Weening Son off of Zoloft

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Hello all -

I'm new to this group. My 7 yr old son has anxiety and we started him on soloft 5 weeks ago. While it took away his anxiety it has made him really mean, rageful, and explosive. He is also depressive now, something he never was before. Yesterday he said he wanted to kill himself, today he wrote a letter saying that he hates himself, he's stupid, etc. He was never depressed before, and we're starting to ween him off tomorrow. Curious, if he's only been on it for 5 weeks, does anyone think he'll have major withdrawal symptoms? has anyone had this experience with their child? thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have.

1 like, 9 replies

9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Susan, was that a typo above and you meant 17? If he is really only 7 then dear god get him off that stuff as soon as possible. He's far too young to be on antidepressants. I'm 40 have suffered from anixety/depression all my life and I too started on Sertraline (zoloft) 5 weeks ago. It has been horrendous! The side affects are almost unbearable. I've had dizziness, headaches, diahorrea, insomnia, and feel practically suicidal (which I didn't before!). I'm starting to wish I hadn't started taking it.

    There are lots of people who say to stick with it as after a few weeks it should get better. But that is one thing to recommend for an adult. Completely different for a young child. It is totally messing with my brain.

    I do know (from reading other peoples comments) that it is equally horrendous to wean yourself off of. I would recommend doing it fairly slowly. Don't rush him off of it. Just start cutting the dose down gradually over the next three weeks or so, and then start missing alterante days, till he is only taking a tiny dose once every few days. But do it slow.

    Perhaps couselling might be a better option for him? Good luck. 

  • Posted


    ​it's not uncommon to have a 7 year old on zoloft, however it may not be the best route to take it all depends on your sons set of circumstamces and what other help is available for him, i would seek other means of treatment away from medications. the side effects from ssri drugs alone is a tough time for us adults so for a youngster to go through this will be a traumatic event, there are far better meds for anxiety that zoloft,speak to your doctor, but talking and learning and training the brain should be tried first, the other problem would be to have your little boy to ween off the tabs which is not an easy option and to be told by docs that meds are the only way and to go back on them, try and get a course of therapy speak to mental health and hopefully you will get a better option other than meds, hope you get him the help he needs before it turns into a long  time problem for him, take care

  • Posted

    OH, Susan. I'm so sorry what your little son and you are going through. I had a very ADHD child and medication and life was so hard to deal with. I was on Zoloft for many years and did just fine until I tried three times to get off it.  The withdrawal can and usually is very difficult.  Even though your son only took it for five weeks he might have withdrawal issues.

    The MOST important thing is to withdraw slowly, very slowly.  I'm going to guess that he was on maybe 12.5 mg. Cut that in half for about a month, or longer. Then take half that dose for a month. Then take that 6 mg dose every other day for a month. Then stop. His withdrawal may include crying, anger, anxiety, panic attacks, brain zap feelings, pain behind an eye.

    someone on this site mentioned Zoloft/Sertraline in drop form. That sounds perfect. Maybe your doc will prescribe drops. Easier to manage.

    Most of us on the site agree that doctors don't realize about the withdrawal side effects. Some docs even deny if. So they order you to reduce for a week and stop.  I would never, knowing what I do now,

    bless all all us parents trying to help our children. It can be so hard and scary.  Be sure your doctor knows right away about all his negative thoughts. Good luck, Susan


  • Posted

    I agree 100% with Mari.  Please call your son's doctor immediately!  Watch your son closely.  
  • Posted

    Thank you all for your thoughts. My son was actually on 25mgs for 3 weeks and was doing ok, but tried to get out of a moving car and so my dr took him up to 37.5,mgs. as soon as that happened, my creative amazing boy turned dark dark dark..... and yesterday i didnt even know who he was, and honestly i dont think he did, either. the problem with the anxiety originally (and the reason we finally went this route with an SSRI) was that he was running away when he was nervous or mad,.... from the house, from the school, etc. we almost lost him once (and we live in a big metropolitan city), Ultimately it was a safety issue...

    I went back to see the psych today who said to go off of it, and do 25mgs for 3 days then 12.5 for 2 days then be done with it. Seems fast to me, so i'm getting a second opinion on friday. 

    If any mother is reading this, and going though a similar issue, its really important to know that Zoloft is NOT for every kid. It does help some kids, others it makes things WAY worse. I think for us, my son was over medicated at 37.5 and was suicidal.... had he not been up that high, the lower dose might have helped and we wouldnt have had this experience. Who is to say, I only know that the last few days have been REALLY scary and I owe it to my son to ween him off of this and see if there are other routes we can take (equestrian therapy, etc) before ever exploring medication again.

    The good news? He is starting to feel (and act) like his old self, after one day of lowering the dosage, I am so thankful. Kids do bounce back fast.

    I do want to thank you all, for not only responding to my post, but for posting your own experiencies in general - I think it's really important for other people going through a simialr situation. The psych we were seeing wouldnt acknowledge anything i had read online, and was so particular in the info he chose to give us, that if it wasnt for people being honest in blogs like this, i would have been very, very scared lost.


    • Posted

      I didn't want to say " get your child off Zoloft" because it wasn't my place to, but since you and your doctors decided that, yay!!!  I think it is way too heavy a drug for adults, much less children.  CAVEAT - you simply MUST slow down weaning him from it.  Five days to wean off???  I took six months and still had horrid side effects withdrawing.  I would do 25 mg for a month, 12 mg for a month then 12 mg every other day for another month, at the least. Everyone on this message board will say the same.  We know the horrors. The best to your precious son. Ellen
  • Posted

    Hello all - just a quick update... and i hope that moms now or in the future can read this, so important. Went to a second psych on Friday to get an opinion. Turns out the belief is that Zoloft does work on kids for anxiety until it passes the "threshold" a person has (and everyone's is different). For my son,. the 37.5 surpassed that, so that much Zoloft amplified everything - the explosions, the anger, the opposition, and he became so clinically depressed that he was suicidal. Basically, that much Zoloft MADE him crazy, he was never suicidal before, my beautiful creative 7 yr old. so 5 weeks on (2 of which were at 37.5) and now 3 weeks weening him off... the good news is that he is starting to act like his old happy self again, and he's so happy to be that way again as are we. The moral of the story.... if you feel ike you HAVE to try Zoloft on your child, START LOW - 12.5, not 25mg. and wait to see how they're doing before upping the dosage. The first psych we had told me 25 was the "lowest dose they make".... sure, but you can cut those in half which we should have done. Anyway he should seriously not be praciticing, and i only know that now in hindsight. 

    Take care of your kiddies and follow your heart when making these decisions. 

    • Posted

      Yah, Susan!  Glad you're getting answers. I think most would agree here that few doctors really know the horrors these drugs can put us through. Someone mentioned Sertraline is also in drop form. That could really lower a dose. So don't be shy about asking your pharmacist about the drops. They are great drug consultants. Glad your little boo is coming back to himself!  A hard journey.  Ellen
  • Edited

    hi. i know this is an old post, but how did your son do? Ours is going through the same problem right now. We started weaning him about a week ago and we completely stopped giving him anything last night. We are so praying he returns back to who he was. Did the effects go away with your son?

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