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Sertraline Withdrawal Schedule

Last Updated on January 18, 2024 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Before a person can make an informed decision about changing one’s prescribed Zoloft regimen, one is advised to look carefully at the best ways known to navigate a sertraline withdrawal schedule that will allow for success. Look before you leap is not a bad mantra here. 

You are welcome to bring any of the following information to your own doctor to review because this may provide a way forward that ensures your safety and success. Much information can be gleaned from the video here that may provide a better chance for a meaningful discourse with your prescriber, and it may suggest other options for treatment that you or your doctor had not considered or were not informed of previously.

Are doctors trained in how to manage a
PROPER Sertraline Withdrawal Schedule?
sertraline withdrawal schedule
Alternative to Meds has led the world on antidepressant withdrawal now for 17+ years. We have published evidence regarding our success. Typically, we discover that investigating underlying issues can open the door to the proper treatments, that often don’t require prescription drugs at all to resolve. There may have been overlooked medical conditions, a diet that doesn’t support neurotransmitter repair, and toxic accumulations that were never addressed. These are the things that make our program so successful! Continue reading for more vital information. 
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Advice from FDA & Pfizer on Designing a Sertraline Withdrawal Schedule

The FDA along with drugmaker Pfizer offer minimal instruction to consumers on how to schedule discontinuation of Zoloft.4 To quote from the drug label here, “Adverse reactions may occur upon discontinuation of ZOLOFT. Gradually reduce the dosage rather than stopping ZOLOFT abruptly whenever possible.”

Imagine if airplane pilots were given a 750 page manual on how to get the plane up in the air, but not given any instructions on how to get the plane safely on the ground. It’s important to have guidelines for pilots. Why are physicians not provided with the same level of training on medication discontinuation?

Careful Navigation Is Key in Zoloft Discontinuation

A sertraline withdrawal schedule requires more deft navigation and understanding than the vague instructions referenced above.

Most SSRIs are prescribed by doctors who have received little to no instruction on coming off SSRI medications safely. Yet the burden of patient care falls on their shoulders.

While we are certain that our program is the most successful one available anywhere, we realize not everyone can attend our inpatient treatment center.

At the very least, find a doctor who is familiar with SSRIs and can help you design your sertraline withdrawal schedule with your comfort and safety in mind.

You can find many such physicians through who may be able to assist or give you referrals. Bottom line is don’t try it on your own. Get good help.

Liabilities of Haphazard or Abrupt Zoloft Cessation

Much research and even the drug label itself acknowledges that abrupt cessation is not a good sertraline withdrawal schedule.5-8

Adverse reactions of a poorly designed sertraline withdrawal schedule can include:
  • Seizures
  • Mania
  • Tremors
  • Brain zaps
  • Rebound of original symptoms, to a worsened degree
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • insomnia
  • Rapidly changing, dramatic emotional episodes
  • Tinnitus
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

Discontinuation symptoms can be extremely harsh as the above list demonstrates. Many doctors and patients may misinterpret these reactions as “relapse” when in fact they are reactions to haphazard or poorly designed withdrawal protocols. A well-designed sertraline withdrawal schedule should reduce dosages extremely gradually over an ample period of time.8

A Personalized Sertraline Withdrawal Schedule at ATMC

Before beginning to reduce SSRI dosage, we want to ensure the client is in a stable condition. That is, sleeping and eating well, and not in a manic or other state that would block progress. Many protocols are involved in a broad-based range of helpful therapies, as shown below. 9-13

Some of our many protocols used include:
  • sertraline withdrawal protocols sedona drug rehabFirst there is lab testing, to discover factors that can be improved or addressed, such as accumulated toxins, heavy metals, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, critical genetic markers, neurotransmitter levels, allergies, blood sugar levels, and more.
  • Cleaning out accumulations of neurotoxic load gives many benefits, including increased ability to absorb nutrients after removal of heavy metals.
  • Neurotoxin removal is aided by chelators that are given that bind to heavy metals, chemical pollutants, and other toxic accumulations for their safe elimination.
  • Essential to deep cleansing is the use of supplements which convert fat-soluble toxins to inert water-soluble form, and sauna to encourage removal through sweating, bypassing the need to tax the liver/kidneys.
  • Colon hydrotherapy
  • Vitamin and minerals and other supplements (orthomolecular medicine) to flood the body with nutrients that were found lacking in the lab testing.
  • An extensive variety of treatments provide comfort and relaxation, such as therapeutic massage, acupuncture, cranial sacral massage, spa services such as ionic foot baths, bentonite clay packs, Reiki, nebulized glutathione, trainer-led yoga classes, outdoor recreation and exercise, Equine therapy, and much more.
Typically, after ten days doing the deep cleanse processes, clients report:
  • Sleeping better
  • Better and more even moods
  • Improved appetite
  • Increased energy

At an appropriate point of stability, a gradual sertraline withdrawal schedule is begun. Approaching SSRI discontinuation in this graduated way, makes the process much more comfortable for the client. As the withdrawal protocols continue, personal counseling such as CBT, Life Coaching, Trauma Release, and many other emotional healing therapies can be introduced on an individual basis. Throughout their stay with us, the client meets regularly with their team of medical doctors, nurses, caregivers, and other therapists to ensure the program is advancing comfortably, and to make any changes requested for client comfort.

Find Out More About Enrolment at ATMC

Alternative to Meds Center makes its home in lovely Sedona, Arizona. The center resides adjacent to the astonishing Red Rocks which provide serene beauty that you can sense in all directions. Clients can opt for private or semi-private accommodations, each with a private en-suite. The luxury retreat-style facility provides a warm and welcoming social setting, where clients share the common goals of holistic wellness and healing.

The typical length of program runs 8-12 weeks, and it is possible for many persons to complete the sertraline withdrawal schedule in that amount of time. For clients who need longer, a longer stay can be arranged, or a program will be given for the client to continue the withdrawal process under medical supervision when they return home.

We know of no other program that delivers such a comprehensive program for healing from mental health issues, addiction and safe & comfortable medication cessation. You or your loved one could enroll very soon. We are insurance friendly, and dedicated to your full recovery. Let us help meet your healing challenges using a properly planned, individually tailored sertraline withdrawal schedule.


1. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. [Updated 2023 Feb 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:  [cited 2024 Jan 18]

2. Danborg PB, Valdersdorf M, Gøtzsche PC. Long-term harms from previous use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: A systematic review. Int J Risk Saf Med. 2019;30(2):59-71. doi: 10.3233/JRS-180046. PMID: 30714974; PMCID: PMC6839490. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

3. Jakobsen JC, Katakam KK, Schou A, Hellmuth SG, Stallknecht SE, Leth-Møller K, Iversen M, Banke MB, Petersen IJ, Klingenberg SL, Krogh J, Ebert SE, Timm A, Lindschou J, Gluud C. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors versus placebo in patients with major depressive disorder. A systematic review with meta-analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Feb 8;17(1):58. doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-1173-2. Erratum in: BMC Psychiatry. 2017 May 3;17 (1):162. PMID: 28178949; PMCID: PMC5299662. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

4. FDA drug label Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets for oral use, oral solution [approval 1991] [cited 2024 Jan 18]

5. Hengartner MP, Davies J, Read J. Antidepressant withdrawal – the tide is finally turning. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2019 Aug 22;29:e52. doi: 10.1017/S2045796019000465. PMID: 31434594; PMCID: PMC8061160.  [cited 2024 Jan 18]

6. Lejoyeux M, Adès J. Antidepressant discontinuation: a review of the literature. J Clin Psychiatry. 1997;58 Suppl 7:11-5; discussion 16. PMID: 9219488. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

7. Horowitz MA, Taylor D. Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Lancet Psychiatry. 2019 Jun;6(6):538-546. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30032-X. Epub 2019 Mar 5. PMID: 30850328. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

8. Henssler J, Heinz A, Brandt L, Bschor T. Antidepressant Withdrawal and Rebound Phenomena. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019 May 17;116(20):355-361. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0355. PMID: 31288917; PMCID: PMC6637660. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

9. Chawla V, Brems C, Freeman H, Ravindran A, Noordsy DL. The Future of Yoga for Mental Health Care. Int J Yoga. 2023 Jan-Apr;16(1):38-41. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.ijoy_25_23. Epub 2023 Jul 10. PMID: 37583539; PMCID: PMC10424272. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

10. David D, Cristea I, Hofmann SG. Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard of Psychotherapy. Front Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 29;9:4. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00004. PMID: 29434552; PMCID: PMC5797481. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

11. Genuis SJ. Toxic causes of mental illness are overlooked. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1147-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 24. PMID: 18621076. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

12. Muscaritoli M. The Impact of Nutrients on Mental Health and Well-Being: Insights From the Literature. Front Nutr. 2021 Mar 8;8:656290. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.656290. PMID: 33763446; PMCID: PMC7982519. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

13. Firth J, Gangwisch JE, Borisini A, Wootton RE, Mayer EA. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? BMJ. 2020 Jun 29;369:m2382. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2382. Erratum in: BMJ. 2020 Nov 9;371:m4269. PMID: 32601102; PMCID: PMC7322666. [cited 2024 Jan 18]

Originally Published Sep 19, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus

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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Sertraline Withdrawal Schedule
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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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