Anti-Anxiety Drugs · Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Weaning Myself Off Of Zoloft For My Anxiety Disorder

I decided to stop taking Zoloft for my anxiety. There are several reasons why but the main one is that I want to get pregnant again. The other reasons are that I am doing really well with my anxiety so I want to see how I manage without my happy pills. And I want to see if it will give me more energy and help me lose a little weight.

I have been taking 50mg of Zoloft for the last two years. I started taking it when I had postpartum anxiety (see more about that in my blog post here) and I stayed on it to treat my generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. I have been on and off medication for 19 years so this is nothing new to me. Although its been around 5 years since the last time I weaned myself off of anti-anxiety medication. I honestly don’t remember any side effects from weaning myself off this type of medication in the past.

Last month I had my annual check up with my primary doctor (who prescribes my Zoloft) and we decided it was time I start weaning myself off it. For the last month I have been taking 25mg of Zoloft and my anxiety hasn’t changed. But, there also hasn’t been any changes in my life or any real stressors to test me.

Since lowering my dosage I am realizing how much the Zoloft affected my energy level and ability to sleep well.  I was always exhausted during the day and slept horribly at night. I wasn’t sure if it was because I stay home with two toddlers or if it was the medicine. For the last 4 years I have been up most nights with one of my kids. I assumed that being exhausted all the time was just part of being a mom of toddlers. I can still feel a little tired during the day but it is much more manageable now. I think I will always be somewhat tired unless I start working out and eating really well; and stop looking after toddlers all day!

I never understood why I had a hard time sleeping at night. No matter how tired I was during the day, I always tossed and turned at night. I thought maybe it was because I had occasional naps and my sleep patterns were all out of whack. However, since getting off of Zoloft I have slept much better at night. I fall asleep faster and I stay asleep longer and it has been wonderful!

I am still waiting to see if I lose some weight! I almost didn’t want to mention this because I don’t like it when people say they won’t take antidepressants because they don’t want to gain weight. I have had good friends that stopped taking antidepressants because they gained some weight. I was frustrated with them, they needed the medication because they were very depressed. My belief is that some extra weight is worth the benefit of improving your mental health.

However, since I am doing well with my anxiety it would be an added bonus to see if I lost weight. I started taking Zoloft a week after giving birth to my son. I am currently 10 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. When I gave birth to my first child I was able to lose all the weight I gained while pregnant. I don’t know if I can’t lose the extra weight after the second pregnancy because of the Zoloft, the fact that I am older or maybe because it was my second child. I have my hopes up that I will magically drop 10 lbs over the next couple of months!  So far I haven’t noticed any drop in my weight.

I am hopeful that I will continue to do well with my anxiety even after I stop taking Zoloft. I have been on and off medication for my anxiety since high school. Luckily I have done well with getting on and off medication in the past. I only had bad side effects when getting on Prozac in high school. It was the first anti-anxiety medication I ever tried and I felt very nauseous and dizzy, and my anxiety increased when I started taking it. Right now, I am hopeful that I will continue to react well to weaning myself off of Zoloft.

If my anxiety gets worse I want to try alternatives to medication first. I already see my therapist every two or three weeks. If I notice that I am feeling more anxious I will start going back to seeing her once a week. I also want to focus on exercising more and eating better. I have been enjoying looking for healthier recipes on Pinterest. Meditation is also part of my daily routine now (you can see my blog post on that here ). I may look into taking magnesium or an herbal supplement.

As I said, the main focus for me is that I really want to have one more kid and I really don’t want to be on medication while I am pregnant. My gynecologist told me not to worry about it and that lots of her patients are on Zoloft while pregnant but then I read these articles online and they scare the shit out of me. I have read taking Zoloft while pregnant increases the risk for autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression in children. I would hate for my medication to be the reason my child had any of these conditions.

If I start to have increased anxiety while I am pregnant I will take Zoloft again and have to be okay with it. I know I need to take care of myself so that the baby is okay. But I really want to start the pregnancy off without needing it. I didn’t have to take medication for two pregnancies so I am hopeful I can do it for a third. I struggled with my anxiety during both of my pregnancies and I was close to taking medication but I didn’t.

I am excited to see how I do over the next couple months as I completely wean myself off of Zoloft. My doctor told me I should take 25mg for 3 weeks and then take 25mg every other day for 3 weeks and let her know how I am doing. I must admit to being overly cautious and I have done a month at 25mg once a day and I am about to start taking it every other day.

Hopefully my energy level will improve even more when I completely wean myself off of Zoloft. And I hope I continue to do well managing my anxiety and that I don’t have any stressful circumstances that arise in my life.  I would also love to wake up one morning 10 pounds lighter 😉

For the record I don’t want anyone reading this to feel shitty if they are on medication. I have been on and off medication 6 or 7 times over the last 19 years; and I know I will be taking my happy pills again. I am assuming I will get back on them after having my third kid (if I’m lucky enough to have one). But in keeping this shit real, I plan to stockpile a few refills so I am ready to go when I hit a rough patch again.

The next time I need to take anti-anxiety medication I plan to take another medication besides Zoloft. If I need it while pregnant or nursing I will have to go back to Zoloft because that is what doctors recommend you take under these circumstances. However, when I am finally done having kids and nursing I will definitely be trying another medication. I will probably try Lexapro again since I was on that before getting pregnant with my first child and I don’t remember being tired while taking it.

And hopefully one day they create a magic happy pill with no side effects unless they are the good kind…..

 

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