8 weeks on sertraline: Hi all just... - Mental Health Sup...

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8 weeks on sertraline

Hi all just after some reassurance. I’ve been on sertraline for 8 weeks 4 weeks on 50mg and 4 weeks on 100mg. Week 7 I felt great felt like I had turned a corner and was getting back to my old self but the last 6 days I’ve felt like I’ve gone backwards. My sleeping isn’t great again and my anxiety is really bad again. I wake up with the dreaded feeling in my stomach and I constantly feel short of breath ( this is always my most troubling symptom of anxiety) I constantly feel like I need to take a Deep breath in. Prior to sertraine I was on citalopram for 4 years but that stoped working in February this year. Panic attacks came back which then caused me to feel depressed. I cross tapered from citalopram to sertraline and didn’t have to many side affects. So really my question is it normal to stray to feel good on a dose increase then slip back? Is 4 weeks at 100mg long enough to know if it’s right or not or does it take 6-8 weeks to get a more even mod. Sorry for the ramble just wanted to explain the whole story. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my post and reply.

Thank you

21 Replies
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I used to dip around the time of my period. Don’t know if that’s the case for you as I don’t know if you’re man or woman! X

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Sorry suzie I am a 34 year old women mum to two girls. I did get my period yesterday but I’ve been feeling rubbish since Sunday. Are you also on sertraline?

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I used to be, and I always felt worse around my period when I was on them x

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Ok that’s reassuring. I keep telling myself it’s got to do with that and the new dosage is still settling I’m holding out for week 6 to hopefully feel like I’m on a more even keel. Thank you for replying I really appreciate it.

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Sorry suzie not sure what your experience with sertraline was but just wondering if you can give any insight into if you know with dose increase if you have to wait the 6-8 weeks? And if it’s normal to feel good then dip?

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So I been on sertraline for a while now give or take about a year also started at 50 mgs and worked my way up to 100mgs and was on that dosage for a while. I would have mild dips here and there and if my anxiety got a little out of hand I would then take my Xanax to help. Now about 8 weeks ago I really dipped into depression and my anxiety got really bad too so as I told my doctor this he increased to another 50 mgs so now I was on 150 mgs but for only a week or two because on my next visit I had told him how suddenly I was having trouble sleeping but my anxiety had gone down by a lot and I felt better not as depressed. So he then said to just shave off 25mgs so now I been on 125mgs and most days I’m good but still here and there I get a little low which is ok. Just because we take medication does t mean we are cured or going to symptom free completely.

I have monitor myself where I don’t get driven into mania because antidepressants can trigger that and I’m diagnosed with bipolar depression and anxiety.

I also take mood stabilizers but not only did they help with my moods but it dropped me too much of into a low hence why I been on sertraline as he says just a little pick me up, by then and now every so often it’s a tweak here and there, fine tuning. There will be times he said where we may have to increase something or decrease something it’s all a balancing act.

So hang in there and know medication is to help us cope and manage us and we are entitled a few not so great days here and there. We are being treated for our conditions unfortunately not yet cured.

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Thank you for the reply it’s nice to know that there are people out there who go out of there to reassure people with these things so I really appreciate it.

Did you feel like you had to give each dosage increase another 6-8 weeks to be fully affective? And it’s normal to have a somewhat normal week then have a really tough week? I am only 8 weeks on it 4 weeks at 100mg so I keep telling myself it’s still settling. I just felt that with citalopram after 3-4 weeks I started to feel better then it just kept improving where’s with this it seems to be up and down. Just hoping this is normal for sertraline.

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My very first dose was very effective lol all jokes aside I felt the effects within 45 mins after taking it. I’m very sensitive to medications and the dosage was increased by how my symptoms were as I would see my psychiatrist. After 50 mgs I don’t remember how long I stayed there for but then the next time it was increased to 100 mgs was based on my symptoms and I stayed at 100 mgs for a while till just recently where he said, it seems like I was relapsing back into depression (mind there are also triggers that can make this happen) so he increased it to 150 mgs but because it affected my sleep 😴 he shaved off 50 mgs.

So my doctor trusts me enough to where if I have to increase the extra 25 mgs I do so and then if I’m feeling better or getting manic then I shave the extra 25 off and go back to 125 mgs.

Like I had mentioned before it a very delicate balancing act and being bipolar along with depression and anxiety it’s a tricky balancing act.

There are days to a few weeks I feel great, feel like everything is ok then suddenly it’s not.

My depression and anxiety manifests in me having bouts of anger, irritability, rage, sometimes too much sleep or no sleep. But mostly I become a b***ch and no one is safe. My mouth is the worst and my attitude and tone change so therefore I tend to distant myself from everyone little contact so that they don’t get so much lash back and I don’t want to hear the stupidity that may come out when I’m in that place because they simply just don’t understand or know how it feels what I’m going through.

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Hi Kell, I have been on Sertraline for about 3 years now and can honestly say it has changed my life for the better. Its the third type of antidepressant I have been on, and the closest I have ever felt back to being “me” if you know what I mean. I started on 50mg and gradually made my way up to 100mg. After about a year I went up to 150mg as I felt it could still do with increasing a bit. I feel this is the best dose for me.

When I started Sertraline I had loads of weeeird dreams, and at first would wake up feeling anxious and shaking etc, but after settling down on your optimum dose for a couple of months or so side effects should go away.

I still have bad days, but they are minimal (only maybe 1 day or 2 a month, usually around my period when I feel very down) but before I was feeling bad every day. I also had some CBT which really helped me.

I have to say one thing that really messed me up was being on the contraceptive pill. I tried a few, but when i was on the pill I would feel absolutely terrible and suicidal every month a couple of days before my period (even when on sertraline). Since I stopped taking the contraceptive pill and used a method with no hormones involved, this got way better.

Hope this helps a bit?? I know everyone is different and what medication works for me might not for you, but I did get side effects in the beginning :).

Hope you feel better soon x

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Thank you so much for taking the time out to rely to me I really appreciate it. I really hope I settle soon I’ve been at work all day today and hav just felt breathless all day like I can’t get a satisfying deep breath in.

I still felt breathless last week but it was like it didn’t bother me as much.

When you did increase did you feel you had to give the increase 6-8 weeks to kick in fully? And did you find you would have a god week followed by bad? Just wondering if it’s normal to feel calmer and happier but then dip again. Thanks for your help.

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No need to thank me! Definitely felt I had to wait 6-8 weeks to get the full effects, I think the doctor told me that it would probably take this long, as well as for the side effects to go down. I didnt get breathless but my anxiety increased for the first few weeks, I definitely went up and down for a little while x

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Thanks so such jemmy it’s reassuring to know the up and down times are normal and they will level out. The fact that I have had up days is reassuring to me to think it is doing something and it will hopefully be lol up days. I think I keep comparing it to citalopram as well which started to help me within 3 weeks and once it started to help it just continued to keep helping I didn’t really slip back until it stopped working that is! I just need to be patient I’m sure

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Citalopram didn’t work for me either... at all in fact, it stopped working within weeks! Definitely be patient, if things haven’t got any better in a few weeks or you’re really struggling to cope though then definitely go back to your doctor, I am by no means a medical expert! X

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Thanks jemmy I definitely will x

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Hi, hope you don't mind me replying as its not about strictly about sertraline but about the symptoms you describe. I've been on citalopram for 10 weeks, 8 at20mg, 2 at 30mg. Not sure they're making much difference or if it's too early to judge but have been wondering about changing as I have the same symptoms as you - interrupted sleep, feeling anxious and tense when I do wake up in the morning, shortness of breath and that awful feeling of not being able to 'catch' my breath which I find quite frightening. Have you had any advice about that? It makes me not want to do anything in case it makes it worse, but I feel I should be doing some exercise. How did you do on citalopram?

Thanks for listening

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Hi Joni sorry your going thro this it’s so horrible I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

I was on citalopram for about 6 years. Started on 20mg after I had a panic attack and felt like I was constantly fighting off my next one coming. It took about 6-8 weeks to fully work from memory but I seen improvements in between that.

I went off it when I had my second daughter but slipped back down with anxiety again and went back on the 20mg I started feeling better after about 3-4 weeks. Was stable on that about a year then staring slipping again and went up to 30mg and was good for another two years. February this year I had a panic attack out of no where and it just got worse from there. I upped my dose to 40mg and gave it 4 weeks but my anxiety only got worse I wasn’t sleeping at all was awake all night with a knot in my stomach and felt like I had adrenaline pulsing thru my body 24/7 I lost 8 kilos in 2 months it was really bad. So my doctor prescribed sertraline 50mg. I’ve defiantly seen an improvement but I’m no where near back to being me.

As far as the breathing goes I’ve never found anything that helps I fortunately 😪 I know it’s anxiety and tell myself this my mum and sister have both suffered with these thing but it’s still super scary. I try meditation and listening to a hypnosis app at bedtime and even on the citalopram I would still have my days where I felt it but it was like the medication made me not fear it as much which in turn helped me to forget about it and move on. When I’m feeling really anxious I can’t think of anything else and get super tense my back aches and I feel like my air gets cut off t my throat like it’s not reaching my lungs. I try to remind myself that it can’t hurt me yes it’s uncomfortable and scary but I’m not going to die from it. Sorry that was a story I hope it helped some what x

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Thanks for replying Kellbell. I think I need to go back to my GP to discuss medication. I've tried meditation, tapping, hypnosis apps etc which help a bit but it's always there in my head 'Am I going to be able to catch my breath' and waiting for the next time I try. I also get tense and realise that my shoulders are up and my back and neck are tight. I'm a 'young' 69 year old and before all this I was out and about all the time, picking my 5 yr old grandson from school, lunching with friends, driving to Brighton to se my other grandchildren..... Now I can barely leave the house in case it happens and I have a panic attack. I've got some CBT lined up, I just want to get back to being me

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It took 3 months for my body to get used to sertraline.I still go backwards as well as forwards

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Just try and stay focused if you can

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When I started taking citalopram I got a substantial reduction in anxiety for a couple of weeks or so, that didn't seem to last.

Some sources say 8 to 12 weeks for full effect to start kicking in. When I had been on sertraline for like 3 or 4 months, (mostly 150mg), I was less sure it was doing anything than when I first reached that dose.

As ever, responses to these things vary with the person taking them.

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Hi I have been on sertraline for years now and started off on 100 mgs. This did nothing for me so I went up to 150 mgs and the change was miraculous. It doesn't entirely stop the very low dips I experience occasionally but it sure helps keep me stable.

I still have weird dreams on them but very few nightmares. Anyway I consider that a good trade off for how much they help me. x

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