Does zoloft and/or amphetamines cause permanent memory loss?
Question posted by mellocello on 10 July 2010
Last updated on 22 October 2020
I've been taking zoloft at 200mg for the past 5 years. Prior to that I was taking 100mg. I started taking it when I was in high school, and now I'm 29. On top of that, I'm a poster child for ADD. I started taking Ritalin and other similar medications when I was in third grade.
About 7 years ago, near the end of college, I started noticing memory loss problems. This was both troublesome and frustrating because I'm also a hypochondriac. Were these problems real or merely a manifestation of my OCD issues?
Now I'm concerned... I really need to stay on this medication to stay sane, but I don't want to lose my memory! My work requires a very good memory, and I've found that older coworkers seem to have a better memory than I do!
I believe Zoloft ABSOLUTELY causes memory loss. I was on 100mg daily for anxiety for 7 years. It worked great for the anxiety. For my cognition-not so much. I first noticed something a few weeks after starting it. We were playing Scrabble and I couldn’t come up with anything. This made an impression bc this was very unusual for me. I am a college grad, was always top of my class, and highly intelligent regarding memory, facts, a clear mind, vocabulary, figuring things out, etc. My mind was now so “dull” I felt the majority of my vocabulary was “inaccessible” during the game. But I felt well emotionally so I ignored this “side effect.” I now wish I had taken it more seriously.
Over the years, I noticed I would often forget things or be confused. It would at times be embarrassing when I would forget important things that people had just shared with me. To them I’m sure it seemed as if I wasn’t listening or didn’t care. The problem was that I just couldn’t remember conversations, places I’d been, or things I’d done. My Husband started noticing I would often have no memory of things I had just done. (For example the time I handed out gummy snacks to the entire team, helped some kids unwrap them, then cleaned up.) My Husband was there with me. Minutes later we got into the car and I said frantically, “Oh darn it! I forgot to hand out the snacks!” My Husband looked at me puzzled and thought I was kidding. When he reminded me of the whole scenario I was then able to remember doing it. Over the years this has happened over and over again. Unfortunately I am not even aware of how much I have forgotten. Towards the end, I went into deep depression because my brain was so foggy and useless that I was convinced I must have early onset dementia. After undergoing many memory tests they deemed I did not have it, but could not explain the memory loss. I reiterated my feelings to the Dr that this all started when I began using Zoloft. She said that there wasn’t any medical data to back up what I was saying but she would switch my medication at my request. So I made the decision to get off this brain deteriorating drug, despite the possible emotional side effects I was in for with a drug change. We tried several different drugs before we found one that worked. A I am currently on Lexapro for my anxiety. My hope was that once I discontinued the Zoloft my memory loss would improve. Sadly, it did not so there seems to be permanent damage. It is too late for me, but I hope that this response may help others contemplating using Zoloft to make an informed decision. I realize it is possible that all the antidepressants have a similar effect, but I can only speak for my results on Zoloft. On a side note, I don’t feel as if my memory has gotten any worse on Lexapro so hopefully this one is not doing further damage. I wish my anxiety levels were at a place I could do without any of these meds but unfortunately that is not the case. I also wish that more medical research will be done to confirm these side effects, therefore warning the public of the possible outcome, but with the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical companies this will probably not happen anytime soon. I now joke that it’s a good thing I was so smart to start with, otherwise there would be NO brain cells left.
11 March 2018
I'm on Zoloft can it make me lose my memory
27 Aug 2016
Zoloft made me way too sleepy. I don't recall having memory issues (heh), but I was about a decade younger then.
Cymbalta does give me memory loss issues, mostly with bringing an old familiar fact to mind. It's incredibly annoying. And most of these drugs do result in cognitive impairment.
I'm going off all of mine and seeing where i'm at.
27 Aug 2016
I had been taking zoloft for about a year and a half and my brain has completely started forgetting things, Ive been constantly researching things in DSM and other books on anti-depressants, they do say its possible but the chances of it happening are within 1% of patients.
I would encourage you to do a little research and if its as bad as I have it, try keeping a record of the things you do in a book, make a couple checklists in the morning, the more you write things down the more you'll remember things
11 July 2010
I have been on Effexor for years/I've heard people complain that they think it causes memory loss. My memory isn't good compared to before meds.. I have taken Adderall for years, too. I haven't read anything about it effecting memory. However, a study was just done/can be found in Scientific American-it found that people who take stimulants are at a higher risk of developing depression. The reason-researchers found the drugs actually change the structure of the brain-more so than cocaine!
My point, my pdoc has tried to get me off the stimulants completely-but I can't-if I go off completely it sends me into a depression. (this happened way before I read the study) I have BP II Spectrum disorder. I should never have been placed on stimulants-long story. But, if they can alter the brain where people are more prone to depression-not a far stretch to say they could do something to memory long term.
To improve my memory I take OM3 fish oil supplements and exercise-gets brain more blood/do 10 minutes of relaxation breathing a day. This has seemed to help my depression/memory. Hope I helped-
11 July 2010
I also suffer from OCD, now Zoloft does cause memoroy loss I do not know if it is permanent, with regrds to amphetamines, I have never read anything about memory loss.
Stop for one minute and think how many children worldwide suffer from what you did and grow up to be regular or "normal" persons.
Know you being hypochondriac and also suffering from OCD let us say it is more than just a ·dramatic" state of mind to be on, to tone it down a bit .
It is all in our minds... and you are educated and you know that are our minds are very, very strong and can deceipt us anytime they want..and also as I am sure you are aware we are our own worse enemies... with all these mental conditions it makes even worst. For regular perons it is hard for it is tremendously difficult to deal with... we must be always prepared also awared of who and what we are and accept it..do not fear it, it is in us... part of our very essence.
I am 41 years old manic depressive, paranoid, anxiety, OCD, insomnia, etc..that is enough for know,regarding myself.
This is what you should do ... from my experiences in this so called world
Learn to control your mind, your emotions, your feelings , your fears..do not let them control you... for if they do you are ... I will not say... because I am here to help you within my means. It is very hard to achieve the only way to learn is to fall and get up again and again and never ever give up and every time you get up you gain knowledge, experience ,courage and strength no matter if it is good or bad as Enistein said "there are no good or bad experiences for they are only experiences", this means always rescue the positive things in life. Never struggle through life´s path always walk with your head held up high..you are in control and so am I... not our conditions which if we fear and do not accept make us weak. That is all for now. from a caring individual