How to wean off zoloft after 1 week (A Complete Guide)

In this blog post, we will answer the question, “How to wean off zoloft after 1 week?”. We are going to talk about safe and effective ways to wean off zoloft after 1 week. 

We are also going to discuss why it’s not recommended to stop your zoloft cold turkey and what kinds of side effects are associated with zoloft withdrawal. 

How to wean off zoloft safely after 1 week? 

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Zoloft shouldn’t be stopping abruptly. Your doctor will suggest a proper taper schedule. It is not usually recommended to stop using zoloft just after 1 week. Antidepressants usually take 3 to 4 weeks to start working. 

One week is nothing when it comes to getting relief from antidepressants. You need to give your body enough time. It should be stopped only if you are subjected to terrible zoloft induced side effects.

It is also recommended to stop using zoloft if you’re allergic to the active ingredient present in zoloft, that is sertraline. Although 1 week is not that much of a long time, it’s still safe to withdraw zoloft by dose tapering. It also depends on your dose. 

People on lower doses are less likely to develop any withdrawal symptom just after a week of treatment. If you’re on higher doses, it is recommended to taper it down before stopping it altogether.

Taper schedules for different doses of zoloft 

Your doctor suggests a suitable taper schedule according to your dose. If you’re on 150mg zoloft, your doctor tapers it down to 100mg for a week or two, depending on the time taken by your body to adjust to the first tapered dose. 

The dose is further tapered down to 75mg for a period of 2 to 3 weeks, then to 50 mg and finally to 25mg, which is considered the last dose before finally stopping zoloft. 

When you’re tapering down from a relatively lower dose, like 100mg or 50mg, your doctor might take you as low as 12.5mg, before stopping zoloft. These strategies are different for everyone. They’re specifically designed according to the patient. 

For people who don’t do well with tapered doses, the doctor takes it down to the lowest possible dose before stopping it, for good. This practice is necessary to protect people from nerve-racking withdrawal syndrome, which is associated with symptoms like:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea
  • Headaches 
  • Excess sweating/night sweats
  • Disturbed sleep, insomnia, nightmares
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • You might feel something called brain zaps, which feels like a shock firing in your brain 
  • Heightened anxiety and nervousness
  • Mood swings

What happens if you stop using zoloft without tapering it down first? 

Zoloft belongs to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These meds work by blocking the serotonin reuptake from the synaptic cleft, which results in increased serotonin availability in the synaptic cleft. Now, if you take away such meds rapidly, the availability of serotonin reduces. 

This results in serotonin receptors craving serotonin as they have been receiving it for quite a while now, and you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It’s basically because of the sudden deficiency of serotonin within the synaptic cleft.

In order to avoid such condition, the dose is reduced over a number of weeks and that’ll be dependent on how long you’ve been taking the medication and the severity of your symptoms.

Unfortunately, a lot of people choose to take the process into their own hands and either try and reduce the dose themselves gradually or stop it all together.

Now this is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Never stop or start any sort of medication on your own. There are medications, called over-the-counter meds, which can be taken without prescription.

But meds, like antidepressants, antipsychotics, CNS stimulants etc, which affect your brain, your cognition, memory, feelings, decision making abilities, how could you possibly think of starting or withdrawing such meds on your own? It is something for you to think about.

Zoloft withdrawal duration

There’s no single way to tell you about the duration of your withdrawal symptoms. It varies from person to person. The duration of your treatment does have an impact on it. 

Different factors affect the duration of your withdrawal symptoms. One of these factors include the half-life of the drug. Drugs with longer half lives produce withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time. Half life of zoloft is 24 hours. 

Most people experience the first symptoms of withdrawal within one to three days after their last dose. Even if you taper off, you may still experience some symptoms. 

During days four to five, the symptoms may become more intense, depending on the dose you were on and the duration of your therapy. Some people experience dizziness, nausea, shakiness and fever. 

Your symptoms will gradually start to fade away in a week or two. It, too, depends on how your body reacts to this withdrawal. 

A few lifestyle changes that might help you with your zoloft withdrawal symptoms. 

It usually takes afew weeks for your body to function without antidepressants. There are a few lifestyle changes that can boost up your serotonin levels naturally and really help you in managing your withdrawal symptoms. 

Give your body time to adapt

Your body needs time to get used to the absence of medication. SSRIs are known to produce addiction and your body actually craves it. 

This effect is found much more intense in people who have been taking SSRIs for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms begin to subside in 3 to 4 weeks. 

Add serotonin rich foods to your diet

Diet is a crucial part of your lifestyle. It has the potential to make your life better or worse. Diet is one of the best ways to boost your serotonin. 

Eggs, pineapples, cheese, salmon, nuts and seeds are the most common sources of tryptophan, which is the precursor of serotonin synthesis. 

Wholesome and nutritious food also helps you keep strong and healthy. It can help boost your immune system. 

Stay active

Exercise is a beneficial addition to your lifestyle. It helps you in so many ways. Make sure you workout at least 3 to 4 times a week. Exercise is known for releasing happy chemicals in your brain. 

It not only makes you feel good, but also spikes your energy levels.  Enjoy going for long walks. Learn new yoga moves, as yoga is one of the best ways to relax your racing mind.

Get enough sunlight 

Various research articles have revealed that sunlight can help replenish serotonin reserves in your body. Make sure you get plenty of it, preferably in the early morning. You can try going for a walk. It will not only boost your serotonin levels but will also enhance your sleep quality 

Drink plenty of water

Drink plenty of water. Water clears out toxins from your body. Try making a detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it. You can add lemon, cucumber, kiwi, oranges, berries, ginger etc, to make drinking water less boring. 

This will not only add taste, but also makes your water nutritious and full of antioxidants. 

Try psychotherapy

Studies suggest that psychotherapies are found to be beneficial for people struggling with withdrawal symptoms or depression relapse. Some therapies can also give you a platform to talk about your depression symptoms, if they ever come back. 

You can also try group therapy sessions which can help you learn about other people battling with depression or antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.

Always listen to your healthcare provider 

Talk to your mental healthcare professional about whether or not it’s a good time for you to discontinue your medication. Do not go against your doctor’s recommendation. 

You might feel like leaving your meds once you start feeling better but sometimes, it’s just your brain playing tricks on you. As soon as you’re tricked to stop it, it all comes rushing back. It is crucial for you to listen to your healthcare provider before making any decision yourself. 

Conclusion 

In this blog, we discussed safe ways to wean off zoloft after one week. Although, it is not recommended to stop using zoloft just after a week of treatment. 

Antidepressants take time to start making changes in your body and stopping it halfway can literally mess up with your mind even more. You can not expect to fix your depression in one week. 

Zoloft should not be stopped abruptly, whatsoever. You should always consult your healthcare provider if you wish to stop zoloft. Do not stop or start any medication, especially antidepressants, on your own. 

Your doctor will prepare a taper schedule for you, in order to ensure safe withdrawal while minimising withdrawal symptoms in best possible ways. Make sure you follow your taper schedule vigilantly and avoid non-adherence. 

FAQs: How to wean off zoloft after 1 week

Can I stop taking Zoloft after a week?

You can, yes, and you don’t necessarily need a taper schedule if you are on a low dose, but it is not recommended to stop using zoloft just after a week of treatment. Antidepressants take 3 to 4 weeks to start making changes in your system. 

You can’t expect them to cure your depression in a week. You should only consider stopping zoloft after a week if you’re experiencing terrible side effects. Otherwise, it is recommended to give your body some time to adjust to the med. 

What happens if you stop taking Zoloft after 4 days?

Zoloft does not produce any pronounced effects in 4 days but you should not stop the treatment so early, unless you suffer from extreme side effects. 

Can I stop Zoloft cold turkey after 2 weeks?

It is not recommended to stop taking zoloft cold turkey. If you do so, you are most likely to suffer from withdrawal symptoms, which include:

  • Excess sweating/night sweats
  • Disturbed sleep, insomnia, nightmares
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • You might feel something called brain zaps, which feels like a shock firing in your brain 
  • Heightened anxiety and nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea
  • Headaches 

What helps Zoloft withdrawal?

Dose tapering helps with zoloft withdrawal. SSRIs increase the availability of serotonin. So, if you abruptly stop taking it, your receptors which are dependent on it will start to have a major impact of serotonin deficiency.

This is why dose tapering is important. It is a safe and effective method to withdraw SSRIs. Your healthcare provider simply just reduces the dose of your antidepressant. 

It enables you to start taking medicine in lesser quantities without completely depriving your receptors of serotonin. Half of the dose keeps

decreasing gradually over the period of 7 to 8 days. 

Can I take Zoloft every other day?

Yes, zoloft is supposed to be taken every other day. It usually takes 3-4 weeks to start working. 

How long until Zoloft is out of my system?

The half-life of sertraline (zoloft) is 24 hours, which means that it usually takes a day for the drug’s concentration to reduce to half the original amount. In another 24 hours, the drug’s concentration is further reduced to half of the remaining amount. 

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