I am new to this forum and apologize for this lengthy post.
I have been on Zoloft 50mg and 0.5mg of Klonopin for the past 12 years. I was put on it when my mother died of cancer for panic attacks and anxiety, no depression. I have lived a very happy, healthy life during these 12 years, very little anxiety, slept well and have been very successful at work and hobbies etc... About 4 months ago, I started to have heartburn on daily basis. It was not bad, minor pain that would go away with tums etc.. but I came to find out that I do have health anxiety that I was not aware of. Looking up issues about daily heartburn on the web scared me and my anxiety went up, not too much, but I was thinking about my heartburn all the time. I worried it can give me cancer as I had read in some posts.
I was working and still living in my own house 3 months ago. My PDr. increased the Zoloft to 75mg and my anxiety went though the roof. I called him 4 days later and mentioned that to him, he asked me to drop it back down to 50mg again. I had a panic attack the next day, had not had one in 12 years. He insisted that I should increase Zoloft to 150mg. I listened and went up to 112.5,g and could not tolerate the anxiety anymore. I was taking 2.5mg Klonopin to calm down. I would wake up with high levels of anxiety and could not calm down without Klonopin, a warm shower and going for a walk. I took 2-3 showers a day. Well things got so bad that I had to take time off of work. It has been almost 3 months now since I have been off of work.
I saw a different doctor about 2 months ago and we both decided that Zoloft was too high and starred lowering it. It was helping very little, and anxiety was still high. Bringing Zoloft down by even 6mg was making me nauseous for 2 days and more anxiety and morning wake ups at 5:00 am with severe anxiety would not go away.
He decided to take me off of Zoloft and start me on Lexapro. I took a month to lower Zoloft to 25mg. I started on 5mg Lexapro 14 days ago and noticed a difference within the first week. It was not like I was cured, but I was a little better. I started to have days that I wanted to do things and interact with people. Very little side effects in the first ~10 days. 3 days ago, I lowered the Zoloft from 25mg to 18mg and my anxiety started to go up again. I am panicky and today, I feel very sleepy and panicky (I can not take naps in the past 3 months because I wake up with anxiety). These are all per PDr. instructions.
My PDr. says to increase the Lexapro to 7.5mg and I am worried about increased side effects which I had little when I started 5mg two weeks ago.
I am not sure what to do at this point? I need to be able to get back to my life and work and this whole thing has taken 3 months and has put my whole life on hold. I am not even staying in my own house because of a bit of fear of "what if" something goes wrong. I want to be off of Zoloft completely before going back to my house.
Any positive advice please? Does Lexapro work at 5mg? Is it normal to have these up and down days at first. How can I get rid of the remaining 18mg Zoloft without these severe side effects?
Thank You much