Sertraline: The Good And The Bad

I have this really strange habit of getting really into TV shows and then feeling so sad when I can’t watch the next episode or if the show has ended. K and I finished the last episode of season 4 of Game of Thrones last night and I about cried because season 5 doesn’t start until April 12th. It’s literally the best show I’ve ever seen. I feel empty right now. Very weird and difficult to deal with. Sometimes I even get so attached to TV show characters that I feel sad for not getting to see them anymore. I need to stop binge watching things!  I’ve been reading the Song of Fire and Ice series for a few months now and I’ve been trying to read it slowly, so that helps.

Back on topic. I have been taking Sertraline (aka Zoloft) for 3 years now. Time has really flown by and I can’t believe it’s been that long already. There are some things that I want to share with you about my experience taking sertraline for this long. I’ve certainly had time to notice the effects, good and bad, and think that if you are contemplating medication or if you are just curious, then I should share my experience to help you understand what’s the deal with sertraline.

Sertraline is commonly used to treat OCD symptoms by regulating serotonin uptake, a function that is believed to be abnormal in people with OCD. Currently, I’m on 100 mg and I don’t think I could increase it anymore or even feel a need to increase my dosage. I’m at a happy level right now.

The Good

I want to start with the good. First of all, I do not advocate medication for everyone. No two people are the same and it may not work for some. For me, I’ve seen a marked difference in OCD symptoms.

  • Stressful situations are not as stressful, the edge is slightly taken off of them
  • I’m generally calmer
  • I sleep really well throughout the night
  • My irritable bowel syndrome is not nearly as active anymore
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed have decreased dramatically
  • Vivid dreams. These can be really fun sometimes.

The Bad

Just because this list is longer than the good list does not mean that I would stop taking my medication. For now, the benefits outweigh the side effects, for me anyway.

  • Night sweats, which can be quite severe at times. I have to sleep with a waterproof mattress pad.
  • Decreased activity level in just about everything I do. I feel dull sometimes.
  • Vivid dreams. These can also be really terrifying at times.
  • Weight gain. Not from the medication itself I believe, but the fact that I’m less stressed and more willing to eat things I wouldn’t have prior to medication (e.g.fried chicken).
  • Withdrawal symptoms. If I forget a dosage, then I feel it within hours. I get a severe headache. Needless to say, I don’t do this often.
  • The biggest negative for me is that I feel emotions less or am not aware that I’m being rude until it’s too late. I do not realize when I’m being a jerk. I hate this about me right now and am working on it, but it’s not easy.

Have you had similar experiences? If you want to share, send me a message on my contact page or comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Best,

Megan

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44 thoughts on “Sertraline: The Good And The Bad

  1. I can’t comment on the subject of Sertraline but I know the feels of finishing a great TV show! I always feel teary too whenever I reach the end of a good book or show (or lately k-dramas) and the first thing that pops into my head is “well…what am I supposed to do with my life now?” xD

    Can’t wait for the new season of GoT either!! Thank God it’s not too far away…stay strong!

    xx
    A.

  2. I really like the way you write about your medication. It’s refreshing to see someone else’s Pros and Cons of a medication. You made me think of my own. I take 100mg. of fluoxetine (Prozac) for OCD. Some of our pros and cons are similar, but some are very different as well.
    “not aware that I’m being rude until it’s too late ” you describe this well. Someone described it to me as “you lost your filter”. Maybe I will write my own post about my own medication someday. I’m still trying to figure out what my blog is going to be about so it would fit with the what is your blog about thingie. 🙂

    1. The “no filter” thing is an even better way to describe it. It’s something I really have to work on being conscious of all the time. I even find that I have to alter my voice to make it sound more lively and less drone/man-like. No worries, my blog has no real theme 🙂 I just write whatever the heck I want.

      1. My Physician’s Assistant came up with that phrase. I described what was happening and she said that. It really was too perfect of a way to describe it. and of course it came from an assistant LOL I am glad I was able to share it with you.

  3. This was a really useful and timely post, as my doctor recently prescribed me Sertraline for depression. I’ve only been taking it for 10 days, so I suspect I’ve yet to experience the worst of whatever side-effects I might have. So far, all I’ve noticed is that I feel nauseous if I take it on an empty stomach, and that’s easily solved by waiting until after a meal to swallow a pill. My doctor said it might take up to six weeks to see the effects; was that your experience, or did you notice them sooner?

    Please check out my blog if you get the chance:
    http://www.emovoid.com/why-its-so-hard-to-seek-help-for-depression/

    1. I’m really glad that this article was able to help you out in understanding some of what to expect from long-term sertraline use. I hope for you the nausea subsides. I never had that personally, but in the beginning I had no appetite, which was great. That’s since reversed haha. Thanks for sharing that about yourself 🙂

  4. I no longer remember what the dr gave me for anti-anxiety, some sort of anti-depression — I wanna say it’s name began with a C and it was generic. It was medication that turned me into a zombie. I took it for two days and began to feel depressed. I had no appetite, no energy. I felt so blah. Now, I will say, immediately, I had no anxiety. None. But, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I called the dr and he said to stop taking it.
    I’m glad yours helps you, as it helps so many others, but unless I’m beside myself, I won’t try another one.

    I looooooove Game of Thrones! love, love, love it — sooo looking forward to April 12 — and it feels like 100 years since I’ve watched the end of season 4!

    1. The zombie feeling for me lasted about a month, now I don’t even notice it. Maybe I’m just so used to being a zombie now.

      Season 5 is just around the corner hehehe!

  5. I know exactly what you mean about acting like a jerk. I did on some of the antidepressants I tried. I must have tried Zoloft. But I can tell you it is not just you and I that found this effect. My husband was prescribed Zoloft after my mother died because we both were such utter wrecks from caring for her while she was dying of cancer. He was like a stranger. I felt totally alone in the world, losing my mother and with a husband I could scarcely recognize. I told him about it but he wouldn’t hear of it and then I read him something about personality changes with Prozac that described his changes with the Zoloft. He listened but still didn’t stop taking it. Until a week or so later. He saw something in himself and stopped taking it there and then and, knock wood, has not taken it since then. It is scary. Another friend had a complete personality change for the worse. We lost touch. People don’t talk about these things much. I am glad in your blog you do. I am sure it is helping you and that you can learn to override the personality things. Thank you for an interesting and informative post!

    1. I’m so sorry you’ve had these experiences with medications 😦 In my opinion, the change of personality is by far the worst side effect, mostly because it can go unnoticed by the person taking the medication. All the while, the person won’t realize he or she is hurting anyone. I do it all the time and it’s so frustrating to take a step back and see the situation for what it is.

  6. I love my sertraline. I don’t know where I would be without it. It does dull me a bit but at least I don’t get so angry at the little things anymore. That is a big plus. My withdrawal symptoms are like a vertigo. Sadly, I forget to take them when I am feeling good. I am working on getting out of this little habit though. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome. It really has helped me out quite a bit too, but I’m sure others would agree that some of the side effects are not quite worth it. To each his own 🙂

  7. I’m very proud of you and how you are learning to cope with life as an adult and on your own. Fresh out of college and living the life in a big city has it’s own stresses. you are dealing with things very well. Everybody gets irritated at times and to hear you say that you are aware or are working on being aware of what and how you say things to people is a step in the right direction. I’ve try hard to listen more and speak less…..actually it helps cause I don’t really care what the people have to say that I work with….may sound harsh but it’s true.

    1. Thanks 🙂 I can’t believe I’m an “adult” already either. I just brought in a set of earrbuds so I don’t have to listen or talk 🙂 It seems to be working pretty well!

      1. Great job on all the reviews you did lately. What a great way to try out products and see what you like. Not to mention you share your experiences with us so that we can have an idea about what the product is. I really do love the oz naturals and the queen bee serum. when the oz naturals is gone I’ll use up the queen bee and then decide which of the two i will purchase, they are both great.

  8. I find it interesting that you get the withdrawal symptoms so quickly. Zoloft’s half-life, like most SSRIs is quite lengthy – compared to the older tricyclics and monoamines that went out the system relatively fast. It’s actually 26 hours and being on the dose for so long – it would seem that you wouldn’t get withdrawal symptoms until you’d not taken doses for several days. But you get headaches rather quickly when forgetting a dose.

      1. Oh no, not accusing you of lying about anything. Just was fascinated by how sensitive you are to the skipped dosage.

  9. I deff get attached to tv shows my heart nearly broke when Community was temp cancelled last year then renewed by yahoo. I hate when tv characters I like leave the show. Yea I deal with the struggle of Bipolar meds causing weight gain and affecting my Diabetes. I can’t do anything really about it because if I tried decreasing those bipolar meds and I was headed for a relapse quickly. I get night sweats too and nightmares too.

  10. I have been on Seroquel for a very long time. I’m taking 200mg and to be honest, I don’t have the majority of those side affects, but I do have some side affects that I don’t even notice anymore because that’s not the only medication. So I can’t really place any side affects that are very rarely occurring that they really stand out among the others.

  11. I take 100 MG of sirtraline also. I dont get many side effects. I have never had night sweats. But I do get the vivid dreams you are talking about. I dont particularly like those. Overall I find it really good and it is one of the only antidepressants that has actually worked for me in stabilising my mood. x

  12. Funnily enough after a recent trip to the Docs I have a box of Sertraline sitting beside me which I’ve begun taking today. I’ll keep ya’ posted 😛

    One question I did want to ask is do you drive? And if the answer is yes, has Sertraline had a tangible impact upon your ability to do so? I only ask as the sticker on my medication box specifically states that driving reactions may be impaired.

    1. I have honestly not experienced any issues with driving while on Sertraline. I suppose it can affect everyone differently, but personally, no it does not affect me in that way. How’s it been going for you?

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