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Zoloft is the brand name of the prescription drug Sertraline. It is an antidepressant that belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This drug is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. SSRIs like Zoloft have long been associated with withdrawal symptoms when the use of the drugs is stopped or diminished abruptly. Recovery professionals recommend facing Zoloft addiction with a long-term treatment plan that promotes positive decision-making, improvements to overall health that includes learning coping skills. This will all start by undergoing medically assisted Zoloft detox.

According to the US Food and Drugs Administration [1], taking this drug may cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Also, this drug may increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk. Moreover, Zoloft and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in people 24 years of age and younger, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed. Finally, this drug may cause sexual problems. Symptoms may include decreased sex drive, delayed orgasm or inability to have an orgasm, problems getting or keeping an erection, and ejaculation problems.

Common Side Effects of Zoloft:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Change in sleep habits
  • Increased sweating
  • Sexual problems
  • Tremor or shaking
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Anxiety

More Serious Side Effects of Zoloft:

  • Suicide attempts
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Thoughts about suicide or dying
  • New or worse depression
  • New or worse anxiety or panic attacks
  • Agitation, restlessness, anger, or irritability
  • Manic episodes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Eye pain
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • An increase in activity or talking more than normal

Serotonin Syndrome

This condition is one of the many serious side effects of using this drug and it can be life-threatening. Symptoms can include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Fast heart rate
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Muscle tremor
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle rigidity
Zoloft Detox
Zoloft Detox: According to the Harvard Medical School [1], about 10 percent of women ages 18+ use antidepressants such as Zoloft.

Zoloft Overdose

A Zoloft overdose can become serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a medical emergency that causes fever, muscle tightness, confusion, and potentially lethal seizures; find out a medical-assisted Zoloft detox program.

Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Fast heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Tremors

Zoloft Withdrawal

When you start the Zoloft detox process, withdrawal is a form of SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome. This condition will affect about 20% of people who use an SSRI. Zoloft has a short half-life. Therefore its effects quickly wear off. Typically, drugs with a shorter half-life may indicate more potential withdrawal problems.

When a person suddenly stops taking this drug, their serotonin levels will abruptly decline. As a result, a person may experience physical as well as mental effects. It is important to consult a professional, to begin with, Zoloft detox by gradually reducing the number of drugs until the individual stop completely. This method is sometimes called tapering.

The length of time a person has been taking Zoloft will usually determine the length of the tapering strategy. Typically, tapering lasts four weeks, but a doctor may suggest tapering the medication over 6–8 weeks to reduce the risk or severity of symptoms.

Possible symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal are:

  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Recurring nightmares and vivid dreams
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tingling sensations in the skin
  • Vertigo

Zoloft Withdrawal Timeline

24 – 72 hours

The first symptoms are felt within the first 24-72 hours after discontinuation. Usually, the first few days without Zoloft feel very uncomfortable. Flu-like symptoms, mood swings, and racing or erratic thoughts are a few of the symptoms. Also, feelings of anxiety and strong craving tend to occupy the mind. Seizures may occur in the first few days of Zoloft withdrawal. This is another reason why all cases of drug withdrawal should be medically supervised.

Week 1

In the first week after coming on Zoloft Detox, mood swings, fatigue, muscle tension, and even feelings of dissociation (that you are disconnected from your body) may occur. The presence of medical professionals who follow the health condition and can provide either medication or psychological support is very important. The symptoms are at their peak during the first few weeks. Therefore the individual should try to endure the powerful cravings and find something that will occupy time and keep thoughts away from Zoloft.

Week 2

The second week is much easier compared to the first week. When a person reaches this period of withdrawal, the physical symptoms typically subside. However, one may still struggle with insomnia or have vivid dreams or nightmares. These things will subside with time.

Week 3+

The most common symptoms after three weeks include weight gain, rebound depression, and overall feelings of malaise. At this phase, the biggest challenge would be gathering the strength to carry on and live life without the need to use Zoloft. The most critical symptom at this period is depression. Having low levels of motivation is the most common trigger for relapsing back into the old patterns of use, but one must remain strong and find the will to beat this challenge.

Medically Assisted Zoloft Detox and Treatment

Many forms of treatment are available, but the first step towards a successful Zoloft recovery is detox. Withdrawal from this drug requires care from Zoloft detox specialists. Medically–assisted detox removes the element of needless suffering and minimizes the potential risks of withdrawal. Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and addressing underlying mental health disorders is all a part of setting clients up for success.

Fewer than 20% of people on antidepressants undergo psychotherapy, although it’s often important in recovering from depression and avoiding recurrence. This is according to the Harvard Medical School [2]. Talk therapy and other non-medication treatments should be continued normally to treat the psychological withdrawal symptoms of this drug.

Following detox, most clients will receive recommendations to continue with their addiction treatment. Any addiction treatment program for Zoloft detox should be integrated with individual or group therapy.

Typically, treatment continues in the form of inpatient rehab, with a special focus on the following aspects of addiction recovery:

  • Relapse prevention
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Individual and group therapy
  • 12-Step Program work
  • Family therapy
  • Chemical dependency education

Is Zoloft addictive? Yes, this drug has a potent antidepressant effect, so it is one of the biggest risks in generating dependence. People are much less likely to relapse after recovering from depression if they exercise three times a week or more. Exercise makes serotonin more available for binding to receptor sites on nerve cells, so it can compensate for changes in serotonin levels as the person tapers off SRIs and other medications that target the serotonin system. Check-in a Zoloft detox treatment in a facility that offers holistic treatment and programs that promotes physical activities.

We Level FL Mental Health Center: Primary Mental Health Treatment with Secondary Co-Occurring Treatment

We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. Offering secondary treatment therapy for underlying problems like Zoloft Addiction often fuels negative behaviors. Taking that first step to get the help you deserve can be life-changing.

We understand how behavioral disorders and secondary co-occurring addiction diagnoses directly impact each other. We Level Up Florida can instill a support system through our mental health treatments that can make you feel valuable. Call us now for a free mental health assessment! Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up Treatment West Palm Beach.


[1] [2] Harvard Medical School –