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Zoloft Abuse and Addiction

Zoloft Addiction & Treatment

While the addiction and abuse potential for this antidepressant remains low, the unpleasantness of its withdrawal symptoms can lead a person to develop a psychological and physical dependence on it. This may require the aid of a residential treatment center to help with drug detox and to treat depression that occurs after a person stops taking Zoloft. Treatment for Zoloft addiction is a service that The Detox Center of Los Angeles provides.

What Is Zoloft?

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI. It’s a member of a class of antidepressants to treat depression and mood disorders. It affects serotonin levels by blocking the nerve endings in the brain from being able to remove serotonin from between the brain’s synapses (reuptake inhibitors). This means that whatever serotonin gets released by the brain is forced to stay active in the brain for longer, tricking the brain into thinking there’s more serotonin present in the brain than there actually is. 

However, its effects are not immediate. These effects take as long as 6 weeks to kick in. Unlike many sedatives, pain medications, or alcohol whose effects are immediate, SSRIs take several weeks of use before an effect is typically seen/felt.

Zoloft Effects

Zoloft’s calming effect gives most users a sense of well-being, resourcefulness, and motivation. 

It has been used to treat:

  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Common side effects of Zoloft include:

  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Diaphoresis (sweating)
  • Physical tremors
  • Sexual dysfunction

Signs of Zoloft Abuse and Addiction

Signs of Zoloft abuse and addiction include:

  • Irritability
  • Rising fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Fatigue

Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms

A large difficulty in the treatment process is dealing with serotonin levels in those who stop taking Zoloft. Those who have taken a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for an extended period of time can become psychologically addicted and develop a physical dependence on the drug. 

Common symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal:

  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Vertigo
  • Lack of concentration
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Tingling sensations in the skin
  • Vivid dreams or recurrent nightmares

Long Term Side Effects of Zoloft Abuse

The long-term use of Zoloft can often mask disorders, making drug abuse more likely. Drug and alcohol abuse may increase over time if these other disorders are not dealt with. While the symptoms of Zoloft abuse long term may be relatively mild, the serotonin syndrome/discontinuation syndrome of serotonin can lead to psychological dependence. Again, for those taking Zoloft or for those who abuse Zoloft, it’s the withdrawal symptoms that are the most common pernicious driver of abuse and continued use.

Zoloft Addiction Treatment

The types of treatment available at our recovery center are plenty and varied. Our rehab program can include the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Online therapy
  • Relapse prevention
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy cbt to treat depression
  • Medical/drug detox
  • An inpatient rehab component
  • An intensive outpatient program iop component
  • An aftercare program component

With Zoloft addiction we often see a dual diagnosis of other addiction symptoms and mood disorders, including:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Alcohol withdrawal and alcohol detox
  • Eating disorder
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Discontinuation syndrome
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • The use of prescription opioids and other drug abuse behavior

The Detox Center of Los Angeles is a fantastic resource for you if you or your loved one wishes to stop taking Zoloft in a controlled setting. To start a life of sober living with the help of our trained addiction guides through one of the many levels of care available in our inpatient and intensive outpatient services, contact us