My experience of Sertraline (Some encouraging words to those who are afraid)

Posted , 4 users are following.

I was prescribed sertraline in December 2016 having suffered for many years with anxiety relating to my health- what once would have been called hypochondria I suppose. The health anxiety led to all sorts of physical symptoms, many of which focussed on my heart rate, palpitations, constant awareness of heart beat. This was accompanied by feeling faint and dizzy, feeling very hot, obsessing over my heart rate etc.

The spur to seeing the doctor was that for the first time ever my anxiety and accompanying symptoms interfered with my job I am a priest in the Church of England and one Sunday I had to go home because of, what in hindsight was a panic attack, at the time felt like I might expire on the spot.

At the GP I expressed all my fears and symptoms and was prescribed 50mg of sertraline, which I duly took. I remember the first day I felt completely out of it and disassociated at times and over the week that followed I had spikes in anxiety but nothing worse than I had experienced before. Sertraline takes weeks to fully function so for the whole month of January I managed to do the bear minimum that I could work wise and spent a lot of time laying still in bed as I was still plagued by palpitations etc. (I should mention that I have in the past been diagnosed with benign ectopic beats and a harmless sinus arrhythmia which can cause occasional odd sensations but pose no danger.) 

After the first month I felt a little better and requested to up my dose to 100mg- I didn't really notice any side effects from doing this. 18 months later (and a 6 week course of telephone CBT) and I rarely experience any of the old symptoms of health anxiety. Today I started a reduced dose of 75mg with an aim of reducing to 0mg over the next few months. I have felt no different with the reduction so far.

The only persistent side effects that I have experienced have been insomnia (though I suffered a bit in the past before the sertraline from this) and a gain in weight of around a stone, which I hope to shed. Health anxiety being what it is does mean that I avoid strenuous exercise- just in case! Though I am working on increasing the exercise I do.

My reason for saying all of this is to try to encourage you, dear anxious reader, that there are so many horror stories of anti-depressants. To begin with I read accounts on forums like this, which made me more anxious as well as consulting Dr Google. Take it from me- quit reading up on others experiences and try to relax. I know how hard it is but filling your mind with scary stories will not reduce your anxiety levels.

I have come back to write on a forum like this to bring words of encouragement- that if you are just starting out on your journey on sertraline I urge you to have courage and hope. If you read the little leaflet in the pill box, or focus on bad experiences online or trust in Dr Google you will merely be stoking your anxiety and will no doubt feel worse.

You might feel a bit more anxious when first taking the pills, you might not feel like they are helping, yet I urge you to persevere as they can and do work for people. Obviously if you are worried go and see your GP but if they assure you that you are ok- trust them. I know it is hard sometimes but circular thinking really doesn't help us suffering from anxiety to break free from the bonds that tie us.

 I have written quite enough now- however do feel free to ask questions of me for support and clarification.

God bless.


1 like, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    Why I feel dizzy when I took zoloft 50mg now am 25mg
  • Posted

    Hi Mosnar,  I’m lying here wide awake at 4am reading your post and it sounds just like me.   I’m so glad that you had such a good positive experience with sertraline.   I have been on sertraline a few times now so my advice on withdrawing is go super slow and you will be fine, I did it over about 3 months And felt minimal withdrawal.   All the advice you offer is spot on but even though I realise all of the cycle I still go round and round.   I have recently re started sertraline and hope to find it eases my symptoms soon and allows me to reclaim my life and social confidence again.    Thanks so much for sharing such a re assuring story.    X 
    • Posted

      Am allergy to pills that make me dizzy my physiologist describe am not going to take it
    • Posted

      Hi Lola.   I think you keep asking the same question and we are all saying the same thing.  You really should go and see your doctor as I don’t think re assurance from an online forum is enough for you.  You need more support to get started on your meds if you feel this distressed about taking them.   Phone your gp today and ask for an emergency appointment or a phone call and tell your doctor all the fears you have.   Sertraline is supposed to help anxiety and depression and it’s a very commonly used drug.  Nobody knows how they will react to it until they try it.  Good luck.  X 
  • Posted

    You have made a very encouraging post, thank you. I’m glad that you are feeling so much better and you are right about

    googling symptoms.

    My anxiety is very high, I have been on 50mg for years but started to withdraw. Felt ok but medics disputed this so went back to 50mg. Cue terrible symptoms of depression, complete breakdown!! 

    What! Why! How! 5 months on depression is better but still monstrous anxiety for no apparent reason. Sert increased my tinnitus which has been very difficult. They are powerful drugs but they can help, they helped you.

    Eve 🌸

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.