Zoloft brain fog (All you need to know) 

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In this blog, we will discuss zoloft induced brain fog. Zoloft is known for a lot of side effects, one of which is brain fog. We are also going to talk about other medications and health conditions that can possibly contribute to your brain fog. Stay with us to learn more. 

Does zoloft cause brain fog?

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Zoloft can cause brain fog in some of its users. This side effect is not that common and it usually occurs during the first few weeks of treatment. People on higher doses of zoloft are more likely to suffer from brain fog.

Brain fog is related to a wide range of psychological symptoms. It is not considered a disease and is often present as a symptom of some underlying mental health condition. People with brain fog usually suffer from following symptoms:

  • They can’t seem to remember names, numbers, words or addresses.
  • Their decision making ability is badly affected and they are never sure about anything.
  • They see simple tasks like a challenge. 
  • They can not seem to focus on one thing properly.
  • They find it difficult to learn a new skill.
  • They can not respond quickly and take some time to process the question. They don’t understand humour and get confused when they talk to someone.

It can also make people behave in an awkward way. Studies suggest that people with brain fog tend to take everything negatively and suffer from feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. One zoloft user stated:

“I expected zoloft to take my depression away but it has left me with a mental fog. It makes me vulnerable to negative perceptions and I can’t even focus on my daily tasks.”

One thing to remember here is that zoloft produces different kinds of side effects in different individuals. Yes, it can cause cognitive impairment but there’s no way to be sure that it will definitely cause cognitive impairment in every single one of its users.

What to do:

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Try making detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it like oranges, apples, kiwi, berries etc. 

You also need to manage your stress which, at times, makes it difficult for you to think clearly and rationally. It releases cortisol, also known as ‘stress hormone’. 

It is also known to increase appetite and sugar cravings. Make sure you manage your stress levels. Some methods of managing stress include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Relaxing exercises like stretches.
  • Engaging time in favourite activities like swimming, reading, gardening, walking etc.

Make sure you sleep for about 7 to 8 hours, every night. Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests following tips to make your sleep quality better than it is now. These include:

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every day, working days as well as weekends. 
  • Make sure your bedroom is always quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature to help you relax and make your sleep quality better.
  • Do not use electronic devices or gadgets before going to bed. They reduce your sleep quality. Make sure you remove such devices from your room or switch them off.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. They will only ruin your sleep quality.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help relax your muscles and make your sleep quality better.

Home remedies that might improve your cognitive functions

Following are a few tips to help improve your cognitive functions:

  • Make sure you don’t put pressure on your brain. Do half of your tasks now and save some for later.
  • Identify your trigger factors. If a certain type of activity, talking to someone specific, eating a certain kind of food or reading about something brings out an unusual reaction or confuses you, it’s best to avoid it. 
  • Stay close to people who support you, understand you, teach you and make you look at the brighter side.
  • Organise your things in such a way that you don’t find it difficult to locate them.
  • If you have something important coming up, set a reminder or mark your calendar to help you remember it. 
  • Engage in relaxing exercises like yoga and meditation.
  • Read your favourite books.
  • Play memory boosting games.

Other medications that might cause brain fog

It’s important to check every single one of your prescription medications to be sure which one is the root cause of unpleasant side effects you’re going through. Some medications enhance the intensity of side effects when used together. 

Make sure you discuss the use of two or more medications together with your healthcare provider. Medications that can cause brain fog include:

Drugs used to treat anxiety

Anti-anxiety drugs are capable of harming your cognitive functions. These meds are meant to slow down your brain but higher doses result in brain fog. Examples of anti-anxiety include:

  • Clonazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Diazepam
  • Lorazepam 

Drugs used to lower cholesterol levels

Statins, used to decrease levels of LDL and VLDL, can also cause brain fog after prolonged use. These meds include:

  • Simvastatin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Lovastatin 
  • Fluvastatin

Drugs used to control convulsions

Anticonvulsants or anti-seizure drugs are used to decrease the excess neuronal firing in the brain responsible for causing seizures. Such meds are also known to cause mental fog. Examples include:

  • Valproic acid
  • Carbamazepine
  • Acetazolamide
  • Gabapentin
  • Pregabalin
  • Topiramate
  • ezogabine

Narcotic analgesics

Narcotic analgesics are used to reduce pain, usually after surgery. They can also result in slowing down your brain and cause mental fog. These include:

  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Fentanyl 

Drugs used to treat Parkinson’s 

These drugs are dopamine agonists and are used to treat the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s diseases. These meds include:

  • Pramipexole
  • Apomorphine
  • Ropinirole 

Drugs to reduce high blood pressure

Antihypertensive can also cause brain fog. Usually beta blockers are associated with this side effect. These include:

  • Propranolol
  • Atenolol
  • Esmolol
  • Metoprolol
  • Timolol 

Drugs used to induce sleep

Hypnotics can also result in slowing your brain down and cause mental fog. Example of these meds include:

  • Zolpidem
  • Zaleplon
  • Eszopiclone 

Drugs used to treat allergies

Antihistamines or anti-allergies can induce sleep and slow down your brain. People on higher doses can experience brain fog. Examples are:

  • Carbinoxamine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Brompheniramine
  • Hydroxyzine 

Make sure if your brain fog is the side effect of zoloft solely or you have been taking one or more of the medications mentioned above as well. Remember, medications affect everyone differently. 

If you heard from someone that zoloft causes brain fog because they have experienced it, it does not mean you will experience the same side effect. 

Every human body reacts differently when it is exposed to medications so it’s not so wise to relate your dose or side effects with someone else’s. 

Other health conditions that can cause brain fog 

Not just medicine, certain health conditions are also known to produce brain fogs. Such conditions include:

  • Depression and anxiety: These conditions are well known for clouding your judgement. It could be possible that your antidepressant does not suit you and your symptoms of depression are worsening day by day.
  • Hormonal changes: hormonal changes in women lead to symptoms like mood wings, confusion, nervousness, forgetfulness etc. it is most common in post-menopausal women.
  • Hypothyroidism: experts believe that thyroid hormones have a huge impact on brain functions and deficiency of these hormones can result in brain fog.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune conditions, like lupus, celiac disease etc, are also known to cause mental fog.

When to call your doctor 

Side effects of zoloft usually begin to fade away in 3 to 4 weeks. Infact, sometimes it can take up to 2 months. But if your side effects persist, immediately reach out to your healthcare provider. 

You might need a lower dose. Even if it’s just been a week or two on zoloft, but you feel side effects which are severe and disabling, don’t wait for them to subside. Seek medical attention as soon as you can. 

Conclusion 

In this blog, we have learned about zoloft induced brain fog. It might make you feel confused, alone, frustrated and disoriented. Brain fog can also affect your emotional well-being and your decision making ability. 

Make sure you rule out other health conditions that could contribute to your brain fog. A lot of medications, other than zoloft and the rest of antidepressants, can cause brain fog. 

Make sure you find the actual culprit behind your brain fog and deal with it as advised by your healthcare professional. 

FAQs: zoloft brain fog

Do antidepressants give you brain fog?

Yes, antidepressants can give you brain fog. It could simply be the side effect of your antidepressant or the symptom of depression indicating that your antidepressant is not working out that well for you and your depression symptoms are worsening with the passage of time. 

Does sertraline mess with your memory?

Sertraline can cause permanent memory damage if not taken properly. Antidepressants should be taken regularly and right on time if you wish to see them working. Non-adherence will result in therapeutic failure. 

Can Zoloft make you lazy?

Yes, zoloft can make you feel lazy, lethargic, dizzy, drowsy or tired. 

What does brain fog feel like?

Brain fog is related to a wide range of psychological symptoms. It is not considered a disease and is often present as a symptom of some underlying mental health condition. People with brain fog usually suffer from following symptoms:

  • They can’t seem to remember names, numbers, words and addresses.
  • Their decision making ability is badly affected and they are never sure about anything.
  • They see simple tasks like a challenge. 
  • Their can not seem to focus on one thing properly
  • They find it difficult to learn a new skill.
  • They can not respond quickly and take some time to process the question. They don’t understand humour and get confused when they talk to someone.

How long does brain fog last after stopping antidepressants?

If you have properly tapered off zoloft, your withdrawal symptoms would not be so dramatic. They usually start within two to four days, and last just a week or two.

What vitamin helps with brain fog?

Vitamin B complex, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium etc can help you with your brain fog. 

References 

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/019839S74S86S87_20990S35S44S45lbl.pdf.
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