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Zoloft Gave Me PTSD
Sertraline
Citation:   Pstranger. "Zoloft Gave Me PTSD: An Experience with Sertraline (exp115608)". Erowid.org. Jan 24, 2022. erowid.org/exp/115608

 
DOSE:
100 mg oral Pharms - Sertraline (pill / tablet)
BODY WEIGHT: 125 lb
I am writing this report in the hopes it will dissuade others from attempting to use zoloft for recreational purposes. I have effects from this substance that have lasted almost 30 years.
I have effects from this substance that have lasted almost 30 years.
To this day I cannot sleep on my back, and other drugs will give me panic attacks that feel like this drug did when I was under the influence.

At the time I took this drug I was 15 years old. Prior to this experience I had taken cannabis, methamphetamine, LSD, alcohol, and a massive dose of ephedrine. I had gotten myself into trouble and was in therapy for drug use and other problems, and was abstaining from illegal drugs, but would still happily take any pill that Iíd come across. I didnít list them above because I donít recall all the different pharmaceuticals I took, but I variously came across flexaril, vicodin, and Ritalin. My experience with these drugs indicated that with pills, more is better, and therein lay the trap I had unwittingly laid for myself.

My girlfriend at the time was prescribed zoloft. Being a prescription drug that treated depression, in my ignorance at the time I assumed that it made one feel better. Curious about the effects, I asked her for some. She gave me a 100 MG pill, with her dose being half that amount. Furthermore, she had been taking Zoloft for some time, and so had slowly adjusted to that dose. I knew nothing about SSRIs, and wanting to get high, I decided to take the whole 100mg pill. I figured Iíd taken and survived the dread LSD, this couldnít possibly be worseÖ

Time 0:00. I took the dose an house before school started, at around 7 AM. Throughout the day, I felt no effects except for perhaps a little restlessness. Itís hard to say, and at the time I wasnít sure, if I actually felt anything or if I had just convinced myself that I had because I had taken a pill and wanted to feel high. As the day wound on I stopped thinking about it and still felt nothing definite.

+9 hours. I arrived home from school, went in my room, and sat down on my bed. Suddenly the effects hit me hard. I experienced a strong visual and tactile hallucination. As I sat down, it felt as though the room had shifted so that the wall behind me felt like it was the ceiling. The carpet in my room began to appear to flow towards the far wall. I was thrilled to finally get something out of this drug, but mentally I felt no different. There was no euphoria, anxiety, or any other shift in mood. That was to change for the worse.

+11 Ė 13 hours. The hallucinations began to increase steadily, as did a growing sense of unease. I completely lost my appetite. The hallucinations were relatively uninteresting. Flowing and breathing walls, constant and annoying vertigo, and seeing static. I skipped dinner, and then I heard my sister and brother in law come into the living room. It was awful timing. I loved them both, but at this point I felt totally unable to be around people for conversation, so I stayed in my room. As darkness fell I went into the living room, said hello to everyone as quick as I could, and went outside. We lived in the country and had an outbuilding about 500 feet from the house. I walked down to it, where I went to smoke a cigarette and try to get myself under control.

+13-16? hours. I stayed in the outbuilding for an unknown amount of time. I smoked several cigarettes. It was dark and the hallucinations became much more pronounced. The most vivid involved a circle made of glowing human skulls rotating in a clockwise pattern. My vision was also obscured somewhat by static, and sometimes blue and red dots that would flit in and out across my field of vision like fireflies. I felt incredibly anxious. I started to experience unsettling head rushes, where I would feel like I imagine it feels when one is about to experience a seizure. These were accompanied by a loud whooshing in my ears and a sensation that my eardrums were vibrating. These head rushes were extremely uncomfortable and unsettling. Eventually I made my way back up to the house. When I got there, everyone had gone to bed. I went to do the same hoping to sleep this off.

+16-24 hours. I layed down to sleep and experienced a night of hell. Up to this night, my habit was to sleep on my back. The hallucinations were out of control. They were not pleasant, having to do with skulls mostly, but also my vision would be overcome with the static and also colors that would bleed into my field of view. None of it was worth a damn. The experience overall at this point was definitely not worth the hallucinations, and the head space was horrible.
The experience overall at this point was definitely not worth the hallucinations, and the head space was horrible.
The head rushes would slam my brain over and over again and eventually the anxiety became an hours long panic attack where I was afraid I was going to die. With all the mess going on in my life at the time I was afraid to tell my parents about it. I just didnít want to cause any new disappointments, especially not with my sister unexpectedly in town. Eventually as morning came. I was able to get some sleep. When I woke up, my sister and brother in law were gone. As it turns out, that was the last time I saw her. She died a few years later and I never got the chance to visit her in Oklahoma again.

The Aftermath:

For weeks after this, I experienced those head rushes. The amount of time I spent trying to sleep on my back gave me PTSD (I have an actual independent diagnosis). For decades, whenever I would try to sleep on my back, or even if I would inadvertently turn onto my back in my sleep, I would experience those awful head rushes. Immediately following this experience I crashed into severe depression. Combined with some other issues in my life at the time, the depression eventually resulted in suicide attempts and several weeks of hospitalization in an in-patient mental institution. Before this experience, I was outgoing and fearless, and had never experienced a panic attack. Now I have panic disorder and experience panic attacks to this day. I cannot tolerate SSRIs, and even drugs with weak SSRI behavior, such as Tramadol, will induce panic attacks along with the head rushes. Cannabis became unenjoyable for a very long time after this experience. The inability to sleep on my back ever has caused chronic pain in my shoulders and lower back. The static I saw during the experience became permanent. In the dark, the static fills my vision and makes it hard to see. As a result, while I can still see the stars, I havenít been able to appreciate a clear night sky in 27 years. Everything said itís shocking that one pill taken incorrectly could so severely affect oneís life, but here I am. Worst of all, I absolutely worshipped my older sister. The last time I saw her alive, I could barely interact with her. The regret I feel is to this day profound and inexpressible.

If there was on decision in my life I could go back and change, this would be it. I suffer to this day due to the ignorance of my youth, and I hope someone reading this is able to avoid the same fate.

Exp Year: 1995ExpID: 115608
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 15
Published: Jan 24, 2022Views: 1,328
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Pharms - Sertraline (88) : Health Problems (27), Post Trip Problems (8), Bad Trips (6), Alone (16)

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Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the authors who submit them. Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.


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