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When Does Zoloft Start Working For Anxiety

How Quickly Does Zoloft Work


Zoloft does not work overnight, so a little patience is required.

Similar to other antidepressants, Zoloft slowly increases the amount of serotonin available in the brain.

You cannot expect your brain chemistry to change overnight, but the good news is that you may notice a change within a couple of weeks.

Many patients report an improvement in their symptoms within the first two weeks, however, most do not report a complete difference until at least four to six weeks.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, many patients first report an improvement in their energy levels, sleep, and appetite. These improvements eventually lead to a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Those with more severe depression may not notice a significant change until six weeks or longer.

You should remain hopeful that Zoloft will work, but if you notice little change after six weeks, then you should speak to your healthcare provider.

Placebo Effect On Zoloft

In the event that someone derives immediate therapeutic benefit from Zoloft, theres a chance that a portion of this benefit may be attributable to the influence of a placebo effect. The placebo effect refers to a substantial shift in neurophysiology solely as a result of believing that the medication will provide relief and/or alleviate symptoms.

In other words, if you believe that Zoloft could kick in immediately , this may yield a placebo antidepressant response, perhaps facilitating therapeutic benefit within hours of treatment initiation. It is important to underscore though, that in persons who respond immediately to Zoloft the placebo effect may play vary in terms of its impact.

Some immediate responders to Zoloft may be influenced entirely by the placebo effect, whereas others may respond immediately without any impact of the placebo effect. Another portion of individuals may respond rapidly to Zoloft with some influence from a placebo response and some influence of the medications action .

Who Should Not Use Fluoxetine

Do not use fluoxetine if:

  • You are taking a class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors . Examples of MAOIs include isocarboxazid , phenelzine , selegiline , and tranylcypromine , linezolid, or intravenous methylene blue. MAOIs may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • You are taking a medication called pimozide or thioridazine. Taking these medications with fluoxetine can increase the risk of prolonged QT interval, which is a potentially dangerous change to the electrical signals that make your heart beat.

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Is It Possible To Lose Weight On Sertraline

Yes. Although sertraline and other SSRIs are usually linked to weight gain, monitoring your food intake and activity can allow you to either lose weight or maintain your current body weight while youre using sertraline.

Although experts arent yet fully aware of what causes weight gain on SSRIs, some researchers claim that SSRIs can interfere with peoples ability to switch off their urge to eat.

Despite this, theres no evidence that sertraline affects your bodys metabolism and causes you to use fewer calories than normal. This means that you may lose or gain weight as you normally would by adjusting your calorie intake or activity level.

If you notice weight gain after starting sertraline and feel worried, its best to let your healthcare provider know when you next see them.

How Do You Take Sertraline

Is 50mg Of Zoloft Enough For Anxiety

Its pretty simple. If you come and see me at my GP surgery, I explain that the starting dose is 50mg a day in adults. Thats one tablet a day. We then up-titrate the dose in 50mg increments over weeks or months depending on how you respond. The maximum is 200mg in a day. Courses can last from six months to a lifetime for some.

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How Will You Know If Zoloft Is Working

Zoloft isn’t only for major depression. It’s also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Zoloft, an oral antidepressant pill made of compressed crystalline powder, is usually prescribed to first-time users in a 50-milligram-per-day dose for depression and PMDD and 25 milligrams per day for other disorders. Dosages can be increased with time and medical supervision up to 200 milligrams per day. It’s also available in liquid form .

Within just a few hours of taking an SSRI for the first time, the levels of serotonin in the brain and bloodstream increase. Yet, we don’t feel immediate results. Zoloft takes weeks to work. Why?

The answer is us. Our bodies need time to adapt to the new normal created by taking a pill laced with sertraline that is designed to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Not only does this SSRI medication help the brain absorb serotonin into the blood stream more effectively, but it may actually change the makeup of the brain. The brain needs new receptors to help absorb the additional serotonin it builds and installs additional receptors — a biological process that can take up to eight weeks. So, even though Zoloft increases the levels of serotonin in our bodies nearly immediately, our brains aren’t immediately equipped to absorb it .

Can Sertraline Treat Premature Ejaculation

Yes. Although sertraline isnt designed specifically to treat premature ejaculation, studies show that it can increase ejaculation latency — the amount of time required for a man to orgasm and ejaculate during sex — in men.

If you have premature ejaculation, your healthcare provider may prescribe sertraline off-label to help you control your symptoms and improve your sexual function.

Our guide to sertraline and premature ejaculation goes into more detail about how and why PE occurs, as well as how SSRIs such as sertraline are often effective at delaying ejaculation and improving sexual stamina.

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How To Use Zoloft For Anxiety And Depression


Jen Miller, PMHNP-BCPMHNP Director

Zoloft is the brand name for the drug sertraline, which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. Zoloft is an antidepressant and is commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression, but it can also be used to relieve symptoms of anxiety as well.

When you use Zoloft properly, it may be highly effective at bringing you relief from your symptoms, and it is important to be patient when using Zoloft as it can take several weeks for the effects to be felt.

Whether you are just starting to take Zoloft, your provider has recommended Zoloft, or if youve heard that Zoloft may be a good fit for you, this guide to using Zoloft for anxiety and depression has all of the information you need.

Want to speak 1:1 with an expert about your anxiety & depression?

What Are The Side Effects Of Zoloft

How Long Does it Take Anxiety Medication to Start Working?

All medications carry the risk of some side effects. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if the benefits of Zoloft outweigh any potential risks. Some of the most common side effects that have been reported include :

  • Nausea

Less common, but more serious side effects include :

  • Risk for increased bleeding
  • Serotonin syndrome

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Important Safety Information For Fluoxetine

Warning: Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. In short-term studies, antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults under age 24. These studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in patients over age 24 there was a reduction in risk in patients 65 and older.

Patients of all ages being treated with antidepressants should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially early during antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down. Families and caregivers of patients should look for the emergence of symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt.

When To See A Medical Provider

You should see a healthcare provider if you experience any serious side effects such as hallucinations, confusion, vomiting, seizures, or any signs of an allergic reaction.

As previously stated, some mild side effects are expected when taking Zoloft but if the symptoms persist or are bothersome, let your healthcare provider know.

If you start experiencing any suicidal thoughts, aggression, panic attacks, or worsening depression or anxiety, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately and go to the nearest medical facility.

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How Does Zoloft Work

Zoloft is an antidepressant that works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that acts as a type of chemical messenger in the brain, sending signals between neurons and influencing your mood.

Under normal circumstances, the neurons of the brain absorb serotonin quickly. Patients who do not have enough serotonin may experience a depressed mood under these conditions.

SSRIs like Zoloft work by inhibiting the absorption of serotonin by the neurons, which allows the serotonin to transmit more messages and increases the levels of the neurotransmitter in the brain.

As a result, many patients with depression and other mood disorders experience a boosted mood.

What Is The Fda

Can Zoloft Cause More Anxiety

Paroxetine is approved by the FDA for treatment of Major Depressive Disorder , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Order, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder . Paroxetine is approved by the FDA under the brand name Brisdelle® for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause, and is not approved for the treatment of any psychiatric condition.

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What Is Zoloft How Does It Work

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Zoloft work in your body by preventing the reabsorption of serotonin, and the prevention of this process results in higher levels of serotonin available for use in your brain.

Serotonin is one of many chemicals that have been associated with depression, anxiety, panic, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and these symptoms are thought to be correlated with an imbalance of neurotransmitters like serotonin.

Aside from the treatment of depression and generalized anxiety disorder, Zoloft can also be prescribed for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Like many forms of prescription antidepressant medication, Zoloft can cause some mild side effects, which are often very mild and only temporary.

Common side effects associated with Zoloft include:

  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep

When you begin taking Zoloft, you should make sure to consult your provider if you experience any new or worsening symptoms, such as:

  • Changes in your mood or behavior
  • New or worsening anxiety and new or worsening panic attacks
  • Impulsivity, irritability, aggression, or hyperactivity
  • New or worsening depression

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Can I Get Addicted To Sertraline

Not really, no. Its not uncommon, however for people to develop a psychological dependency. By this I mean, theres this sense that by stopping the drug, their mental health will suffer. Truth is theres no way of knowing. Ive seen people come off it and maintain good mental health, while others see an immediate decline. Its those latter cases that show sertralines benefit and the need for some to remain on it for longer.

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Can Zoloft Work Immediately

Zoloft doesnt work immediately, so dont stop taking it if your symptoms dont improve soon. It can take two to six weeks to get rid of anxiety symptoms. Some people will experience a reduction in their anxiety symptoms within the first week of taking Zoloft, but this shouldnt be expected of everyone.

Zoloft To Alleviate Anxiety Symptoms

How and When to take Zoloft (Sertraline) | What Patients Need to Know

Zoloft can help in alleviating different kinds of anxiety problems, ranging from depression to panic disorder or attacks, phobias, PTSD and OCD . It attacks some of the common anxiety symptoms such as loss of appetite, insomnia, mood disorder and lethargy. Not only does it improve sleep, energy levels, mood and appetite, it also helps in controlling panic attacks by keeping unwanted fears and thoughts at bay. Compulsive behavior resulting from OCD can also be tackled with the use of Zoloft, taken orally as per the dosage prescribed by your physician. The drug is available in both tablet and capsule form, with the latter usually taken after a meal.

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What Is The Most Effective Antidepressant For Anxiety

There is no single antidepressant thats best for treating anxiety. What works for one person may not work for another. Depression symptoms will completely go away for about 1 out of every 3 people who take SSRIs, but more research still needs to be done on why SSRIs work for some people and not for others. Your healthcare provider is the best person to ask which antidepressant will be most effective for you.

Other SSRI medications can be effective for anxiety such as Prozac or Celexa or Paxil, yet each has some side effectsnotably lowered libido and weight gain, says Uma Naidoo, MD, a psychiatrist at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Benzodiazepines are very effective in the short term while under the care of a doctor, but these are potentially addicting medications and must be used with immense caution and only as a short-term measure, e.g., grief following the death of a family member, says Dr. Naidoo. Benzodiazepines are controlled substances, and have the potential for abuse and dependence, and include drugs such as Klonopin and Xanax .

Zoloft alternatives
Celexa coupon

As mentioned earlier, your healthcare provider is the best person to ask about how to treat anxiety. Medications can be effective in treating anxiety, but Dr. Naidoo says you may have other options as well. Some additional ways to combat anxiety, in combination with your prescription medication, may include:

Your physician can help you come up with a treatment plan that will fit well into your life.

What Are The Most Common Side Effects Of Paroxetine

The most common possible side effects of paroxetine include:

  • Headache
  • nausea
  • and vomiting

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of paroxetine. Please read the Medication Guide within the full Prescribing Information, including information about the BOXED WARNING, before taking paroxetine.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Product names referenced herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

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Why Is Zoloft Bad For You

Zoloft is an FDA-approved drug and safe for almost all category people. But still, can this medication cause you any harm?

Like most other meds, Zoloft has some downfalls too. Patients often experience the following side effects after starting taking Zoloft for anxiety,

  • Fatigue
  • Hypomania
  • Allergic reaction

Even though the risk of suffering from any of the above conditions is rare, you can not eliminate the chance. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you observe anything weird in your behavior, thought process, or health. Chances are the sertraline is not working on you.

The risks of taking Zoloft do not end here. Doctors believe Zoloft affects unborn babies. If the mom is on sertraline in the third trimester, the baby may develop rare diseases like persistent pulmonary hypertension, neonatal withdrawal symptoms, etc. So, before you make the query of is 25mg of Zoloft enough for anxiety its better to be aware of the side effects.

Again, overdose or stop taking Zoloft causes some other issues. For example,

  • Vomiting
  • Flu
  • Anxiety, etc.

Considering all those drawbacks, some patients decide not to go with Zoloft. However, no matter how severe the side effects of Zoloft may sound, the effectiveness of this drug in treating anxiety weighs more.

Consult with your doctor if you have any doubts or feel drained after taking sertraline. He might adjust the dosage or switch you to another drug.

Dont Forget The Big Picture

Does Zoloft Help With Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety

No drug is an island. Sertraline is no different. And that, is the big picture. Mental health is not cured alone with one drug. In fact, the drug is to compliment all other forms of equally important treatments lifestyle changes and optimisation, including physical activity talking therapy in groups, one to one, or with your family support from mental health teams and last but not least, education on the condition itself. Sertraline has its place. Just not on a pedestal.

Dr Nick Knight is a GP. Follow him on Instagram

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Important Safety Information For Sertraline

Warning: Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. In short-term studies, antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults under age 24. These studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in patients over age 24 there was a reduction in risk in patients 65 and older.

Patients of all ages being treated with antidepressants should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially early during antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down. Families and caregivers of patients should look for the emergence of symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt.

What Are The Most Serious Side Effects That I Or A Caregiver Should Monitor For When Taking Sertraline

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.

These serious side effects are rare, but can occur with sertraline. You or a caregiver should carefully monitor for these side effects, especially in the beginning of treatment and with dose changes.

  • Serotonin Syndrome: Serotonin syndrome is an uncommon, potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when taking too much of an SSRI or SNRI at once or when sertraline is taken along with other drugs that increase the activity of serotonin in the central nervous system. These medications may include MAOIs, triptans , tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. Johns Wort. Monitor for symptoms of elevated body temperature, flushing, sweating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, agitation, and a racing heartbeat.
  • Increased risk of bleeding: Tell your provider if you experience any increased or unusual bruising, bleeding, or nose bleed. Sertraline may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with NSAIDs , aspirin, or blood thinners such as warfarin .
  • Activation of Mania/Hypomania: Especially at the beginning of treatment, monitor for changes in behavior such as an unusually elevated mood, feeling unusually irritable, a big increase in energy, being more talkative than usual, racing thoughts, or engaging in risky behaviors. These changes in behavior could be signs of undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder.

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