In this blog post, we will talk about the relationship between zoloft and depersonalisation. Zoloft is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health conditions.
It is also used to relieve symptoms in many other conditions and is associated with multiple side effects as well. This blog post will give us a deeper understanding of depersonalisation and whether it’s a condition treated by zoloft or a side effect of this med.
What is the relationship between zoloft and depersonalisation?
The incidence of depersonalisation as a side effect of zoloft is pretty rare. It is most likely to be a symptom of anxiety or depression which can be treated by zoloft. A minority of the population taking zoloft has reported that they feel disconnected to their own selves.
Depersonalisation as a side effect of zoloft
A few people have reported the feelings of depersonalisation or derealisation after 2 to 3 weeks of taking zoloft. The side effect was seen to subside after 2 weeks and people went back to their normal state as they continued the treatment with zoloft.
Some people have reported a weird sensation. They explained it by saying: “You feel as if you’re not present inside your own body.”. As stated earlier, not a large number of people have felt that way but it does exist.
A few researchers believe that this could occur when your body tries to adapt to zoloft. It’s a known phenomenon that antidepressants take time to work and you might feel worse before you start feeling better.
This is the time at which you’re most likely to feel depersonalisation, which can be characterised as a symptom of severe depression and anxiety. Once your zoloft starts to work, this sensation will begin to fade away, for good.
What does research studies suggest?
A 2014 study concluded that zoloft, in combination with lamotrigine, can actually be used for the treatment of depersonalisation associated with depression, resistant to prior treatments. The experts suggest that zoloft can help remove the disconnection people feel with their own selves.
As the drug increases the amount of excitatory neurotransmitter serotonin inside the body, it helps boost mental alertness. You become more aware of your surroundings and yourself, which can help you feel much better.
Several other research projects came up with the same conclusion that zoloft can help treat depersonalisation. This effect can vary from person to person. Some people might experience it as a side effect, but it could depend on a number of factors.
Our bodies react differently when they are exposed to medications. It’s extremely hard to predict your side effects as the combination of drug + body is unique for everyone.
Some studies revealed that depersonalisation can be a symptom of zoloft withdrawal. Some people stop their treatment halfway without their doctor’s approval. This can result in therapeutic failure and cause a number of different disturbing side effects, including depersonalisation.
How does depersonalisation affect you?
As discussed earlier, depersonalisation creates a sensation that you’re not present in your body. You’re not mentally aware and feel totally disconnected with your outside environment. It’s like you don’t exist. It interferes with your daily life activities.
People suffering from this condition often report that they can’t control their speech and motor movements. Their limbs don’t feel like a part of their body. They find it difficult to move them at times and feel total numbness when they move them.
Such people are also reported to act in an emotionless manner. Researchers suggest that such people don’t feel being a part of their body so they don’t feel obligated to the needs of their loved ones.
This creates multiple problems in their personal lives and detachment from their friends, family members, partners, children etc.
Serious effects of zoloft to look out for
Zoloft can cause serious side effects that need rapid medical care. Go to your doctor if zoloft causes following side effects:
- Extreme burning sensation as if your entire body is on fire.
- Skin allergy, which could include Stevens-Johnson. You might notice red, swollen, or blistered skin, with or without fever.
- Allergic reactions, like rash, hives are common. It also includes wheezing, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, swallowing, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat. Few of these symptoms indicate anaphylactic shock.
- It could cause low sodium levels which can result in psychological symptoms like confusion, agitation, inability to understand surroundings, memory loss etc.
- It can cause elongation of QT interval, causing increased heartbeat or arrhythmia
- The inability to have an erection
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid gland function)
- Bone marrow failure associated with low blood counts
- Abnormal behaviour/mania
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling guilty all the time
- Extrapyramidal symptoms
- Blurred vision
- Severe headaches or migraines
Things you should know about zoloft
- Do not suggest medications, unless you are a healthcare professional yourself. Do not share medications. You might think your conditions match but oftentimes they don’t. It’s actually pretty dangerous.
- If you fail to understand how to use the drug properly or have any other question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- In case of overdose, immediately reach out to the hospital. Make sure you properly guide them about how much drug you have taken and when.
- Tablets can be taken with food or on an empty stomach. It’s best to eat something before taking it, in order to avoid acid reflux.
- Oral solution comes with a measuring device. Measure the amount accurately. You can dilute it in water.
When to call your doctor
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
- Extreme cloudiness of mind
- Inability to speak or understand
- Inability to recognise surroundings
- Abnormal behaviour
- Detachment from social gatherings
- Emotionless behaviour
- Allergic reactions to the drug
Make sure you monitor your symptoms and immediately report back to your healthcare provider. If you experience abnormal side effects, there might be a possibility that your drug is not working that efficiently.
In that case, your doctor might alter the dose and even if that doesn’t provide enough therapeutic response, your doctor will change your drug.
In this blog, we discussed the relationship between zoloft and depersonalisation. A few people have reported it to be a side effect and have reported the feelings of depersonalisation or derealisation after 2 to 3 weeks of taking zoloft.
The side effect was seen to subside after 2 weeks and people went back to their normal state as they continued the treatment with zoloft. A few researchers believe that this could occur when your body tries to adapt to zoloft.
It’s a known phenomenon that antidepressants take time to work and you might feel worse before you start feeling better. Several studies suggest that zoloft can actually be used for the treatment of depersonalisation associated with resistant depression.
The experts suggest that zoloft can help remove the disconnection people feel with their own selves. As the drug increases the amount of excitatory neurotransmitter serotonin inside the body, it helps boost mental alertness. Just make sure you take your med properly.
FAQs: zoloft depersonalisation
Can sertraline cause depersonalization?
The incidence of depersonalisation as a side effect of zoloft is pretty rare. It is most likely to be a symptom of anxiety or depression which can be treated by zoloft. Some studies revealed that depersonalisation can be a symptom of zoloft withdrawal.
Some people stop their treatment halfway without their doctor’s approval. This can result in therapeutic failure and cause a number of different disturbing side effects, including depersonalisation.
Is Zoloft good for depersonalization disorder?
Yes, zoloft can be used to help relieve the symptoms of depersonalisation disorder, but only when advised by your healthcare provider. It is not advised to start taking any medication without discussing it with your doctor first.
Does your brain go back to normal after antidepressants?
Your brain does go back to normal after you stop using antidepressants, but it takes time and this time taken depends on the duration of your antidepressant therapy. It could take up to 10 months to go back to your normal serotonin levels, after long-term antidepressant therapy.
How long does it take to feel the effects of Zoloft?
Zoloft usually starts to produce its effects in 3 to 4 weeks. Noticeable and much significant effects can be seen after 12 weeks of continuous treatment. Zoloft might make you feel worse before you feel better.
This is because it starts causing different kinds of side effects before it actually starts to cause beneficial effects. Make sure you take your medication daily and as directed by your healthcare provider.
Do not deviate from it or follow non-adherence. It is not advised to stop your treatment halfway.
Can you be allergic to sertraline?
Yes, you can be allergic to zoloft. Allergies could include Stevens-Johnson condition associated with red, swollen, or blistered skin, with or without fever. Other allergic reactions, like rash, hives are common.
It also includes wheezing, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, swallowing, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat. Few of these symptoms indicate anaphylactic shock.
Does sertraline have long term side effects?
Sertraline is considered safe to be used for long term. Antidepressants require prolonged usage to efficiently cure your condition. It is associated with side effects like:
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling angry or agitated
- Weight gain
- Inability to digest food
- Loss of libido
- Sweating/Night sweats
- Tremors or shaking
- Decreased sex drive
- Inability to ejaculate
These side effects are pretty common and begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. Severe side effects or allergic reactions lead to the discontinuation of treatment.
When common side effects linger, your doctor might adjust the dose. If that doesn’t fix your problem, it clearly indicates zoloft is not the right choice of antidepressant for you.
- H Belli, M Akbudak, and D Aslaner (2014) – A Case of Depersonalization with Treatment-resistant Depression Successfully Treated with Sertraline-lamotrigine Combination https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4655617/#__ffn_sectitle
- Bad derealization/depersonalization with Sertraline (i,e, Zoloft, Lustral) https://forum.mssociety.org.uk/t/bad-derealization-depersonalization-with-sertraline-i-e-zoloft-lustral/6932
- Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder Treatment https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/depersonalization-derealization-disorder/treatment/
- Zoloft in Depersonalization – Derealization Disorder https://www.stuffthatworks.health/depersonalization-disorder/treatments/zoloft
- Mauricio Sierra. Expert Rev Neurother. (2008) – Depersonalization disorder: pharmacological approaches https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18088198/
- G MacQueen et al. CNS Drug Rev. Spring 2001 – The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline: its profile and use in psychiatric disorders https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11420570/
- Welmoed E E Meijer et al. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2002 – Adverse events in users of sertraline: results from an observational study in psychiatric practice in The Netherlands. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12512241/