Hello, so I have over the past 2 years have been hit with anxiety HARD which led to depression for quite sometime, I am a highly functional anxiety person! I’ve gotten past the panic attacks, nervous shakes and totally feeling like my skin was crawling for months. Been in and out of drs ( legit thought I was dieing ) over time I finally went on a med which is sertraline although I feel a little less anxious on it I am obsessed with the thought of anxiety and having panic attack’s even if I’m not having them! I suffer from the physical symptoms like tight throat and delayed breathing and I honestly believe I bring this on myself because of the constant thought of anxiety and what has happened to me. It was extremely traumatizing for me, this seems to be the last hurdle for me to finally feel free and myself again! What do I do should I up my sertraline I’m only taking 25 mg ! Please tell me this is normal and just apart of the recovery stage ! Thanks Tiff
Hello. Based on my experience what you are feeling is normal. In the past I suffered from some severe panic attacks and carried xanax in my pocket for years to cope. Never took it, but it was like a security blanket in the event I had an uncontrollable panic attack as I knew the Xanax would calm me down in 30 minutes. Panic Attack experiences can bring on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) very similar to the symptoms you are experiencing. SSRI medication such as Sertraline (Zoloft) can be quite effective at blocking panic attacks. Having said that, 25 mg of Sertraline is a very low dose and you may wish to speak to your doctor about moving up to 50 mg.
If you'd like you can look at this somewhat dated study on Sertraline's effectiveness for panic disorder where the dosing range was between 50 -200 mg of Sertraline per day https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/204431. Too you might want to consider asking your Doctor about prescribing .25 to .5 of Xanax (alprazolam is the generic) on an as needed basis to carry around with you in the event of a panic attack. Personally, I would request both the increase in Sertraline dosage and the alprazolam (but be careful as alprazolam has addictive properties and people build up a tolerance to it with continued usage). You should not have to feel the way you are feeling with the medication available for those of us with anxiety and panic disorder.
All the best!
Hi Tiff, how long have you been on the 25mg? It sounds like it may be helping your depression but anxiety is still high. I’m taking 25mg myself (2-3 months) for depression mostly. You may need a higher dose, but never increase your dose without checking with your doctor first. Unfortunately I tried to take 37.5 mg but I’m very sensitive to all meds & all I wanted to do was sleep.
Hi, Tiff! I agree with Rathmullen that you should talk to your doctor about a possible dosage increase since it's obvious that the medication is working to a degree, but the therapeutic dose for anxiety is 50 - 200mg/day and you are far below that. Just explain to your doctor that you are still having some residual anxiety.
A word of caution about the benzodiazepines... they are usually reserved now for the treatment of actual panic attacks not for the treatment of anxiety as they are habituating if not used strictly as directed for no more than 4-6 weeks and used long term can actually cause increased anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and memory loss.
Another thing you might consider is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to learn better ways of coping with your daily stressors and triggers.
Best regards, Wildcat
- Sertraline Information for Consumers
- Sertraline Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Sertraline (detailed)
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