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What Is Zoloft: Signs And Symptoms Of Zoloft(Sertraline) Addiction

zoloft addiction overview

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Zoloft is a popular brand name for sertraline medication made by the American company Pfizer, Inc. Zoloft is a prescribed antidepressant medication. It belongs to the group of drugs classified as Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors(SSRIs). It is used in treating Major depressive disorder, anxiety treatment, etc. Zoloft side effects are said to be fewer compared to the other types of antidepressants. This made it stand out as the most prescribed type of antidepressant in the U.S by the year 2011. There were over 41 million sertraline prescriptions in the U.S. in 2013. The goal of the medication is to improve mood, restore one’s appetite, improve sleep and regulate the level of stress.

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Table of Contents

Why People Use Zoloft?

Zoloft is used to treat various mood disorders. Most times, it is prescribed by professional and qualified doctors to treat a handful of conditions. These conditions include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Sertraline is also used for other health issues. Sometimes, sertraline is integrated into the treatment for drugs abuse. Mental illnesses are sometimes found alongside substance abuse, and the use of Zoloft generic substance is quite common in these programs.

How Sertraline Acts in the Human Body

Zoloft SSRI is taken orally in tablet or suspension. Sertraline hydrochloride works in the body by blocking the reuptake of serotonin neurotransmitters by nerve cells. This, in turn, leaves a number of mood-regulating serotonin available in the human brains. This helps boost mood stabilization and appear to make patients “feel good.” Either way, it increases the serotonin level which helps in handling depression and mood stabilization, it is the ideal treatment for some mood disorders.

It is considered that the best time to take Zoloft is in the morning with or without food. This is because it is an active medication and therefore not advised to take Sertraline before bed to avoid insomnia.

Usually, Zoloft starts working in the body within 2-4 weeks of the first dosage. It could take up to 6 months for patients to be entirely okay.

Risk Groups

Certain groups that are not allowed to take Zoloft medications. On the other hand, some are allowed under akin supervision. These are called risk groups. For example, Zoloft and pregnancy do not go together most times. Sertraline can temper with fetus thereby resulting in birth defects and injuries. Other risk groups such as older people should also be monitored closely to prevent the risk of frail bones, and young adults(teens) to prevent suicidal thoughts.

Other Ways People Use I

Some people also use this medication to get high on Zoloft. Although it is a prescription medication, Zoloft price on the street is known for people who use it for recreational purposes. They tend to crush Zoloft pills and inhale them, or they can choose the option of taking a significant amount of sertraline pills all at once trying to get high. Such behavior can lead to substance abuse.

Whereby people using a high amount of pills to get high might lead to difficulties and extended time of Zoloft withdrawal.

Zoloft Abuse and Dependency

Is Zoloft Addictive?

In a controlled experiment conducted by the FDA, the study of the comparative abuse liability of Zoloft, alprazolam, and d-amphetamine in humans indicated that the abuse potential including euphoria and drug liking was observed in the following drugs but did not produce those positive subjective effects in Zoloft.
However, a psychological addiction can occur when patients undergo Zoloft overdose. This is because of the availability of the drug which can create an addiction, in turn, elevates one’s disposition by the interaction of SSRIs.

In other words, when this drug is abused, it could lead to dependency and stopping Zoloft can be a hard choice.

Is Zoloft a Controlled Substance?

Zoloft contains Sertraline which has an active ingredient called sertraline hydrochloride. Sertraline is not a controlled substance.

Symptoms of Zoloft Addiction

There are several signs and symptom one displays showing Zoloft addiction. This can occur both physically and psychologically. This can arise as a result of sertraline overdose. This happens when an abuser has become so addicted to abusing the drug and is trying to get more sertraline high with increased energy, numbness, and enhanced mood reaction. These symptoms include:

  • Aggression
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Violent thoughts and actions
  • Numbness
  • Irritability
  • Decreased libido

Side Effects of Zoloft Addiction

Zoloft side effects are also gotten from the longtime use as a result of addiction. Sertraline is naturally not addictive, but some unwanted reactions that can occur as a result of stopping sertraline. These include:

  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • young woman depressed and stressed sitting head in handsAgitation
  • Jitters
  • Inability to stay still
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

There are a few main adverse reactions that occur when using sertraline or when a patient wants to stop using it. These conditions can get very serious and in some case, life-threatening. These include:

Sexual Side Effects

In the article published by the Fox News on the effect of antidepressant on libido, Dr. Chad Collom explains that SSRIs stimulate certain serotonin receptors that can cause a decrease in dopamine and the norepinephrine in an area in the brain. “This can affect the libido,” he said. So, there is a negative coherence between Zoloft and sex drive. Also depression itself can lower libido.

Effects on Weight Gain

In a review written by on NCBI web site on the effects of antidepressants on the weight gain, it was found out that Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like sertraline induced weight changes over a period of time. More than 25% of the people who take Zoloft, gain weight over the course of 6 months.

Avoid Interactions With Alcohol and Marijuana

Use of Zoloft with alcohol may result in various withdrawal symptoms and complicate the recovery process. The study conducted back in 2010 is focused on the use of Zoloft with the combination of Naltrexone to treat depression and alcohol addicted individuals. The combination of sertraline and Naltrexone helped to improve the depressive symptoms, prevent relapse and decrease adverse problems.

Mixing Zoloft with weed could lead to a higher concentration of sertraline in the body system. This could cause more significant side effects in a user’s body. It would look like the user had overdosed on sertraline. It could lead to a serotonin syndrome, and the two should be abruptly not mixed or interact. There are reports when users experience panic attacks from interacting with the two substances.

Zoloft Addiction Treatment

Hugging during support group meeting in rehabIf a patient is planning on tapering off sertraline, they should consider withdrawal schedule and visit a drug rehab center. But first, they should be diagnosed by a professional to discover the addiction level. After that treatment can be started with detox procedures. Then it is advisable to enroll in a registered and qualified rehab center. Rehab centers go a long way in the process of tapering off Zoloft. They show to a patient that they are not alone while professionally handling their Zoloft addiction. These facilities show support to people undergoing sertraline addiction treatment.

Stopping Zoloft

It is important to know that the brain works differently on sertraline medication and stopping it abruptly can generate changes in the brain chemistry leading to withdrawal symptoms. It is important to know that patients have to taper off Zoloft while closely monitored by a health professional. If patients find out they can’t handle the risks, they should ask the doctor to find the alternatives to Zoloft.

Zoloft Withdrawal

Approximately 16 million people in the United States abuse prescribed medications, and this includes Zoloft. Zoloft addiction is particularly not popular like most addictions, but patients should consider enrolling in a treatment center. Drug addiction is a severe case. Individuals who end up abusing drugs to hide their depressed emotional feelings are at risk of resulting in drug dependency.

Zoloft dependency could also lead to a high concentration of sertraline in a patient’s system which could be devastating.

A medication used for the positive enhancement of mood disorders could also turn out to be dangerous especially when abused. It is encouraged that the root of drug abuse should be handled professionally. A therapist could psychologically help address the habit formed, evaluate the situation and provide soluble steps to undergo by a patient. Experts and professionals in the addiction centers frequently handle mental illnesses like depression.
When a patient is being admitted into a rehab center, it is important they provide the people in charge with valid information about their well-being. Stopping sertraline is very dangerous and could cause serious psychological damages including suicidal thoughts. With the help of therapists at the rehab centers, patients will be able to handle these threats through addiction treatment. Zoloft addiction is a very serious scenario and must be handled like all addictions.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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