My Zoloft Nightlife

Photo: http://www.excessivesweatingtreatment101.com/

I have been on Zoloft (aka sertraline) for almost a year now and have noticed a significant difference in the amount of anxiety I feel on a daily basis.  Although I still get overwhelmed in particular situations, I have noticed a dramatic improvement.  My psychiatrist prescribed sertraline because it is one of the most effective medications for improving the symptoms of OCD, even though it is by no means a cure-all and is usually used in conjunction with psychotherapy.  As of right now, I am just taking the medication and have currently opted out of the psychotherapy because I’m not at a place that I feel I could handle what that might entail.  In other words, sertraline is doing wonders for me to the extent that it alone can.

HOWEVER, there are a few very interesting side effects to this medication that I was really not aware of prior to beginning it.  Although these side effects are not adverse enough to outweight the benefits, they are nonetheless very interesting to blog about 😀

Almost the very first night after taking sertraline 100mg, I noticed that my dreams were extremely vivid and strange.  Every night since then, my dreams have continued in the same manner.  For example, last night I had a dream that my boyfriend and I went to Sam’s club and were walking near the tables of clothes when a salesman called after us.  His booth was blocking every entrance to the clothing tables and he was saying, “Why buy premade clothes when you can paint your own t-shirt here!”  Sure enough, there were stacks and stacks of painted shirts at his booth and squeezable bottles of  shirt paint.  There were approximately seven people already painting their own t-shirts.  My boyfriend managed to snag one of the blank t-shirts and began using white paint to fill in a stencil of the silohuette of the London cityscape.  To my great distress, however, I could not find a blank t-shirt because they had all apparently been taken.  I was becoming quite upset after riffling through stacks and stacks of already painted t-shirts.  I was nearly in tears when my high school friend, who I should note would have no reason to be at Sam’s club at this exact date and time, generously gave me a dress to paint that she had, but couldn’t wear anymore.  This is where the dream seems to fade from memory, but as you can see, these dreams are totally random, yet so vivid!

I could go on and on with stories that my brain conjures up while loaded with sertraline, but I will spare you that boredom.

Another interesting side effect is the night sweats.  Let me not confuse you with the term “sweats” because they are more like night drenches.  Almost every night I either wake up in the morning totally wet or I wake up in the middle of the night so drenched that I have to change my clothes entirely and then get back into the soupiest sheets (yes, soupiest is now a word).  It is awful.  I end up changing my sheets sometimes twice weekly because they just get unbearable.  I have never experienced this in my life prior to taking sertraline and I have heard from others that this is most likely a side effect of the medication.

These are probably the two most obvious side effects, but there is one other, huge side-effect that is associated with anti-depressant medications that I have experienced and those of you taking them probably  know what I’m talking about.  I will let you infer what I’m talking about.  I do advise those of you who value your love life to seriously consider this side effect before beginning any anti-depressant medication.  Yeah, it’s a real downer.

To sum things up, these are the exciting side-effects of sertraline!  I would love to hear what others have to say about this, so please share!

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130 thoughts on “My Zoloft Nightlife

  1. I have tried to explain this to others but no one understands! My husband regularly wakes me up from extremely strange, random, realistic dreams because I am visibly disturbed and I sometimes change my clothes twice in a night from the night sweats (aka drenchings). Like you said, it’s worth it. But it’s nice to know I am not alone.

  2. hi, im going to stop taking sertraline myself, i have been on it for approx 8 months. i also get really ‘annoying’ dreams, which seem to last all night. i also get really sleepy in the day (probably because im not getting any proper sleep.. hey, nice work sertraline (sarcasm)).. the designers have really mastered this stuff havn’t they.
    also, the final straw was today.. i took a sertraline pil today but did not have any water to hand, so i just took the pill without any water to wash it down. then i had a lie down (due to feeling tired as usual). the pill must have got stuck halfway somewhere between my throat and stomach, as when i got up again after an hour or so, i had a really bad pain similar to heartburn. looks like this sertraline garbage has totally burned into my insides (have you ever tasted that stuff by mistake if. eg the tablet dissolves in your mouth before you get a chance to swallow it? it’s the most disgusting, unnatural thing i have ever tasted in my life!
    anyway, so it’s bye bye sertraline for me. no doubt this stuff works for some people of course, and if it works for you, im glad for you. some of us dont agree with this family of drugs, and im one of them, so im done!
    🙂

    1. Sorry Peter for the delay! I don’t blame you at all for stopping sertraline. It’s not for everyone and the side effects can be gruesome! I’ve never actually tasted one, but ugh, I can imagine. One time in middle school I thought it would be ok to chew an ibuprofen. NEVER have I tasted anything so horrible.

  3. Hi Megan. I came across this after experiencing strange dreams recently and was wondering if it is a side effect of taking Sertraline. I have been on Sertraline for just over a year and a half after experiencing long term anxiety and depression. Since I have been on them it, I have also experienced waking up in a pool of my own sweat very regularly and also bad stomach upsets (I wont go into the details of that but im sure others understand what i mean?)
    I completely agree with you tho in saying that the positives of the medication completely outweighs these unfortunate side effects. Since i have been on these meds, I have started my own business and am now working for myself full time! This is something i would never have been able to do with all the anxieties and tearful grumpiness that i had before. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. It’s good to meet you Sarah 🙂 There are some negatives about sertraline for sure and some people just can’t get past those. I don’t remember what life was like before taking it, so I’d say that it is better now, but I do wonder if the night sweats will cease if I stop. I guess I’m so used to it now that it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. It’s wonderful that you are doing so well with it. I hope it continues to help you out in life. ~ Megan

  4. Hi Megan. You are brave to open up about your experiences. I have been taking Sertraline for several years and it has been and is very helpful in centering my feelings. As you stated, it isn’t a cure, but it certainly helps to free one enough to work out some issues. I have found that my dreams are more vivid and I am more likely to recall them. Some have left me uneasy, others were rather interesting. The combined effects of the dream imagery and the easing of anxiety and depression and OCD have been positive. I wish you continued success in your quest for personal peace.

    1. I definitely understand. I had a dream last night that left me feeling terrified and disgusted. They can be awful sometimes, but other times they can be interesting for sure. Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself with me 🙂

  5. I’m glad I read this. I was chalking up my night sweats to PTSD but now that I think about it, the sweating.. and it really is more like drenching, only started accompanying the dreams when I started taking the sertraline. It really did wonders for my anxiety though, but after about a year, the dizziness is what is making me want to quit.

  6. I came to this blog after searching “vivid dreams on Sertraline”.
    I’ve always been a dreamer and I’d say I remember most of my dreams when I wake up but the memory fades, I find that since I’ve been taking the sertraline I am analysing my dream throughout the day. It’s like my emotions that I struggled to deal with prior to medication are concentrated in my dreams. I’ll take that though because now I feel much more confident and relaxed. My anxiety is there but it’s not plaguing my everyday life.
    I too suffer the sweats, it’s not too bad during the night as my room is pretty cold but during the day I’m having extreme hot flushes. It’s currently winter and I’m usually complaining about how cold I am but I haven’t felt cold at all. This pleases my husband who is never cold and usually moans about me having the heating on too high.

    1. I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus, so I just saw your comment now. It’s good to meet you! I agree with you that the while the anxiety is dulled, it’s definitely still there. I experience the same thing. My night sweats are so strange. Even when it’s freezing in the middle of the night, I sweat terribly and really only in the night. My OB/GYN told me that it’s not normal and probably hormone related. Pretty disturbing, but it is what it is right now 🙂 Thank you for sharing about yourself with me. It’s always good to know there are others out there who are going through similar things.

    1. I can’t say if it’s normal or not, but for me my dreams are much more vivid and memorable. Of course symptoms may differ between people, so this might be normal for you.

  7. I’m so happy I came across your post. I’ve been taking Sertraline for about two years and the dreams…omg, the dreams. I swear I live a second life after I go to sleep. Sometimes I don’t mind. Sometimes it is unbearable. You are right about the love life side effects. Interestingly, the dreams somewhat make up for that on occasion. They are often so realistic. I’ve thought about writing down my dreams in a book, but I was worried that I would lose my waking self to the sleep self. The bummer about this drug is that it is so effective against my anxiety. I used to have a panic attack as soon as someone started talking to me at work. Since taking the drug, I’ve gotten several raises and I’m doing excellent at work. Although I’m fat and tired most of the time thanks partially to the drug. Anyway…thanks for posting!

    1. The dreams can be pretty terrible at times. I’ve found that if I wear an eye mask and earplugs, then the dreams don’t bother me as much, no idea why. It’s great for anxiety, for sure! I’ve noticed weight gain and constant fatigue as well. There’s really only one pro, but at this time I think it seems to outweigh all the freakin cons.

  8. Very interesting blog post. I have experienced exactly the opposite. I took Zoloft and could not sleep at nights at all. I had a little bit of sleep in the day and that was it. My dreams have been more vivid and real whilst not taking this medication. The Zoloft did not do anything to improve my OCD at all. I am convinced the only way to beat OCD is without medication through different sorts of therapy techniques. Take care.

    1. I agree that the best way to beat OCD, or at least manage it, is with therapy and mind over matter, or in this case mind over mind, techniques. It has really helped take the edge off for me though.

  9. Amazing…my experience is exactly the same! Hence, the reason I googled crazy dreams on Zolft! I’ve been taking Sertraline for 12 years…have the night sweats, crazy thing is, when I sweat I feel cold so I have to turn up the heat or cover up with more blankets. The disturbing thing is, my dreams feel so much like reality that I jump up half asleep and do strange things..it’s always a matter of life and death because i’m forgetting someone or something! Lately, it’s been so bad that I’m getting up to find my laptop because I know there is something I have to do on it! It takes a few minutes to get fully awake and realize I was just dreaming. It happens every night and keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep. I’ve cut the dose in half, on my own, to try to stop the dreams..hasn’t subsided after a couple weeks! After years of these reality dreams, I’m fed up and want them to stop, before they drive me insane!

    1. That’s the exact thing with me. I guess you are so drenched that it actually makes you cold. It’s a very weird and uncomfortable symptom for sure. It’s the major downside, for me, of the medication. The dreams are really strange for sure, sometimes entertaining, but mostly strange.

  10. I’ve just finished my second week of sertraline and I actually found this post because I was googling about the vivid dreams I’m getting to check they are normal lol! I’m glad it isn’t just me experiencing them but I also wish they would go away – I had a really horrible one about my boyfriend cheating on me (I’m not worried about this IRL at all, so no idea where that came from!?)

    Jodie @ Jodetopia x

    1. I totally understand those odd, vivid, and sometimes embarrassing dreams that I think are brought on by the sertraline. I think at this point I’m now used to them, so they are just dreams. If you take it as long as I have, then maybe you will get used to them too. They are kind of fun sometimes though!

  11. I feel so much better to hear someone else has the crazy dreams and sweats! I hate the night sweats. I often wake up so groggy that I’m just aware of the feeling, but I’m also too tired to get up. It’s awful. I was tapering off for a bit and then started taking my normal dose more regularly, and I’m definitely experiencing the adjustment side effects again. Better than withdrawal, though…brain zaps and crying jags are no fun.

    1. It is awful. Four years in and I’m still experiencing them. My theory now is that I only have them once I hit REM sleep. If i don’t sleep well on a given night, I don’t sweat. It’s an odd thing 🙂

  12. Thank you for your information, Spot on as far as I am concerned, It helps me to take Zoloft in the mornings, The dreams seem to lessen. One other symptom: I wake up every night at 2:00 a.m. unless I am already awake. The sweats seem to come later. I I do not sweat if I am awake.
    Since I sleep alone, I wonder if the sweating is related to physical activity during intense dreaming.The morning carry over and getting reality messed up with the dream has become terrible. Do not make any decisions until you know you are back to reality – ever. Good fortune to all affected by this situation. It is a bummer, but better than life without heip.

  13. Maybe my comment was lost in registration so will try again. Bittersweet to know other people suffer these problems. I believe dream reduction helped by taking Zoloft same time and in the morning. Also, this advice: Never make any decision of any kind until you have been awake for at least two hours and are sure which world you are firmly in, no matter the time of day or night. It’s a wonderful product, but a complicated situation. Has anyone else suffered what I call snapshot dreams at the end of normal dreams? One or two frames of beyond vivid pics of a present situations in your life that are impossible to not be reality.

  14. I know I’m so late to this discussion, but the three side effects that you blogged about are dead on for me. Luckily, the night sweats – and they are drenches (changing clothes and laying down a towel in the middle of the night was routine) – have become less frequent over time, as well as the libido-related effects, but the dreams – which are nightly – have become unbearable. It’s almost impossible to make people who have not experienced them understand how unnervingly real they feel; I have dreams within my dreams where I “wake up” and talk about how messed up and upsetting my “dreams” were. They are always so realistic and plausible. And often they are so upsetting I wake up crying. And because so many of them are mundane, boring, and normal, I’ve started having difficulty deciphering between what I dreamt and what is real. I take Zoloft for depression and the dreams are not helping things. I’ve decided to come off Zoloft because I just can’t take it anymore. I am also on 100mg, and have been for about six months, and it has not gotten better (as far as the dreams). When I saw your comment that you’ve been dealing with it for four years that was my *NOPE* moment.

    1. The dreams were very real and unnerving actually. I know what you mean about having difficulty deciphering what’s real and what’s not. I’m totally off Zoloft now and glad I made the decision. It wasn’t worth all the side effects in the end.

    2. I only dream when I miss a dose. When I do miss a dose i can guarantee I’ll have a vivid dream. I’m always having hot flushes too, I’m certain it’s the sertraline. I used to be on 150mg a day but now I’m on 100mg

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