Zoloft is a common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI that is prescribed to treat depression. Taking Zoloft in accordance with a doctor’s prescription is generally safe and effective. Although less frequent than other forms of prescription drug addiction, Zoloft addiction can occur. Zoloft is not a controlled substance, but people who abruptly stop using this drug can experience withdrawal symptoms. Once a person becomes physically and psychologically dependent on a drug, they may be said to have developed a substance use disorder.
What Is Zoloft?
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRI like Zoloft are highly effective for treating depression, but they may also be prescribed to individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, or bipolar disorder. Zoloft, prescribed generically as sertraline, is commonly taken in pill, tablet, or liquid form once each day. While antidepressant abuse, particularly involving SSRIs like Zoloft, isn’t as common as narcotic abuse, for instance, it can occur.
Most medical professionals who prescribe Zoloft to treat depression or even a gambling addiction or video game addiction also recommend behavioral health therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy. Most people who are prescribed Zoloft remain on the drug at least six months. Medical professionals often prescribe it for long-term use since taking Zoloft is not a high-risk drug for dependence and addiction when taken as a person’s treatment provider recommends. Even so, Zoloft addiction and even Zoloft overdose can occur with abuse of the medication.
Behavioral therapy specialists or other physicians may prescribe Zoloft or other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to help regulate serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that facilitates connections between brain neurons. A serotonin imbalance can result in symptoms of depression and other mental health disorders. SSRIs work because they block neurons in the brain from absorbing serotonin. That means that more serotonin remains present in the brain. When proper serotonin levels are restored, individuals generally experience relief from their depression or other mental health symptoms.
Signs of Zoloft Abuse and Addiction
Zoloft abuse and addiction are characterized by many of the same signs and symptoms that accompany other forms of prescription drug abuse. A Zoloft addiction and abuse problem may exist if the following signs of addiction occur:
- Crushing or snorting the medication
- Taking more than the prescribed dose
- Taking someone else’s Zoloft
- Doctor shopping in order to build up a supply of Zoloft
- Feeling aggressive
- Experiencing mood swings
These are typically signs of serotonin syndrome, and they can occur when levels of serotonin in the brain are too high. Substance abuse can lead to the development of a drug addiction. Even though Zoloft is highly regarded as a safe and effective medication for treating depression and many other mental health disorders, it can play a role in substance use disorders and even trigger withdrawal symptoms like many other prescription drugs or illicit drugs.
Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms
Zoloft withdrawal can last two or even three weeks. That’s why when patients discontinue use of the drug under the care of their treatment provider, they do so gradually. Otherwise, Zoloft withdrawal symptoms can be particularly unpleasant. Some of its withdrawal symptoms include:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
Some people may experience more severe Zoloft sertraline withdrawal symptoms like suicidal thoughts. In such cases, they should seek out a medical treatment facility for help. Doctors may be able to prescribe treatments to reduce the effects of Zoloft withdrawal symptoms.
Long Term Side Effects of Zoloft Abuse
Although when taken for the long term, Zoloft is regarded as safe, abusing the drug can lead to long-term effects that can take a toll on a person’s mental and physical health. Some of these effects are:
- Development of anxiety
- Serotonin syndrome development
- Abnormal bleeding
- Development of an eating disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
Abusing drugs and alcohol of any type can also come with an increased risk for overdose. It’s also common for people who abuse drugs and alcohol to engage in high-risk behaviors like driving or operating equipment while under the influence.
Zoloft Addiction Treatment
Like a sleeping pill addiction, alcohol addiction, or other alcohol and drug addiction, Zoloft addiction requires addiction therapies in order to be managed successfully. DayBreak offers Zoloft abuse treatment at our drug rehab recovery center. We offer inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and medical support through the withdrawal and detox process. Our luxury rehab also offers treatment for individuals who have cooccurring disorders. Contact our addiction treatment center to learn more about our treatment process.
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