I've been taking antidepressants for 10 months

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I was diagnosed with OCD in October 2014.  The diagnosis came after I suffered a crisis at home where I had obsessive thoughts of a violent nature which involved knives, my family and other people.  I'd had depression for some weeks and was under a lot of stress at work and in my personal family life.  I had never experienced these types of thoughts before and so was very frightened; I didn't know what to do or who to turn to.  I thought I should leave home to ensure my family's safety and turn myself in to the police.  I decided to contact my GP who referred me to the local psychiatric hospital where I received very good support and treatment.

Since then I had been taking 100mg of Sertraline daily which kept the obsessive thoughts at bay.  My depression has also improved and I have been completely free from it since May 2015.  I have reduced my work stress and family relationships are good.  I was doing so well that the GP agreed to a reduction to 50mg per day of Sertraline which I tapered to I thought successfully.  But then I let it slide.  I started sitting up late at night and becoming over-tired and sleep-deprived.  Violent harmful thoughts returned and so the dose has been put up to 100mg daily.  I wonder if I will ever be free of OCD?  But at least this set-back has not yet brought the depression back yet.

I am still hopeful.

1 like, 14 replies

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    People withe OCD are never 100% completely free from symptoms. But it is possible to learn how best to help yourself and how to live with those obsessions. This doesn't mean you will need to stay on the tablets forever though.

    As you said, then the dosage was reduced, you let thing slip... so next time the dosage is reduced, work really hard on maintaining the good habbits you are able to achieve whilst on the tablets. Setting an alarm to remind you to go to bed might not be a bad idea, particularly as you now know that getting over tired can make those intrusive thoughts return.

    Mental illness is a learning curve... there will be times you do well, and times you are not doing so well. Don't feel bad about slipping backwards just a fraction, it will happen from time to time to all of us. The important thing is that you dealt with that little slip well and went straight back to your GP, which really is a good sign for the future. xxx

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    • Posted

      Thank you very much Angel91.  It is good to get it out there as I don't feel confident about sharing all of this with the people around me.  I didn't understand OCD until it happened and I think I've really just started to accept it since I looked more into it.

      Your reply makes me feel supported. :-)

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  • Posted

    John, listen to Angel - hers is a really good post.

    It also sounds to me as if you reduced the Sertraline too fast. You say that somewhere between May and now (early August) you've reduced from 100mg to 50mg then gone back up to 50mg. That suggests that the reduction may have been done over a period of only two months or even less. Try going much slower next time.

    I join with Angel in congratulating you on having handled your original attack and the subsequent relapse so well. I'm sure you'll overcome this minor setback.

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    • Posted

      I appreciate your response lily65668.

      I only took 2 weeks to taper down.  I didn't rceive any advice about tapering from the GP and couldn't find much on-line.  From what you have said I am guessing perhaps 10-12 weeks would be more appropriate.  would thet be correct?

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    • Posted

      Oh dear - two weeks! You got off lightly, it could have been much worse. I'm disappointed your GP didn't give you more precise instructions in the first place. I think your new estimate of the correct time would be the minimum. And don't concentrate too much on treating the 10-12 weeks as a firm goal. It's better to aim at feeling completely stable for at least a month or so after each reduction. If you don't make it down to 50mg in the planned time-frame it doesn't matter.

      Btw, I'm wondering in what form you take it. If it's slow-release it's not advisable to cut up tablets. I believe this is one of the drugs that's also available in liquid form, which would make it much easier to calibrate reduction. Maybe you could ask your GP or mental health team (if you have one) about this?

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    • Posted

      From what I remember, Sertraline only comes in 50mg tablets and 100mg tablets, so while they could have asked you to take one and a half tablets (so 75mg) for a few weeks before lowering to 50 there isn't much they can do to reduce it slower than that. Each time I have been on a medication the reduction has taken place over 2-3 weeks. It is only normally if you have been on a medication for a very long time or you are on a very high dose that they would need to reduce it over a number of months. So the next time you (or the doc) are considering reducing the dose you can ask to be put on one and a half 50mg tablets until you feel comfortable with that , but it will mean cutting the tablet yourself. It really depends on you though. Don't be afraid to mention it to your doctor if that is how you would feel more comfortable. xxx
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    • Posted

      I'm not sure if they are slow release, they are by Pfizer and their brand name is Lustral.  Yes, I will ask my GP about getting detailed advice on tapering.  I feel if can stick to a sensible sleep pattern and healthy lifestyle then I can crack it.
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    • Posted

      I take 40 mg of prozac a day for depression, and it helps with OCD as well, which I have had on and off over the years, and used to involve fears of harming other people and repetitive actions. Mine got really bad when I was in my twenties in the eighties, and I had never heard of it, or knew it was a recognised condition, I just struggled with it, and was too embarrassed to tell my doctor. Finally some years after it started I saw a programme about it on TV, and was so relieved to realize that it actually was a recognised medical condition. Before that, I just thought I was mad.

      My 18 year old son gets it now as well, and I think he should mention it to the doc. He seems quite inhibited about doing so, but I really think he should.

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    • Posted

      When the psychiatrist told me I had OCD I just couldn't believe it and it took a while to accept it.  I find it difficult to talk about to my friends and family.  I feel ashamed.

      OCD-UK have a lot of good info and materials.

      It certainly shouldn't do any harm for your son to mention it to the doc. In fact the sooner the better because I was only diagnosed when I had a crisis.  I think it best to come to terms with it before reaching the crisis point.

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    • Posted

      To both Ursula and John: it's so sad that you felt embarrassed or ashamed of having a mental illness. Why on earth should you feel like that? I do, however, understand the pressure society can put on us to be "normal" (whatever that might be!)

      I think John is talking a lot of sense when he says it's better to get diagnosed before reaching crisis point.

      My very best wishes to both, and to Ursula's son.

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    • Posted

      Thanks alot Lily.

      My sons OCD doesnt seem too bad at present, but we dont know how much he is hiding it, as he just occassionally mentions it and gets upset about it. He went to the doc the other day about something else, but he still wouldnt mention the OCD.  He has a bit of an eating disorder - I suspect hes a bit bulimic. He's very slim. He keps saying he feels sick practically everytime he eats, and vomits. He had a load of tests done, but all results are OK.  He feels under alot of pressure to meet social norms, and is upset because he hasnt got a girlfriend yet.

      He has Aspergers - but its quite mild thankfully.

      As for OCD, I never even heard the term until about 1988-9! -  and didnt know anyone else who had it, so I just thought I was weird.

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  • Posted

    First of al, congrats for experiencing remission!! That's quite amazing and I am still waiting for remission after 12 months of trial and error medications...

    now the o.ther good news is that the depression isn't back. You nipped it in the butt in time and got back on your meds. Well done!

    maybe wait another 6 months until you slowly taper off your meds, or consider taking them for a full year. Usually that's what is recommended.

    and yes. Many many many people experience remission and complete healing. But only if you don't rush things. The brain needs a looooooooong time to heal. It drives me nuts. LOL

    so, be grateful that you went back quickly on your meds. Give it another few months and then see where you are. 

    I am sure you'll say goodbye to ocd and depression in the long run!!

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