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mild panic attack symptoms/anxiety and re-administering Zoloft

Hi everyone,

I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for about 10 years for social and general anxiety.  And it worked great for all of that, a life saver.  However, I naively believed I didn't need that much anymore and about a year ago I dropped from 150mg to 50mg overnight.  

Here's where it gets complex.

I'd been OK for most of that time (on 50mg). But for a few weeks, I was taking .5mg of Xanax at night just to calm me down.  I did have some pain problems that I smoked some weed to alleviate, also at night. Well just about a week ago I woke up out of a sleep with panic attack symptoms (dizzy, anxious, sweating, faster heart rate).  And that night was the night I smoked marijuana AND took a FULL Xanax.  I was able to not go into full blown panic attack mode because I knew that's what it was, and not something like a heart attack etc.  I'd also feel so pent up with energy that exercising on a treadmill for a mile or so was the only thing to eradicate the symptoms in the short term.  But I'm really tired of waking up at 3am all wired and panicky and having to jump on the treadmill hehe. Just a side note, I knew because I had panic attacks due to a life event 15 years ago.  

I suspected that Xanax "rebound symptoms" were to blame because it has such a short half-life.  But I had also been smoking weed (a highly energizing strain) for pain for 2-3 weeks almost on a nightly basis so it's possible the weed set off the panic symptoms.  Or it could have been the combination of both, combined with the fact that I was still only taking 50mg of Zoloft, despite being on 150 for over a decade.  So, for the last week, I've had mini-panic attacks, sweating, waking up out of sleep with jitters, dizziness.  

The cause for this recent anxiety panic spell isn't as important right now though.  It's been happening a lot lately so I upped my dosage about 4 days ago to 100mg.  That seemed to work for a few days.  But the anxiety came back so I went to the Dr. yesterday and got a prescription for more Zoloft (150mg).   Tonight I woke up and had the anxiety and mild panic symptoms again, so I decided it was time to start taking the extra Zoloft I'd just been prescribed.  About an hour ago I took .25mg (making my total nightly dose 125mg because I'd taken 100mg about 5 hours ago).

I will take this for maybe a week, see how I am, and if still not better, take the full 150mg all at once.  I really NEED this 125mg or if needed 150mg to do the trick.  I did get off the Xanax completely and also stopped smoking Marijuana (both only 2-3 week-long habits).  

I'm hoping IF I was experiencing residual effects of stopping Xanax and Marijuana, OR if that is what set off my recent bouts with anxiety and panic symptoms, that they will wear off soon or be easier to cope with now that I'm on 125mg of Zoloft.  

For the record, the extra .25mg of Zoloft I took an hour ago seems to be calming me down already.  Keeping fingers crossed it stays this way.  

Sorry there's so many factors to process here.  So many that it might not even be worth dissecting because relief is all I want, not to find the culprit.  I don't really have any specific questions, just wanted to maybe see what others (with experience) think here about me upping my dosage.  Fingers crossed super tight so that I can get my life back in order.  This is probably just going to be a wait and see type of thing.  
1 Responses
Avatar universal
If you cut down on the Zoloft and got a lot more anxious very quickly, especially if it was different than the way you felt when you went on it, it could be withdrawal.  Basically you should never do this cold turkey, even reducing dosage that much -- you should taper down slowly to avoid withdrawal.  The brain needs time to adapt to the new circumstance.  Don't know if that's what happened, but if it was then going back on the dose you were used to should relieve the problem fairly quickly.  Good luck.
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