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Zoloft Alternatives

This entry was posted in Antidepressant and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by Carol Gillette

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

Natural alternatives to Zoloft can avoid the host of short-term and long-term side effects that come along with the prescription.6 Alternative to Meds non-drug-based antidepressant alternatives for depression are in alignment with a growing field of what is termed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This article will focus on the more evidence-based aspects of Zoloft alternatives

Zoloft is often prescribed without any real biological or medical testing.7 Because of this, it is highly possible that physiological or therapeutic things were missed that may have been contributing to the depression.19

Do Your Symptoms
Require Zoloft?

successful zoloft alternatives
Alternative to Meds has been primarily invested in antidepressant alternatives for over 15 years. Using Holistic and Environmental Medicine, we have published evidence demonstrating that more than three-quarters of our clients coming off antidepressant medication, such as via Zoloft tapering, and replacing medications with a holistic lifestyle have fewer and less intense symptoms, and feel much better than they felt while medicated.
Many persons coming to Alternative to Meds Center believe that they cannot be helped. They have been tossed around and put on so many drugs, and generally seen themselves get worse and worse yet believing they have tried everything. This video is of a woman who had been on antidepressants and benzodiazepines for decades. She became unable to work and almost unable to even walk. After eliminating these medications and doing the Alternative to Meds program, she could hike 1½ hours and even successfully resumed her career of professional counseling. The story is riveting and we encourage you to watch so that you can gain hope for your situation.

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Zoloft, A Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)

Zoloft, also known as Sertraline, is classified under a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and commonly prescribed for depression treatment among other mental conditions;6 however, there can be many limitations9 associated with using this drug and many users want to explore Zoloft alternatives treatment. So when it comes to Sertraline alternatives, traditionally recommended options include therapy (psychotherapy, counseling, etc.), other antidepressant medications, and alternative treatments for depression. When a patient experiences bothersome Zoloft side effects or feels that this drug is not sufficiently managing their symptoms of depression or other mental health conditions, the doctor may prescribe Prozac, Effexor, or Marplan as Zoloft alternative medications.

However, many individuals with depression may want to try natural Zoloft alternatives or holistic therapies as Zoloft substitutes.2 Other prescription antidepressants like Prozac or Effexor can often cause the same side effects and problems that are associated with Zoloft.10 For some users, this medication can be effective and does not cause bothersome side effects. However, even extreme side effects11 can occur with all medications of this sort, and there is always the possibility that the drug may not provide adequate treatment.10 So for many other users, they may be receiving more grief from taking this medication than relief.12 Additionally, many people try several prescription medications that don’t work for them, so some users of this drug have already tried other antidepressant treatments with drugs like Prozac and Effexor.

Zoloft Is Known To Create Disinhibition

It is becoming more and more common to hear about tragedies attributed to psychiatric medication use. Zoloft has been known to create disinhibition in certain types of people, especially younger adults.14

In December 2019, a teenager from Illinois accused of killing her mother claims she is not responsible for her actions because she had been taking the antidepressant medication Zoloft. According to the New York Daily News, her lawyer attempted to claim that Anna Schroeder “was in a drugged condition that was involuntarily produced and deprived her of substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of her conduct or to conform her conduct to the requirements of law.”1 This has now been coined the “Zoloft defense.” Another teenager Christopher Pittman, at the age of 12 years old shotgunned both of his grandparents and set the home on fire in a truly bizarre tirade. The defense in this case claimed that the Zoloft that he was taking contributed to the violence.13

With these types of incidents occurring with surprising frequency,15 it would be pragmatic to consider Zoloft Alternatives to address symptoms of depression effectively without such life-damaging side-effects such as the cases referred to above.

Effective Zoloft Alternatives Treatments

talk therapy zoloft alternativeFor the many people who are not responsive to antidepressants or who just don’t want to depend on prescription drugs to maintain mental health, there are fortunately many alternative remedies, therapies, treatments, natural approaches, and more. One of the most effective Zoloft alternatives for depression is psychotherapy, or talk therapy, which comes in various forms, and is typically delivered over a number of weeks.20 These talk therapies help patients to understand their problems, look at problems with new insights, and work through problems by verbally exchanging with their talk therapist.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions may focus on helping patients to undo conditioned behavioral patterns and thought patterns that either partially or wholly have caused depression or result from an individual’s depression. A CBT therapist will also help patients replace negative patterns with a more positive thought and behavioral patterns and attempt to teach patients the tools and skills necessary for achieving more satisfaction through the patient’s own actions. Other therapeutic practices such as acupuncture18 and massage17 have modest research indicating a tendency to relieve physical fallout from depression or anxiety. These natural Zoloft alternatives can be tailored to be the most effective for individuals who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other conditions and who desire safer more effective antidepressant alternatives.

Natural Alternatives to Zoloft Include:

  • Nutritional therapy, testing for deficiencies, corrected diet, supplementation19
  • Talk therapy such as CBT, DBT, etc.20,21
  • Exercise2
  • Exposure to light, exposure to sunlight8
  • Testing for toxic accumulations and removal of them22
  • “Shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing.*
  • Massage17
  • Acupuncture18
  • Tryptophan23
  • SAMe, Omega Fatty Acids, St. Johns Wort24

*Forest bathing studies (Hanson, Jones, Tocchini PMID 28788101) show the practice is effective in the relief of stress, anxiety, tension, and other benefits.3

Holistic Zoloft Alternatives

holistic zoloft alternativesAntidepressant users are highly advised to consult with a doctor before attempting to discontinue the use of their medication,6 and if not satisfied with antidepressant treatment, consult with a doctor immediately. There is likely no good reason to take a drug that does not help you. Individuals searching for effective alternatives may consider finding a holistic psychiatric, or an integrative doctor for Zoloft alternatives treatment.4 These more integrative medical doctors have the same medical knowledge as traditional doctors but have chosen to expand their education and certifications in holistic medicine as well. Acupuncture is also a modestly evidence-based alternative treatment for depression18 and other mental conditions; acupuncture treatments can relieve pain,25 stress, tension, fatigue,26 and many other symptoms associated with depression. Other Zoloft alternatives for anxiety and depression treatments include targeted supplements therapy, herbal remedies, and alternative medicines such as valerian,16 kava,32 vitamin B12,24 chlorella,33 amino acids.23 and of course Omega-3 fatty acids, the essential nutrients that our bodies must have to function properly.24

An individual is usually put on an antidepressant prior to there being any substantial amount of investigative efforts to discovering why they have become depressed. 27 Is the individual really only just suffering from low serotonin? 28 What if they have low thyroid? 29 What about food allergies in which internal swelling causes the metabolism to slow down? 30 An accumulation of neurotoxins including heavy metals can ruin energy metabolism which can also be a major causal factor of depression.22 The individual could also be eating a diet that is so lacking in nutrients that they are not able to produce what is required for the brain to be healthy.31 Often forgotten the brain is subject to all the same insults of an undernourished diet that the body suffers from. Or maybe the individual is just overwhelmed in an unsatisfactory life, and they need more supportive surroundings in order to make positive changes and healthy decisions.

Panic Attacks – Holistic Help

Panic attacks can be startling! If you have ever experienced one, you may have found it difficult to convey the depth and breadth of the overwhelm. Doctors might sympathetically offer a “fast fix” like Zoloft, with all good intentions. However, first-line treatments of a mild, non-drug-based nature are recommended by the National Institute of Mental Health.5

Integrative Zoloft Alternatives

integrative zoloft alternativesAlternative to Meds Center’s Detox Shoppe works to discover any potential medical causes for why the individual may be depressed or suffering other mental health challenges. Our integrative Zoloft alternatives include lab tests, supporting the neurochemistry with natural substances, removal of accumulated environmental neurotoxins, gentle Zoloft withdrawal techniques, targeted nutritional therapies such as amino therapy, personal training, yoga, massage, peer support, and many integrative Zoloft alternatives therapies that are proven effective. We invite you to call and speak with us and gain a better understanding of the comprehensive range of Zoloft alternatives help that is available to you or to someone you care about.

1. Boroff D. “Illinois teen accused of killing mom was under influence of Zoloft and not responsible, lawyer argues,” New York Daily News [INTERNET] 2019 Dec [cited 2020 Dec 28]

2. Medicinewise News, “Exploring non-drug options in depression.” NPS Australia [INTERNET] 2016 Feb 1 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

3. Hanson M, Jones R et al., “Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State of the Art Review.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” 2017 Jul 28 PMID 28788101 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

4. Gibbs G, “What is Holistic Psychiatry?” [Internet] 2016 Dec 3 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

5. NIH authored brochure, “Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms.” [Internet] 2016 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

6. PDF ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) Label FDA [cited 2020 Dec 28]

7. Why Are There No Biological Tests in Psychiatry? Scientific American By Ingrid Wickelgren on May 11, 2012 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

8. Penckofer S, Kouba J, Byrn M, Estwing Ferrans C. Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010;31(6):385-393. doi:10.3109/01612840903437657 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

9. Limitations of current medical treatments for depression: disturbed circadian rhythms as a possible therapeutic target Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2007 Dec;17(12):743-55. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2007.05.004. Epub 2007 Jul 10. By Malcolm Lader [cited 2020 Dec 28]

10. The drugs don’t work? antidepressants and the current and future pharmacological management of depression Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Oct; 2(5): 179–188. Elizabeth Penn corresponding author and Derek K. Tracy [cited 2020 Dec 28]

11. The ‘extreme’ side-effects of antidepressants By Lesley Ashmall BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme Published 19 October 2016 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

12. Long-term use of antidepressants could cause permanent damage, doctors warn Sky News Tuesday 9 April 2019 UK By Katie Spencer, news reporter [cited 2020 Dec 28]

13. Defense says boy’s rage was caused by medicine CHICAGO TRIBUNE Aug 24, 2004 Barry Meier, New York Times News Service [cited 2020 Dec 28]

14. Antidepressant-Induced Activation in Children and Adolescents: Risk, Recognition and Management Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2018 Feb; 48(2): 50–62. Published online 2018 Jan 19. Marissa J. Luft, BS, Martine Lamy, MD, PhD, Melissa P. DelBello, MD, MS, Robert K. McNamara, PhD, and Jeffrey R. Strawn, MD [cited 2020 Dec 28]

15. Antidepressants and murder: case not closed BMJ 2017; 358 Peter C Gøtzsche (Published 02 August 2017) [cited 2020 Dec 28]

16. Tang JY, Zeng YS, Chen QG, Qin YJ, Chen SJ, Zhong ZQ. “Effects of Valerian on the level of 5-hydroxytryptamine, cell proliferation and neurons in cerebral hippocampus of rats with depression induced by chronic mild stress.“. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2008 Mar;6(3):283-8. Chinese. PMID: 18334150.[cited 2020 Dec 28]

17. Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-analysis J Clin Psychiatry 2010 Jul;71(7):894-901. Epub 2010 Mar 23. Wen-Hsuan Hou, Pai-Tsung Chiang, Tun-Yen Hsu, Su-Ying Chiu, Yung-Chieh Yen [cited 2020 Dec 28]

18. Is acupuncture beneficial in depression: A meta-analysis of 8 randomized controlled trials? Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 111, Issues 2–3, December 2008, Pages 125-134 Hao Wang, Hong Qi, Bai-song Wang, Yong-yao Cui, Liang Zhu, Zheng-xing Rong, Hong-zhuan Chen [cited 2020 Dec 28]

19. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr-Jun; 50(2): 77–82. T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha, B. N. Ramesh, and K. S. Jagannatha Rao  [cited 2020 Dec 28]

20. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Mood Disorders: Efficacy, Moderators and Mediators Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010 Sep; 33(3): 537–555. Ellen Driessen, M.Sc. and Steven D. Hollon, Ph.D. [cited 2020 Dec 28]

21. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Depressed Older Adults: A Randomized Pilot Study The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Volume 11, Issue 1, January–February 2003, Pages 33-45 Regular Research Article Thomas R. Lynch Ph.D., Jennifer Q. Morse Ph.D., Tamar Mendelson M.A., Clive J. Robins Ph.D. [cited 2020 Dec 28]

22. Environmental Exposures and Depression: Biological Mechanisms and Epidemiological Evidence Annual Review of Public Health Vol. 40:239-259 (Volume publication date April 2019) First published as a Review in Advance on 2019 Jan 11 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

23. The Effects of Dietary Tryptophan on Affective Disorders Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2015 Apr; 29(2): 102–107. Published online 2014 Dec 9. Glenda Lindseth, Brian Helland, and Julie Caspers [cited 2020 Dec 28]

24. Update and Critique of Natural Remedies as Antidepressant Treatments Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 Dec 1. Published in final edited form as: Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2009 Dec; 36(4): 789–807. David Mischoulon, MD, PhD [cited 2020 Dec 28]

25. The Immediate Analgesic Effect of Acupuncture for Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 3837194. Published online 2017 Oct 25. doi: 10.1155/2017/3837194 Anfeng Xiang, Ke Cheng, Xueyong Shen, Ping Xu, and Sheng Liu [cited 2020 Dec 28]

26. Acupuncture for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic chronic fatigue: a multicenter, nonblinded, randomized controlled trial Trials. 2015; 16: 314. Published online 2015 Jul 26. Jung-Eun Kim, Byung-Kwan Seo, Jin-Bong Choi, Hyeong-Jun Kim, Tae-Hun Kim, Min-Hee Lee, Kyung-Won Kang, Joo-Hee Kim, Kyung-Min Shin, Seunghoon Lee, So-Young Jung, Ae-Ran Kim, Mi-Suk Shin, Hee-Jung Jung, Hyo-Ju Park, Sung-Phil Kim, Yong-Hyeon Baek, Kwon-Eui Hong, and Sun-Mi Choi corresponding author [cited 2020 Dec 28]

27. NHS Health Letter, “Clinical depression – Causes – NHS.” National Health Services UK [2019 Dec 10] [cited 2020 Dec 28]

28. What has serotonin to do with depression? World Psychiatry. 2015 Jun; 14(2): 158–160. Published online 2015 Jun 4. Philip J Cowen and Michael Browning [cited 2020 Dec 28]

29. “When Depression Starts in the Neck” Keep Women Healthy, 2019 Jun 24 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

30. Is There a Connection Between Food Allergies and Mental Health? Integrative Psychiatry 2012 Sep 6 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

31. Evidence of the Importance of Dietary Habits Regarding Depressive Symptoms and Depression Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar; 17(5): 1616. Published online 2020 Mar 2. Tina Ljungberg, Emma Bondza, and Connie Lethin [cited 2020 Dec 28]

32. Sarris J, Kavanagh DJ, Byrne G, Bone KM, Adams J, Deed G. “The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS): a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial using an aqueous extract of Piper methysticum.” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Aug;205(3):399-407. doi: 10.1007/s00213-009-1549-9. Epub 2009 May 9. PMID: 19430766.[cited Dec 28]

33. Panahi Y, Badeli R, Karami GR, Badeli Z, Sahebkar A. “A randomized controlled trial of 6-week Chlorella vulgaris supplementation in patients with major depressive disorder.” Complement Ther Med. 2015 Aug;23(4):598-602. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jun 18. PMID: 26275653.[cited 2020 Dec 28]

Originally Published Oct 30, 2018 by Lyle Murphy

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 Alternatives
Medical Disclaimer:
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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