Bad Reactions to Zoloft

Before going through benzo withdrawal I had some practice with very similar symptoms caused by taking the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft.  I’ve had two very bad reactions to Zoloft which took months of my life away from me.  Here’s the story.

I had taken Zoloft from 1999-2004.  I started on it because of some childhood issues and adolescent depression.  In retrospect Zoloft caused me more problems than it was worth.  I finally got off of it and went through a withdrawal.  I was completely unaware of the withdrawal however.  For several months I was irritable, had social anxiety, and was emotional.  I had no physical symptoms however.  I never connected any of this with the Zoloft.  After that I felt great.  I consider 2005 and 2006 great years in my life.  I was creative, outgoing, and very happy.

In late 2006 I got back on zoloft.  Perhaps it was because of stress; I’m not sure.  I don’t remember why.  About a week after I started on it again I developed several frightening symptoms and I spent four months trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  I never realized it was the Zoloft.  The Doctors assumed it was all psychological and instructed me to keep taking it.

I had none of these symptoms before I got on Zoloft, but they hit me like a ton of bricks in a very short amount of time.  These were my symptoms:



Flickering lights and visual snow

Light senstivity


Sluggish eye muscles

Pain behind my eyes

Vitreous Floaters

Brain Fog

After four months I felt better but I was still on the zoloft.  The next three years went by.  During this time I still had some small vision problems and though I was completely functional, I don’t think my brain was operating at full capacity.  During this time I finished my B.A. and started graduate school.

In late 2009, I stopped taking the zoloft on a regular basis and started going through a minor withdrawal.  So I started taking it regularly again and started having some of the symptoms like 2006.  I asked my doctor what to do.  I still didn’t connect the dots.  My doctor told me to increase my dose and so I did and I got hit hard with very bad symptoms.  It was 2006 all over again.  I had all of the same symptoms with the addition of tinnitus.  Lightbulb!  Zoloft was doing it to me the whole time.  I learned that some people have bad reactions to SSRIs from the first moment they take it, while others will have bad reactions if they get back on it after being off of it.  I was the latter apparently.  You cannot get back on the same medication twice.  You’re body will reject it.  It took another three months to recover from this bad reaction and I decided to get off of Zoloft for good.

This is an informative website which helped me to understand what was happening to me.

Also, there is a good support forum for people going through problems because of an antidepressant or suffering withdrawal.

It was during this time that I got on klonopin.  It was prescribed to me in order to deal with the symptoms Zoloft was causing me.  Though these bad reactions were nowhere near as bad as benzo withdrawal, at the time they were hell.  If only I had known something worse was on the horizon when it came time to get off the klonopin.  I also strongly believe that because I already sensitized my nervous system with the Zoloft, my benzo withdrawal is much worse than it could have been.

There are many other people in my life on SSRIs.  From them, and my research online I’ve learned that these drugs are very, very bad for you.  They slow down your mind, take away your memory and creativity, and mess with your vision and hearing.  Long term use will eventually hit everyone.

I learned my lesson.  Stay away from all psych drugs and live life naturally, problems and all.  It’s just sad that I’ve had to lose so much of my life to learn this lesson.

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15 Responses to Bad Reactions to Zoloft

  1. Armen says:

    How are you doing now? I just took zoloft for a week and had kidney problems and got off fast, but had weird visual withdrawl stuff and ear pain, still fighting the effects its been about 3 weeks, let me know if you made a recovery after you got off all the drugs, just want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


    • benzofree says:

      My bad reactions (which I was ignorant of the cause) lasted about three months, but I stayed on the whole time, not knowing it was the drugs. So I hope you are either better by now or won’t take three months to get better. As for my benzo withdrawal… I’m still quite bad but nothing compared to what it was earlier.

    • Sarah says:

      Are you better now. I took Zoloft for a week and haven’t been the same. Can’t sleep, don’t feel like eating much, anxiety, etc. waiting for better days.

  2. Armen says:

    I am glad you are better, I was ignorant too, had a panic attack on the second day of Zoloft and didnt tie it to the drug, most of my physical things are gone just a ton of anxiety, anger and rage moments, I had some anxiety and anger issues which I had dealt with in the past but now its multiplied by 100. I think it will take time to come down from this chemical intrusion into our brains. Good luck and I hope you will be your old self very soon.

    • Fawn Baker says:

      ughh.. I have been going through very similar issues over the past 4 months. About 2 mos. postpartum my husband thought it might be a good idea for me to give Lexapro another shot. (Had previously taken it prior to conception for minor daily anxiety- with no massive panic attacks ever on my record)..
      I started taking Lexapro and then got off of it after only a few days and had major evening panic attack (almost passing out).. then after being instructed by OB/GYN to get back on Lexapro (diagnosed me with postpartum anxiety) I spent the first several days on Lexapro in a massive constant panic. Could barely leave my house, let alone drive..
      I was trying to tell everyone something really felt off and that it wasn’t just me. I had never had massive panic attack issues ever before. Doctors convinced me to give Zoloft a try instead and quickly prescribed me Klonopin along with it. My whole body began to get very stiff and painful soon into taking the Zoloft and on the 2nd day of increased dosage of Zoloft I had massive panic attack.
      I now know it is these SSRI’s that have put me into this horrible state, I have been SSRI free for almost a week now. Now, I am worried about tapering off of the Klonopin.

  3. millart3000 says:

    My doctor presribed me zoloft, klonopin and trazadone all at once. I immediately lost it. Nearly lost my job because I wouldn’t leave the house. Nearly lost the house because I wasn’t working. Nearly lost my life from falling down the stairs backwards. I had been on amiltrytaline which probably why I lost my wife, caught uo in my own head fog and not giving her the love she deserved. It made me want to drink. Divorce brought about the prescription for the death trio. I lost everything and definitely lost my wife and mind, made what I thought was reparable to impossible. All from 12 minutes with my physician.

  4. libby says:

    Ive experienced the same thing!!! ive been scared to death!! it all started when i too lexapro for the very first time… i took 20mg…the first time!! what an idiot i was!! i felt like death, that night, i saw flashes of light!! and i saw it for a few days after. Im a nurse and i asked a few of the doctors i work for- none of them were concerned with my symptoms, musclce twitches, headaches, light flashes ect. my anxiety had gotten so bad that i ddecied to try zoloft. i took it 25mg for two weeks then took50mg for just two days, i started to see floaters and colors with my eyes closes, so i went to the eye doctor, to said my eyes looked great- he said i was a combination of the zoloft and stress and anxiety! i had my self convinsed i had a brain tumor or MS! The doctors i work for laughed at me- ive never had any vison issues or weird muscle twitches until i took that stupid lexapro, and it continued while on zoloft. I have now made a promise to myself to never take and ssri med again. I am a strong girl and i can handle my anxiety on my own. That you guys for posting about this. i feel so much better knowing im not anlone and that others have gone through this too. i am now tapering off of the zoloft. i hope i start to feel better soon.

    • shaun says:

      Benzo withdrawals are the worst kind in the world they give u grand mal seizures, anxiety, stress and hot and cold sweats n my docs give me 4 mg of Xanax and 2 to3 mg of k-pins and I want to find a drug that can lower my stress and anxiety and ptsd and manic depression and I though Zoloft might help me get off of them

  5. libby says:

    sorry for the horrible way that was typed! I got a bit to excited after reading that i wasn’t alone of crazy, and that i really dont have some kind of horrible disease!

  6. shaun says:

    the truth may be ugly sometimes but since ur honest about it all it means ur a far from a horrible person it sounds like

  7. Candi says:

    So you afterimages and static vision side effects went away and he derealization? I still battle with this 4 years later 😦

    • OliviaS says:

      Candi, please tell me more. How is the derealization is it still very bad? Im dealing with severe DR/DP, Tons of vision problems etc and im 20 months off.

      Do you get a break from the Derealization

      • Candi says:

        Hi Olivia,

        I am sorry to hear that you are going through this too.

        The visual stuff is still present. I am now having issues with my peripheral vision and not seeing movement smoothly.

        In regards to the DR/DP I am doing soooo much better. I still have my moments, but they are few and far between. I something think the dp/dr is a side effect of the visual stuff and not necessarily something that will stay because of the vision, but more of the bodies reaction to the fear of what is going on. When this firsts started I was disconnected from everyone and everything. I kept telling myself I was different from everyone else and so this isolated me mentally. Now I am in a small group at my church and learning that everyone has their own battle, some worse than mine. That has helped me to lighten up some and just try to stay positive. Their is a study going on in regards to the visual snow stuff. That has helped me the most just knowing their are Dr.’s researching this stuff.

        The best thing to do is distract yourself and don’t let go of the things you used to do. Keep doing those things. Fake it until you make it because you WILL make it.


  8. Jeanne says:

    my side effects are weird weird feeling in my head like i am going to seiz and i have never done that .. I get chattering teeth and jerking i can’t control sometimes. been waking up with a red face and now my face gets red after taking it and my nose itches and then feels like it is bleeding. i get so weird my bp goes up high can feel pin and needle sensation all over my chest and last time i had a bad one it went down through my groin like when you are injected for an MRI and it makes you hot . I have had muscle twitches in legs and face and nose for months now .. can’t sleep very seldome sleep i feel crazy in the head . today a light bulb came on again and i am like omg it is my zoloft again . told the doc it made me weird last time and he made me go back on lower dosage anyway and this is way way worse .. scares the crap out of me now i want to go off and know i have to wean off have a call into them and seeing what he says .. i know he is going to want to keep me on it or try something else .. not happening ! hope it dont take long to ween off this time

  9. Carolyn Snow says:

    I just wanted to say that I went back on Effexor a second time after being off it for awhile, and I had absolutely no problems going on it, either the first or second time. It worked just as well for me both times, with just as few side effects going on. (I’ve since come to realize that the fewer side effects I have going on the drug, the better it seems to work for me.)

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