Friday, 29 May 2009

The turkey and the zaps

Today, my body has been cleared from Sertraline for two weeks. Sertraline takes about two weeks to have some effect in an ill person so, despite having a rather short half-life, it makes some sense that the withdrawal side-effects would take about two weeks to wear off. They can stop any time now.
Technically, it's not withdrawal, but a discontinuation syndrome. Antidepressants do create a dependency, but they are not addictive: patients on them, while they need them to function, will not go down drug-seeking behaviours, and this makes a different (for example, in lab experiments, animals given the option will not increase their dose as they do with other addictive drugs).

The discontinuation has not affected my mood, which is a huge success. My best friend was incredibly proud of me when I told him that I had stopped them, and talked about how far I had come from the bad time.

The main problem I have had with the discontinuation have been the brain zaps, which feel like a static shock (I like this description of the zaps (4th paragraph)).
It took a couple of days for them to get started, which made me foolishly believe that I had escaped them. They reached their worse last week, about a week after I had stopped (which makes sense in the two-week theory), when I had to go home from work because I couldn't handle it any more, and they made my left eye see blue. I kid you not, my sofa was green when looked from my left eye instead of brown, and the pale cushions were blue. No awesome 3D effects, though.

At the moment the brain zaps are finally in remission: most of my morning are now free of zaps, and they only appear in the afternoon, as I get more tired. They normally get triggered by things like changing positions (like from standing to sitting down), when I change directions (turning corners is suddenly very difficult) and when I look at things that are at different distances (I've been looking at the floor while walking because it's always at a constant distance). They get worse the more tired I get.

And this is my cold-turkey experience. Dizziness that is still present, but no mood change. I guess is not so bad, but I would like if the zaps stopped, and if it also brought my incredibly vivid and realistic dreams to a halt. And a pony :)

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