Suffering from Severe Postpartum Depression - Questions About Zoloft

Updated on March 19, 2010
M.K. asks from Redondo Beach, CA
42 answers

I am the mother of a 3-month old, healthy, happy and calm baby girl but I am having severe postpartum depression. It started when she was about one-month old. I would sit and cry for hours for no apparent reason. I suffered minor ppd with my first daughter who is now almost 4 but this go-around is unbearable. My psychiatrist and GP both recommended Zoloft and have steadly increased the dose (because although it would work and I would have good days, I would also suffer really bad days including anxiety attacks). I am now on 250 mgs. I also take .5 mg of Ativan 3 times a day (until the Zoloft balances out).

Things seemed to be getting better but then about a week after returning to work (I am in a high-stress job), I started having delusions and paranoid episodes where I would think myself into believing crazy things. The episodes tend to come at night or in the early morning when I am suffering from exhaustion as well. I was also fighting a cold and so was taking Coricidin. At any rate, my MD put me on .5 mg of Risperdal (which is somewhat disconcerting since this drug is prescribed to people with bi-polar disorder). What I am not sure of is whether it is the ppd that was causing the delusions coupled with the anxiety of going back to work, having a severe cold and being on my period, or whether it was the Zoloft that was causing it (perhaps my dosing was too high)? Has anyone else had a problem with Zoloft and/or suffered from delusions during an anxiety attack brought on by PPD? Is there anyone who has any tips for me on feeling better? When the attacks come on it truly feels as though my stomach has fallen out of my body and I am so depressed and anxious . . . it feels so hopeless and I wonder if I am losing my mind. Are these feelings "normal" PPD symptoms?

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So What Happened?

Hi Everyone!

I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you with the follow-up story; but with two kids, a hectic job, and all the other craziness of life I have been pretty busy. At any rate, I first want to thank EVERYONE for their responses to my post. You are all such beautiful women and it means so much to me that you would take the time to help another woman in need. All of your words of encouragement and wisdom were very much appreciated!

To let you know what happened . . . very simple . . . prayer. I did a lot of praying and had all my close friends and relatives pray for me as well. I was also very touched by one mamasource member who sent me a prayer calling Jesus into my heart. I believe that really helped. After a lot of prayer and meditation I came to the conclusion that God did not want me on all of these drugs! It was crazy! I was taking one drug to counter the side-effects, of another drug that I was taking to counter the side-effects of another drug to counter the side effects of the first drug. It was too much. On top of that the Zoloft was making me lose my mind. I didn't feel like myself. I felt like I had just beer-bonged ten gallons of coffee. It wasn't right. In any event, I slowly weaned myself off of all of the drugs. Became a vegan; so now I only eat high-fiber, high-antioxidant foods (no animal products) and I have to say I have never, never, never felt better. I feel better than I did as a ten year old child! I am so happy, so healthy. I have dropped down to a size 4 from a size 10 in just a month and half. I feel great! I look great! I am so happy and full of love for life. And to think that just four months ago I was considering taking my life! And if anyone asked me how I did it I would have to say that it was through God's grace. I called on him for help and he extended his hand and lifted me from the pit of despair I was in. I feel truly blessed.

Thanks again each and every one of you! You are truly magnificent women, leading magnificent lives and doing magnificent things for others.

Love and God Bless,

M.

Featured Answers

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B.Q.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had PPD, my doctor put me on Wellbutrin and I was able to come off of it no problems after a month. You may want to get a second opinion. People react differently with all the drugs, and you may have the wrong medication for you.

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M.E.

answers from San Diego on

Wow. That's tough stuff. I would really evaluate whether or not you have to be working. If you can swing it financially, I would take some medical time off until you can get this other stuff worked out. It's no easy thing being a working mom (I am one) and sometimes it's just not the right thing for awhile. And maybe a second opinion from another psychiatrist or counsellor you trust.

Good luck.

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A.R.

answers from San Diego on

Yes, thos feelings are normal. I suffered from ppd from a miscarriage. I felt hopeless,depressed, like I had nothing to get out of bed for. I felt like I could just solve it by driving off a cliff. Do whatever it takes to get you balanced and feelign better. That is the priority. Take care! Get some rest too!

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B.C.

answers from Visalia on

I am not a mother, but I am a psychiatric nurse with 20 years of experience. I also have a sister with severe depression and anxiety disorder and had a mother who had life-long depression. First off, don't jump to conclusions because of the Risperdal--yes, it is sometimes used for bipolar disorder, but it is primarily an antipsychotic (to stop hallucinations and delusions. Second, my GUESS is that your psychotic symptoms were triggered by the Coricidin.(Most people don't know that decongestants and many diet pills can cause hallucinations, but it is very common. I used to see it in the ER at least once a month.) Thirdly, if you are still at that high-stress job, ask one of your doctors to put you on a medical leave. Major depression is a "parity diagnosis" meaning that it must be covered by insurance the same as any medical diagnosis would be. It is also covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so if your PPD may be covered, too. Fourthly, if you are still having severe depression after more than a month at the high dose of zoloft, ask your psychiatrist about a different antidepressant. Lastly, but maybe most important, get some sleep! Let your husband, family, neighbors watch your babies so you can get some quality sleep. If you can't sleep even knowing the children are safe, call your psychiatrist ASAP. Nobody gets well from any mental illness (even temporary or episodic ones) if they are not getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night and feeling rested when they awaken.

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N.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.

Before having my child I had experiences with depression and anxiety. I'd been on and off of Celexa, Wellbutrin, Paxil & Seroquil.

I am now a single mother of a 4.5 year old daughter. When she was about a year my MD put me on Zoloft, called my husband and mother and told them I was the worse to come through her door and to make sure I took the medication.

I was perscribed 25mg, took it for 2 years, felt an improvement if you can call a disconnection an improvment. However,I still felt uneasy, unsure and slightly depressed. After taking a hard look at my life, made several excrutiatingly painful decisions, I stopped taking Zoloft, took up yoga, prayer and Flax Seed & Omega Fish oils.

I feel much better. Still have my days but thats all they've become the "mean red" days not overwhelming darkness. I often do cleanses to rid myself of toxins which I believe will add if not cause the deeper, paralyzing depression.

I send you my thoughts and prayer that you will go the holistic natural route.

Your body and babies will thank you.

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am so sorry you are having these problems! It sounds severe enough to think about some kind of outpatient daily care. I am no doctor, but I am very concerned for you.

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S.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Please talk to your doctor about this. I had PPD with my daughter and would also have episodes where I imagined all these crazy things happening and I couldn't get them out of my head, and I thought I would go crazy. The Zoloft helped me a lot, but I did not need the dosage you do. You NEED to speak with your doctor - maybe it's all you mentioned, in addition to the combination/multiple medications you are on. Hang in there and good for you for seeking help.

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A.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I can relate to everything you are saying. I suffered from panic attacks and severe anxiety before i even got pregnant. My panic started when I was in nursing school.I wish I had known that i was at greater risk for PPD than most people. I was on prozac, which was my miracle drug. I also took xanax for breakthrough anxiety. I had to go back on these medications a week after my son was born. From what I know, that is a high dose of zoloft, and you may want to consider switching to another medication since this one does not seem to be working for you. Everything you are feeling, although it seems crazy, is completely normal. The feelings do not go away over night, and you will have your good days and your bad. It all comes with the territory unfortunately. Just know, things do get better, and you are not alone! If you get a chance to read the book Brooke Shields wrote, I highly recomend it. It's all about her battle with PPD. I read it and it helped me through some of my struggles. To this day, I continue to deal with my panic attacks, one day at a time. Having a high stress job does not help matters either. Stress at work and stress when you come home. Sometimes all you want to do is scream, or pull the covers over your head and cry. Make time for yourself. Find something that you enjoy and that is a stress reliever for you. You also need to find time to get the rest you need. Sleep deprivation makes the symptoms even worse! Exercise can help get rid of some of the anxiety too. Lose yourself in something you can be distracted in. These are just some suggestions from someone who has been there! Good luck to you, and congrats on your baby!

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L.F.

answers from San Diego on

I too suffered from ppd after my first child 4 years ago, and it did turn into me being diagnosed with regular depression as time went on. I was on Zoloft which worked for about 1 1/2 years then it started to lose it's affect (which can happen with Zoloft). I then started on Wellbutrin, which after a couple of months, I had the same panic, hopeless, thoughts of suicide (even though I would not of done it I thought about it a lot), sinking, lonely, worthless, non human feelings.( I was perscribed these drugs from my OB). I finally went and talked to a Psychiatrist and was prescribed Effexor XR which has worked wonders. I am finally myself again. For me, and maybe for you too, pregnancy induced depression, it just started out as ppd, and I have accepted the fact that I will struggle with it for the rest of my life. My advice is go and see your doctor and get on another antidepressant. Are you seeing a Psychiatrist/cologist?

To me there is nothing "normal" about ppd or depression, and it can distroy you . I know how it feels to not be able to remember what "normal" feels like, or true happiness for that matter. This disease is very very scary and needs to be taken very seriously.

Please write me if you need to talk!!!!

My name is L. and my email is [email protected]____.com

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K.H.

answers from San Diego on

Hello M.,
It sounds like the severity of your situation may be coming from the drugs you are taking. The stress of going back to work coupled with having a cold (when your system is weak) can create a delusional/anxious sensation. Also, anxiety does sometimes stem from your stomach, so diet is very important. THese symptoms are not really you; your body is exhausted from childbirth and needs rest and strengthening. I imagine it is hard to get the proper rest while you are working and being a mother, but you can still do things to strengthen your body. These suggestions are general suggestions that you may already be doing.
Firstly, eat properly. No sugar, dairy, spicy foods, coffee, wine. All of these deplete the body of its life force. Instead, eat vegetables with little spice and drink tea or water (room temperature or warmer).
Next, get as much sleep as possible.
Also, Drink plenty of water!!!! To hydrate you, the emotions will pass through more easily.
COnsider taking EFAs (Essential Fatty Acid Oils). These are considered 'essential' because they are not produced by the body. Examples of this are flax seed, primrose, fish oil, etc. I take "UDO's oil". It can be found in the refridgerated section of Henry's, Jimbos, Sprouts, etc. I prefer it because it doesnt have any fish oil in it so I dont belch that flavor. It will balance your emotional swings.

Those are a few suggestions to start. You may not be aware that acupuncture and herbal remedies can help your PPD and/or your side effects of the meds if you dont want to get off them. (I am an acupuncturist in San Marcos and would be happy to give you a free consult if you like, or go to someone near you.)
Good luck,
K. (I am not a mom)
###-###-#### (office number)

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O.R.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hello M. K,

Have you considered Acupuncture? I am a Doctor of Oriental Medicine here in Las Vegas, and I have treated Postpartum Depression with some success.

If you are interested, please call us:
Rhee's Acupuncture Clinic
1995 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89104
###-###-####

Thank you.
Sincerely,
O. Rhee, O.M.D.

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J.B.

answers from Las Vegas on

I would be willing to bet money that if you had your hormone levels checked by the right doctor you would find that you are estrogen dominant. Being estrogen dominant makes you feel CRAZY and there is no other way to balance the hormones without usuing actual hormones. There is no reason to go on anti-depressants for post partum. No medications like the ones you are taking will balance the hormones. I know soooo many people who tried the anti-depressant route, including myself, and then we all went the natural hormone route. Natural hormone replacement therapy has done way more than anti-depressants ever did. I didn't even feel human on anti-depressants. I would strongly recommend you check out your hormone levels. If you would like to talk to me about it feel free to email at [email protected]____.com.

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D.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M., Im sorry to hear you are going through so much after having a little one. I dont know much about the different drugs your taking except the risperdal, which my step son took for Bi-polar disorder. I know many woman who have had similar symptoms and they were due to hormonal imbalance. Unfortunetly most doctors do not recognize hormone imbalance as a problem, nor do they test you for it or treat you..they tend to give you the anti-depressants and send you on your way saying it will pass. I am not a doctor and I dont know your medical history but I would definatly check into getting your progesterone back up with a natural bio-identical cream. Our progesterone levels go up as high as 400 when we are pregnant and drop considerably after pregnancy and continues as we age..if you would like more info on this feel free to email me and Ill send you some resources. I also drink a natural energy drink that has a mood enhancing quaility to it and its only 10 calories if your interested I could send you a sample to try it out. Best wishes to your road to wellness..

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M.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

Wow, I'm so sorry that you are having such a hard time. Please go and get all of your labs done. I think you may have a thyroid imbalance. The Hall center in Santa Monica will be able to assess your hormone function. Also, a great nutritionist and/or homeopathic doctor can help restore balance. We have so many great healers here in LA. If the conventional stuff isn't working you must try alternative. Cranial Sacral therapy and acupuncture work great as well. Your community is here for you. Thanks for reaching out.....

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M.Z.

answers from Santa Barbara on

M.,

I totally hear what you are saying and think you are so strong and brave. I live near Santa Barbara, CA and there is a local group called PEP that has a "warmline" where you can ask to speak with women that have been in your situation. Their website is sbpep.org. Another great organization is Postpartum Support International postpartum.net. I am confident that you can get answers to your questions from a very caring and thoughtful individual from either organization. I wish you the best of luck and again applaud you for your courage and strength. M.

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G.S.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Hi M.,

First let me say that I am so sorry for all you are going through!

I was on Zoloft after the death of my first daughter and I did notice that it did not do anything for my anxiety, although it did allow me to function through my depression and grief. Latter, after my son was born and I had PPD my new doctor put me on Lexapro. This medication is in a different class and actually treats the anxiety too. i had better luck with this on only had to use my Zantec (for anxiety attacks) very sparingly. I would consider talking to your care providers about trying something that treats both aspects of your symptoms instead of taking so many meds together if it were me.

I wish you the best of luck and if you even need to talk please feel free!

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H.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
I'm so sorry to hear you are suffering from PPD. I have a 2 year old boy, Dylan, who is 2. Like you, I suffered sever PPD as well. It is a very dark, scary place to be - often to hard to even describe. My doctor put me on lexepro. In the beginning I was also on colonopin for anxiety. Both drugs seemed to work for me. I was on 25mg of lexepro.
The feelings you describe of hopelessness and anxiety was just like what I went through. I became a completely different person. Before Dylan I was happy go lucky and very mellow, but after he was born I was always anxious, depressed irritable, etc....The lack of sleep was a huge problem for me and I contribute that to intensifying the symptoms. Also,any additional stress I'm sure triggers the symptoms too. As far as the medication goes, it should be helping you but it usually takes a few weeks. I did begin to notice a small difference right away. So you might want to talk to your doctor about changing your meds?
I really sympathize with you. Most people cannot relate to it and often don't want to talk about it. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you want to talk further.
H. [email protected]____.com

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H.A.

answers from Las Vegas on

I too suffered from severe postpartum after the birth of my first son. I had anxiety attacks when too many people were around. I would drive to one store instead of the other because the other was a whole block further away. It got so bad that I didn't want to get out of bed. I finally went to see a doctor and he prescribed Paxil. I was on it for a year and let me tell you, about the third week I felt 100% better and I was back to my old self. After the year, I went off of it and I was fine until the birth of my second son. I went through postpartum again, but not as severe, but I wasn't going to mess with it this time. I went back on the Paxil and I have been on it now for about 6 months. I have never had any of the side affects that you have described.
It sounds to me that you have a lot going on. Between the kids and work life can get very overwhelming. I know something else that would help me when I started feeling totally overwhelmed, I set a schedule up for myself. The more order I have in my life the better I feel. I am Taurus, so I am a control freak! It's easy to be in control when you are by yourself, but adding a husband and two kids takes away so much control...it's overwhelming for sure.
So here is my schedule for housework:
Monday-Clean up (put things away-shoes, purses, backpacks, whatever is lying around). Vacum
Tuesday-Bathrooms, Kitchen, Mop
Wednesday- Laundry, Kitchen, Errands
Thrusday-Grocery Shop, Kids' rooms, Clean Fridge
Friday-Master Bed (just in time for the weekend ;), Outside cleanup
Saturday-To Do List (you and your husband can can work on the big chores around the house. Allows for quality time while getting stuff done).
Sunday-Email Friedns, write letters. Enjoy your family!
Also, you have a four year old in the house that is more than capable to help around the house. Let her clean up her own room and the toys throughout the house. The more your little girls does to help, the less you have to do.
Finally, do you have a schedule for the kids to follow? Schedule are very important in the development of your children, but it is also very important for you. It helps keep you motivated when you just don't feel like doing anything because of the depression. Check the schedule and tell yourself that it's just one thing...then before you know it you've done 2 or 3 things.
Depresssion is chemical, but it is also mental. You really do have to will yourself to be better. With the schedule in place and the control back in your life the overwhelmed feeling should subside.
I wish you the best of luck. I know it's hard because I have been there. Feel free to ask me any other questions that you may have.

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K.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Oh my gosh girl! 250mg is a lot. I found a wonderful little pill called Lexapro. I had the same issues as you...however, I couldn't drive anywhere without thinking that someone was going to blow my head off if I smiled at them. My hubby would come home and say hi, and I would go into a blackout rage. I knew there was something seriously wrong with me. I never hurt my daughter, or had suicidal thoughts, but I just wasn't myself. Crying all the time for no reason. The only reason why I got up in the morning was because I had to take care of my daughter. She was only 1 year old at the time. Who else was going to take care of her? My hubby finally told me one day that I was being a bi&*^ and that I needed some help, so I went to my doctor and he told me about Lexapro. I tried it, and within a month I was able to function without crying; wanting to throw something at my husband for saying hi to me; and I was able to drive feeling safe and secure. There is a con though. I weighed 143 lbs when I started taking the pill, my daughter is now 2 1/2 years old and I weigh 160 lbs. Part of the weight is depression, and eating comfort food. I really haven't heard too much about Zoloft, but for my Lexapro saved my life and my marriage. You are not losing your mind. The first step is realizing that you need help, and you have already done that, now just talking to others and having a support group will help ease your days. I found that if I took my daughter on a "lite" walk, it helped. I was able to focus on something other than what was bothering me. We would stop to look at the different color flowers, or pick up a leaf, or stomp on them to hear them "crunch". We would play "red light, green light", and we still do. Get out and get moving, the sun will do you some good, and it will get your daughter out too. Keep a daily journal of the days events with your daughter so she can see that there was another side of "mommy". She willknow that it's not her fault, kids pick up on things like that. I hope that this has helped. Good luck!

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T.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I used to work as a psychiatric social worker in an outpatient clinic. There are different drugs that help with depression, including zoloft, celexa, lexapro (as others have mentioned), wellbutrin. Your body may respond better to one drug better than the next. The only problem with trying different ones out is that it takes a little while for it to kick in. Risperdal is a drug that helps with delusions, hallucinationsm & paranoia. It seemed pretty effective from what I saw to help with those symptoms.

Aside from the drugs, exercising, family support, and social support were key to recovery. Therapy also helps in conjunction with the meds if the family/social support is not very accessible. Exercise helps your body naturally with producing endorphins in your brain, which help you feel better. The family & social support really help with the reality check and to counter those unrealistic thoughts that keep going thru your mind. Also getting out of the house (even though you really don't feel like it) helps.

Sounds like you've had lots of stuff on your plate, including going back to a stressful job, a newborn & lack of sleep & exhaustion that goes with it, your older daughter, family life, etc. It's good that you are proactive in trying to address it and are working hard to get thru this. If it's PPD, then know that it will eventually subside (especially after your hormones have gone back to normal in your body). If it lasts longer than 6 months, then definitely check in with your psychiatrist about what's going on.

Good luck!

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B.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,

My heart goes out to you! I can only imagine what you are going through. I just wanted to ask if you have read the insert for the Zoloft, or looked it up on-line to see if the delusions and paranoia are listed as adverse effects. I was on Zoloft for a short time many years ago, and didn't not have this trouble. I read the insert at one point, but don't remember if this was mentioned.

Don't give up! Keep reaching out - to your doctors, until they get the right treatment for YOU (don't let up till it's right!), and to your husband, other family members, and friends for any help you may need with child care and housework, whatever, while you are going through this process. Woman are so programmed and trained to be caretakers, it is often hard for us to ask for help when we need it. Just look at the need for help as a season - it will change, and one day you will go through a season where you can help someone else, maybe using your current experiences . . .

One more thought I had was that a friend of mine was diagnosed with postpartum depression many years ago, and was told it was due to low hormonal levels (I think it was progesterone) after delivery - and it was worse after each successive pregnancy. So I'm wondering if they've checked your hormone levels to see if that may be part of the problem . . .

Good luck! Keep fighting!
B.

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L.L.

answers from Santa Barbara on

I can only speak of my own experience... I never sought help through a doctor, or medication, which was probably a wrong choice for me. I only called a local help line, who told me my symptoms were completely normal, and that they would pass. I accepted that opinion as truth, and did not seek professional help. I feel as though I am still suffering at times, but things have gotten better.
My baby is now 18 months, and happy and healthy. I, like you, would sit and stare out the window at nap times, unable to move, either crying or ready to cry at any moment. I did have little what I like to call "psycho" moments - where I even thought of harming my baby. I would NEVER actually do anything to harm her, but these moments did come and go. Like you, I had a severe amount of stress in my life - my husband (now ex) and I were on the verge of splitting up. I thought I was going absolutely crazy at the time. Exaustion hit me as well - my baby ended up to be really sick and in the hospital by 4 months old.
I am really, really glad you are seeing a therapist, and on meds, if they are working. I don't know much about meds, but you should talk to your docs about them and the effects. Having a new baby is no small deal, and having other stresses in your life with the added exaustion can really make you feel crazy. Don't worry - you probably aren't.

The only advice that I can really give is to really take some time out for yourself, and de-stress. Excercising was a huge part of stress relief for me. Keep in close communication with those who care about you, including your docs - they are your resources. You may feel alone, but you aren't. Also, if you feel the need to, you can email me to chat - sometimes chatting with someone completely removed from the situation helps...

Good luck to you!!

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

M., my name is S. and I have 2 children. My son is 13 and my daughter is 8.
With my son, I had PPD and luckily with support from my family and friends I did not have to take any medication. Everyone is different so I am not recommending you get off of the meds but it does take alot of support from your family and friends to get through this very difficult period. I do know several mothers that have been through this and some need the medication and some do not, but I know some women that have had problems with both of these medications so be careful...to me if you are dillusional I would stop the medication right away. See your doctor as soon as possible, these meds can be dangerous!

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D.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

It sounds as though utilizing your support systems is very important at this time. IF u have family , friends or a babysitter, take them up on any opportunity to help. It is really important to focus on your mental health. Most of our local hospitals have post partum depression support groups. I am hoping that you are not nursing. I believethat the risperdal and ativan pass through the breast milk and are not good for the baby. Sometimes post partum depression can turn into a post partum psychosis. Halluciantions, delusions and strange thoughts toward the baby can occur. It is really important right now for u to have some serious support.
cold medicine and antidepressants some time can cause strange reactions. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions. please take care and update us

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M.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know your symptoms or details, however, you listed Risperdal, Zoloft, Ativan, and Coricidan. It seems that it's a large amount of medication (probably needed) but I can't help feel that maybe it contributes to the depression or anxiety. I would have a 2nd opinion, be sure you are eating well, getting outside in the sunlight, and doing things that help drive your spirits in a positive direction! Maybe you will be able to cut down on meds after a while but I would go to a more holistic physician who can support you thru it. Best of luck.

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B.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, M. -

I'm so sorry you're experiencing PPD, especially one so severe. I am not a M.D., but have had some experiences similar to yours and have some knowledge of the prescription drugs you are taking. I can imagine that the combination of Coricidin and Zoloft could have produced the anxiety and delusions, etc. Coricidin, I believe, has stimulants which would cause anxiety. I am not familiar with Ativan. Risperdal is used to treat several issues stemming from chemical imbalances and should help with the anxiety. I don't know about the Zoloft dosing but whatever you do, if you and your doctor decide to increase or lower the dosing, do so very, very gradually. I cannot stress this enough. Lowering the dosage too quickly can produce the same paranoia and gut-wrenching depression and possibly worse. Whatever you do, make sure that you take care of yourself and do not be shy to enlist others to take care of you as well. If it is at all possible, you might consider getting a medical leave from your job until this settles. I know this is incredibly difficult; I wish you the best.

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A.D.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I have experienced almost exactly the same symptoms after the birth of my first child. I had severe anxiety, exacerbated by a car accident when my daughter was 7 weeks old.
Zoloft did not work for me; I had a terrible reaction to it. BE AGGRESSIVE with your doctor.
There are others out here who are experiencing the same thing. Hang in there, OK?

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M.Y.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,

I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time! Unfortunately, I can't speak to your experiences with Zoloft, but I, too, have suffered from PPD. I wasn't as wise as you and it took me until my son was almost 7 months old to get help. I am still on Lexapro after about three and a half years. I'm not thrilled about that but it helps keep me balanced and feeling like myself the vast majority of the time. I CAN tell you that being on your period can seriously affect your mental balance (don't tell any men... :>) ). Also, if you had a baby only 3 months ago, your hormones are still all out of whack anyway.

I don't know anything about dosing for Zoloft but 250mg sounds like an awful lot! I take only 20mg of Lexapro. Have you researched dosages at all? Are you seeing a counselor to help you through this? Is there anyone else you can talk to TOTALLY HONESTLY? Please find someone! I know you don't want to hear this, but, if you're having delusions, you have to make sure your children are safe. Does your doctor know about the delusions? Please make certain that he/she does! Your judgement is not as it should be at this moment in your life. If you're not comfortable with the medications your doctor is giving you, remember that there are always other docotrs. I know it may feel overwhelming to change right now, but you need to be sure. KNOW that it can and will get better but you need help right now! Please find it!

Also, do you have to be going back to work now? It sounds as if work is NOT what you need right now if it's a high stress job. Your health and your children's safety is far more important than any job.

Fortunately I never suffered delusions, but I KNEW I needed help when I began to have dreams in which babies were being slammed into walls! PLEASE don't allow yourself to reach that point!!!

In the meantime, do your best to spend time in the sunshine, open up your blinds, and put on some lively music if it doesn't annoy you. The things that are happening to you are not YOU! Remember that and do everything you can to regain the person who is you and your girls' mama. She's in there.

I don't know your religious beliefs but I'll be sending good thoughts your way and praying for you. I wish you the best.

M.

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T.B.

answers from Las Vegas on

a friend of mine went through the same thing and she had to be taken off the zoloft and had to be put on something else and yes i had the same feelings with my 1st born and was put on zoloft as well and its been working great...im on 100 mg. so my suggestion would be to see about lowering the dose and ask about zanex it works wonders for anxiety

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D.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

You must read anything by Osho. Maybe a little meditation. Not the sitting kind. You would benefit from an active meditation, will help tremendously with the stress level, which will help everything else. Go to www.osho.com and check out the meditations. I do Kundalini every week. You will have success if you make it part of your week, and then the drugs will become much more insignificant in your life.

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

man..it might be the zoloft..a few years ago i was suffering from bad headaches and my doc immediately said it was depression...put me on zoloft and i felt like i was on acid on that stuff. turned out i was allergic to my perfume and didn't need to be on the zoloft. maybe you actually need to lower your dose! also are you taking DHA supplements? they're supposed to help make you happier. maybe you should go to a nutritionist and see if you can fix what you have by fixing your diet??
are you getting any exercise? i get so down if i don't exercise.

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T.T.

answers from Las Vegas on

I would be verycause of the differnt kinds of medication you take along with the Zoloft. I took it for a year before I weened myself of but I never took that high of a dose. It seemed to help but I to had several episodes that scared me when I would tke other medicatios. It is supposed to be a flexible medication but go with yur hart. If it does not feel right after a month(it should kick in by then) then you need to discuss it with your MD. but I would suggest seeing a doctor that specializes in prescribing the antidepressants. They truely need to regulate things and make sure what you are having as symptms is from Medication.

As i weened myself ofI started to get massages on a weekly basis and that leveled everything off for me. I also decided i was going to talk my own mind out of the depression. Everytime I would feel it comingo n i would go for a walk, alone or withmy son then I would call whom ever I could to focus on something else. It trul was a matter of will power to change how I was feeling. I feel so much better not taking the meds.

( my Psy. teacher told us the other day there are a ton of antidepressant medications out there but each is designed for different people so maybe what you are on is not for you. Be leary of how much you take.. the smaller doses have less of the side effects)I too had taken effexor and I has suchvivid dreams that i woke up crying.I quit taking it that day.. So please find a physicologist that will help you to regulate your meds..If you can not find one for your insurance I will give you the name of my rofessor maybe he can give you some suggestions..Please see your doctor or find a phycologist. The need to regulate your meds.. Something is not right your should not need to be taking that high of a dose. If you ere admitted in to a psh unitthey would not even give you that high of a dose.. please for your own sake seek help from your family and if you can have a family mmber go with you to your ppt maybe they can explain what you are going thru so you get the proper care. I too am worried about your healh as well as your well being. I know can be scary but you need to get the proper help so that you can get back on track with your ife and enjoy that new baby.

Keep your chin up and get outside or exercise it will help you so much.. I promise..If you need to talk you can always email me I am a great listener..
T

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G.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

M.: Are you seeing a therapist as well? After having my son in Nov. '92, Feb. '93 I went into severe post-partum depression for 5 months due to my insecurities as a mom, losing my job, my husband losing his job, etc., etc. and, of course, having a personality that keeps all of her emotions inside and afraid to let anybody know how I really feel. I saw a psychiatrist who put me on Zoloft and some other anti-anxiety medicine, increased the dosage as time went on and also sent me to a therapist. I did not have any delusional/paranoid thoughts but I was suicidal for the full 5 months and the only way I finally got out of the post-partum depression was by my family and I finally getting angry enough at my husband for something he did that I stood up to him and expressed my feelings of anger and hurt. Two days later, when we were getting ready to separate, I finally starting coming out of my depression. Two weeks after that, when my husband took our son and moved in with his father and was not letting me see my son, I got on the phone with him and yelled at him (he also let me) for about 15 months. When I hung up the phone I was fully out of my depression.

I had a daughter in Dec. '06 with my second husband and was fine until she turned 3 months and I started trying to put her in the basinette because I could not get enough sleep with her still sleeping with me. Sleep is very important for me. Right from the get go my husband always did the 3:00-4:00 A.M. feeding so that I could get a couple more hours sleep. I had gone back to work full-time when she was about 1 1/2 months. I went a few nights without enough sleep and when she finally starting sleeping for about 4 hours straight, with all the anxiety, I could not go to sleep and went into a lesser depression. This was on a Thursday morning I woke up with it. I immediately contacted a psychiatrist and made an appointment to see her the following Monday. I saw her on Monday, she prescribed Lexapro (because my sister had used it when she went through a rough patch), and told me to contact a therapist. That evening on the way home from work, I drove through our neighborhood where there was not much traffic and vented, yelled and screamed like a crazy person (I actually felt like it) but so that nobody could see. When my husband got home, I actually vented a little on him, which was probably not appropriate, and then I vented in the car again on the way to the pharmacy to put in my prescription. The next day, Tuesday, the 6th day, I took just 1/2 a tablet of the Lexapro, and as the day went on started feeling a bit better. On the way home from work, again I vented in the car. By that evening my depression was gone. The moral of the story is that I am the type of person that can easily keep emotions inside and if I do not get them out, am prey to depression after having a child.

I do not know anything about you and I hope you have a healthy relationship, but it does sound like there is some stress there and I know that with depression, you never feel like you get the right amount of sleep. It's different. Your mind is not "clear" and it is hard to make decisions. You feel hopeless and the self-esteem goes out the window. You feel guilty, etc., etc. Maybe seeing a therapist will help. Please e-mail me at [email protected]____.com if you would like.

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M.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi

I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I work as a therapist specializing in Depression and Anxiety. I work with this clinical presentation a lot. Is there anyway to reduce your stress level. Stress totally exacerbates PPD.

Has your psychiatrist talked with you about switching to a different antidepressant? You are pretty close to the max dose of Zoloft. Don't worry about the Resperidol. They are using it as a mood stabalizer which will be helpful longterm. It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed. Meanwhile you are still dealing with the depression and anxiety. It takes a fair amount of time to get the meds right. Have you thought about a therapy group or individual therapy. It can help so much. Good luck and hang in there.

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N.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

I took Zoloft for my Postpartum Depression and I must say it was the best one I took, I tried a couple and Zoloft was the only one that didn't make me feel like a Zombie, but, when I tried getting off of Zoloft, I had dizzy spells almost to the point that I thought I would faint! It is a powerful drug and quite possibly with everything else you had going on, some chemical reaction could have took place. Maybe give it a couple of weeks with just the Zoloft and nothing else to see if you still have these symptons, you need to single out which medicine it was. If you find that it wasn't just a single medicine well then you know next time not to mix any of those meds together anymore. Take care and good luck!

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R.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear M.,
I am only a counselor. I do not have the background of a psychiatrist. But, I recently went to a conference by David Burns. He is a guru in the field of treating depression and anxiety. He very strongly believes in the power of cognitive behavior therapy to treat depression and anxiety. The research has shown that simply reading his book has made hundreds of people feel better. If you enjoy reading, it may be worth your while. I am currently reading his book on anxiety titled, "When Panic Attacks." The book he has written on depression is titled "Feeling Good." He has written "The Feeling Good Handbook" as well. I haven't read either yet. On the book it says, "The clinically proven drug-free treatment for depression." I can't begin to comment on medications, but if you enjoy reading, you may want to check out his books are get connected with a good cognitive behavioral therapist. Good luck, I hope you find relief from your feelings of depression and anxiety soon. Hang in there!
Sincerely,
R. G.

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,
Along with being a mommy of a 3 year old, preggers and due in 2 weeks, I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. First of all, let me say I am sorry for what you are going through. Some questions for you... is there mental illness in your family i.e. depression? bi-polar? schizophrenia? anxiety? This just helps me get a better picture. If not, then you can be assured that it is all related to your ppd. Sometimes with really bad depression can come psychosis- delusions, hallucinations, paranoia. I don't think it has anything to do with your Zoloft dose being too high, I just think it is because your depression is so bad. How long have you been on your Zoloft? It should be working within 6 weeks. If you are not feeling better, talk to your doctor about other forms of anti-depressants. There are even anti-depressants that also help anxiety at the same time like Paxil and some others. Most important is to keep communication lines open with your doctor. Report all symptoms and don't settle until you are feeling better. I hope this was a little helpful. I am so sorry you are going through this. Don't worry- you aren't going crazy. Your hormones are just totally out of wack and you are adjusting to a major life change- the birth of a second child. Hang in there!

Best wishes,
D.

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B.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

I hear the struggle you are going through. I also had PPD and Post-partum anxiety. I had so much anxiety I would often cry from sheer frustration. When my first son was 5 months I started to get better, but then I had to put my favorite cat to sleep from cancer, and I spiraled into a black hole. It's such a scary place, and it's great that you're reaching out for help.

When my son was 8 months old I began to wean him in preparation for going on Zoloft or Prozac. I refused to take the drugs while breastfeeding even though the OB insisted it was okay. But through a fluke of fate I was led to an endocrinologist, and I found out I had a thyroid condition known as Wilson's Thyroid Syndrome. In 80% of cases it is caused by pregnancy. I was put on thyroid medication, and within one week the PPD and anxiety vanished as if they had never been there.

I'm not trying to say that this is your issue for sure, but I would encourage you to look into endocrine issues. My doctor has actually focused his whole practice around thyroid concerns. He believes it's one of the most under-diagnosed conditions, and he has helped so many with PPD, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. He's got some interesting articles if you want to read about it: http://www.hormoneandlongevitycenter.com/

By the way, my thyroid was monitored by my doctor during and after my second pregnancy. A month after my second son was born I survived a ruptured aneurysm in the artery leading to my spleen. I came so close to dying they couldn't believe I lived -- talk about stress! But I did not have any PPD or anxiety. I really believe it was because my thyroid was in balance.

I hope you find something that helps!
Take care,
B.

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A.V.

answers from Grand Junction on

A little different but my hubby takes Zoloft and hasn't had any problems. I used to take Celexa and that was really good for me. LExapro worked great for hubby for a while but then it stopped working. Sounds like your dose is too high. I would talk toyou pharmacist as well they tend to know more about the side effect better than docs.

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K.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Regardless of whether the symptoms you are facing came from the medication or your circumstances, it sounds like you are DEFINITELY under too much stress. Especially with your hormones kicking in from your period and having a cold, plus being exhausted. I've been there. you're doing too much. Is there any way you can take a leave of absence from work? It sounds like you need to be at home with your little ones (which of course isn't easy) and just do fun mom things like snuggle and watch cartoons, go to the park, and just play, play, play. A high stress job and a three month old and 4 year old just dont mix very well.

I wish you all the best. I've been extremely depressed/hopeless/discouraged as well and it's very difficult.

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L.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm on Paxil for depression/anxiety. My dosage was increased 4 months ago after having my son. Recently when I had a cold, I took Robitussin for my cough and thought I was going crazy! It was really very scary - much like what you are describing. When I looked more closely at the bottle of cough syrup it says very clearly not to take when taking any type of SSRI drug (such as Paxil or Zoloft). Maybe that could be causing the intensity of your attacks?

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E.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

You've received some great advice...but I think the two most important things are:
1. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP. Sleep deprivation will literally drive you crazy, aside from PPD symptoms. The best thing you can do is make sure you're getting as much as you can. I found that this had the most dramatic affect on me in curbing my depression and anxiety ( I took Paxil as well and it worked well for me..but the ambien was immediately effective and after using it for only 2 days, I was back on a normal sleep schedule and off the pills)
2. Talking to you doctor about different medication options and non-medication options (talk therapy, baby-sitters, yoga, Burke-Williams:). Anti-depression and anxiety meds are so different for everyone. There may be even relief in taking less depression meds and maybe integrating some meds to help you sleep (you would only take these for a few days).
Don't worry about "normal" symptoms. If you're not YOUR normal, that's all that matters.

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