Sunday, July 20, 2014

Getting Off...

Zoloft.

I've been slow to update as I partly wasn't sure what to say. I partly didn't want to admit how dismal things ended up.

I slowly weaned off 75mg of Zoloft over a month's time and then switched to 5-HTP. After just a couple days of no Zoloft I was feeling pretty terrible. Growing anxiety, anger, stress, and feeling uncomfortable (almost freaked out) in loud and crowded places. I HATE feeling like that. It's not me, not the me I know I am. I am social, fun, outgoing, intelligent, silly.....not someone who wants to crawl into the nearest black hole and think about how her family would be better if she wasn't around. Yikes! It was a huge and noticeable difference for me being off of it.

I read so many medical articles, forums, blogs, etc. about Zoloft use and how to get off of it. I did the best I could and I learned pretty quickly that my brain is not ready to function normally without it. To be honest, that's a frustrating and depressing thought. My brain doesn't work like it's supposed to. I need meds. UGH.

In the big picture of life, I just want to be healthy, I want to raise my kids in a warm, loving, and fun environment, I want to live life with my husband in a fun and gracious way. So really, taking a little pill every day is a small thing. I do get that. It's just that it comes with baggage. In the one week off of Zoloft I felt less desire to eat, less ravenous hunger, and I dropped 2lbs. In nearly 2 weeks back on Zoloft, I'm up 3lbs. It's ridiculous!

It just really super sucks for me because I already had it rough having severe PCOS. Recap: zero periods, very cystic and painful ovaries, above normal carbohydrate cravings, inability to properly process carbohydrates and sugars, difficulty losing weight. Now add to that Zoloft and the actual metabolic change that takes place in which I gain weight fast. It sucks. No way around it.

There are other meds on the market, but all of them are in the SSRI family. These meds help the brain use serotonin. They are the 'new class' of antidepressants and work much better than the old meds people used to take. All of the SSRI's can cause weight gain and issues in people sensitive to it. There isn't one that works better than Zoloft, in fact Zoloft is supposed to be the better one. My brain clearly needs an SSRI, so now I have to learn to deal with the craziness it causes my metabolism and cravings and try to overcome it (let me just eat this bag of Skittles first. Sort of kidding).

I know many people were hoping this would be very successful for me so they could try it also, and I wish I could report that it went well and I'm thriving off of Zoloft. Sadly, not the case.

The week off of meds was so horrible I clearly and distinctly had this thought multiple times, "I would rather be fat than feel like this."

I don't want to give up on myself or my health. I don't want to trade my mental health for my weight health. I want to be able to do both. I endeavor to do both. I want to find a way to be a normal weight and have a normal appetite while on Zoloft.

I'm not sure how to do that. So, the saga continues.

~Diana

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting off Zoloft, using 5-HTP as an alternative

Day 1 of no Zoloft, using 5-HTP:
I purchased it on Amazon for about $12.

Yesterday I took my last dose of Zoloft, only 25mg, after titrating down from 75mg over a few weeks. I took my first dose of 5-HTP yesterday (200mg, extended release) and again took it this morning.

I feel ok so far. I have read horror stories about quitting Zoloft, so I was nervous. My symptoms during titration have primarily been irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and loss of train of thought (whatever I'm thinking just disappears).
Also, I weighed myself this morning and officially gained 22.6lbs while taking Zoloft. Ugh. I don't expect the weight to fall off or be easy to lose, I only pray I can see the scale moving down instead of constantly up. 

After my last blog post, over a dozen people, men and women, reached out to me in similar circumstances and frustration. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for sharing your struggles, what meds work or do not work for you, and for being vulnerable. 

Something I've certainly pondered is, what happens if 5-HTP doesn't help or doesn't help enough?
If that is the case, I will likely schedule an appt with a doctor (we pay for this 100% out of pocket) and try other meds. The bummer is that SSRI's ALL have a history of weight gain in patients that are sensitive to it- clearly I am. These are the primary SSRI's:

Generic NameBrand Name
citalopramCelexa
escitalopramLexapro
fluoxetineProzac
fluvoxamineLuvox
paroxetinePaxil
sertralineZoloft


Prozac is considered the worst weight gain offender, but all have the ability to cause problems in appetite, metabolism, and weight. 

SSRI's work for me. From WebMD, "Symptoms of depression result when certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) get out of balance. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help symptoms of depression by increasing the amount of serotonin available."

I also realize that being "fat" might end up a small price to pay to be happy and to raise my kids without being a total witch. I just am not ready to consider my only options as fat&nice or thin&mean. You know?

Other ways to help anxiety and depression include getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and getting exercise. I genuinely try to do all three. 

Thank you for being on this journey with me. I intend to keep updating as I realize many people are also in need of an alternative.
~Diana

*I am not a doctor or health care provider.