Treatment professionals are waiting for your call:

(855) 826-4464

Zoloft Addiction and Abuse

Zoloft is a common antidepressant. Although it’s generally safe and effective, people can misuse the medication or suffer an overdose. Patients should always follow medical directions when they take Zoloft. There are also many options for treatment for people who need help with overcoming Zoloft dependence.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

Treatment Center Locator

Paid Advertising

Recovery Unplugged – Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-734-4364

Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway, NJ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-628-9076

Bowling Green Brandywine

Kennett Square, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-797-7507

Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-257-1203

Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-539-2026

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-428-7940

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-6578

Willow Lane Health – Telehealth Addiction Treatment Services

Charlotte, NC

Telehealth

877-648-6250

Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-589-1547

Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care

855-336-7623

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-892-1288

SUWS of the Carolinas

Old Fort, NC

Residential

844-811-2644

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

What Is Zoloft?

Zoloft is one of the most popular antidepressants in the United States. It is the brand name for sertraline, a drug which alleviates the symptoms of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Doctors sometimes prescribe Zoloft off-label to treat eating disorders and insomnia as well.

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a type of medication that stabilizes the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which regulates and balances emotions, so many people who have low levels of serotonin suffer from depression and other mental disorders. SSRIs work by blocking the brain’s neurons from absorbing serotonin. As a result, more serotonin is available to facilitate connections between neurons, relieving disorders that arise from a shortage of the neurotransmitter. When a person has healthy levels of serotonin, they tend to experience better emotions, sleep more easily, and enjoy greater energy and interest in life.

Zoloft is a prescription drug and it can exist in the form of a pill, tablet, or liquid. In most cases, a person who uses the medication properly will take it only once a day.  Zoloft is generally safe and research has proven that it can be an effective source of treatment. However, Zoloft also carries risks for misuse, dependence, withdrawal, and overdose.

Zoloft Dependence and Addiction

Zoloft Addiction Is Unlikely, But Abuse Is Possible And Withdrawal CommonSince Zoloft is a long-term medication, there is no inherent danger in taking it for months or even years. However, since it’s a mind-altering drug, it can cause dependence. When a person becomes unable to feel normal or get through the day without taking Zoloft, they’ve become dependent on the medication. There is a debate about whether Zoloft is actually addictive because there is no evidence that people who take Zoloft ever have cravings for it. Nevertheless, people who stop taking Zoloft can experience withdrawal.

To avoid withdrawal, some people may continue to use Zoloft even though they believe they no longer need it. In some cases, they might “doctor-shop” for more Zoloft prescriptions or buy the medication illegally, all to keep away withdrawal symptoms. This cycle of withdrawal and relapse is characteristic of an addiction disorder. Fortunately, addiction to any prescription drug can be cured with medically-supervised detox and therapy at a rehab facility.

Get Help During COVID-19

With just 30 days at a rehab center, you can get clean and sober, start therapy, join a support group, and learn ways to manage your cravings.

The Symptoms of Zoloft Withdrawal

Zoloft withdrawal is a form of SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome. This condition will affect about 20% of people who use an SSRI. Since Zoloft has a short half-life (the length of time a drug stays in the bloodstream before it leaves the body), when someone decides to stop taking Zoloft, its effects quickly wear off. For this reason, if a person suddenly stops taking Zoloft, their serotonin levels will abruptly decline. That’s why health care professionals often wean their patients off the medication by gradually reducing the amount they take until they completely stop, a method sometimes called a “tapering strategy.”

The brain will adjust to post-Zoloft serotonin levels, but until it does, the body may react adversely to lower amounts of serotonin in the nervous system. The symptoms of SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome usually last for one to three weeks. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on how long a person has taken Zoloft. In many cases, people will experience rebound depression or anxiety when they stop taking the medication. The other 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

The Side-Effects and Risks of Zoloft

Like all medications, Zoloft may cause some side-effects. The most common side-effects of Zoloft are not long-lasting or life-threatening, but there are cases where the medication can cause more serious problems. The most common side-effects of Zoloft include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite and libido
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nervousness and restlessness
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

The FDA has issued a “black box warning” for Zoloft. A black box warning is a notification about a dangerous potential effect of a prescription drug. According to the FDA, Zoloft can provoke or aggravate suicidal thoughts in children and young adults. For this reason, the FDA has not approved Zoloft to treat children for depression.

It is unusual for someone to suffer an allergic reaction to Zoloft, but if someone does have an allergic reaction to the medication, it’s important that they get medical attention. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to Zoloft are trouble breathing, swelling, and hives. Additionally, health care professionals recommend avoiding alcohol or illegal drugs while taking Zoloft. They also warn that pregnant women who take Zoloft risk giving birth to children with hypertension and neonatal withdrawal.

Ready to get help?

Don’t waste another second. Enter your number to receive a call
from a compassionate treatment expert.

Make a Call (855) 826-4464

- OR -

Request a Call
(877) 746-0480

The Symptoms of an Overdose

It is possible to overdose on Zoloft. An overdose occurs when someone takes too much of the medication. Although many symptoms of a Zoloft overdose are uncomfortable, an overdose is not necessarily a life-threatening emergency. However, in severe cases, an overdose can cause organ damage and may even turn fatal. The milder and more common symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Tiredness

When someone suffers a serious Zoloft overdose, they may faint or experience delirium and hallucinations. The overdose could also damage a person’s heart and pancreas. Furthermore, a Zoloft overdose can become serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is the body’s reaction to an excess of serotonin. The syndrome is rare, but when it does occur, it usually begins within one day of taking too much of an SSRI. Serotonin syndrome is a medical emergency that causes heightened body temperatures, fever, shivering, muscle tightness, confusion, and potentially lethal seizures.

Get Help Today For a Zoloft Use Disorder

If you or someone you know has a problem with Zoloft dependence or addiction, today could be the day to start making a difference. Please contact a dedicated treatment provider today to learn more about rehab centers which could help you or your loved one detox from Zoloft and recover from dependence on SSRIs.