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Gemma

Started Zoloft And Feel Weird, Need Help!

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Hi everyone. I just started Zoloft 2 days ago. My doctor insisted on taking it before I start school, which starts in a week. I am feeling better overall, but he wants me to take either zoloft or paxil for more like a preventative. He says that once I am under stress from school and I know there will be lots of stress, I am in graduate program full time, I might get my POTS symptoms back. I am currently taking no meds and was feeling only mild uncomfortable POTS symptoms, but was able to do basically everything, like shopping, cooking, and many other things. I do still get anxious and lightheaded when I go to restaurants and have to spend time talking to people. But other then that I am ok. There are some days when I feel bad but I think those have to do with hormonal fluctuations thruout the month.

So, anyways. I started zoloft and feel some weird things going on in my brain. I only take take half of 25 mg. I took it yesterday at around 12 and felt very drowsy, lightheaded, and this feeling like I am drifting away and spaced out. Also, my head feels like a ballon. Another feeling is that after I take a pill my hands and feet become heavy and I feel weak. Today the same thing, but I took the pill at night because don't want to be drowsy thruout the day. Is this normal feeling in the begining?

I am afraid so it wouldn't bring back my POTS symptoms. I am debating if I should continue or stop it now and if I see that school is making me very anxious and stuff, maybe start it then.

Please help. Share your experience with SSRIs. Is it normal to have those feeling? How long they will last and is it possible that they will never go away?

Sorry for the spelling mistakes. I just took another pill and feel to weak to proof read it for mistakes.

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I had weird and intensified POTS symptoms when I started an SSRI. I know I have read that a side effect of SSRIs is autonomic dysfunction! However, this is typically a short-term, early side effect that will abate with time. It can take weeks to adjust and everyone is different with how they respond. Eventually, the SSRI seemed to really help me regain my health.

Hope it works for you and you feel better soon.

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Hi Gemma,

This is kinda a normal thing. You might try spliting the pill into fourths to start at a lower dosage. Tyler only takes his in the evening time about 2 hours before he goes to bed. I tried spliting the dosage up in the morning and evening because he takes a large dosage. Cutting the dosage in half made him too tired in the day time so he only gets it at night time only. It did take a week for his body to adjust to Zoloft. He started with 25 mg and the doctor raised it up every 2 weeks until he got to the dosage that should help him. It was worth the wait because it does help with brain fog and Tyler was able to concentrate much better on school work. So be patient and give your body time to adjust.

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I reacted horribly to Paxil and Celexa, to the point I was in the hospital both times. I shook like I had parkinsons, couldn't focus, headache was horrible, just horrible. The celexa I was on for only a few weeks, but the Paxil I was on for several months, each getting worse. I kept asking should I be feeling like this, and my doctor just told me "its not in your system enough, up the dose". Well, I did, and it got worse and worse. I think the hospital finally diagnosed it as a "paxil crisis", and I've made the decision of no more SSRI's because of it. They tried to put me on zoloft last time I was admitted, but I had to remind them that's an SSRI, and they don't seem to work with me.

I do hope you feel better soon :)

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Hmm, thats intersting. My side effects are not crazy bad, but stilk uncomfortable. I am still debating wether I should continue. My summer semester is only 6 weeks and it starts in a week, so by the time the medicine will work I will be finished with school, but in the mean time I will have to suffer of side effects while in school. I feel like I am a little more calm, like my body is not in the constant overide mode, but the things that happen with my brain are uncomfortable. I feel like my head is like a ballon, very heavy and it feels like its drifting towards one side and then the other. Also, the spacing out is not comfortable. A little more lightheaded since started it, more like offbalance. Also, because lightheadness is back the fear of fainting is back and I dont like it. My fear subsided by a lot lately and I was able to go shoping by myself and do different things without fear, now its kind of building on me again.

Ahh, dont know what to do. I am thinking maybe I should stop now and start it later if I feel like I need it. At least I tried and know that the side effects are not as bad as I had with Lexapro.

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Hi MontoJ, thanks for advice. I am also scared that it could worsen my POTS. Its been stable lately just occasional flares, but tolerable. The reason I am so afraid of any psychotropic meds is because use of xanax really messed me up, and I believe I got my POTS symptoms partly due to xanax use. Before I was put on xanax I didn't have POTS, just some anxiety and fatigue, but on xanax I developed really bad fluctuations in BP and HR and all other POTS symptoms. The withdrawals were really bad for me as well.

So now I am so scared of any med to make it worse again and screw up with my body.

You said you took SSRI for some time. After you stopped did you feel worse? And when you just started how long you felt the side effects if you remember?

I saw my psychiatrist today and she said that I cant cut a pill, because if I cut it it gets absorbed in a different place where it needs to be absorbed.

Ohh I dont know what to do. I should have tried them before, not one week before school. There is not much time for me to get adjusted to the med. also my psychiatrist said that to see how bad the side effects are I need to take it for a week at least. In two days I would not be able to know if I have side effects and how bad they are. So this means that only after a week I can start feeling some bad side effects. I am confused, I thought side effects are supposed to go away in a week or two.

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I've taken (and stopped taking) SSRIs over the years with similar results. I remember when I started taking Zoloft I felt like I could barely carry on a conversation b/c I was so spacey. However, that effect did subside quite a bit - although not entirely - and the reduction in anxiety was great. I eventually stopped taking it b/c the spacey feeling ended up too difficult for me to work around (at the time, I was getting my degree, too).

I've also taken Prozac, Paxil and Wellbutrin (I think the latter's not a SSRI) with the same effects. It ends up being a toss-up for me: it's so great to have some of my endless anxiety and depression alleviated, but on a day to day basis, it's such a struggle to overcome the spacey, dopey feeling.

I never had any issues when I stopped taking them, other than the return of increased depression/anxiety feelings. Maybe it's worth sticking with it for just another week or so and then making the decision whether to taper off? Since you haven't taken it for a long time, it seems like you shouldn't have problems if/when you do decide to stop. It's just a suggestion; I can understand your concerns after your Xanax experience.

Good luck with whatever you decide! Keep us posted.

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Thanks for reply targs. I dont know if I am willing to stick with it. Yestarday was a 3rd day that I took a pill. I dont really feel much spaced out today, but would be hard to have a normal conversation. I think this feeling will interfere with my school studying.

Also, I dont know how it could be related but my chest pains returned. I suffered from chest pains for 6 months after stopping xanax. Last month I almost didnt have them at all and now for some reason since yestartday I started feeling really bad chest pains again. The pain is the same as I had before, and was examined by many doctors including cardiologist and I was told its muscoloscalatal pain, not cardiac. However, its really severe and kept me up all night. This is no good. I was so happy that after suffering from it for 6 months its finally subsiding and now its back. Maybe its just a coincidence, but it came back after I started the med.

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If I was getting along OK without medication, I would be super hesitant to start on a powerful antidepressant as a preventative.

SSRI's have terrible side effects for many people, with or without POTS. I think you have to weigh the pros and cons of taking any medication.

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Thanks Jan. Thats what I was thinking. I am not 100% recovered, but about 85% back to norm, so not sure if its worse it. Although, besides side effects, I feel like in these 3 days I am much more calmer, and clearer head today.

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Hi everyone. So I am still taking zoloft. Today will be my 5th day. I am taking 25mg. My fatigue s much less and overall POTS symptoms are better. The only thing that really worries me and I dont like is the spaciness and feeling like my brain is moving inside my skull. I had similar symptoms on xanax, i think its called boaty feeling or wooziness. I need my brain to work so I can study. My school starts in 4 days. Is this supposed to go away?

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Hi Gemma

To answer your questions to me, I did maybe feel a little worse after stopping the SSRI, as I recall. I didn't want to take an SSRI interminably. I decided to try going off it and see how I would do. I found I was functional and pretty much fine off it, however I do think I was and am a little less stable--I suspect the flare ups I get would be less/less significant if I were on the SSRI still--but who knows!

As far as how long did I have significant side effects--I want to say it was about two weeks. After that it started to get better. However, I do remember that I didn't really find myself feeling better (due to POTS) until perhaps 6 weeks after starting the SSRI. I think it does take time to build up in your system? That is my understanding. I have also heard that you need to try an SSRI for a couple of weeks before giving up on its benefits (as your doctor says).

I remember bad brain fog. I don't think anyone can tell you for sure, but in my experience, the autonomic dysfunction side effect of the SSRI will dissipate over a couple of weeks.

I hope you feel much better by next week!!

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Thanks for reply montogiuliana. I actually feel better with my POTS symptoms on zoloft, but really do not like the feeling in my head. It feels like my brain is moving inside my skull, I think this feeling is called rocky boat feeling, or wooziness. I wonder if its just temporary side effect from zoloft, or its something that will stay. I had this feeling while i was on xanax and also thru the withdrawal from xanax, however for the past month its been subsiding and I almost didnt have it. Now today I feel it really bad again. I hope its just a side effect and goes away.

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Hi everyone. So today is the 7th day that I will be taking zoloft and I do not know if I should continue. So, to sum up first 2 days on zoloft I felt spaced out, it went away, then I was feeling great. My POTS symptoms were much better on zoloft, however I started feeling that weird rocky boat feeling like my brain is moving inside my head. This feeling was gone lately and now with zoloft it came back again. Due to relieve from POTS symptoms I decided to stick with it. However, today i started feeling presyncopy again which I havent felt in months and adrenal rushes which almost lead to panic attacks. I was feeling much better since March, no panic attacks since january, POTS symptoms much tolerable. I decided to try SSRI because my doctor pushed me to and kept on saying that when I return back to school my POTS will return again, so better take SSRI. Now I dont know if I should continue, because I thought with SSRIs side effects supposed to go away, but for me I was fine for 7 days and now getting back my symptoms. It was the same story with xanax. When I was prescribed xanax, I was told I have anxiety, so I kept on taking it. I felt very panicky and anxiety was very high on xanax. Once I got off my symptoms started subsiding, even POTS symptoms started going away. So now I am afraid that zoloft can bring back those bad symptoms again.

My question is, with SSRIs do side effects appear right away and do they go away as time passes, or can they build up and get worse? I am just trying to understand if its zoloft making me feel like that today or its just a coincidence.

Thanks all.

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Search google for "SSRI start-up". Most people feel increased anxiety and various physical symptoms in the intial weeks of SSRI therapy. Zoloft (sertraline) might not be the right SSRI for you, depending on your "type" of POTS. It is has non-insignificant alpha-1 antagonist properties, which is expected to make blood pooling worse. The increase in the standing vasocontrictor reflex induced by SSRIs may counteract this.

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