Sertraline Sucks

January 20, 2007 at 2:04 pm 10 comments

I might be judging a little harshly, since I’m only on day three of these antidepressants, but taking the tablet each day is starting to feel like I’m poisoning myself slowly. My body and mind seem to hate them. I feel drugged. For a few hours after I take them I feel horribly dizzy whenever I stand up. I’m permanently filled with a kind of nervous energy, but feel exhausted at the same time. My concentration is shot and my memory seems to be taking a few hits too. My digestive system doesn’t seem to enjoy them too much either.

I want to die, but right now, on these pills, I don’t think I could begin to put a coherent plan together. Even overdosing on the pills isn’t going to do too much, beyond making me miserable for a few days. So, despite the occasional urge, I’m not going to do that. This whole let’s-get-medical-help thing is turning out to be a whole lot more effort than I thought.

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So much to do, so little motivation Sertraline and the Bank

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeffrey Wilson  |  January 20, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    I am not surprised by your post. Antidepressants are the most toxic of all pharmacuticals. The drug companies tell doctors that the pills take weeks before they have an affect on a patient but that is a lie to cover up how toxic the drugs are. You are experiencing the affects of the pills right now.

  • 2. experimental chimp  |  January 20, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    You’re using the word ‘toxic’ in a sense I don’t really understand. A toxin is something that causes damage. I could take the entire box of pills I have here and, though the effects would be unpleasant, it’s would be very unlikely to cause any lasting damage. By comparison, taking an equivalent overdose of paracetemol/acetaminophen would probably kill me through liver failure. So it would be reasonable to say that paracetemol is the more toxic substance.

    Whether these pills are therapeutic for me or not remains to be seen. If they’re not, I suspect I’ll end up on a different antidepressant.

  • 3. sisiphus  |  January 21, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    What you describe sound like unpleasant side effects of the tablets that you are taking. They may be listed on the patient information leaflet that should have come with the tablets, although in these days where many doctors are forced to write the generic drug name instead of a proprietary drug name, the chemist that supplies you with the drug may not have included the patient information leaflet with them. It sounds bizarre, but it happens and I for one have experienced it, as a patient. The pharmacist supplying the drug did not know that I was a qualified psychiatrist, so I cannot excuse him because of his presumption that I would not need the leaflet.
    The side effects, sometimes also referred to as adverse effects although the latter term is not always accurate nor is it always beneficial as a description, usually wear off after you have been taking the drug for a while. I can’t be more specific than that and I know that sounds unscientific, but it really does vary form patient to patient, how the side effects are experienced, if at all. Some people will say that they have not experienced any side effects at all, even though the patient information leaflets tell them that ‘x’ particular side effect is common and that they have a more than 1 in 50 chance of experiencing it. Other patients come in and tell me that they have experienced ‘y’ side effect that is supposed to be as rare as hens teeth.
    That said, it is not much help to you if you are feeling as unwell as you describe on the medication, which has been prescribed to help you feel better. There is a time lag between the start of a patient taking an antidepressant and the start of said patient starting to feel better. I suspect you know this already, given that you do look around for information, but that is not an excuse for not being informed about these things by whomever prescribed the medication.
    I’m sorry if this is not much help. I am feeling worn out and hacked off by my own speciality due to the insane politics that are currently in place and the current awakening of mendacious trickery in drug research which makes me question whether there is any truth in anything that I have been taught to tell my patients. If I only use the experiences that I have both vicariously and as a patient myself, then my opinion will be skewed and extremely subjective, therefore of little real worth to anyone. If I use the information that my training and continuing educational development has given me, I will be spewing the ‘party line’ but risk ignoring potentially valuable information given to me by a patient or person such as yourself, that has perhaps been minimalised or trivialised by the drug company who manufacture that drug.
    If you can be bothered, keep a note in a diary or chart your side-effects or emotions/strange feelings/unpleasant experiences. If your doctor/psychiatrist is interested in their job and their patients and is not totally burnt out, then it will be of interest to them. I still find these sorts of things fascinating, frustrating and challenging in a way that makes me want to find out more and want to try and help if i can, despite being a worn out, cynical old rat bag who will soon be giving up. Since this is a blog and not a consulting room I am allowed to tell you things like that about me. Since you appear to be pretty clever with computers, i expect my IP number will thus be banned.
    i hope that you feel better soon and that you do eventually find some help within the NHS, before it is completely annihilated by the ridiculous policy reforms that have come about since I started as a psychiatrist.
    Sisiphus

  • 4. experimental chimp  |  January 21, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Sisiphus: I did get a patient information leaflet, and my symptoms are listed as side effects, so it’s not entirely unexpected. Definitely a lot worse than Prozac was – but then Prozac didn’t really do anything good for me either. At least with this one I know that it’s doing something to my brain, even if I’m not enjoying it at the moment. Hopefully the side effects will fade off and some proper effects will kick in.

    I’ll definitely be taking this up with my psychiatrist. If things start getting better then it’ll be at my next meeting with him in a few weeks. If they’re not showing any signs of fading in a few days time, I’ll give him a call, I think.

    The whole truth in research thing is quite interesting. I’ve got a bit of background in the philosophy of science and medicine (it was one of my interests at university). Because our knowledge of the brain and mind are rather limited, psychiatric research seems closer to the softer sciences than the harder ones. Standards of proof are bound to be less than in other areas of medicine, because mechanisms of action are often (indeed, usually) unclear. If it’s impossible to say why specific things work (or don’t work) then you’re left with correlation and statistical proofs, both of which are much less solid than a cause-and-effect proof.

    That doesn’t mean we should disregard the evidence and conclusions that are available, though.

    Drug companies may not have their consumers’ best interests at heart all the time and have a vested interest in their products being successful, but that’s true in pretty much every type of research. It’s unfortunate, but probably unavoidable. Until we have a better understanding of the brain, the mind and emotions and can describe the mechanism of action of psychotropic substances, all evidence is suspect anyway. And I suspect the drug companies fund research in that area, too.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments and kind thoughts. I’ve no intention at all of banning you – you’re always a welcome contributor here and always interesting.

  • 5. puddlejumper  |  January 22, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve often found when starting a new antidepressant that there can be yucky side effects like those you describe. They do usually settle down after a few days. Especially things like dizziness.

    Trial and error as they say.

    But yeah you’re right.

    It does suck.

    Big time.

    Hope the yuckiness eases soon.
    x

  • 6. puddlejumper  |  January 22, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Sorry for butting in on the thread but hoped I might be able to leave a message for Sisyphus?

    Hi Sisyphus,

    I tried to look up your blog today and it says it’s been deleted.

    I totally understand if that’s the case but just wanted to drop you a quick line to say I hope everything is okay?

    If you ever want a chat or a rant or anything just give me a shout. You know where I am.

    All the very best.

    x

  • 7. experimental chimp  |  January 22, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks Puddlejumper. Also, I’d like to echo your thoughts about Sisyphus. I hope she’s doing OK. I’ll miss reading her posts if she’s decided not to blog anymore.

  • 8. katm  |  January 23, 2007 at 6:16 am

    I’ll just echo what everyone else has said.

    I didn’t have great luck with Zoloft the first time I took it. I had that persistent feeling of disquiet you describe, and it escalated to hypomania. Once I changed meds I got better.

    I did the med-go-round for about 10 years. There were some meds that worked well for me and some that made me worse. I actually ended up on quite the combo of an anti-depressant, a neuroleptic, a mood-stabilizer, an anti-anxiety and a med that helped enhance the effects of the anti-depressant.

    For most people, the side effects seem to pass in a few weeks. And the real effects of the meds seem to take about a month to 6 weeks to reach full effectiveness.

    If things don’t improve in a few days, I definitely think a call to the doctor is in order.

    Please don’t let the first posters comments scare you off. For me, without the meds, I would have been dead years ago. There are people that don’t get any help from meds, but there are so many more that get significant relief.

    And I’ll add to the hoping that Sisyphus is ok.

  • 9. Concerned  |  March 27, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I found that the generic (Sertaline) was really bad compared to the brand name. Have you tried the brand name Zoloft? Just a suggestion. I was told they are equivalent, but they weren’t for me. Very noticeable difference in effectiveness and side effects.

  • 10. Jeff  |  October 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    holy crap I hate this pill, haven’t slept barely at all since I started last Sunday! It is now Thursday.. I’m done, I took my last one today.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?

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