Sertraline causing intrusive thoughts?

Posted , 10 users are following.

Hi, I started Sertraline (50mg) about 15 days ago for anxiety and mild depression. I initially planned to try CBT first but felt I was starting to deteriorate, to the point where thoughts of self-harm would cross my mind. It wasn't that I wanted to self-harm, deep down I didn't, but images popped into my head , I would image what it was like and I would feel anxious around sharp objects. I was convinced that I was tempted.

Subsequently I decided to speak to my doctor again and I decided to go ahead and cash in on my Sertraline prescription. The last two weeks have been very turbulent to say the least. Initially I was extremely anxious and the thoughts of self-harm turned to visualising  and belief that I had the urge to commit suicide. This would then switch to anxiety about whether or not I was dangerous, whether I wanted to attack family members/random people and even to the extent to which I was doubting whether I was safe around children. The obsessions would rotate, about things that I would never have troubled me before (other than the initial self-harm stuff that upset me) and having done a bit of research it's now clear to me that I've been suffering from intrusive thoughts. 

I just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience in terms of the sertraline potentially causing intrusive thoughts? I know I was having the initial thoughts about self-harm but I'm not sure whether it's the Sertraline that has made things a lot worse in that I worsened or if I may have Pure-O? Do intrusive thoughts necessarily mean pure-O?

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Dav , When I started on sert 5 weeks ago I had thoughts that I could not go on , which also turned into anxiety about having such thoughts!  Now I never made plans or visualisied doing it . The thought would just pop into my head now and again. I had never had thoughts like this before taking Sertraline but I put it down to starting a new medication , being really low and having really bad anxiety!

    Also what got me through was writing all this down to get it out of my head and I kept telling myself these are just thoughts not fact!!   Have you got anyone you can talk to about these thoughts? Because it will help mate. I talked to my Counselor & my partner which made me feel a whole lot better about such thoughts.

    Also 15 day is not that long on Sertraline , your still early doors on that front.

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  • Posted

    My experience was the first weeks of sertraline made the obsessional thinking more intense. It was a very tough couple of weeks where I needed a lot of alone time. I also used a company help line to talk to someone independent and anonymous. The samaritans I think offer something similar.
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  • Edited

    The tablets will intensify the intrusive thoughts. Anxiety will get worst before it gets better. I would suggest keep taking meds until 12 weeks Into it. If you still have bad anxiety, then perhaps speak to the GP to get a higher dose. It takes time for the meds to take full affect, which is around 12 weeks.

    Never think that the intrusive thoughts make you a bad person, remember it's not you, it's your Anxiety. Don't lose hope and keep going. You will get through this.

    God bless x

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    • Posted

      Hi iv only just joined this forum I have been on sertraline for 20 days today I am finding the forum very helpful which is why I decided to join it is a very scary feeling having anxiety and depression you do feel your alone but reading all these stories you realise your not alone your forum has really helped me today because it’s the intrusive thoughts that bother me I’m taking 50mg first time I am starting to feel better eating more but still got a way to go mentally with thoughts and no joy in things anymore feeling flat surpressed emotions seeing my doctor today for my 3 week check up can’t wait to get back to me 
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  • Posted

    It took 5 wks an I woke a diff person litterly. Those thoughts, your not c alone! I have them. On med #8 here soon. Im treatment resistant. Sertraline helped mentally but physically I fell very ill, like hospital ill fr them. Toxicity. I think you need a anti-anxiety med to help with sleep an those thoughts. Dont get bored either! Exercise!!! Even yard work, riding bike, wslking. Go to a movie. I would suggest a therapist. They teach you what to do with these thoughts an issues. Worry journal or a journal to write down these thoughts. I went to one for 3 months then couldnt afford it. Stupid Obama. So Iv taken what Iv learned an try to use it. Im GAD an depression. I take 0.5mg Klonapine (longer acting than xanax will prob make drowsy) but I half pill now. Fixin to start Effexor 37.5mg its been since May 2014 iv been on this hell roller coaster. Im tired. Praying this one is it! Get to a therapist! Just my opinion. Talk it out helps. God bless fr USA
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    • Posted

      Good advice

      And agree on the sleep and exercise. Particularly the sleep

      I actually used mertazapine for a week. The first 2 nights I slept like a baby and I felt so much better mentally after it

      I am also rowing (boat not argue) 40 mins a day and walking the same. Not sustainable when back at work though

      I did drop the mertazapine a week later as the withdrawal from sertraline and prednisolone (unrelated steroid) was screwing me up. So I took mertazapine out of the confusion of what drug was messing/helping.

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    • Posted

      I am also going through the same thing and I also get scary and evil intrusive thoughts and I also think it’s cause of the sertraline. I also find it VERY hard to sleep or find rest, if I do sleep I’m always having vivid dreams.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for the messages. They've helped reassure me massively. Explained the above to my doctor and he seems to want to take me off the Sertraline but I'm going to insist that I give it another few weeks.

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  • Posted

    Dav, sertraline will make you feel worst before it makes you feel better. I too had suicide ideation and was all over the place emotionally and thought-wise the first month. So plese give it time. Give it up to 6 weeks to see small changes happening.

    I too am a Pure O all my life, coupled with GAD and depression.

    Xx.

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  • Posted

    Sertaline and/or Xanax did this to me too. Very scary s**t. I will never trust doctors again. How are you now? Still on meds?
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