General Question

livelaughlove21's avatar

Do you have any personal experience with Zoloft?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15623points) December 17th, 2013

I see that this question was asked back in 2011, but we have new members now that I’d like to hear from.

I went to my OBGYN today for my annual exam. Some of you may know from previous questions that I have a lot of anxiety about my health and constantly think I’m dying of breast cancer or a brain tumor or something equally ridiculous. I talked to my doctor about all of these issues and after I told him I was having dizzy spells that I think might be caused by anxiety, he said, “For God’s sake, let me treat it!” So, he put me on Zoloft.

He told me not to look up side effects and just to be very aware of my body. So, please don’t just copy and paste side effects from some website. I want to know your personal experiences. I already have a low sex drive, which I attributed to my anxiety, and I’m worried that this will ruin my sex life completely. I’m also concerned about weight gain.

The thing is, my anxiety is not constant. If I’m particularly stressed out with other things in my life, that’s when I start freaking out about my health and noticing every sensation in my body. All other times, I’m fine. I don’t have panic attacks or anything like that. I’m not depressed. It’s just my obsessive thoughts control my life for a month or two before I chill out, but it happens 2–3 times per year.

I don’t know if I should try it and see what happens or just skip it to avoid the sexual side effects and possible weight gain. Thoughts?

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27 Answers

dxs's avatar

I was on at least 3 different brands of anti-depressant/anxiety medications so it’s hard for me to distinguish them sometimes, but Zoloft was definitely one I took. I remember somewhere someone telling me that a medication will increase my appetite, and I was looking forward to that but it definitely never happened. So that it didn’t do for me. I’m not a very sexual person anyway, so that side effect was kind of irrelevant, too. (Or a result of a million anti- sexdrive depressant medications haha).

The last medication I was on was the worst. It’s the reason I stopped taking any medications…because none of them were doing anything for me and the last one’s side effects were terrible. I’d get massive headaches and always puke. One day, my junior year in high school, I was in my US History class and I felt awful, so I went to the bathroom. On my way to the bathroom I gagged, so I began to run to the bathroom. It didn’t help that my classroom was literally the last room in the second floor. I luckily managed to get all the puke into the toilet bowl, but that was the day I stopped taking anxiety medications.

Anyways, don’t be scared off or anything. It works differently on different people. I’ll get back to you and let you know if that last medication was the Zoloft or not.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I took Zoloft in the past to treat depression. It was not effective for me.

However, every body reacts differently to different medication. I suggest you give it a try.

gailcalled's avatar

I took Zoloft for two years. It did take the edge off my depression but I noticed a lower libido. So it was a trade-off. You should consider that treating anxiety and depression (first cousins) is always a two-pronged approach…meds plus talk therapy.

deni's avatar

I would have not taken anything a doctor specifically told me to “not look up side effects” for.

Coloma's avatar

I am not a fan of antidepressants unless there is proof of some brain chemistry issues.
I tried Paxil about 12 years ago for a situational depression/anxiety, during a divorce. Horrible experience!
I felt like a walking zombie, dazed and confused, broke out in hives on day 10.
My doctor told me that was not a side effect. Bullshit. I later found upon researching that in a very small percentage of patients this WAS, indeed, a side effect.

Nasty, horrible drug. Never again!
Proceed at your own risk!
I also agree with @deni WTF! Not good advice IMO.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Coloma The OP is asking specifically about Zoloft. Why are you writing about Paxil, an utterly different medication?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Coloma My parents are both on Paxil and can hardly function without it. It’s a miracle drug for them. And Paxil isn’t Zoloft.

@deni He said that because my anxiety about possible side effects will make me expect it and I’ll probably think I’m having the most serious side effects when it’s really my anxiety. He did tell me to call him if I think anything is wrong, to pay attention to my body, and seek immediate attention if I have suicidal thoughts. For a patient like me, steering me away from reading about scary side effects (which all SSRIs have) isn’t a bad idea.

Coloma's avatar


Just cautioning that these drugs often do more harm than good, but duly noted.
Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, really doesn’t matter. It is all about how they interact with individual brain chemistry, and every experience will be unique to the individual and their particular physiology.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Coloma “Just cautioning that these drugs often do more harm than good” False by the experience of millions of users including me.

“Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, really doesn’t matter.” Again false. Each drug uses a completely different molecule to reach a specific effect. If it didn’t matter, there would literally be only one anti-depressant.

Coloma's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I understand, but in my experience and those of others, these drugs were a nightmare. Again, it is all dependent on the individuals reaction. I meant, it doesn’t matter, in terms of how any of these drugs might interact with an individuals chemistry.
I think alternative therapies should be explored before handing out mind altering substances like Pez, which many doctors do these days.

KNOWITALL's avatar

ZOLOFT can cause sleepiness or may affect your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly.

I’m concerned that the side effect above may interfere with your career choice, but it has helped my bi-polar mom a lot. Although she still gets emotional, she’s pretty well stable mood-wise.

spykenij's avatar

I was given Zoloft when I was 15 by a psychiatrist that told my mom it could make me not gay. Mom slipped up with the truth a few times on this, so a few others know the truth, but she has since rewritten history. Anyway, I felt like a zombie-no emotions at all. Also, since taking it, I am now 33 and I cannot concentrate or focus like I could prior to taking it. It also messed up my short-term memory. I wish I had never been forced to take it.

glacial's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Well… they are not completely different molecules. These drugs are all in the same broad class: SSRIs. I realize that you believe they have been effective for you, but the research shows that SSRIs are not more effective than placebos most of the time. And they have side effects that can cause harm, such as increasing the risk of suicide and self-harm.

I don’t usually come in on the side of people who say “let’s explore alternative therapies”, but @Coloma has a point here.

Coloma's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I say that because, in my case, I realized I did not need a mind altering pill, I needed to make changes in my life.I went to therapy and took a low dose Xanax for the anxiety after my horrid experience with the Paxil.
Depression and anxiety are often signs one needs to make changes, not take a drug to mask the core issues. Of course this is not true for those with Bi-polar or other brain chemistry issues, however, in many instances depression and anxiety are the subconscious minds manifestation that changes need to be made. Depression and anxiety were a GIFT in my case, a wake up call to make changes.

When I did navigate these changes, viola…no more depression and anxiety and an extreme rebirth of joy and self empowerment.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@glacial Can you cite some medical studies comparing SSRIs to placebos, please.

@livelaughlove21 I do not give advice. I would strongly caution against taking medical advice from strangers on the Internet with absolutely no credentials.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Coloma I’ve had anxiety since I was 12. My mom used to have to give me half of a Xanax so I’d sleep instead of staying awake all night freaking out about everything and nothing. My life is in no way the same now as it was then. The change that needs to be made is in my head, and nothing else I’ve tried has worked.

wildpotato's avatar

I was prescribed Zoloft, took one pill, and a few hours later experienced a side effect with extreme severity. If you want details PM me and I’ll tell you. I did not take any more Zoloft and stuck with a really low dose of Klonopin taken as needed, which has never caused bad side effects for me. I wish I’d been able to stick with Zoloft long enough to feel its mental effects, but it obviously wasn’t the right medicine for me, and the experience has kinda scared me off SSRIs in general.

Coloma's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I think a lot of kids and young adults have anxiety, as you get older, hopefully you will learn that learning to live with uncertainty is part of life. Worrying does nothing but make you sick and does nothing to change or forstall events, good or bad. You’re never too young to practice some mindfulness techniques and meditation.
Our minds are powerful and we must learn to control them, not allow them to control us.

Best wishes. :-)

janbb's avatar

@Coloma Some of us need more help at times than you obviously do.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@livelaughlove21 That sucks. Is there anything that relaxes you, like petting your dog or something that you can do more often? I hate pills and got off xanax after one year but I found that I can tune out the world when I’m walking the dogs or playing with them, or reading. Maybe just keep trying to find what does it for you?!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@glacial Thank you. The articles are very interesting.

This is taken from the first link you provided: ”Conclusions The magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo increases with severity of depression symptoms and may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in patients with mild or moderate symptoms. For patients with very severe depression, the benefit of medications over placebo is substantial.”

A doctor is the only one trained to determine when the symptoms demonstrated by the patient are mild, moderate, or severe, and only a doctor can then decide what course of treatment is best. There are no doctors participating in this thread, and it is my opinion that @livelaughlove21 should listen to doctors who are present and engaged in the treatment plan. In reality, there is no one—absolutely no one—- on Fluther capable of examining, diagnosing, and prescribing for @livelaughlove21.

glacial's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I don’t disagree with that at all. I said that SSRIs are not more effective than placebos most of the time”, which is what the research shows. And @livelaughlove21 isn’t looking for drugs to treat severe depression.

I’m sure @livelaughlove21 knows better than to self-diagnose based on the advice of anonymous internet forum users, but I think it is good that you are being very clear about that.

josie's avatar

When I got out of the service some things were bothering me, and I took Zoloft for several months. I did not like the side effects. I stopped taking it and went to a shrink. I had about four sessions, and got squared away. In the long run, I saved money and no side effects.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb I had my time, but found, for me, that medications were not the answer.
I think these drugs can help some people without brain chemistry issues, but, IMO they are meant to be temporary stepping stones not lifelong dependence on.
Especially in cases of grief related depression I think they hinder recovery and acceptance by dulling feelings that need to be felt.

Paradox25's avatar

Yes, Zoloft was the first type of medication prescribed to me for my severe panic disorder. The doctor gave me Clonapins to take with them first since most SSRI’s can take a while to affect you.

My own personal experience with the Zoloft was not that impressive. I was on it for about six months, where my dosage varied from 50 to 100mg. Frankly the Zoloft virtually had noticable effect on my panic and anxiety whatsoever. Now I had worked with other people who had a great experience with the Zoloft, so don’t just rely on my word here. Each person and their systems are different.

Paxil on the other worked great for me, and it didn’t turn me into an emotionless zombie, and I can still easily cry, laugh and I still have a sex drive.

I hate it when people who had never suffered from any real panic and anxiety try to give anti medication advice to those who have suffered. No matter which SSRI you get prescribed, just remember to keep taking it ad ordered, because suddenly stopping or skipping doses will likely make you feel like crap.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’ve decided to hold off on any medications for my anxiety.

First, bringing the already slow sex life of my husband and myself to a halt is not something I’m willing to risk. Second, I need to really be on my game and able to think clearly in my new job, so walking around like a zombie is not much of an option if I’m hoping to impress my employers. Finally, we plan on trying to get pregnant in about a year, so I don’t want to have to worry about being on meds or having to go off of them while pregnant and breastfeeding.

These episodes only happen 2–3 times per year, last about a month, and don’t really interfere with my daily functioning. I don’t think it’s severe enough to warrant medication. If it does get bad enough and I feel I should use medication, I’m going to talk to my GP about a Celexa and Wellbutrin combination, because I hear good things as far as avoiding certain side effects.

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