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Zoloft Addiction

This entry was posted in Addiction on by .
Medically Reviewed

Last Updated on August 8, 2021 by Carol Gillette

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

Alternative to Meds Center’s medication addiction treatment facility is familiar with much better resolutions that spending the rest of your life medicated on antidepressant drugs.

Risks of Zoloft Addiction and Dependence

zoloft side effectsDespite pharmaceutical ads to the contrary, evidence shows that long term Zoloft use can eventually lead to physical or psychological Zoloft addiction. The drug can cause various side effects, including Zoloft addiction potential. It is commonly found that long-term users of Zoloft and similar antidepressants will experience a more intense or serious set of side effects when trying to quit the drug than a person who took the drug for only a few weeks or so. If there are no withdrawal symptoms when stopping the drug, there was no addiction or dependence developed. And conversely, if there are withdrawal symptoms when stopping Zoloft, addiction or dependence on the drug had developed.1

Zoloft side effects can be quite serious and injurious. Some of these are insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, confusion, decreased libido, anorgasmia, tremors, and dizziness. Because of the metabolism of this drug, elimination of it from the body can be affected by liver impairment. Zoloft long=term use can further intensify and worsen these symptoms and effects. Zoloft is a drug that has a potential for abuse and development of addiction or dependency, and the potential for Zoloft dependence is elevated when the drug is taken with other substances of abuse.

How Does Addiction to Zoloft Develop?

zoloft discontinuation syndromeIt is clear that long-term use of this SSRI antidepressant may cause the user to develop a dependency on the drug since major withdrawal symptoms can emerge when it is discontinued.1 It is the intensity of the withdrawals that drives the addiction in many cases. Other commonly reported side effects of this withdrawal include anxiety, confusion, irritability, agitation, and burning, tingling or electric-shock like sensations. To avoid these uncomfortable withdrawals, the user feels they must take more of the drug. This is common to all addictions. It is highly recommended that you consult with a doctor, a Zoloft rehab, or some other form of medical healthcare before stopping this medication. It is easier on the body if the drug can be slowly tapered down and is more tolerable than a cold turkey approach to stopping the drug.

The pharmaceutical company that manufactures this drug claims that it is non-habit forming. Drug company-sponsored ads repeat this message as often as possible. Clinicians and physicians who dispense the drug parrot the message. “Non-addictive, totally safe.”

However, numerous patients have developed Zoloft dependence problems and have experienced serious withdrawal symptoms. This particular antidepressant acts specifically to affect serotonin-processing brain cells and does not affect other neurotransmitter receptors much if at all. In reality, this substance can actually change brain chemistry so that the brain becomes dependent upon the presence of the drug in order to function.1,2,3

Zoloft Addiction, Half-life, and Euphoric Effects of the Drug

Individuals, who take this medication or other SSRI drugs, frequently report the development of physical dependency to the feelings of a Zoloft high. Addiction to Zoloft may have a lot to do with this drug’s half-life. The half-life of a drug pertains to the amount of time for half of the chemical to break down (metabolize, become inactive) in the body system. The faster the drug breaks down, the more addictive the drug can be. This is because of the short timeframe for withdrawal symptoms to appear.

This medication has a half-life of about one day (24 hours). Where the liver is compromised, this half-life has extended out to more like 50 hours.2 At the end of this half-life period is when the negative effects of addiction may start to appear. Individuals can become dizzy, depressed, anxious, and irritable when stopping this medication. Sufferers of antidepressant addiction may experience vivid dreams or nightmares, nausea, insomnia, electric zap sensations, and akathisia during withdrawal. The user will crave relief from these withdrawals, and will seek the euphoria that taking more of the drug provides, at least temporarily, until the next bout of withdrawal symptoms begins. This can become a repeating, agonizing situation, seemingly a trap from which there is no immediate escape. We can help.

Antidepressant addiction is to be taken seriously, and with the best interest of patients, healthcare professionals often recommend a Zoloft addiction help plan for individuals to avoid the possible side effects of withdrawal and to overcome their dependence.

Zoloft Addiction and Akathisia

Akathisia is a potential side effect of this drug’s use and is characterized by extreme agitation, unbearable internal and motor restlessness and anxiousness, Akathisia is commonly thought to be a precursor to aggressive thoughts, aggressive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts or ideation. This is one of the extremely detrimental effects that can occur from SSRI addiction. Aside from developing physical dependence, there are many other severe side effects associated with this medication.3

Does Zoloft Create Brain Chemicals?

zoloft serotonin deficiencyThe SNRI’s and the SSRI’s such as Zoloft do not help produce or create any Serotonin, but they do block the reuptake. Even though many people are normal as far as levels of serotonin in the brain go, use of the medication can create a true serotonin deficiency. Serotonin kept in the nerve space (by the drug), will degrade and be lost. Eventually, there will be no serotonin left for reuptake. It’s very similar to the way that Cocaine may relieve depression but for only a short time. Cocaine uses up all available Dopamine, it does not help to produce or create it. Our reward neurochemical is Dopamine, so when someone first ingests it, everything feels rewarding. Eventually, though, the Dopamine will all be exhausted and then nothing will feel rewarding for the person.

The Alternative to Meds Zoloft Addiction Recovery Program

We focus on discovering the medical causes that are contributing to an individual’s depression. Our addiction treatment methods include lab tests, natural substances to create neurochemistry stabilization, removal of neurotoxins that have accumulated, medication tapering techniques, amino acid therapy and other nutritional therapies, personal training, yoga, massage, peer support, and other holistic treatments that can combat depression and effectively provide Zoloft addiction help.

1. “Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit,” New York Times, online [accessed 2019 Oct 21]

2. “Sertraline Information Summary,” published in the US National Library of Medicine, online [accessed 2019 Oct 21]

3. FDA label information Sertraline, published online [accessed 2019 Oct 21]

Originally Published by Diane Ridaeus Published Nov 4, 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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Zoloft Addiction
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