Zoloft Addiction: Signs, Effects, & Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 22, 2022

Zoloft is an antidepressant that helps improve mood and treat anxiety and depression, among other mental health disorders. People may become addicted to Zoloft if they take more than they should over a long period of time.

Zoloft Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline. It is a type of drug in a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that helps treat mood disorders.

This medication works by increasing levels of serotonin in your brain to improve mood. It can also help treat social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Unfortunately, many people abuse Zoloft by taking more of the medication than they should. This can lead to psychological addiction, physical dependence, and withdrawal.

Methods Of Zoloft Misuse

According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common forms of Zoloft abuse are insufflation (snorting) and injection.

Snorting Zoloft

Some people grind Zoloft into a fine powder using a razor blade. Then they divide the powder into “lines” and inhale it through a rolled-up dollar bill or straw.

This method allows a person to feel the effects of Zoloft faster than swallowing it. The drug will be absorbed through your nasal passages and into your bloodstream in less than 10 minutes.

Find out more about snorting Zoloft.

Injecting Zoloft

Another way people misuse Zoloft is by injecting it into their veins. When you inject Zoloft, you bypass your digestive system and increase your risk for overdose.

You may experience serious side effects from injecting Zoloft, including irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.

What Are The Signs Of A Zoloft Addiction?

When a person abuses Zoloft for a period of time they may begin to exhibit the following signs of addiction.

Signs of Zoloft Addiction may include:

  • falsifying symptoms to obtain a new supply of Zoloft
  • acquiring multiple prescriptions from different doctors (doctor shopping)
  • taking Zoloft in higher doses or for longer than prescribed
  • experiencing tension in relationships due to Zoloft use
  • experiencing cravings when not taking Zoloft

If you or someone you know have noticed any of the signs listed above, you may have a substance use disorder.

Common Side Effects Of Zoloft Addiction

Some of the most common side effects reported in Zoloft addiction included diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea.

These are generally mild and tend to lessen over time. Other common side effects of Zoloft abuse may include loss of appetite, eating disorders, tiredness, dry mouth, and tremors.

What Happens When You Mix Zoloft With Other Substances?

Polysubstance abuse refers to using two or more substances at a time to heighten the effects of both.

This may include taking Zoloft with prescription medications, illicit drugs such as heroin, or mixing Zoloft with alcohol.

Zoloft And Alcohol

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that alcohol is one of the most common drugs combined with prescription medications like Zoloft.

Some people combine Zoloft and alcohol to increase sedative effects, although this is risky because both substances depress the central nervous system.

Learn more about mixing Zoloft and alcohol.

Zoloft And Cocaine

According to the NIDA, using cocaine while taking prescription medications like Zoloft may increase your risk of potentially fatal heart problems or stroke.

Serotonin syndrome can occur when cocaine is used with antidepressants such as Zoloft. This is a potentially lethal disorder, especially if there is an overabundance of serotonin in the body.

Read about mixing Zoloft and cocaine.

Can Zoloft Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Within hours of abruptly stopping Zoloft use, people may start to experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms due to a physical dependence on the drug.

Common Zoloft withdrawal symptoms may include tremors, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, nausea, anxiety, sweating, seizures, and more.

Due to the possibility of withdrawal symptoms becoming life-threatening, it is recommended that people seek the help of a medically monitored detox program when attempting to quit.

Can Zoloft Cause A Fatal Overdose?

On its own, Zoloft use is unlikely to lead to a lethal overdose. Overdosing on Zoloft is more likely to occur when a person mixes the medication with other drugs or alcohol.

Some of the most common symptoms of Zoloft overdose include nausea, shakiness, rapid heartbeat, fever, hallucinations, delirium, stupor, and pancreas inflammation.

Seek medical attention immediately if you think someone may have overdosed on prescription drugs.

Read more about what constitutes a lethal dose of Zoloft.

How Zoloft Detox Works

Zoloft detox involves gradually decreasing the level of Zoloft in the body while healthcare professionals monitor withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of withdrawal can be reduced or eliminated by gradually tapering the dosage of Zoloft under the guidance of a medical professional.

Zoloft detoxification typically lasts a few days up to a week depending on the overall health of the client.

Learn more about Zoloft detox.

Addiction Treatment Programs For Zoloft Abuse

People addicted to Zoloft or other prescription medications may benefit greatly from receiving treatment at a drug rehab center.

Behavioral health treatment services for Zoloft addiction may include:

  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • support groups for young adults with major depressive disorder
  • dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders such as panic disorder
  • family therapy
  • group therapy
  • inpatient treatment
  • outpatient treatment
  • case management and wellness services
  • mental health disorder treatment
  • aftercare services
  • relapse prevention

FAQs For Zoloft Addiction

Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Zoloft abuse and treatment.

Some of the slang terms for Zoloft include wonder drug, happy pills, bottle smiles, and miracle drug.

Zoloft tablets can be purchased for as little as one to two dollars per tablet on the street. However, this price can change based on several variables, such as supply and demand.

Learn about the street price of Zoloft.

Sertraline has not been designated as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means the drug does not pose a significant danger of abuse or addiction.

Learn more about why Zoloft is not a controlled substance.

As with other types of medications, tolerance to the effects of Zoloft may eventually develop. If your depression worsens, you may require a higher dose of Zoloft.

Read more about the effects of Zoloft tolerance.

Find A Substance Abuse Treatment Center Today

Call our helpline today for more information about Zoloft addiction, treatment options, and other useful resources. Our team can help you or your loved one reach long-term recovery.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 22, 2022
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