What Is Zoloft (Sertraline)?

Zoloft is a common brand of the medication sertraline –– a prescribed anti-depressant used to treat a wide variety of mood disorders. Sertraline is one of several anti-depressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works to control levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain. SSRIs are believed to have fewer side effects than other anti-depressants and stand as the most prescribed type of anti-depressants in the United States. In fact, Zoloft is reportedly the most popular anti-depressant in the U.S., bringing in almost $2.6 billion.
It’s important, though, to understand how this powerful product should be taken, for what purposes and what it actually does.

How Is Zoloft (Sertraline) Used?

Zoloft (sertraline) is used to treat various mood disorders including depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder (social phobia). The medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite and energy levels, as well decrease fear, anxiety, amount of panic attacks and even thoughts of suicide.

Sertraline works by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin neurotransmitters by nerve cells, which leaves behind plenty of mood-regulating serotonin in the brain. An increase of serotonin seems to be effective in stabilizing moods, which is why it’s so helpful in treating anxiety and panic disorders.

Zoloft itself comes in the form of a tablet, capsule or liquid and is taken by mouth as directed by the prescribing doctor. The tablet form of this product can be taken with or without food. However, the capsule is usually taken after a meal. The liquid form must be mixed with another liquid before use, carefully measuring the prescribed dose using a medicine dropper. The dose should then be mixed with a half cup of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade or orange juice. Your doctor should give the appropriate dosage based on your specific medical condition and response to treatment.
A small number of people (especially those younger than 25) who take anti-depressants have experienced worsening depression and other mood systems. You may also experience symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, tiredness, nausea and sleep changes, among other side effects, while taking Zoloft (sertraline). Please be sure to discuss any concerns, risks and benefits of this medication with the doctor to get a clear understanding of whether or not Zoloft is right for you.

Though it is very effective, it is also easy to misuse sertraline. It’s important to understand the facts about Zoloft addiction and what steps can be made towards recovery.

Zoloft (Sertraline) Addiction

Approximately 16 million people, including teens and young adults, in the United States misuse prescribed medications. Sertraline is one prescribed product that, regardless of the brand, is commonly used excessively and can become psychologically addictive. About a fifth of individuals prescribed SSRIs like sertraline have had severe withdrawal symptoms when attempting to wean themselves off other medication. This may lead people to want to continue taking the medication, developing a psychological need for it. Symptoms of addiction with Zoloft (sertraline) typically include aggression, anxiety, depression, insomnia and paranoia.

If you suffer from addiction to Zoloft or any other medication, do not be afraid to reach out for help! In spite of what it seems like, you are not alone, and there is hope for recovery. First, before beginning any treatment, you should be diagnosed by a professional to discover your personal addiction level. Then a proper treatment plan can be established.

The first step of treatment commonly should be detoxification — the removal of the sertraline from the body. From there, you can either enroll in an inpatient rehab program or an outpatient rehab program. Those participating in an inpatient rehab facility have round-the-clock professional supervision and counseling, usually as a part of a 30-day program or maybe longer. Outpatient rehab clients live at home during treatment and receive either group therapy, individual therapy or family counseling through a clinic, or a combination of all three. Though the treatment process can be costly depending on the program, some or all of the cost may be covered by health insurance or by government programs.

The Importance Of Aftercare

After treatment has ended, you should plan for ongoing care to stay on the right path. Many treatment programs offer their own aftercare programs or will arrange extended treatment or aftercare for those who have completed their program. Some plans can include 12-step meetings, long-term residential treatment, outpatient treatment, private therapy or sober living housing.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.