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Antidepressants Zoloft Withdrawal

how to get off zoloft

Zoloft Withdrawal

The Alternative to Meds Center’s focus is on providing Zoloft withdrawal help that simplifies the process while greatly reducing the side effects.

Discontinuation can lead to antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, which can occur on many different levels of severity, for different lengths of time, and can emerge several different types of Zoloft withdrawal syndrome symptoms. When users suddenly stop taking this medication without tapering down their dosage, withdrawal symptoms may be much more prevalent or severe in comparison to the withdrawal symptoms which emerge when the dosage is slowly and properly reduced. Common withdrawal symptoms include but are certainly not limited to headaches, agitation, and anxiety. For some people, these withdrawal symptoms improve over time and do not require serious treatment.

Use of Zoloft should never be discontinued without talking to a healthcare provider first. To help lessen the severity of Zoloft withdrawal symptoms, medical practitioners often recommend a slow tapering of the dosage. A tapering plan usually consists of a schedule that marks when the dosage should be reduced (each day, or week or every other week, etc.) and how much the dosage should be reduced each time. Many people who try to taper off of this medication by themselves without the treatment of a doctor or a Zoloft withdrawal treatment center end up relapsing on it because of withdrawal pains. Even worse, there is the potential for an individual going through withdrawal to become agitated or compulsive and may develop suicidal thoughts or act on dangerous behaviors if they do not know how to properly withdraw from this drug. This emphasizes the importance of having the advice and care of a medical healthcare provider.

Use of Zoloft, also known as Sertraline, should never be discontinued without talking to a healthcare provider first. To help lessen the severity of or avoid withdrawal symptoms, medical practitioners often recommend a slow tapering of the dosage. A tapering plan usually consists of a schedule that marks when the dosage should be reduced (each day or every week), and how much the dosage should be reduced each time. Many people who try to taper off of this medication by themselves without the treatment of a doctor or rehab treatment center end up relapsing on it because of withdrawal pains. Even worse, there is the potential for an individual going through withdrawal to develop suicidal thoughts or act on dangerous behaviors if they do not know how to properly withdraw from this drug. This emphasizes the importance of having the advice and care of a medical healthcare provider.

Zoloft withdrawal side effects on average may last from weeks to months but can last much longer for many people. In many instances, symptoms gradually decrease over a period of a month or even longer. Never stop Zoloft cold turkey, it may seriously intensify the withdrawal symptom severity and induce symptoms such as lightheadedness, weakness, anxiety, insomnia, tremors, nausea, muscle pain, dizziness, and various other ailments. What many patients are not told by their doctors when they are given a new prescription for this antidepressant is what they will have to deal with if they decide to stop taking the drug after they have been taking it for a while.

The medical industry calls it “discontinuation syndrome,” but this is only a fancy term for plain-old withdrawal. Withdrawal may not be the most pleasant process but there are several things that can be done during this process to make it easier and more comfortable. Some people may even require inpatient treatment at a drug rehab or prescription medication cessation facility, such as our addiction treatment center in order to completely rid their body system of the drug. In any case, no matter the severity of withdrawal, besides slowly reducing the dose to lessen the presence of withdrawal symptoms; soothing therapies such as massage therapy may be a very needed during this time to relieve stress or tension caused by Zoloft withdrawal.1

zoloft withdrawal

Other soothing, relaxing and healing therapies that may relieve physical and mental health problems include: exercise, eating a healthy diet, drinking a lot of water, yoga, meditation, vitamin or nutritional therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, talk therapy (counseling), alternative medicines, supplements, and using alternative treatments for the condition which this medication was prescribed to treat. Since antidepressant withdrawal symptoms can be managed with the help of a doctor, rehab, cessation center or other medical healthcare professionals, it is never necessary for one to endure this withdrawal alone. It is also important to take your time during this process and not reduce your dosage too quickly, and know that help for all aspects of Zoloft withdrawal syndrome is available to any individual who seeks it.

Why does antidepressant withdrawal occur? Because, even though a person may not be Serotonin deficient initially, use of antidepressants can create serious serotonin deficiencies. The SSRIs including Zoloft and the SNRI’s block the reuptake of serotonin, they do not help to create it. The serotonin is structured so that it can be reuptaken, and the nerve cell is able to use it again. This process is conservative, but when serotonin is pushed out into the nerve space, eventually it degrades, and there is no more serotonin to reuptake. Serotonin is an inhibitory part of our brain; it inhibits environmental stimulations, reduces compulsive thoughts, and additionally creates neurohormones that are necessary for sleeping. So when a person is in Zoloft withdrawal, they are likely going to struggle with some combination of experiencing overstimulation, sleeplessness, anxious and also, rarely, even symptoms similar to Tourette’s and OCD.2

This occurs because there is now a truly present serotonin deficit. Our addiction treatment facility employs targeted nutrients and supplements created to produce serotonin to combat these serotonin syndrome withdrawal symptoms while the drug is being withdrawn. Our treatment is focused on lab testing, supporting neurochemistry using substances that are natural, removal of accumulated neurotoxins, personal training, life coaching, massage therapy and additional therapies that can effectively reduce of even eliminate withdrawal side effects. We invite you to call us to find out about the different kinds of Zoloft withdrawal help which are available at the Alternative to Meds Center.

  1. NAMI issue, “Sertraline (Zoloft),” published online, accessed October 18, 2019.
  2. Harvard Medical School Publication entitled, “Discontinuation Syndrome and Antidepressants,” authors C. Bullock, MD, and C. Bernstein, MD, FAHS, published online, accessed October 18, 2019.


This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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