Should I give up on Sertraline for depression?

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I have suffered from depression for years, now in early 40s, and have been told I will always need to be on anti-depressants. I was on Citalopram for about 10 years & asked to switch last January because I was fed up of having no libido. I was put on Sertraline 50mg and has been ok, but hadn't had a bad depression. Unfortunately stress at work brought on a very bad depression and for the first time in years I've had suicidal thoughts (though not seriously). My medicine was upped to 100mg for 2 weeks and increased to 150mg a week ago. I don't feel like I'm getting better at all. I feel anxious all the time and have had panic attacks, which I never used to get. I just don't want to do anything, talk to anyone and would happily stay in bed all the time. I don't sleep well. I've been off work for 3 weeks and am supposed to go back in a week and don't know that I can face it. I'm probably going to go back to doctor tomorrow anyway, but I just wondered if anyone had had similar experience. I was searching the net about Sertraline & came across this forum.

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Dear Kathryn.

    I am so sorry to read your story that you have been through the mill,I can honestly feel for you as I have been and still going through it and have been for 4 years or more.Mine started when I started night duty and not getting the sleep like I should be some days I use to not sleep for days and had to go to work gaurdless like we do,then I got breast cancer and I got worse I sadly overdose as my son and I was not getting on well at all etc everything was awful.I still feel like you and no one in the world will understand like we do.My husband has been good but really he doesn't understand as he is getting to me at the moment and he is making my stress levels high.I was on tablets but I took my self of them as they was not working,I am on ampertripcian for my back which is a mild antidepressant.love karen

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  • Posted

    Hello Kathryn,

    I am very sorry to hear you are feeling this way & i totally understand. I do also suffer from depression & anxiety & have done for a number of years.

    I am on Sertraline & like you started on 50mg, then 100mg & now 150mg and the side effects are awful. The doctors never tell you this do they, but it does defo sound like this is just side effects so please bare with it if you can. I have heard that it gets worse before better. So worse anxiety, feeling more down, no sleep, dry mouth etc, but then over time eases & works well so this is what i hang onto.

    I to am off work with it & have been since December so i totally understand how you feel & you must only go back to work when you feel ready & when you see the doctor i'm sure he will suggest this & give you another 4weeks sick note.

    Please keep in touch & let me know how you get on. I am only on day 2 of 150mg & soooo tired from no sleep & going mad with anxiety, but i do know it will ease & get better over time.

    All the best & take care

    Keep in touch

    Butterfly x

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  • Posted

    Thanks both for replying. It's reassuring to know that I'm not alone and nice to hear from people who get what I'm going through, though I'm sorry you both suffer from this awful illness. I haven't gone to docs again today so will try and stick it out. I was up most of last night, couldn't sleep. My husband tries to understand but I don't think you can if you've never experienced it. He doesn't know why I can't sleep and I've explained it's part and parcel of things.

    I hope you both feel better soon. Hang in there, these bouts do improve. It's just getting through it. I've also accepted that when I'm like this, my judgment is impaired, so I try not to make any rash decisions.

    Karen - I had a breast cancer scare last November and I know that contributed to my downward spiral. It sounds like you've had a horrendous time, the fact you're coping at all shows that essentially you're a tough person, so just bear with it. I'm sure it will improve in time.

    Stay strong both, Kathryn xx

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  • Posted

    The side effects can be terrible. I kind od weaned myself off of them, accidentally, as I got out of the habit of taking them when I returned to work. I started to take them again and the side effects were horrible. Never been so on edge. They lasted about a month then everything seemed fine. Now however I have done exactly the same stupid thing and taken myself off of them again. I hate depression, but also dont want to rely on tablets my whole life. If you stick with them, then it will all feel better eventually. Just dont do what I did!
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  • Posted

    Thanks Tony. I know how you feel about not wanting to be on tablets permanently, but I've found it disastrous when I stop as soon as something triggers depression. I've kind of resigned myself now to fact I'm on anti-depressants for life, but just want to make sure I'm on the right ones. Citalopram was great but unfortunately affects libido really badly and after 20 years together & 3 kids plus depression it's hard enough to feel in the mood!! At least I can laugh about it I suppose, that's a good sign. Kx
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  • Posted

    One thing I'll never lose is my sense of humour. I've made my wife laugh when I've been in tears. I know what you mean about the tablets though. I stopped myself from taking them a few months ago and now feel the depression creeping back in. I am trying to stop myself from reaching those depths though and stop the depression before it takes over again. Started looking at my CBT info again incace there is an exercise I can do.
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  • Posted

    Good luck with it and it's good that you're recognising the signs and trying to do something about it. Whatever happens, don't beat yourself up. Depression is an illnesss and sometimes we can't control it.
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  • Posted

    Thanks Kathryn,and you take care x
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  • Posted

    Hi Kathryn,

    I was put on Sertraline last June as I was becoming depressed again. I had only been on them a few days when I started to suffer from anxiety really badly. I had never experienced anxiety before and I honestly thought I was going crazy. I was so convinced that people at work were being off with me and ignoring me even though I'd done nothing wrong, I couldn't go to the shops any more because I was convinced that everyone was staring at me. On top of all this I had so many side effects, pretty much half of what they list in the information leaflet that comes with the medicine. After a couple of months on Sertaline I decided to come off it however I did the not sensible thing of stopping them altogether and going cold turkey. That led to me feeling more low and experiencing almost psychotic episodes on quite a few occasions with very scary outbursts of anger. It was the most scary time of my life and I will never go back on that medication as it obviously didn't agree with me. A couple of weeks later the anxiety disappeared and I haven't experienced it since even though I've still been depressed and have had many months off work.

    Having said that, I know that Sertraline has helped many people and sometimes the side effects pass after a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor about how you're feeling and see what they suggest. But please never ever go cold turkey on them.

    Good luck x

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  • Posted

    Thanks Becca. I've decided that I am going to docs tomorrow as I just don't feel right at all. I had a complete meltdown today after hearing there were rumours going round at work that I was leaving. I never felt as bad as this on Citalopram so I'm convinced Sertraline doesn't agree with me. I won't go cold turkey as I'd still be depressed. I just want to start feeling myself again soon. X
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  • Posted

    Doctor booked for 10am after the usual battle with the receptionist to insist I saw doctor rather than nurse practitioner. Husband took the kids to see his family in Wales last night, back tomorrow night and I didn't go. No excuse to not go to doctor and I wanted to be on my own for a bit. I know I'm basically rubbish company at the moment, so if I'm on my own I can just get on with it and I won't snap and shout at everyone. Will update after GP visit.
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  • Posted

    Hello Kathryn,

    Your'e very welcome, glad i can be of any help. I think it's good if we all stick together & help each other through.

    I'm terribly sorry to hear of you're scare that must have taken it's toll on top of the depression.

    I had a terrible nights sleep again & the sweats are just awful. One minute i am cold & the next dripping with sweat sad.

    Keep in touch & let me know how you are getting of.

    Take care

    Butterfly1 xxx

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  • Posted

    Well I went to doc and she's encouraged me to stick with Sertraline a little longer. She says that even though I was on a very low dose previously, it will still take up to 6 weeks for higher dose to kick in. Panic attacks are side effect and we'll review on Monday to see if they improve or she'll give me something for them. She has given me some sleeping pills. I think they insomnia and panic attacks have made me feel worse, but I did realise that this is first week after three that I've been out and done things, so my state of mind must be improving even if it doesn't feel like it. I'm clinging to that hope now.

    I explained my fears about work and she said I must not go back until I'm ready. I do have a stressful/high pressure job and 120-mile daily commute and pressure won't ease up, so I have to get my head straight. When I'm fine I feel invincible, but I feel far from that right now!

    Thanks for the messages, please keep in touch and let me know how you're all doing. I've been having sweats as well and hadn't realised it was a side effect until I read your comments Butterfly. All the best xxx

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  • Posted

    Hello Kathryn,

    That's good to hear. I do always hear that Sertraline does take a long time to work & is worth sticking with & that's what i hang on to too.

    I think i may also have to try something to sleep as you are lay there feeling really tired but eyes wont close & relax its so weird and i'm just shattered. And yeah the sweats for me are terrible, out of control.

    Glad you have decided you are not ready to go back to work as you will only be adding more stress and you're health is so much more important.

    I have my first CBT session on Friday & i'm really scared & have no idea what to expect. I just really hop it helps.

    Has anyone else tried this.

    All the best xxxxxx

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  • Posted

    Kathryn, I think your doctor has a limited idea about what anti depressants may do and that the side effects can sometimes be worse than the depression. This is understandable because GPs are not specialists. Try this one, then try another one and so on.

    If you get a drug that works for you then stick with it. For panic attacks I have found venlafaxine to work for me. Fluoxetine can be very beneficial for lifting you out of those depressing feelings but most of all you need to be positive about it; to tell yourself that it is working and to relax. In order to be able to relax and also get better then exercise is essential. Get out walking; go to a gym; take up a sport. Physical good health is essential for mental health. The harder you work your body the easier it becomes to relax afterwards, and sleep well.

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