Zoloft - Anxiety

Updated on March 01, 2016
R.D. asks from Port Jefferson, NY
16 answers

I have pretty severe anxiety, mainly health related. I am pretty much at the point where i cannot even go to the Doctor because i am convinced i have so many terrible diseases. Yes, I go for my mammos and ob, yet every thing else right now is terrifying me. For example, i have upper left back pain occasionally, but i also work out and it seems i have muscle knots, yet i am convinced it's a tumor of some sort that is causing my symptoms. I sit and obsess over this. All of the time.

I have had quite a few stressful years and my anxiety is at an all time high. Panic attacks are back and I have a hard time differntiaiting between what is anxiety and what is a real physical symptom. I did bring myself to get tested for lyme, and that was negative.

I finally went back to the psych and asked for Zoloft, which i was on years ago and now i am no day 8 and i feel even more anxious!! Has anyone experienced this? Also, does anyone have this health anxiety? Any tips?

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So What Happened?

Yes, i do see a therapist and a psych. I also work with meditation and I exercise. This has been a life long problem and i avoid meds when i can, but i am at a point where i need them.

While I appreciate the response, inpatient care is not needed. I am a high functioning professional and mom. Shockingly I actually function well in most other areas of my life. Luckily my anxiety has not impacted my job, although I am sure my children feel it, yet the reason I take medication at times is so it does not get to the point where i need further help than that. I know that a true anxiety disorder is really hard to understand unless you have had it. Which i do not wish on anyone!

Featured Answers


answers from Chicago on

Zoloft is anti depression, not anti anxiety.
So no...I wouldn't expect that to be working for you...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Zoloft did nothing for my anxiety, I find I get much better results with a medication I can take just as needed when I am actually having an anxiety attack.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Sacramento on

Zoloft takes several weeks to build up to normal. Your anxiety may not be addressed by the medication at this point. Our son takes it for his OCD and general anxiety, and it has worked great. What I have learned in managing our medications is to call if I'm ever questioning a medication. Call your psychiatrist's office and get the answer you need on this. You may not reach the psychiatrist, but a psychiatric nurse can be a great resource.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

that must be so exhausting. i've got the anxiety level (and overall energy) of a cabbage, and the occasional bouts of anxiety that everyone experiences from time to time just wear me out. i can't imagine how debilitating it is to have this be your normal.
i'm glad you're trying meds. i understand wanting to avoid them, but there are situations that require better living through chemistry, and yours is surely one of them.
the only anti-anxiety med i ever took was prozac, and it started working almost immediately. but i know they are widely different. and i don't think you should take the advice of anyone but your psych on how to handle it. some of them surely need to build up in your system, and of course you may need to try a lot of different ones to find the perfect one for you.
i'm glad you meditate and exercise. they'd have been the first things i'd have suggested. maybe find the best visualization, the one that works most reliably for you, and couple it with some sort of mantra, and use them together over and over until you've grooved some neural pathways to peace. this sort of exercise really builds up energy over time, and if done right, can be a terrific go-to tool in your box of tricks.
good luck!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I had it for a brief while when my kids were little. I recall lying on my bed sick to my stomach because I had convinced myself that I had three different types of cancer. It seems that I went through it for about three months.

To get over it, I exercised, a lot, to try to alter my brain chemistry. Also, just getting a break helped. I was truly overwhelmed with kids.

I think the idea of going to therapy is a good one, you really should not be going through this alone. Maybe Zoloft isn't the drug for you. You should talk to your doctor about how long you should try it before you try something different.

I am not particularly anxious these days, but I have some kind of Xanax-related drug that I take if I start to feel myself getting panicky. I don't need to use it very often but it forestalls a full-blown attack if I'm getting to that point.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have difficulty with anxiety. At it's worse, I have difficulty driving because I feel fear. I mostly just feel generalized anxiety at times.. I add Ativan a couple of times a year and that helps when I feel scared. I also have been diagnosed with major depression. I have taken several different SSRI meds most of my life after SSRI meds became available. I do have to change them every few years because my body stops responding to the one I'm taking.

I've had years of therapy. At first, years ago when I was in my 30s, it was with a psychiatrist with whom I did talk therapy. I was mostly Ok for a few years after that. My insurance added coverage for counseling. My life had become more difficult. I began talking with social workers. I still saw someone else for medication. For the last few years, it's been a nurse practioner. In my experience a nurse practioner helps better because I also talk with them. A psychiatrist spends 15 minutes with me to supervise only medication. I know that I was helped most with a combination of medication and talk therapy. I was involved in a specific type of therapy a few years ago and it helped me most to learn and manage triggers. One.program is called Didactic therapy. A similar one has a different name which I'll look up.

Much of our emotions are caused by the way we think. Counseling has turned my negative way of thinking into feeling positive. I'm able to remind myself that I can control my fear. I've learned coping skills that help tremendously. However, I still need medication most of the time. I believe that brain chemistry changes with the combination of medication and therapy.

If I were you, I'd first talk to a nurse practioner about my being unwilling to take medication until my anxiety was in control.

Perhaps you don't realize that you have the right and deserve to be free of your anxiety. Your children are learning that anxiety is a normal part of life. My mother's chronic depression is.part of the reason I get depressed. She wss very depressed when she was pregnant. A psychiatrist told me that living in a family with chronic depression does change brain chemistry and that what we experience in utero can affect.our lives. We also lack skills in managing our moods as an adult because we didn't see our mom/dad demonstrate them. They remained stuck in depression.

It's possible your fears related to health began when there were health issues early in your life. that experience may be traumatic because you were young and didn't understand what happened. Of course this may not relate to your fears.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It can take a few weeks for Zoloft to build up in you and take full effect.
Give it another week or two.
If after a month you're not feeling any less anxious then talk to your psych again and see about trying another med.
Keep working with your psych on a regular basis!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Have you considered inpatient care until your meds are at a good level where you are getting relief? You really need to be seeing someone every day because clearly you are doing the same thing with the meds as every other ache and pain.

Per your what happened: if your children and family are impacted that is enough reason to get this under control. I hold a professional position, one that is important that our board of directors have full confidence in me yet if I felt I couldn't control my disorders outpatient I would check myself in in a heart beat.

My mom's self image was more important to her than the effect her issues had on my brother and I. It took me a good portion of my adult life to heal from the damage and brother, who will turn 50 this year, still has not healed. I doubt that is the legacy you want to leave your kids.

More than anything you shouldn't live like this! You deserve a full life!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Why are you just medicating? Not that there's anything wrong with medication, but you may need to see a therapist for a while, and actually WORK on your issues.
It took my daughter almost a year of therapy to get her anxiety under control. It's been about three years now and although she still has "moments" it no longer controls her life.
Maybe you need to start looking at long term management instead of quick fix results.
Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I have lived with severe anxiety mixed with severe depression for many years. I was never "high functioning" without meds and did have to go inpatient twice. If you are not in crisis then take the time to find a good psychotherapist that has experience in cognitive behavioral therapy. A good therapist will teach you strategies to use while you are waiting for your meds to kick in. And chances are Zoloft may not be the right drug for you. Stabalizing is a lengthy process.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You sound like you are quite possibly suffering from Hypochondria.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

You should make an appointment for a trigger point therapy massage to work on those knots. It might take several sessions but it is worth it. You really should do this. I recommend it 100%. I just started doing this and it's very helpful. Another suggestion is to 1. talk to your doctor about the Zoloft and perhaps they will have you try a different drug.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I'm so sorry you are struggling. I do have health anxiety and generalized anxiety, but I don't think quite to the level that you have. I go straight to the worst case scenario with everything- if I'm thirsty all day I'm convinced I have diabetes, I never just have a stomachache it's probably a parasite. I'm sure you can relate. It is exhausting. I read a book called Overcoming Health Anxiety. I really liked it because there is a lot to do. So many self help books are fluff and theory. This one has activities to do when you start to feel it coming on, which helped. And as you probably know, the key is to find something that keeps the anxious thoughts from spiraling out of control.

Zoloft is for depression and anxiety, which you probably know as well- just didn't want the comment below to worry you (you don't need any more of that!!). I know many people personally who use it for anxiety and are having great results. It does take two weeks or so to have a therapeutic effect. I think also sometimes, when we start a new med, we are so hopeful that it will work and when we don't feel it 'kick in' when we expect it to, it can spike our upset that maybe nothing will ever help. Give it more time, and check in with your doc when you are supposed to. You may need it adjusted, but you haven't been on it long enough to know that yet. Give it time, which is the enemy of anxiety!

Good luck and let us know how you are doing, ok?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

talk to your psych. get a massage and relax. make an appt with a regular dr and get a health checkup to calm the thoughts that something is seriously wrong. my dh has health anxiety and every time he gets a muscle ache or has a day where he is a little more tired than usual he thinks hes having a heart attack or is going to die of cancer. (drives me nuts)
i made him go for a check up. the dr did a full blood workup and a few other tests that will detect a serious problem early. dr knows about the anxiety so he makes sure to check all possibilities. and when all comes back clean dh is able to relax and not have as much anxiety for a while.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I am glad that you are taking medicine to help with your illness (because severe anxiety is an illness). I know you want to feel better quickly, but keep in mind that it can take several weeks to start working. Here is what I suggest:

Make a follow-up appointment with your psych for the day that you have been on Zoloft for 21 days (so, 13 days from now). If it is not working by then, you can go to your psych and tell him, so you can try something else. If it does start working, cancel the appointment.

Doing it this way give you a solid endpoint so that you know you have a backup plan if it doesn't start working. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Zoloft takes 2-4 weeks to kick in. If you need it, ask for some Xanax to get you through the rough spots.

Feel better!!

1 mom found this helpful
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