs wouldn’t test me, besides I’m afraid to even look at what it is. I mean this only all started right after Zoloft.

My pills were very out of date about a year or 2…

I went through withdrawal b4 but it was NO WHERE near as bad as this. My mom and I also aren’t good with medicine, one time I took generic Tylenol I think 500 mg and I got real nervous. That’s what happens when I take to much medicine.

Anyways that’s enough for now.




This is Survivor Story number 38.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Zoloft Suicide Attempts and Still Rebuilding My Life

“I will never trust such a self-serving inhumane profession as psychiatry.”


Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

This is my story…if you decide to publish it online or anywhere else, please keep my e-mail, name and ID confidential. I am filing a complaint against my doctor with the state regulatory board and hope someday to find some closure on what was absolutely the most traumatic, horrific experience of my life. Thanks for reading!

First, I should tell you about myself before Zoloft. I have always enjoyed working and being around people. My favorite things are having dinner parties, going to art shows and theatre events. I have never collected unemployment or accepted any type of handout in my life and I take a great deal of pride in both my self-sufficiency and sociability. When I experienced some depression in my late 20’s it confused me. I felt like I wasn’t myself and didn’t really know what to do. So after trying everything from exercise, acupuncture, St. John’s and so forth, I did, for the first time in my 28-year old life, what I thought was the responsible thing to do: I sought “help”.

After six months of psychotherapy, the therapist told me my problem felt “organic” to her meaning not related to psychological problems. I was subsequently referred to a psychiatrist who prescribed ativan and told me I might be unipolar depressive, dysthymic, or possibly bipolar. Actively suicidal after considering what the effect of this diagnosis would have on my life and long-term treatment, I was hospitalized and prescribed Zoloft (100mg/day). Within a month on Zoloft I had experienced my first suicide attempt. This happened after I spent a six hour period running down the street naked underneath a fur coat in the pouring ran without realizing the ridiculousness of what I was doing because I was feeling high all the time, taking ativan liberally, and experiencing intense alcohol cravings. My behavior alienated my family and friends and ruined numerous lifelong alliances I had prior to Zoloft. Everyone thought I had gone off the deep end, including me to some degree. I trusted my doctor completely at that point when he said I had a “chemical imbalance” and that I would take prescribed drugs for “the rest of my life”. After a series of numerous mood-stabilizers and other drugs used to treat manic-depressives I was not doing any better. In fact, my situation had only continues to deteriorate. It was a year later before I started to say to my doctor, “hey! You know what? I’m not getting any better and in fact I’m getting worse!” He couldn’t have agreed less. Said I didn’t have any “insight”.

After frantic calls to his office begging for help to get off the drugs then trying (unsuccessfully) to go off the drugs without his help, I suffered one more suicide attempt. Enough was enough. I knew it was the drugs and didn’t care if no one believed me. I went from gainfully employed, intelligent and self-sufficient to reckless, unemployable, brain-dead and dependent all in a matter of two years. All I can say is, it is your life to lose. If you choose to take Zoloft then realize that your life could seriously be put in danger – and nobody, not even your doctor will be able to save you if all hell breaks loose because he/she doesn’t even really know what the long-term side effects are.

The good news is that I have been off the drugs since and knowing what I know now will never trust such a self-serving inhumane profession as psychiatry. My doctors only stood to make more money by keeping me in the prison of psych drugs so there was little incentive for him provide alternative healing or to try and get me off the drugs he prescribed until it is too late. (By the way he never admitted that he failed to monitor my side effects or reported any of my suicide attempts to the FDA).

Until doctors admit failing their patients miserably on this issue and take strides to prevent drug companies from propagandizing drugs and myths about depression and its treatment, then more and more people like me are going to start coming out of the woodwork. If you care about your families and loved ones please get the word out! SSRI’s can be extremely dangerous and can even be deadly. Take it from me, I know from first hand experience and was lucky enough to survive the ordeal, however many are not as lucky as me.



This is Survivor Story number 39.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Salvaging What’s Left after Paxil, then Zoloft, then Ritalin.



Hi. I’m so glad somebody with substantial medical credentials is putting forth this information. I’ve been resisting these drugs for years, despite “Doctors” attempts to cram them down my throat at every opportunity. I will briefly relate part of my story, then I have an observation about your website I’d like to address.

My first experience with these so – called “medications began with Paxil. I took one half of one pill and an hour and a half later I was hallucinating much like when I used to use psychedelics many lifetimes ago. I know what a psychedelic experience is. I knew then something was really wrong. I was in another universe altogether. Add to that the shakes and a horrible feeling I had taken an awful poison. Several years later, I tried Zoloft.

I could never take more than a tiny chip off of a pill, and could never stand more than a few days at a time. I was thoroughly stoned, drugged, and useless for just about everything. When I questioned my “Doctor” he would sort of mumble something under his breath and it became clear he didn’t want me as a patient. I was a troublemaker.

I had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, by the way. I got myself into recovery from alcohol addiction, and was clean for six years. But I was seriously fatigued, and sick, so I went to a new “Doctor” who gave me Ritalin to combat that and depression. Not understanding the ramifications, I began taking it. Three months later I was in narcotic addiction hell, weak and jaundiced, malnutrioned, psychotic, and well on the way to dying.

I didn’t go back to that doctor, as I knew it was his intention to switch me to another drug and I knew in my desperation I might take it. I did some research and discovered that Methylphenidate is directly Hepatatoxic, and suppresses the immune system to boot, aside from all the other harmful effects. The “Doctor” has simply shuffled me off to die, me being one of society’s throwaways. It was hell to get off that drug, but I did. The “Doctor” was fully aware of my sobriety at the time. He didn’t care. I know a drug pusher when I meet one, and the only difference between him and the guy on the street is he does it legal.

I bring this up because it is becoming popular for Doctors to prescribe drugs for Hep C patients. I did research on my disease, discovered nutrition, herbs. I went to new “Doctors” and tried to share my information. How naive I was. They didn’t want to know, didn’t want to have anything to do with it, or what I now knew. Now, I am on my own, salvaging what’s left and hopefully getting better. I take from this one positive outcome. I know now that you have to take the responsibility into your own hands.

But I want to say one thing. I haven’t read everything on the website, but it seems taken for granted that it’s aimed at those who have a choice. That’s not always the case. I have to relate a story on behalf of someone very dear to me. I have a very close long time friend, my spiritual advisor and a nun, who has always had poor health. She was prescribed Xanax some years ago. One night, she went to the emergency room to get a hospital bed because of physical pain. She made a comment concerning Christ’s pain and her pain. They declared she was a “dangerous” individual, and involuntarily committed her to the state insane asylum for some months and forced drug injections into her. I visited this place, and what a hell hole it is. She is out now, but must involuntarily continue the injections against her will under threat of further incarceration. I am trying to figure a way to get her out of this situation, as I see the damage being done. It’s disgusting.
If they can do this to a nun, for God’s sake, they can do it to anybody. DON’T THINK IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. There is no help, no recourse for these poor people. They’ve been forgotten.

I have learned to be very careful and guarded when in contact with “health care professionals.” I get the impression a lot of them are on these drugs. What insanity it has all become and where will it end. Thank you Dr. Tracy and associates for giving a voice to all this that can’t easily be dismissed.



This is Survivor Story number 22.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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What Happened to Caitlin

“…it is our hope that other parents can learn from our tragedy, and other children can be saved.”


Here’s the story– (As seen, unfortunately, with hindsight, through sadder, wiser eyes.) We believe Caitlin had a seizure disorder that occurred at night, interfering with her REM sleep. This, we believe, led to symptoms that included audio and visual hallucinations, depression and talk of suicide, and eventually landed her in Shoal Creek Psychiatric Hospital. (Understandable symptoms, given the fact that she had not been sleeping very much over the past several months. If you can’t dream while sleeping at night, your brain will have to do it when you’re awake, and a child, not understanding this, may think they are going crazy and become depressed.)

We told her hospital psychiatrist, during her first stay at Shoal Creek, that we suspected a seizure/sleep disorder and asked for an EEG, and perhaps observation in a sleep disorder clinic. We also explained that Caitlin’s Uncle had childhood epilepsy, and that Caitlin had complained of momentary blackouts 3 years ago when she was 9, and that the EEG done at that time showed a slight arrhythmia, but not pronounced enough to risk the side effects of medication.

At first, he seemed to agree that this could be the underlying problem and ordered the short, 45-min. scan, also finding a slight arrhythmia, similar to the one she had 3 years before. But at our 2nd staffing, during her 2nd stay in the hospital, when we brought up our sleep disorder theory again, her psychiatrist literally laughed it off, saying that the diagnosis was clinical depression, and all things considered, the best treatment was the four drugs she was on, Zoloft, Trazedone, Depacote and Zyprexa, and his main concern was getting the right concentrations in her blood. (Please note, Caitlin had just turned 12-years old, and in France, Pfizer warns to NEVER give Zoloft to anyone under 15.)

The next morning, I caught him early at the hospital making his rounds, and demanded he give her the long EEG scan, as the short one can easily miss seizure activity. He told me that the long one was approved for outpatients only, not inpatients, and if we insisted, our insurance would probably not cover it. (In retrospect, it seems that her diagnosis and treatment was based more on what the HMO would pay for, than what the doctors really believed was best.) So we got an appointment, on our own, with a sleep disorder clinic. Jan. 15th. 10 days too late. (Caitlin committed suicide on Jan. 5.)

At this point, it is important to know that Caitlin was given anti-depressants before she was hospitalized. The first doctor we took her to see was our family physician, while we were waiting and waiting for an appointment to see a psychiatrist that was covered by our HMO. This was right after we became aware of her symptoms. (The school counselor called and hesitantly informed us – she thought she was violating confidentiality (wrong!) – that Caitlin was talking about hurting herself and hearing voices.) Our family doctor, a general practitioner, immediately put her on Paxil and Restoril. After 4 days, she still couldn’t sleep at night, but was falling asleep during the day, and her depression seemed to be getting worse, so he took her off them, cold turkey. (We now know that you should NEVER stop taking a SSRI cold turkey, as severe withdrawal symptoms can result.)

The next week we finally got in to see the psychiatrist and he gave her Zoloft and Trazedone. Later that same week, the school counselor called again, saying Caitlin was now talking about wanting to jump out of the school’s 2nd story windows. We immediately took her to the social worker/therapist she had been seeing, who referred her to a clinic where she could see a psychiatrist that same day, who admitted her into Shoal Creek for observation. While there, they added Depacote and Zyprexa to her chemical cocktail, to help with the hallucinations, stabilize her moods, and just in case she did have a seizure disorder. They also ruled out bipolar disorder, but said the Depacote could help with that too. So we were beginning to feel hopeful that the wonder drugs of modern pharmacology were going to make our daughter better.

But while visiting her in the hospital that Wed., she started acting psychotic, rocking back and forth, repeating the same thing over and over, and the next day, made a weak attempt at self-mutilation, scratching her arms with a broken comb. You have no idea how bizarre this behavior was to us, in contrast to the bright, kind, sensitive girl who wanted to be a veterinarian that we knew and loved. (At the time, we attributed her behavior to being exposed to the older kids on the ward who she identified with and some of whom acted in similar ways, but now we are convinced that it was the side effects and/or withdrawal symptoms of the SSRI’s.)

She was released after 8 days, and her first night home she ran away. She had planned it in the hospital, according to an entry in her journal we found later. She had a backpack stocked with supplies, and her plan was to just walk into the night and keep going. No particular reason, she just “had to get away”. (We now understand that SSRI’s double one of the “fight or flight” hormones in the blood. Until this, she had never tried, or even talked about running away in her life.)

Fortunately we found her and got through Thanksgiving OK, though her behavior continued to be strange. She was hyperactive, always needing to be doing something. She made a clumsy attempt to steal a beer at the corner store (SSRI’s have been shown to induce a craving for alcohol, even in people who have never drank before) and in general, had turned into an angry and defiant, yet still despondent and depressed adolescent, literally overnight.

She tried to convince us that she was just a “bad” kid, and we should accept it. We overheard her talking on the phone to one of the girls that was on her ward during her first stay in the hospital, saying completely fictitious things like she had gone with older boys and stolen cars. Again, you would have to have known our daughter before her “illness”, to appreciate the absurdity of these things. She went to school the Monday after Thanksgiving, but we got yet another call from the school counselor before the end of the day. Her hallucinations had changed. Instead of just seeing and hearing children playing that weren’t there, she saw pools of blood, bloody knives, and heard adult voices commanding her to kill herself. So back to the social worker/psychiatrist/hospital we went.

This time they put her on the children’s (12 and under) ward, instead of with the adolescents, like before. (The psychiatrist that referred her to Shoal Creek this second time thought, as we did, that she was manipulating us and the system to get back to the hospital because she enjoyed being around the older kids. He didn’t seem take her suicide threats or hallucinations seriously, but felt he had to put her back in the hospital, just to be safe.)

She protested about being on the children’s ward, but over the course of the week, she did seem to improve. They kept her on the same drugs, adjusting the dosages somewhat, and she willingly participated in both group and individual therapy sessions. It was obvious that she really wanted to get better. They also, finally, did a psych evaluation (which they should have done during her first stay) and found that she was a bright, sensitive 12-year old, totally in touch with reality. No psychosis or schizophrenia or other mental illness. When we picked her up on Dec. 4, we thought we had our daughter back. (Maybe she was near the manic end of one of her drug-induced mood swings, or maybe her will to live was winning out. We will probably never know.) The first thing she wanted to do was buy a Christmas tree, which of course, we did. For the next couple of weeks, she seemed to use Christmas to hold off the darkness that was threatening her mind. Though still hyper, her mood and attitude were definitely improved. She became re-acquainted with a boy she knew from church, and they started “going out”(being boyfriend/girlfriend, in today’s lingo.) She was so happy. We were so hopeful. A few days before Christmas, she went back to the psychiatrist for a follow-up. We believe here is where one of the last fatal mistakes was made. She seemed so much better. She claimed her hallucinations had stopped. She finished the last week of school before Christmas Vacation with no problems. On Dec. 8, I got her out of school earlier to see her favorite band at the Palmer Auditorium. She said it was the best day of her life. Her only complaint was that she had trouble staying awake during the day sometimes, though she seemed to be sleeping a little better at night. So the doctor took her off Trazedone, which has a sedative effect, and Zyprexa, since the hallucinations went away. He left her on Depacote and, unfortunately, Zoloft.
Unchecked by the sedative, we now believe that she had an adverse “overshoot” reaction to the Zoloft, first pushing her into akathisia (a severe inner agitation), then plummeting her into profound depression and two weeks later, inducing suicide.
She made it through to Christmas, but the day after, we caught her trying to run away again. It was the beginning of the end. She became withdrawn and depressed again, and she broke up with her boyfriend on, of all nights, New Year’s Eve 2000. She was dreading going back to school, but went anyway, at our insistence, on Tues. Jan. 4. (We found out later, that she had told a friend the night before about a vivid hallucination in which she killed herself.)

Some of the kids had found out she had been in Shoal Creek, and teased her mercilessly that first day back. At our request, the school had set up a 504 plan for her, stating that, if she felt “unsafe”, (why didn’t they spell it out that she was suicidal?) she could go to the principal’s office and do her work there, which she invoked, spending most of that day in the office. On Wed. Jan. 5, we strongly encouraged her to attend class, giving her some snappy come-backs to say to the kids that teased her, and admonishing her to face her problems and work through them, instead of hiding out in the office. God forgive us. In her 2nd period class, she was given a Detention Hall for not turning in some homework assignment. Her friends said they had never seen her look so dejected. She shuffled out of the classroom, shoulders slumped, head down, and never made it to 3rd period.
Instead, she went to the girl’s bathroom and hung herself with her shoelaces from the hook on back of the stall door. It wasn’t until the end of the next period after that – what would have been her lunch period – that she was found. If the teachers really understood the intent of the 504 plan, if they really understood that she was at risk of suicide, how could they have disciplined her, a girl who was never in trouble at school, and how could they have not noticed, or been concerned, that she didn’t show up to 3rd period, and that she also missed her lunch period?

But now I’m getting into another issue – one of the many raised by Caitlin’s death. Problems with the school system and the healthcare delivery system certainly need to be addressed, and yes, there needs to be more education about, and a general de-stigmatization of suicide and mental illness, but we lay the majority of blame for Caitlin’s death at the golden feet of the pharmaceutical companies (like Pfizer and Lilly) who have known for years that their SSRI drugs can have extremely adverse, and sometimes fatal side effects, like suicide, yet have systematically plotted to keep this knowledge from not only the public, but the doctors who prescribe them, in an effort to protect the billions of dollars in revenue they generate. It is our contention that if her doctors had properly diagnosed and treated Caitlin’s sleep disorder, instead of categorizing her as “depressed” and giving her SSRI’s, she would be with us today. And it is our hope that other parents can learn from our tragedy, and other children can be saved.

Glenn and Mary McIntosh, Parents of Caitlin E. McIntosh, born Oct. 5, 1987, died Jan. 5, 2000.We can be contacted by phone at (512) 257-0450 or email:



This is Survivor Story number 13.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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1/11/2001 – More Self Harm Seen with SSRI Therapy Than With Tricyclics

Now, a report out of the UK debunks a popular marketing
strategem of SSRI manufacturers–that SSRI’s are inherently
safer because they are less toxic in overdose. This study
recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry clearly
points to a great risk of self-harm with drugs like Prozac, Zoloft
and Paxil over the older tricyclic antidepressants. Mark

More Self Harm Seen with SSRI Therapy Than With Tricyclics

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Dec 28 – Significantly more
instances of deliberate self-harm occur in patients prescribed a
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) than in those
prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). In their report in the
December issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, UK
investigators caution that the choice of antidepressant for
patients at risk should not be based solely on overdose toxicity.

In this prospective study, 2776 deliberate self-harm events
occurred in 1954 individuals attending the Derbyshire Royal
Infirmary in 1995 and 1996. Dr. Stuart Donovan, of University
Hospital, in Nottingham, and associates observed that the most
frequent method of self-harm was medication overdose, and
paracetamol (acetaminophen) was the medication most
frequently involved

In the cases of antidepressant overdoses, SSRIs were used
more often than TCAs, in 16.0 and 11.8 cases per 10,000
prescriptions, respectively. The relative incidence of self-harm
events was significantly higher in those prescribed SSRIs than
in those prescribed TCAs. Exposure times were similar for the
two types of drugs.

Dr. Donovan’s group adds that SSRIs may have been prescribed
more often following unsuccessful use of a TCA, making it
possible that “a greater proportion of more ‘difficult to treat’
patients may have been prescribed SSRIs and this may
manifest as a greater risk of deliberate self-harm.” However, they
emphasize that the reduced overdose toxicity of SSRIs
compared with TCAs “does not extrapolate to a reduced risk of
deliberate self-harm.”

In fact, the reduced risk of morbidity following overdose is offset
by the higher risk of self-harm by other methods in patients
taking SSRIs.

Br J Psychiatry 2000;177:551-556.
Copyright © 2000 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.

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A Real Life SSRI Laboratory–Notes from a Group Home

“Too many doctors receive little or no feedback following prescriptions to patients.”


While in Utah our daughter worked with residents at a group home; most of these are living proof of your warning. Their problems after medication were far often worse. I thought you’d enjoy her remarks to your e-mail message.A simple fact for all medications: too many doctors receive little or no feedback following prescriptions to patients. We somehow need to stress this too to both the medical profession and the public in general. There are some things we can’t afford to be the crash-test-dummy for!

Thanks for your alert. I hope those it reached pay attention!

Considering there are more anti-depressants(Prozac, Paxil,Zoloft, etc) prescribed per capita in the state of Utah than any other state in the nation, maybe the Boys in Blue should be more concerned with that fact than with my zip code problems.

Utah also has the highest percentage of children on anti-depressants, Ritalin, MAO inhibitors, and the like for ADD, ADHD and related diagnoses. There is also major concern over the fact that children in Utah are prescribed to at an earlier age, sometimes while basic physical and mental growth is still underway.

NONE of these drugs are easy to get off of! Drugs of this kind create a detox rivaling heroin in mental and physical aspects causing problems usually worse than the original symptoms.

There is also the running joke in medical circles re: a family discount. There is a large percentage of Mother/Child(ren) prescribed AD’s simultaneously. Just some things to think about.

J. M.




This is Survivor Story number 4.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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Falling Apart Withdrawing from Effexor

“I know from now on I will check more into a drug before I begin taking it.”


I was more depressed then usual and wanted to go on something. I have used sinequin, Pamolar, amitriptoline, Prozac, Zoloft in the past. Prozac worked for awhile then quit. At the time I went on Effexor I had not been taking anything for a number of years. I had some side effects when I began taking it, I didn’t want to eat and I was hyper, but being over weight I thought that it was great.

After awhile these symptoms stopped but I wasn’t depressed. I felt the best I had in years. After about 3 years and finding out that long term safety had never been established, I decided I wanted to get off of it. The psychiatrist didn’t agree and said I would probably have to be on it the rest of my life. I didn’t like that but said OK. I really wanted to get off it so got them to agree to help me.

I was taking 150 mg daily. so I slowly cut back to 75 mg per day and still felt okay. I did have the electric shocks that go through the body, but I had had them when I was getting off amitriptoline so just was careful about doing this slowly. I finally got down to 37.5mg, and then I really fell apart–nightmares, vivid dreams, unable to sleep well, feeling jittery, depressed.

But these feelings were different then feeling depressed. I went back to my counselor and told her, and they put me back on the Effexor. I really felt that I was having withdrawal from Effexor but they didn’t agree. I now see that the withdrawal was real. I am again (with the help of my internist) attempting to get off of it. I have told friends what is going on and have set up a support group for myself. I am going to do it real slow. I am now taking 150 mg one day and 75 mg the next. I have only had mild electric shock feeling. When I have no side effects I will lower it again.

I just don’t believe that this drug Effexor is on the market and being allowed to be used for long term use. I think even though it helped me if I had known of the trouble getting off, I may not have used it.
I know from now on I will check more into a drug before I begin taking it.

Shirley Wallstrom


This is Survivor Story number 2.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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16-Year Old Wanting to End it All on Zoloft

…first night I had taken Zoloft I experienced extreme anxiety and mania, I thought I was going crazy.“


I am 17, at the time I was prescribed Zoloft I had just turned 16. On the first night I had taken Zoloft I experienced extreme anxiety and mania, I thought I was going crazy. It didn’t occur to me that it could have been the medication and I thought the world was literally ending around me.
If it wasn’t for my sister being awake and in my company at the time I know I would have ended it all. I couldn’t sleep but I didn’t want to stay awake because of the nightmare that I was living, the only option it seemed for me was to end my life. My sister talked me through it and she pretended she knew what was going on and made me believe I would be alright.

The psychiatrists I have seen have all been the same “up the dosage, up the dosage by 50mg and you’ll feel better”……I feel they’re all out for the money, so I go on my own instincts now with the help of a councilor . Although I don’t feel 100% better I am helping myself , not letting a drug do it for me and slowly getting there.

Fortunately now I have discontinued use of the drug, I am taking a lighter medication but I still feel the effects of Zoloft come back at me….like a flashback.

Your Letter on the drug awareness page helped me understand what I went through and I’m very mad that I was so ill informed on the medication I was prescribed.

I’m sure this is old news to you but I thought I had to share this with you.




This is Survivor Story number 3.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Zoloft Withdrawal-The Darkest Period of my Life

“I had all the classic symptoms of a junkie coming off of heroine.”


My name is Virginia and I just finished seeing a segment on 2020 regarding withdrawal symptoms after getting off of an antidepressant. THANK GOD!!! There are other people out there that have experienced the same symptoms I have experienced!

Every doctor in the past, (3), I have told about my withdrawal symptoms have told me that it’s not possible or that they’ve never heard of anyone having these symptoms months after attempting to get off Zoloft. I even got very upset at one of the doctor’s and told him that the symptoms I was experiencing were “real” and that I was not crazy!
To make a long story short–

The six months I was off the Zoloft was the darkest period of my life. I had all the classic symptoms of a junkie coming off of heroine. For three weeks straight, I had dry heaves, nausea, dizziness, panic attacks so severe I thought I was having a heart attack, cold sweats, a weird sound in my head, like breaking glass every time I’d blink my eyes, the disconnection of your brains ability to catch up with your vision when you look sharply to the left or right (almost like the old slide projectors that take a second and then click to the next picture), severe paranoia, and continual suicidal thoughts.

If it were not for my husband taking time of from work to watch over me, I would not be here today! Unfortunately, I lost my job, and ended up having to get back on the Zoloft in order to live a so-called “normal life”. And I can honestly say, it was like a miracle how quickly my nausea and dry heaves went away.

I only wish that the first doctor I saw would have informed me about the possibility of becoming addicted to this drug, and given me the choice of alternative treatment or a life long commitment to Zoloft. Now the only symptoms I have are dry mouth and a stiff jaw…Oh, and paranoia about ever losing my health insurance.



This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 96


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