Call Mon-Sun:
1 (800) 301-3753
Alternative to Meds News & Blog Articles

Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms

Up to 56% of people experience Zoloft withdrawal symptoms, as occurs with other antidepressants. Zoloft withdrawal syndrome is a cluster of symptoms also referred to as Zoloft discontinuation syndrome. Did you know that 46% of those who experience antidepressant withdrawal claim it is severe? 44

Brain zaps are one of the most commonly reported yet underappreciated symptoms experienced while coming off Zoloft. Brain zaps feel like electric shocks passing through the brain/head/neck, and are common withdrawals for most antidepressants.12,58

zoloft withdrawal symptomsBrain zaps, or shivers, can be notoriously unbearable as they come on unexpectedly, and sometimes in rapid succession. Some report a frequent connection with lateral eye movements, which seem to trigger the event. Why they occur remains a mystery, but are known to be a drug-related phenomenon experienced during Zoloft withdrawal. These reactions are thought to be associated with neurochemical changes as the body and central nervous system attempt to adjust to or compensate for reduced levels of sertraline in the system during Zoloft withdrawal.1

It is highly likely that the body became dependent on the drug’s artificial support of serotonin levels, and that the person may be experiencing a sudden deficit while their own natural mechanisms are dysfunctional, though attempting to come back online to compensate.

The most common Zoloft withdrawal symptoms reported include what can be summed up in the mnemonic FINISH: Flu-like symptoms, Insomnia, Nausea, Imbalance, Sensory disturbances, and Hyperarousal.14 While some people can shake off these withdrawal symptoms over a relatively short period of weeks, others experience a protracted withdrawal that can carry on for months or even years.15,16 Many of our patients come to us to help with these Zoloft protracted withdrawal experiences as they are tremendously difficult to overcome without the correct help.

Zoloft withdrawal symptoms include:
  • Increased suicidal ideation* 13,17
  • Brain zaps, shivers, shocks passing through the brain, head, neck 3,58
  • Seizures 3
  • Ringing in the ears 3
  • Tremors 17
  • Akathisia 33
  • Diarrhea 17
  • Nausea 3
  • Vomiting 14
  • Headache 3
  • Fatigue 3
  • Insomnia 3
  • Mania or hypomania 3
  • Mental fog, confusion 3
  • Hallucinations 17
  • Mood swings, crying spells, irritability, etc. 3
  • Aggression, hostility 14
  • Rebound depression 17
  • Anxiety 3
  • Return of original symptoms, sometimes greatly intensified 17

*The FDA issued a mandatory “black box warning” on SSRIs because of an increased risk of suicidality.3

Many of our Zoloft withdrawal clients have reported being prescribed Zoloft within a 30-minute doctor visit. There was no investigation into other life factors, lab testing, or any conversation about what side effects might present. The failings of this approach may cause quite a burden on the patient.

Depression, lack of sleep, fibromyalgia, and other symptoms that Zoloft is often prescribed for might stem from hormonal inadequacies,6 diminished vitamin/mineral levels,7 dietary concerns,8  food allergies,9 mitochondrial dysfunction,10 neurotoxic accumulation,11 and many other potential contributors. 

Do Your Symptoms Require Zoloft?

successful zoloft withdrawal

Alternative to Meds has been mitigating antidepressant withdrawal within a retreat-style licensed facility for about 2 decades now. Many of our professional, licensed staff are survivors of medication debacles. Over this time we have collected outcome studies and published evidence validating that over 77% of our clients are able to come off of antidepressants using ATMC methods AND fare better symptomatically for the long term after sertraline withdrawal was correctly done.

15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Up to 87 ½% Long-Term Success Rate.
Click to Call7 Days a Week

  • By completing this form, you will be added to our mailing list. You may opt out at any time.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Do You Survive Zoloft Withdrawal?

This page covers Zoloft withdrawal symptoms, the side effects of taking Zoloft, information about the drug and how it may act upon neurochemistry and receptors, and answers some Zoloft FAQ. We have other pages that you might find useful to consider. One is our Zoloft alternatives page which discusses other holistic ways to treat symptoms for which Zoloft was prescribed. Another is Zoloft tapering which gives information about weaning off of Zoloft. No one should try tapering Zoloft without medical oversight and guidance.

Of fundamental importance, the FDA and other regulatory bodies recommend never to abruptly stop taking antidepressants.3 The best approach according to medical consensus would be a slow and gradual Zoloft withdrawal over weeks or months. By easing a reduction in dosage, over time, various other measures can be utilized for added support while tapering off Zoloft. These can include natural neurochemical support, targeted nutrition, adequate rest, and a less stressful daily schedule to allow time for self-care, etc.

Inpatient care is highly recommended during this often difficult period of readjustment. There is wisdom to this choice, as the withdrawal manifestations are not only difficult on the individual but also challenging for the family members and friends who may misunderstand the process and inadvertently convolute the situation.

For many, Zoloft withdrawal symptoms can take a considerable amount of time, and need support to manage them well. Individual differences such as age, general health, dosage, length of time on the drug, and other factors all have some impact on withdrawal.4 Almost all people can comfortably get off of Zoloft at Alternative to Meds Center within a number of weeks and avoid harsh withdrawal symptoms in the process. While some people feel that leaving loved ones at home this long can be unbearable, they often find this temporary separation preferable to the trauma that they put themselves and their family through at home while trying to do this unsupported. For others, 8 weeks may seem too abbreviated of a withdrawal period, especially with what they have already endured in possible previous at-home attempts. There is a lot that goes into our program and how we support natural neurochemistry to ease the process. Our strategies are designed to ease the process considerably. We encourage you to view our services section of the website to get an idea of the maximum support we offer.

When Do Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms Start When Discontinuing / Quitting Zoloft?

Zoloft withdrawal, like all antidepressants, can produce a set of common withdrawal symptoms sometimes called Zoloft discontinuation syndrome. Zoloft is estimated to have a half-life of approximately 24 hours, although research has shown the half-life can be shorter in young males (15-22 hr) compared to females including elderly females and elderly males (32-36 hr). Generally, the half-life will be a good predictor of when Zoloft withdrawal symptoms will begin to emerge.54

For some, transitioning to a longer-acting SSRI such as fluoxetine may be helpful as a tapering strategy to overcome impassable difficulties in Zoloft discontinuation.55

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant medication developed in the 1970s18 with FDA approval granted in 1991, allowing Pfizer to bring it to market. This SSRI drug is prescribed for treating adult depressive disorders (MDD), panic disorder, obsessive compulsory disorders (OCD), social anxiety (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).3

By 2005, Zoloft was the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States.19 Zoloft is categorized as an SSRI drug and is considered a potent serotonin reuptake inhibitor. However, Zoloft is sometimes and could be more accurately referred to as an SDRI drug due to its secondary (weaker) dopamine reuptake inhibiting characteristic.20 As such, we feel that it would be akin to a mood-elevator similar to Effexor, a dopamine-norepinephrine type drug that can exacerbate anxiety.21 It has been suggested, though not conclusively proven or understood, that increasing dopaminergic, as well as serotonergic activity, is the basis for medication-based treatment of depression.22

Holistic, drug-free methods of treatment for anxiety and depression are under-utilized in general practice, but we are encouraged as we see the trend is gradually shifting.

The following information covers some of the most common questions asked and searches done on the drug.

What Is Zoloft Used For?

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant medication approved to treat adult MDD (major depressive disorder). The Black Box warning on the drug’s packaging mentions that the drug should not be prescribed to anyone under the age of 25, due to the heightened risk of suicide. There is an exception to this for patients under the age of 25 who have been diagnosed with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).3

Potential suicidality is associated with all SSRIs and may be a concern leading one to consider Zoloft withdrawal, which is recommended to be done always under medical or caregiver monitoring.

Adult-only approved uses for the drug provided in a clinical or treatment setting include: 3

  • MDD:  Major Depressive Disorder<
  • PTSD:  Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • PD:  Panic disorder
  • SAD:  Social anxiety disorder
  • OCD:  Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PMDD:  Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Zoloft ( sertraline ) Alternative Names and Slang

Zoloft is a brand name for the generic drug sertraline or sertraline hydrochloride. In the UK, sertraline was sold under the trade name “Lustral” in the 1980s. In the US, sertraline and Zoloft are available by prescription only. Coming off any brand name of sertraline will be subject to the same phenomena as Zoloft withdrawal.

Zoloft Side Effects

Here are some of the known side effects of Zoloft (sertraline):
  • Serotonin syndrome:3 A life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical care in a hospital emergency clinic or ICU. Symptoms to watch for include sudden fever, losing consciousness, inability to move or speak, copious sweating, dilated pupils, chills, tremors, convulsions, diarrhea, agitation, restlessness, racing heart, etc.
  • Suicidal thoughts (common) 3
  • Suicide attempt (common) 3
  • Hyperkinesis (muscle spasms, movement disorder) 3
  • Worsened depression 36,37
  • Aggression 38,39
  • Paranoia (rare) 40
  • Anxiety 40
  • Mania (common) 3
  • Convulsions 3
  • Unconsciousness 40
  • Coma 3
  • Teeth grinding 40
  • Akathisia (relentless internal restlessness and discomfort marked by repeated motions, pacing, rocking, etc., that can lead to suicidal thoughts as a means of relief) 40
  • Tachycardia (racing heart, even when the body is at rest) 3
  • Rash 40
  • Itching 40
  • Burning, crawling feeling in the skin 40
  • Fever 40
  • Tics, sudden jerky movements, myoclonus 40
  • Emotional blunting 3
  • Behavioral apathy, SSRI-induced indifference 41
  • Pain on urination or difficulty urinating 40
  • Cloudy urine 40
  • Headache 40
  • Sexual impairments, i.e., anorgasmia, inability to ejaculate, lowered libido 3
  • Mood swings 40
  • Pain around the eyes or eye sockets 40
  • Sleepiness 3
  • Bladder pain 40
  • Prickling skin sensation 40
  • Numbness 40
  • Sensory disturbances 40
  • Insomnia 3
  • Depersonalization (common) 40
  • Nervousness 40
  • Nightmares 3
  • Hostility 40
  • Nausea 3
  • Diarrhea 3
  • Weight gain 53

The list noted above is not a complete list. Be sure and speak to your prescribing physician if you are experiencing any discomfort or unusual feelings while taking sertraline.

A Note on Uncommon Zoloft Side Effects

At Alternative to Meds Center, we have certainly seen some rather bizarre symptoms over the years. Before coming to Alternative to Meds Center, some people have gone to all sorts of specialists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, etc., to try to get an understanding of what they are going through. It is highly common for us to find that medication was the culprit or at least a significant contributing factor.

Generally, SSRIs can have an emotional deadening effect, sometimes described as a “zombie-like” feeling. Clinical studies call this an SSRI-induced indifference.35 While such emotional masking can provide a temporary measure of relief to an individual, there may be other drug-free treatments that may be more appropriate, less risky, and more permanent.

One person may experience no side effects at all, and another person may experience one or multiple adverse symptoms when taking sertraline. Symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe, with the most severe potentially requiring immediate medical intervention.

Patients can experience a wide range of commonly experienced Zoloft side effects. Women, in particular, should be aware that any drug ingested during child-bearing years may come with liabilities should they become pregnant.3 Though limited in number, there have been studies done to explore the risks of pregnancy that link certain birth injuries to mothers who were prescribed SSRI drugs.23 Always speak to your physician if you are or could become pregnant and are considering starting an SSRI prescription.

Of Interest to Women of Child-bearing Age

zoloft side effectsZoloft was given a “C” rating by the FDA, meaning the drug was shown to cause harm to pregnant animals when tested, but for ethical reasons, little to no human testing has been done on pregnant women.24-26 Still, the drug remains legal to prescribe to women of childbearing age, or who are pregnant. In June 2015, the alphabet rating system was replaced by the “PLLR” rating system, known as the Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Final Rule. Despite studies that show sertraline (Zoloft) shows up in breast milk, long-term effects have not been adequately evaluated.27

More studies need to be done, but what has been reported should be seriously considered for anyone of child-bearing age.

The FDA drug label for Zoloft mentions infants born to mothers taking Zoloft may suffer damage to the lungs and the infant may experience withdrawal symptoms at birth. Important data was reported in a 2015 study out of Quebec that followed hundreds of pregnancies where the mother took sertraline during pregnancy. The authors of the study found an increase in major malformations in these newborns including craniosynostosis (malformation of the skull) and heart defects. Other birth defects associated with Zoloft are described in more detail below, with their respective clinical reports cited at the end of this article.6,23-32,34

Other reported and documented birth defects and injuries include:

  • PPHN or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, a heart and lung condition which can result in respiratory failure, decreased oxygen to the brain, and multiple organ injuries.29
  • Congenital Heart Defects connected to Zoloft and other SSRIs include ventricular septal defects and atrial septal defects, also referred to as “holes in the heart”, related to heart murmurs, suppressed appetite, breathing difficulties, tiredness, inadequate growth, etc.30
  • Increased Risk of Autism has been extensively reported but evidence has not yet been considered conclusive enough for regulatory bodies to ban prescribing to pregnant women.31
  • Increased Risk of Clubfoot connected to SSRIs during pregnancy as reported by NIMH, where sertraline exposure had the highest increase in clubfoot of all SSRIs.32
  • Increased risk of atrial/ventricular defects and craniosynostosis was reported in a Canadian study from 1998 to 2010 and published in the June 2015 issue of the American Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics.33

Can Zoloft Make Depression Worse?

One notable research effort on antidepressants was a study published in July 2011 in the Frontiers of Psychology journal. This study revealed that antidepressant users with major depression are far more likely to have subsequent reoccurrences of major depression than those who avoid antidepressants. This was a case review study headed up by McMaster University evolutionary psychologist Dr. Paul Andrews and his colleagues. They reviewed 46 studies carefully selected for reliability and high standards to compare outcomes for patients who used antidepressants versus patients who used placebos. They concluded that antidepressant users experience depressive relapse 42% of the time as compared with a 25% chance of returning symptoms for those who avoided antidepressant medicating.36,37 This would suggest that there is a possibility that in some cases, antidepressants like Zoloft can make the cycle of depression worse.

Zoloft Aggression in Children

Previous studies have also indicated a link between SSRIs and violent behavior. This has a term called antidepressant disinhibition, also called antidepressant-induced activation. It occurs in 10-20% of children taking SSRI antidepressants.42,43 In two clinical trials performed by Pfizer, aggression was the most common reason noted for Zoloft discontinuation in children studied. More clinical studies are needed on the topic of Zoloft and aggression in adults.38,39

Zoloft FAQs

Can You Get Addicted to Zoloft?

Yes. It can take a significant period of time for the central nervous system to become accustomed to the presence of sertraline and the effects that it induces on brain chemistry. This will also be true about the readjustment period after discontinuing Zoloft. The body/brain adapts to these changes and alters its neurochemistry to align with and compensate for the drug’s effects.

After dependence has developed, the body/brain/neurochemistry may react to a missed dose, resulting in the emergence of Zoloft withdrawal symptoms.14,44 In a 2020 article published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors the authors reported that 61% of people stopping an antidepressant experienced withdrawal manifestations, with 44% of those indicating that the withdrawal symptoms were severe. 40% claimed that they felt addicted, with 39% labeling the addiction as severe. Curiously, only 0.7% of those studied could recall that their prescriber had mentioned the possibility of antidepressant dependency, or addiction.45

Where an element of Zoloft addiction or abuse has developed, a person may crave the drug’s “feel good” effects and may begin to take more of the drug than has been prescribed. In either case, the drug has now become entrenched into the system, and careful tapering would be the best option to resolve this unhealthy condition.

What’s the Difference Between Zoloft and Xanax?

Zoloft is an SSRI medication, an antidepressant, used to treat depression and anxiety. Xanax is a benzodiazepine, also known as a tranquilizer. Xanax is prescribed mainly for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders but is also prescribed off-label to treat depression.56,57

These two drugs have different chemical components and were designed to work on different brain receptors and neurotransmitters, but some of their effects can be seen to overlap. Xanax is thought to mainly affect GABA transmission, which can slow the central nervous system to reduce anxiety.46 Zoloft is designed to block the reuptake of serotonin.

Zoloft addiction and abuse is a risk, but comparatively less so than Xanax addiction. Both drugs carry a significant risk of addiction and dependence. However, in a small double-blind study, it was found that Zoloft produced more unpleasant sensations and reactions and less pleasant sensations like euphoria than Xanax.59 While the withdrawal symptoms are similar between both drugs, Zoloft’s half-life is 22-36 hours, and Xanax has a half-life of about 11 hours. Xanax can generally have more severe complications if abruptly stopped, including seizures.47 For safe Xanax or Zoloft withdrawal, both drugs must be slowly tapered to allow the central nervous system and neurochemistry to safely normalize.2,5

Is Zoloft a Controlled Substance?

No, Zoloft is not classed as a controlled substance in the US and is not a DEA scheduled narcotic.48

How Long Does Zoloft Stay in Your System after Zoloft Withdrawal?

Generally, the half-life of Zoloft is estimated at 15-26 hours but may extend to 33 or 36 hours in some persons, particularly elderly populations and females (any age). After approximately a week the drug should be 99 percent out of the system.49

Many factors can help determine or affect how a drug metabolizes, thereby increasing or decreasing the actual timeline for partial and complete elimination.

Can You Overdose on Zoloft ( sertraline )?

Yes, it is definitely possible for SSRI poisoning to occur. A substantial Zoloft overdose requires emergency medical intervention to prevent major health problems. We could not find any recorded instances of fatal Zoloft overdose, though certainly there are cases where an overdose required urgent medical attention for symptoms of Zoloft-induced serotonin syndrome.50 At an ICU, there are proper equipment and personnel to treat such a dire situation in a timely and effective manner.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the use of intravenous benzodiazepines is sometimes required during Zoloft overdose to prevent seizures. Extra cooling measures must be used to reduce hyperthermia, always under the direction of an EMT or other medical staff attending to the patient.51

Treatment for Zoloft Withdrawal

Zoloft has become one of the most frequently prescribed antidepressants in the US. Of equal importance is that depressive disorders have become one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions. These two facts together underscore two important steps toward improved health:

  • Providing safe treatment programs for those who have decided on Zoloft withdrawal, and
  • Offering drug-free options to regain natural mental health without the need for prescription medications.

zoloft withdrawal treatmentThe ATMC program offers a Zoloft withdrawal program that combines Zoloft tapering and holistic recovery steps and therapies to satisfy both of these steps to better health. Using specific lab tests and other diagnostic tools, the program aims to stabilize neurochemistry without prescription drugs. Natural substances are utilized such as pharmaceutical-grade supplements, blended with a corrected diet based on orthomolecular principles, neurotoxin removal (including environmental toxins),  IV treatments, clay packs, therapeutic massage, spa services, biotransformative sauna, nebulized glutathione treatments, and many other therapies that are designed to make discontinuing Zoloft gentle, mild, and as comfortable as possible.

Once the neurochemistry normalization is well in progress, other work can begin with CBT and other forms of counseling, which are strongly recommended for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Zoloft Withdrawal Treatment at Alternative to Meds Center

Our comfortable and nurturing facility is staffed by highly qualified medical and nursing practitioners as well as a full range of skilled, compassionate therapists. Adjunctive therapies are available during Zoloft withdrawal such as lab testing, neurotoxin removal, colon hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage, cranial-sacral massage, Qi Gong classes, Reiki, yoga,52 trainer-led exercises, equine-assisted therapy, art therapy, IV therapy, nebulized glutathione treatments, holistic pain management, and many other effective holistic therapies. These therapies can help overcome the challenges of chronic or acute depression while accelerating recovery. Zoloft withdrawal at Alternative to Meds Center provides our clients with the very best quality inpatient treatment possible for recovery of drug-free natural mental health.

1. Hengartner MP, Schulthess L, Sorensen A, Framer A. Protracted withdrawal syndrome after stopping antidepressants: a descriptive quantitative analysis of consumer narratives from a large internet forum. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2020;10:2045125320980573. Published 2020 Dec 24. doi:10.1177/2045125320980573 [cited 2022 July 28]

2. Horowitz, MA, Taylor D, “Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. The Lancet 2019 [Mar 4] [cited 2022 July 28]

3. FDA drug label Zoloft [sertraline hydrochloride} 1991 [cited 2022 July 28]

4. Read J, Williams J. “Adverse Effects of Antidepressants Reported by a Large International Cohort: Emotional Blunting, Suicidality, and Withdrawal Effects.” Curr Drug Saf. 2018;13(3):176-186. doi: 10.2174/1574886313666180605095130. PMID: 29866014. [cited 2022 July 28]

5. Read J, Cartwright C, Gibson K. “Adverse emotional and interpersonal effects reported by 1829 New Zealanders while taking antidepressants.” Psychiatry Res. 2014 Apr 30;216(1):67-73. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.01.042. Epub 2014 Feb 3. PMID: 24534123. [cited 2022 July 28]

6. Soares CN, Zitek B. Reproductive hormone sensitivity and risk for depression across the female life cycle: a continuum of vulnerability? J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2008;33(4):331-343. [cited 2022 July 28]

7. 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 2022 July 28]

8. 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 2022 July 28]

9. Is There a Connection Between Food Allergies and Mental Health? Integrative Psychiatry 2012 Sep 6 [cited 2022 July 28]

10. Kristin Filler, Debra Lyon, James Bennett, Nancy McCain, Ronald Elswick, Nada Lukkahatai, and Leorey N. Saligan Association of mitochondrial dysfunction and fatigue: A review of the literature BBA Clin. 2014 Jun; 1: 12–23.Published online 2014 Apr 13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.04.001. [cited 2022 July 28]

11. 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 January 11, 2019 [cited 2022 July 28]

12. Hengartner MP, Davies J, Read J. Antidepressant withdrawal – the tide is finally turningEpidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2019;29:e52. Published 2019 Aug 22. doi:10.1017/S2045796019000465 [cited 2022 July 28]

13. Valuck RJ, Orton HD, Libby AM. Antidepressant discontinuation and risk of suicide attempt: a retrospective, nested case-control study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Aug;70(8):1069-77. doi: 10.4088/JCP.08m04943. PMID: 19758520. [cited 2022 July 28]

14. Gabriel M, Sharma V. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. CMAJ. 2017;189(21):E747. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160991. [cited 2022 July 28]

15. Mad in America Ambushed by Antidepressant Withdrawal: The Escape Story By Derek Blumke September 27, 2019. [cited 2022 July 28]

16. Mourad I, Lejoyeux M, Adès J. Evaluation prospective du sevrage des antidépresseurs [Prospective evaluation of antidepressant discontinuation]. Encephale. 1998 May-Jun;24(3):215-22. French. PMID: 9696914. .[cited 2022 July 28]

17. Henssler J, Heinz A, Brandt L, Bschor T. Antidepressant Withdrawal and Rebound Phenomena. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019;116(20):355-361. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2019.0355. [cited 2022 July 28]

18. Bio Space Pfizer Zoloft Co-Inventor Ken Koe Dies at 90 Years of Age Published: Oct 14, 2015 By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff. [cited 2022 July 28]

19. Llamas M, reviewed by Dr. A Ali, Zoloft  Drug Watch [May 16, 2022]  [cited 2022 July 28]

20. Psychotropical Research SSRIs – Sertraline by Dr Ken Gillman Published Nov 14, 2014. [cited 2022 July 28]

21. Nakamura T, Sugiyama N, Sasayama D, Hagiwara T, Washizuka S. Jitteriness/Anxiety Syndrome Developing Immediately following Initiation of Oral Administration of Sertraline. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2017;2017:1319505. doi:10.1155/2017/1319505. [cited 2022 July 28]

22. Dunlop BW, Nemeroff CB. The Role of Dopamine in the Pathophysiology of Depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64(3):327–337. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.3.327. [cited 2022 July 28]

23. Birth Injury Guide Zoloft Lawsuit Filed by California Mom Page Updated on September 17, 2018. [cited 2022 July 28]

24. ACOG Guidelines on Psychiatric Medication Use During Pregnancy and Lactation by CARRIE ARMSTRONG Am Fam Physician. 2008 Sep 15;78(6):772-778.[cited 2022 July 28]

25. FDA Research, Policy and Workshops on Women in Clinical Trials [06/06/2019] [cited 2022 July 28]

26. Shields KE, Lyerly AD. Exclusion of pregnant women from industry-sponsored clinical trials. Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Nov;122(5):1077-1081. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182a9ca67. PMID: 24104789. [cited 2022 July 28]

27. Mother to Baby Sertraline (Zoloft®) December 2, 2019. [cited 2022 July 28]

28. Bérard A, Zhao JP, Sheehy O. Sertraline use during pregnancy and the risk of major malformations. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Jun;212(6):795.e1-795.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.01.034. Epub 2015 Jan 28. PMID: 25637841. [cited 2022 July 28]

29. FDA Drug Safety Communication: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant use during pregnancy and reports of a rare heart and lung condition in newborn babies 12-14-2011. [cited 2022 July 28]


31. Takoua Boukhris et al., Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children JAMA Pediatr 2016;170(2):117-124. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3356 [cited 2022 July 28]

32. Yazdy MM, Mitchell AA, Louik C, Werler MM. Use of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy and the risk of clubfoot. Epidemiology. 2014;25(6):859-865. doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000157. [cited 2022 July 28]

33. MISSD Another Firsthand Experience and Description of the Terrors of Akathisia December 2, 2017. [cited 2022 July 28]

34. American Journal of Gynecology Sertraline use during pregnancy and the risk of major malformations Anick Bérard, MSc, PhD, Jin-Ping Zhao, MD, PhD, Odile Sheehy, MSc Published: January 28, 2015.[cited 2022 July 28]

35. Sansone RA, Sansone LA. SSRI-Induced Indifference. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010;7(10):14-18. [cited 2022 July 28]

36. Paul W. Andrews, Susan G. Kornstein, Lisa J. Halberstadt, Charles O. Gardner and Michael C. Neale, Blue again: perturbational effects of antidepressants suggest monoaminergic homeostasis in major depression Front. Psychol., 07 July 2011. [cited 2022 July 28]

37. Andrews PW, et al Blue Again: perturbational effects of antidepressants suggest monoaminergic homeostasis in major depression. Front Psychol 7 July 2011 [cited 2022 July 28]

38. Sharma T, Guski LS, Freund N, Gøtzsche PC. Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports. BMJ. 2016 Jan 27;352:i65. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i65. PMID: 26819231; PMCID: PMC4729837. [cited 2022 July 28]

39. PLOS Medicine Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface of Medicine and Law David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer, David B Menkes Published: September 12, 2006. [cited 2022 July 28]

40. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. [Updated 2022 Feb 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: [cited 2022 July 28]

41. Petrova NN, Markin AV. Sindrom apatii u depressivnykh patsientov, poluchavshikh lechenie selektivnymi ingibitorami obratnogo zakhvata serotonina [Apathy syndrome in depressed patients previously treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2020;120(1):111-117. Russian. doi: 10.17116/jnevro2020120011111. PMID: 32105278. [cited 2022 July 28]

42. Luft MJ, Lamy M, DelBello MP, McNamara RK, Strawn JR. Antidepressant-Induced Activation in Children and Adolescents: Risk, Recognition and Management. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2018;48(2):50-62. doi:10.1016/j.cppeds.2017.12.001. [cited 2022 July 28]

43. NIH US National Library of Medicine Pharmacogenetics of Antidepressant-Induced Disinhibition (PGx-AID) First Posted: May 16, 2019.[cited 2022 July 28]

44. James Davies, John Read, A systematic review into the incidence, severity, and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: Are guidelines evidence-based? Addictive Behaviors Volume 97, 2019, Pages 111-121, ISSN 0306-4603. [cited 2022 July 28]

45. Read J. How common and severe are six withdrawal effects from, and addiction to, antidepressants? The experiences of a large international sample of patients. Addict Behav. 2020 Mar;102:106157. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106157. Epub 2019 Nov 30. PMID: 31841871. [cited 2022 July 28]

46. Tan KR, Rudolph U, Lüscher C. Hooked on benzodiazepines: GABAA receptor subtypes and addiction. Trends Neurosci. 2011;34(4):188-197. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2011.01.004. [cited 2022 July 28]

47. Pétursson H. The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Addiction. 1994 Nov;89(11):1455-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1994.tb03743.x. PMID: 7841856. [cited 2022 July 28]

48. Daily MED LABEL: SERTRALINE HYDROCHLORIDE tablet, film-coated DRUG LABEL INFORMATION Updated August 4, 2010. [cited 2022 July 28]

49. Marken PA, Munro JS. Selecting a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor: Clinically Important Distinguishing Features. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;2(6):205-210. doi:10.4088/pcc.v02n0602 [cited 2022 July 28]

50.  Brendel DH, Bodkin JA, Yang JM. Massive sertraline overdose. Ann Emerg Med. 2000 Nov;36(5):524-6. doi: 10.1067/mem.2000.111575. PMID: 11054208. [cited 2022 July 28]

51. Nelson LS, Erdman AR, Booze LL, Cobaugh DJ, Chyka PA, Woolf AD, Scharman EJ, Wax PM, Manoguerra AS, Christianson G, Caravati EM, Troutman WG. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor poisoning: An evidence-based consensus guideline for out-of-hospital management. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2007 May;45(4):315-32. doi: 10.1080/15563650701285289. PMID: 17486478 [cited 2022 July 28]

52. Prathikanti S, Rivera R, Cochran A, Tungol JG, Fayazmanesh N, Weinmann E. Treating major depression with yoga: A prospective, randomized, controlled pilot trial. PLoS One. 2017;12(3):e0173869. Published 2017 Mar 16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173869 [cited 2022 July 28]

53. Rivera E, Sison G, “Does Taking Zoloft Cause Weight Gain?”  USA RX [2021 Mar 12, updated 2021 April 12] [cited 2022 July 28]

54. Ronfeld RA, Tremaine LM, Wilner KD. Pharmacokinetics of sertraline and its N-demethyl metabolite in elderly and young male and female volunteers. Clin Pharmacokinet. 1997;32 Suppl 1:22-30. doi: 10.2165/00003088-199700321-00004. PMID: 9068932. [cited 2022 July 28]

55. Wilson E, Lader M. A review of the management of antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2015;5(6):357-368. doi:10.1177/2045125315612334 [cited 2022 July 28]

56. FDA label Xanax (alprazolam) tablets [cited 2022 July 28]

57. Ait-Daoud N, Hamby AS, Sharma S, Blevins D. A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal. J Addict Med. 2018;12(1):4-10. doi:10.1097/ADM.0000000000000350 [cited 2022 July 28]

58. Papp A, Onton JA. Brain Zaps: An Underappreciated Symptom of Antidepressant Discontinuation. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2018 Dec 20;20(6):18m02311. doi: 10.4088/PCC.18m02311. PMID: 30605268. [cited 2022 July 28]

59. Zawertailo LA, Busto U, Kaplan HL, Sellers EM. Comparative abuse liability of sertraline, alprazolam, and dextroamphetamine in humans. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1995 Apr;15(2):117-24. doi: 10.1097/00004714-199504000-00007. Erratum in: J Clin Psychopharmacol 1995 Jun;15(3):239. PMID: 7782484. [cited 2022 July 28]

Originally Published Sep 13, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus

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

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

Social Profile: LinkedIn

View Bio

Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms, Sertraline Side Effects, Treatment Help
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.

We Accept Most Major Insurance Providers.

Call Now to Verify BlueCross BlueShield Cigna Aetna

Our Success Stories

Medication Withdrawal Success Stories

Can you imagine being free from medications, addictive drugs, and alcohol? This is our goal and we are proving it is possible every day!

Read All StoriesView All Videos