Zoloft: Dosage, Side
Effects & Addiction

Table of Contents

Zoloft is an antidepressant in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) classification.

This branded version of sertraline is only available with a prescription. Zoloft is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder)
  • OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)

Although Zoloft is frequently marketed as a safer alternative than Prozac and similar drugs (like trazadone), today’s guide will highlight the risks associated with using Zoloft.

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What is Zoloft?

As an SSRI antidepressant, Zoloft stabilizes serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger responsible for regulating emotions.

Like all SSRIs, Zoloft works by preventing neurons in the brain from absorbing serotonin. Resultantly, more of the chemical is available to streamline connections between neurons. This can alleviate the symptoms of disorders that stem from a lack of serotonin in the brain.

If a medication like Zoloft manages to boost serotonin levels, this can:

  • Boost mood
  • Help with sleep
  • Improve energy levels
  • Increase interest in life 

Zoloft is a prescription medication that exists in the following forms: 

  • Pill
  • Tablet
  • Liquid

Most people who are prescribed Zoloft will take the medication once a day. When taken as directed, Zoloft is considered generally safe and effective.

If Zoloft is misused and abused, though, the medication carries the risk of dependence, withdrawal, and overdose. 

What is Zoloft used for, then?

What is it Used For?

Zoloft is primarily prescribed to treat depression.

The medication can also be effective for treating panic attacks, OCD, PTSD, and social anxiety disorder.

Less frequently, Zoloft is used to treat PMDD, a severe type of premenstrual syndrome. 

Zoloft (sertraline) is prescribed to improve mood, appetite, sleep, and energy levels, as well as restoring interest in everyday life in those reporting symptoms of depression.

When Zoloft is prescribed for individuals with social phobias, the medication may reduce anxiety, fear, unwanted thoughts, and the frequency of panic attacks.

If someone with OCD is prescribed Zoloft, the medication may minimize the urge to perform repetitive behaviors like compulsive counting, touching, or hand-washing.

Zoloft Dosage

Zoloft comes in the following forms:

  • Oral tablet: 25mg, 50mg, 100mg.
  • Oral solution: 20mg/mL

Zoloft is prescribed in different doses for different conditions as follows: 

  • For depression: Adults will typically start on 50mg of Zoloft daily. Dosage may be gradually increased to a maximum dose of 200mg per day. Zoloft should not be prescribed to treat under-18s with depression due to a lack of research in this demographic.
  • For OCD: Adults will typically start on 50mg of Zoloft daily. Dosage may be gradually increased to a maximum dose of 200mg per day. Zoloft should not be prescribed to treat children under the age of 6 with OCD. Children aged 6 to 12 will typically start on 25mg of Zoloft daily. Dosage may be gradually increased to a maximum dose of 200mg per day. Children aged 6 to 12 will typically start on 50mg of Zoloft daily.
  • For panic disorder: Adults will typically start on 25mg of Zoloft daily. Often, the dose is increased to 50mg after one week, to a maximum of 200mg daily.
  • For PTSD: Adults will typically start on 25mg to 50mg of Zoloft daily. Dosage may be increased by 25mg to 50mg each week to a maximum dose of 200mg per day.
  • For social anxiety disorder: Adults will typically start on 25mg to 50mg of Zoloft daily. Dosage is often increased by 25mg to 50mg after six weeks to a maximum dose of 200mg per day.
  • For PMDD: Zoloft may be prescribed throughout the menstrual cycle at doses of 50mg daily, to a maximum of 150mg daily.

Zoloft Side Effects

Zoloft can trigger some side effects. The most common reported side effects are neither long-lasting nor life-threatening. These include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Appetite loss
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) issued a black box warning for Zoloft, reporting that the medication can provoke or inflame suicidal ideation in children or young adults. Accordingly, Zoloft is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depressive symptoms in children.

If Zoloft is abused, these are the most reported side effects:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Headache
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Anorexia
  • Suicidal thoughts

Is Zoloft addictive, then?

Zoloft Addiction

Like all SSRI antidepressants, Zoloft is not considered physically addictive. That said, the sustained misuse of Zoloft can lead to psychological addiction.

Some of the most common markers of Zoloft abuse or addiction include:

  • Using someone else’s prescription for Zoloft.
  • Faking symptoms to obtain more Zoloft.
  • Seeing multiple doctors to obtain more than one prescription for Zoloft.
  • Taking larger amounts or more frequent doses of Zoloft than directed.
  • Using Zoloft to self-medicate daily problems.
  • Difficulty functioning normally without the medication.

Can You Get Addicted to Zoloft?

While there is no evidence to suggest that people prescribed Zoloft experience cravings for the medication, it is a psychotropic (mind-altering) drug that can trigger dependence.

20% of individuals prescribed SSRIs like Zoloft report experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing use. Withdrawal is an indicator of physical dependence.

If you feel that you are dependent on Zoloft or any other medication, we can help you address the issue here at California Detox.

Zoloft Rehab at California Detox

If you have developed an addiction to Zoloft, kickstart your recovery with a supervised medical detox here at our luxury treatment facility in Orange County.

After a week or so of detoxification, you can transition directly into one of our inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. Choose from the following California Detox treatment programs:

  • Inpatient rehab (residential rehab)
  • Outpatient program
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Dual diagnosis treatment program
  • Remote rehab

Regardless of the most appropriate treatment intensity, you will have access to the same evidence-based treatments, including: 

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy

Reach out to California Detox today. Call (949) 694-8305 for immediate assistance.


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