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Long term Sertraline (or other SSRIs) use

(13 Posts)
Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 11:48:37

I've recently come off Sertraline after 4 years. However five months in, and I'm back with anxiety. I'm basically feeling exactly as I was before I started using them, which means daily panic attacks, racing heart, short temper, depression and fear of leaving the house.

I can mask this very well, but I want to be the person I was for four years when I just took the kids anywhere, committed to social activities and actually went to them. I was a 'normal' person, I felt like the person I was supposed to be.

Over the last couple of years most of the GPs I saw were talking about when to wean off them. A couple didn't as they saw it more as a chronic condition like diabetes, that would be treated as such.

When I asked the reason why people should come off them, one gp said because there is no knowledge about long term usage.

However if the option is I start withdrawing from life again and have regular trips to a&e in certain belief I am having a heart attack then I feel like I want the life back I had on the meds.

Does anyone have experience of long term (say 5years plus) Sertraline/SSRI use? What do your gps etc say to you?

Thank you

Clg199 Sun 30-Apr-17 12:02:23

I've been on a couple of SSRIs for over 10 years. I haven't had a consistent GP until recently so I've pretty much made up my own mind on what I think should happen and they've generally agreed.

Ive known a couple of people whose depression is caused by a specific event, and anti-depressants can be good for lifting them out of it until they feel themselves again. They can wean off them and feel ok and that's the end of it.

Then there are other people who naturally have brain chemistry that makes them depressed. That's me. I've tried to come off tablets a couple of times in the past - it's ok to start with but within a couple of months I've felt terrible. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably have to take them very long term. My doctor is happy to keep prescribing them as long as I am stable, and will take my cue to wean off as and when I feel ready. He also described it like diabetes, and said that there is no evidence to show taking them long term is problematic, and that not taking them would be worse in terms of my overall health.

I heard on the radio someone saying that the NHS we're going to stop long term anti-depressant prescriptions - my GP thought this was nonsense and said that they are just as important a drug as anything else.

Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 12:12:31

Thanks Clg.... it's really helpful to read your post. Sounds like a very similar situation...I actually also came off another SSRI as I was pregnant (so this is my second time of coming off them) and again after a year was back on them. I'd actually forgotten about that.

I hate myself for not being able to continue being the person I was on then...I'd forgotten all the symptoms and feelings I had before I was on them, and now they're back.

The only think better about not being on them is I can cry, as I found it so difficult to cry on Sertraline...now I'm able to cry again which is good as that feels 'normal' but then a constant state of anxiety is totally exhausting me.

pudddy Sun 30-Apr-17 12:44:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 12:48:58

I did have CBT but I kind of 'faked it till I made it'... I just gave the answers they needed after three or four sessions, if that makes sense!
I read a lot (a lot) of self help/anxiety/self-led cbt books and they help in that exact moment, but not the next day, if that makes sense.

GottaCatchEmAll137 Sun 30-Apr-17 12:53:01

I could have written this post OP. Came off sertraline in Jan after 4 years. Had horrible anxiety coming off them but have levelled out more now. I'm hoping I will improve more as my brain is still getting used to being sertraline free. I only came off them because we will be TTC later this year and didn't want to run the risk staying on them. However, I may very well start to take them again in the future If sertraline works for you, which it does for me, I don't think there's any benefit from stopping them unless you need to. I would start taking them again tbh because battling anxiety is such hard work.

pudddy Sun 30-Apr-17 12:53:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GottaCatchEmAll137 Sun 30-Apr-17 12:59:35

Sorry should have added that my GP is more than happy for me to take sertraline "forever, if I need it"

Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 13:00:14

Thank you both posts... I think I need to make a gp appt and be a bit more honest about how much I feel like I want to go back on them.
I have actually just done a self refer for NHS talking therapy, which I will follow up.
But perhaps knowing I will assert myself about going back on them if I need to will help, as at least it is there if I need it.
Thank you for your contributions..really helpful.

Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 13:02:39

I feel like in the years of anxiety and depression gps kept on (correctly) pulling me up on my mental health and that I should take help, and then I did and no sooner was I better than the same GPs were talking about coming off it.

GottaCatchEmAll137 Sun 30-Apr-17 13:22:07

I think GPs will always say that if you are healthy without needing a medicine then you shouldn't take it. SSRIs often work well for some people and they are no longer needed after a while. However, other people need SSRIs for a much longer period if not forever. I am one of them and if my brain isn't capable of adjusting its annoying chemical imbalances itself then I will just have to give it a helping hand long term. There is no pride to be won in refusing anti depressants especially when they can be so life changing for some!

One thing that has helped me is an online course recommended by my GP called Mood Gym. It's a free CBT course but you do it independently and work through it at your own pace. It's completely free and it has really helped me since I've stopped sertraline in identifying and stopping negative thought patterns. I highly recommend it. Good luck OP and always remember you're not alone and others are always are going through the same. A small consolation I know but it helps me to know I'm not alone - not that I would with anxiety on anyone smile

Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 14:07:18

I think my last post disappeared but I wrote thank you v much x

Fairlawn Sun 30-Apr-17 14:10:53

Oh and Gotta...all the best for you and TTC! smile

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