How fast does Zoloft work?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mavh2005, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    difficult child started taking Zoloft on Thursday. She's been with us since Friday night. She has been a easy child. Not kidding. No smart mouth, no attitude, just does what she's told without a problem. School seems to be fine as well. Is this what it's gonna be like now? Or is this just the honeymoon phase? She's honeymooned before when she was on risperdal. If it is, how long do think this will last?

    I am trying so hard not to get my hopes up, but man, this weekend was heaven.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    4-6 weeks

    I don't want to discourage you, but one week is too soon to see the final results. Hang in there and keep hoping for the best :)
  3. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    The SSRI's normally take as long as several months to fully kick in.

    In our/my experience what you are seeing could be one of two things.

    1. Placebo effect - she knows she's taking a new medication and her brain is reacting to the idea that the medicine is helping.
    2. She is really bipolar and this is the prelude to the development of a hypomanic or manic reaction provoked or brought on by the SSRI.

    If it's the former you are probably right and this is a honeymoon period that will crash. But hopefully not before the medication kicks in so you may not see a huge change if what she really needed was the SSRI.

    If it's the latter then you will see a shift into higher energy, less sleep (normally but not necessarily), increased grandiosity (often takes the form of defiance of authority in kids), increase in how much she talks, interrupts, changes direction, etc.

    Given the family history I am afraid I would go with the 2nd possibility over the first one. I would call the psychiatrist right away if you begin seeing signs of mania developing. My difficult child 2 responded to Zoloft with hypomania/mania within about 2 weeks of starting Zoloft. It wasn't pretty but it was very helpful diagnostically. If difficult child starts to develop anything you think could be mania/hypomania I would stop the medication immediately if you haven't been able to talk to the psychiatrist yet. I am not a doctor of course but Zoloft has a 26 hour half life and skipping it for one day is really not going to make a big difference if your psychiatrist feels difficult child should stay on it.

  4. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    What would mania possibily look like? I knew it was too soon to see any real changes..

    difficult child is exactly like husband was before he started Zoloft, so I'm hoping it really is dpression & not bipolar.
  5. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    What would mania possibily look like? I knew it was too soon to see any real changes..

    difficult child is exactly like husband was before he started Zoloft, so I'm hoping it really is dpression & not bipolar.
  6. Jena

    Jena New Member


    you will know mania when you see it and you wont' say is it that? LOL seriously though...... it can present as extreme aggitation, short temper, and cant' sit still OR it can be giddy, jumping around cant' sit still like driven by a motor literally. it'll be such a difference you won't have to say is it that?

    i put my difficult child on an ssri going back years ago when we were first beginning.... she was up for 3 days straight, ripping food out of cabinets, playing barbie in middle of night in living room. the poor kid was beyond miserable she cried alot and said i cannot sit still i feel so jumpy and not right. we took her off immediately.

    easy child is on zoloft. the hit the first dose was 25mg immediate calming effect on her, than the behaviors popped thru week and a half in once her body adjusted to them she began to fly again, raised it to 50mg. we're at that now for week and a half and shes' beginning to fly again now a bit.

    i think initially it can calm them, yet also its' mental they know their taking something so id' say yea it's partially the medication yet wait another week you'll probably see her fly about again a bit and than i'm sure your doctor will say titrate up a little.

    good luck!! never easy with-medications
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    also bipolar's a pretty heavy diagnosis. in my experience you can't rely on someone's reaction to an ssri to determine whether or not their bipolar. some ppl just can't take ssri's for whatever reason. I got alot of bipolar diagnosis's in beginning for my daughter until i finally put the breaks on stayed with one pysch doctor (id run after each one upon meeting her and lsitening to my stories would diagnosis her in the first intake) and also one therapist for years.

    the only true way to diagnose i think in my "mom" opinion bipolar is to watch a child/teen for a prolonged period of time, see them in different moods, watch their behaviors have constant ongoing contact with-parents before bipolar should be given. so many doctors these days are overdiagnosing it i think.
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I took Lexapro, not Zoloft, but I could feel a difference the very first day. I don't believe it was placebo effect from me knowing I took it, because I was not expecting anything to happen for weeks.

    I can't remember if I took it at night or in the morning, but that night when I was making dinner, I realized that I was not reacting the way I normally did. For example, I was always irritated when I was making dinner and 3 people were trying to have 3 different conversations with me. The first day on Lexapro, I realized they were all trying to talk and I was able to tell them I could only hear one of them at a time, with no trace of annoyance on my part.

    A few days later, husband was home resting while I was dealing with kids and dinner and I started to feel annoyed at him. Something clicked inside me and I realized he would help me if I asked him and he had been working all day, while I had had time to relax. Before the Lexapro, I would have been irritated with him.

    For me, the affect lasted for the most part until I decided to stop taking it a few years later.
  9. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    I honestly don't think she's bipolar, but just depressed. She also has a lot of anger she needs to work thru. difficult child has no problems during school or during Girl Scouts, just at home when we make her do things she doesn't want to do. I'm definitly going to keep a close eye on her and keep up the journal I started.
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member

    that's exactly what i did that helped alot. i kept a journal and began to see a cycle in time the swings of up and down like a little roller coaster ride. defiance is also a huge part of bipolar, i heard a doctor say once it's an extreme need for control due to feeling so out of control internally.

    good luck
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I took Zoloft in my late teens, and I don't recall any immediate effect at all. It was more subtle, kind of snuck up on me. After a few weeks I realized I wasn't crying or trying not to cry 24/7. By six weeks, I was a lot more functional and not thinking about the cause of my depression constantly. I realized the effects in retrospect, not as they were happening.
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Every single DR tells you it takes weeks for the effect to be noticed - but I noticed it within days. It was not a placebo effect - for sure.
    The only thing that I can say is that SSRIs are mood activators. So, they increase the body's metabolism even before the serotonin re-uptake is starting to take place.
    For me, and possible your daughter, that might be the first step towards feeling good.
  13. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    It is possible that she's getting a much quicker response to zoloft than is usual. Lexapro is known for rapid response - within a few days to 2 weeks.

    I think you are probably the best judge about her mood issues. And keeping a mood diary or journal is absolutely a good idea.

    Hope it's an early response and things go well.

  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When my two middle kids were put on Zoloft, I saw improvement from the first couple of days. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was the most recent. Improvement at first was subtle but she seemed calmer and more able to cope with change and conflict. She couldn't tell any difference herself, except that the world was less annoying!

  15. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Well - I'm possibly going to have 2 different stories for you, but Dude and I are different people and both of us couldn't take Zoloft.

    Dude was prescribed it for possible BiPolar (BP) when he was 10 years old and at a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Within a week he had a better attitude. Noticeable cheerfulness, calm, helpful - like a completely different child. I will note also for you he's 20 now and we trialed 62 medications in his day. With that said - 2 weeks later? He tried to hang himself in his closet, staff found him, and took him to the ER. They immediately took him off Zoloft, held him in the hospital, and changed his medications.

    Some years later when he was arrested and put into Department of Juvenile Justice? Despite warnings on my part to his counselor via the phone they put him back on Zoloft and within a week? He tried to hang himself again from his bunk with a sheet. He tried to refuse the medication and they put him in lockdown, took his lunch and did other punishment measures. When he called me and told me they had put him on the medication I called staff immediately. While his counselor was on the phone with me - she got the call that an inmate had tried to commit suicide. I didn't know for sure what was going on - but I had a suspicion it was my son. Sadly I was correct, fortunately staff had been watching him.

    In between both of those instances my doctor placed me on Zoloft. I never made the connection about Dude, filled the prescription and after three days I literally saw fairies on the side of the road. I'm not kidding. I was driving my SUV, was the happiest I think I have been in my life - EVER. Even posted here about it, and commented that I literally knew WHY people did drugs. IT.WAS. FANTASTIC. (I was high as a kite). It wore off on about the fourth or fifth day and things leveled out, and I will admit that in my life I have not been much of a pill taker, but WOW would be an understatement. I also tried Paxil - it almost killed me, and one other AD - but ended up in the hospital over withdrawls too.

    Both Dude and I were told that a lot of times Mother and sons will have similar reactions to AD's. I too was suicidal on Zoloft - but not to the point of actual suicide. I just kept planning it and got great joy from the thought process of planning it and didn't want to be interrupted or bothered. Oddly enough my thoughts were about hanging myself. My therapist said it's called idealizations of suicide. When DF sold our boat? I was angry because parts of my plans included using the was very odd, but I discussed it with the therapist and because I knew what I was doing/talking about? We decided I was lucid enough to not be hospitalized. (I was also lucid enough to laugh at that because Dude was really at his best at that time and would have welcomed a break)

    Not trying to scare you - just watch her closely. AD's affect everyone differently.
  16. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    And on Star's note, while I did GREAT on Zoloft (aside from weight gain), my half-sis, who is bipolar (mine was clinical depression) did HORRIBLE. As in 3 days and she landed in psychiatric hospital for suicide attempts/self-harming behavior.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I am not trying to scare anyone - just wanted to give a different perspective.

    I'm on Welbutrin and it has assisted with weight loss. No complaints there.
  18. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    Thank you all for your replies. I really appreciate it. So far, difficult child is doing well. Again, its only week 1. Last night, we saw typical behavior for a 10year old, which I gladly welcomed. I was worried it was all too good to be true. I will tell her mom to keep a close eye on her this weekend.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The majority of people on Zoloft do well. If that were not the case, it would be withdrawn. But there are stories around of people who were tipped into suicide by the stuff. Two of my kids take Zoloft and it is brilliant for them. difficult child 3 tried Zoloft (he was 5 years old) and while it seemed to help initially, he rapidly went into manic mode and did not sleep. After a few days the lack of sleep had undone any benefit and made him impossible to manage so we stopped the Zoloft.

    Two women in my village were on Zoloft when they died. One death was recorded as accidental, but friends and family are not so sure - she apparently rolled off a cliff during one of her regular meditation sessions there. The other definitely suicided, planned it carefully over days. Two weeks ago a man in our village was found hanging - he also had been only recently put on Zoloft.
    In each case, the person had only been on Zoloft a short time. In at least one case, the person had reported feeling suicidal, and the doctor responded by increasing the medications.

    My daughter in law was taken off Zoloft (which had been working, although she was often tired) and put onto moclobemide. She became a lot more depressed but also unable to sleep, almost manic at times. She was increasingly suicidal to the point where difficult child 1 stopped working so he could stay with her and make sure she was safe. The doctor increased her dose when they reported these symptoms - she of course got worse on the higher dose. They are now stopping it and she is doing much better.
    I also have taken moclobemide and found it caused some weird stuff with me. I reckon Stephen King takes the stuff... I had so many really weird, complex ideas in my head and my nightmares were vivid and nasty. One nightmare was so real - I was operating on a small animal, doing detailed surgery and knowing the animal was going to die. I felt sad in the dream that I had to do this - then in the dream I stepped back from the table far enough to see that I had just operated on my infant daughter. Really, really nasty.

    If Zoloft is going to cause problems, it will be from the get-go. It will also be unusual. If you get through the first few weeks with no problems, then it is unlikely that there will be problems later on. Monitor during early medication with Zoloft, and also during any dose increase. otherwise - if there is benefit without hassle, enjoy.

  20. mavh2005

    mavh2005 Member

    Thanks Marg.. I had freaky vivid dreams while on Lexapro. I couldn't handle those dreams after I had the one where husband died. So my doctor switched me to Celxa & no problems at all.