How Long Does Withdrawal from Sertraline (Zoloft) Last?
What is Sertraline (Zoloft)?
Sertraline (Zoloft) is a prescription medication called an SSRI, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that affects the serotonin levels in the brain. This medication is prescribed for people suffering from mental illnesses including:
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- Anxiety disorder
- Depressive disorders
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorders
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
This medication is given to treat depression and anxiety issues because it can improve mood and energy levels while also reducing fear and panic. Alongside many other antidepressants, the FDA has placed a black box warning on this medication as it may lead to some individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
What Happens When You Quit Taking Sertraline?
Because sertraline is an SSRI antidepressant, it works by preventing the reabsorption of serotonin, which increases the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin that is available in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that affects mental health conditions by altering mood and emotion. When a person reduces or stops taking this medication, serotonin levels drop, and the brain and body chemistry becomes unbalanced and needs time to adjust to these new levels, producing antidepressant withdrawal symptoms during this adjustment period.
Sertraline Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms
Some common symptoms you can expect if you experience withdrawal while stopping antidepressants may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Nightmares or insomnia
- Mood changes and irritability
- Memory problems
- “Brain zaps”
- Hypersensitivity to sound
To avoid the symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal (sertraline withdrawal) and discontinuation syndrome, it is best to seek professional medical advice before quitting your prescription medications.
Sertraline Withdrawal Timeline
Zoloft (Sertraline) has a short half-life, of approximately 22 – 35 hours. When you stop taking Sertraline its effects leave your system quickly, causing the serotonin levels in your brain to drop (antidepressant discontinuation syndrome), and the body to react adversely, producing withdrawal symptoms.
Although the symptoms of Zoloft antidepressant discontinuation last for one to three weeks on average, some people may experience them for months after quitting. The sertraline (Zoloft) withdrawal symptoms timeline may be affected by your unique metabolism and other individual factors, with withdrawal effects being more common in people who have been taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for years.
Coming off antidepressants does not need to be a traumatic experience, and with proper medical guidance, mental health care, and a safe tapering schedule with dosage gradually reduced, withdrawal effects can be navigated safely and effectively.
Prescription Drug Rehab at Resurgence
If you or a loved one is taking antidepressant medication like Zoloft and Xanax to treat major depressive disorders (MDD) or other mental health issues and want to stop safely or need help quitting another prescription medication (including prescription opioids), a dual diagnosis program may be required. At the Resurgence treatment centers, our dual diagnosis treatment and rehab programs will guide you through any withdrawal and detox symptoms you may have safely through a medical detox plan, moving you into a customized rehabilitation program that will best suit your needs. Alongside effective and evidence-based substance abuse treatment, you will receive treatment for co-occurring disorders like mental health issues including bipolar disorder, anxiety, major depression, eating disorder, borderline personality disorder, and PTSD.
We offer the full continuum of care, from detox to residential (inpatient) rehab to outpatient rehab programs including a partial hospitalization program and an intensive outpatient program. Addiction treatment plans at Resurgence Behavioral Health include individual therapy, group therapy, educational programs, physical health and nutritional counseling, life skills coaching, and relapse prevention programs. Through behavioral therapy and other treatments, you will learn new healthy coping skills that will last you a lifetime.
Whether you need treatment for alcohol abuse, or drug abuse, or are trying to safely taper off a prescription medication like Sertraline (Zoloft), our team can help you achieve your goals, stay safe and comfortable, and move forward successfully in life.