Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far — Jodi Picoult
Anxiety and depression are vastly misunderstood by people who don’t have them. Those who don’t suffer from mental illnesses believe that the sufferers are being overly sensitive and dramatic, as if there’s a button they can click to solve all their issues.
Fortunately, once you recognize the presence of a mental issue, many medications can help you through the process. Zoloft (Sertraline) is one of those.
In this post, we’ll show you everything you know about Sertraline.
Table of Contents
Zoloft: An Overview
Sertraline, sometimes known by its trade name Zoloft, is a medication used to treat various mental disorders.
This medicine belongs to a group of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
These SSRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of four hormones in the body that promote happiness and improve your mood.
Zoloft works by inhibiting the ‘reuptake’ of the drug. In other words, it reduces the elimination rate of serotonin, which helps improve your mood.
This mechanism makes Zoloft a helpful drug in treating depression and anxiety disorders.
Is Zoloft Dangerous?
If you use Zoloft properly according to your doctor’s instructions, you have nothing to worry about.
Zoloft is a generally safe drug that doesn’t cause serious health risks when used correctly. The drug has some side effects, which we’ll discuss shortly, but the majority of patients don’t even experience those.
But is Zoloft addictive? Much like any other antidepressant, Zoloft can induce some drug dependence or withdrawal effects. You may reduce these effects by gradually withdrawing from the drug based on your therapist’s instructions.
The usual starting dose of Zoloft is around 50 mg/day. Your doctor may gradually increase the dose based on your response to the drug. The maximum licensed dose of Zoloft is 200 mg/day.
You can take your dose with or without food, as the drug has no irritative effect on the stomach. However, try to avoid grapefruit and its juices while taking Zoloft, as grapefruit juice can reduce your body’s ability to break down the medications you take.
In other words, Zoloft would stay in your bloodstream longer, which can increase the side effects.
You may take Zoloft any time of the day. However, you should have a fixed time every day for your dose, or you may not get the desired effect.
Many people found that the best time of day to take Zoloft for anxiety is in the morning. If you miss a dose, ensure that you take your following dose the next day.
Don’t double the dose to compensate for the missed dose. You could risk having some prominent side effects.
What Are the Side Effects of Zoloft?
As mentioned earlier, most patients don’t experience severe side effects while taking Zoloft. Most side effects are mild and can be ignored.
However, those who do experience side effects may report:
- Dry mouth
- Constant headaches
- Generalized fatigue
- Drowsiness or dizziness
We mentioned earlier that most patients prefer the morning dose. But why should you not take sertraline at night?
Patients who take the medication at night might experience some insomnia and sexual dysfunction.
When to See a Doctor
There are a few rare side effects that may occur. You should seek your doctor if you start experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Allergic reactions
- Confusion or loss of consciousness
- Painful erections that last over four hours
- Liver damage (You can detect liver damage by yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Uncontrolled bleeding (Nose bleeds or presence of blood in sputum or vomit)
- Serotonin syndrome
Much like any other antidepressant, withdrawing from Zoloft can cause some withdrawal symptoms. Your body has gotten used to the state it reaches when you’re taking Zoloft and may become restless when the drug is no longer there.
That’s why it’s essential to gradually withdraw from the drug to reduce these symptoms as much as possible. Even then, you might experience some withdrawal symptoms like:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Irritated stomach
- Mood swings
These withdrawal effects appear within 5 days of stopping the drug or beginning dose reduction. The good news is that they last anywhere between 1–2 weeks. So, persevere as much as you can, and ask your friends and family for support.
In rare cases, the withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and may last for months. If your symptoms last for over 30 days, then reach out to your doctor.
Get Help for Yourself or a Loved One
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you or someone you care about is struggling with anxiety or despair. It’s always better to treat the condition early before it worsens.
Remember that it’s not shameful to suffer from a mental illness. Sometimes, mental illnesses might be more serious than physical ones.
You can phone us at any time, and our live chat services are open around the clock.
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