Zoloft week by week (A complete guide)
In this blog post, we are going to talk about the effects of zoloft week by week. We will also discuss why zoloft is prescribed and how depression takes its toll. Stay with us till the end.
What are the reactions to Zoloft on a week by week basis?
|Weeks||Possible effects of zoloft|
|Week 1||-You will feel your mood getting a little better.-You might suffer from side effects like nausea, vomiting, loss of libido, loss of appetite.|
|Week 2||-You might start feeling a little irritated-Side effects might disturb you even more.-You might find it difficult to fall asleep (Insomnia)-You might experience mood swings|
|Week 3||-Your depression or anxiety should feel much less now.-You still somewhat struggle with side effects-You might find some days harder than the others.|
|Week 4||-You are still somewhat coping with side effects but they start to feel less irritating now.-Your body is getting used to the med.-Your depression symptoms get better by the day.|
|Week 5-6||-You feel stress free and energised.-Your side effects begin to fade away-Your body gets more comfortable with zoloft|
Note: This is not for everyone on zoloft. Medicines affect people differently. It might not go this way for you as zoloft is not for everyone.
There are plenty of antidepressants out there which might act better on you, as compared to zoloft. Some people can’t tolerate it well and the treatment is stopped during the first few weeks
Zoloft, a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin from the synaptic cleft (space between a neuron and its target cell). It increases the availability of serotonin in your brain.
If you’re wondering what serotonin is, it is a neurotransmitter (a chemical) released by our brain which is responsible for modulating mood, cognition, reward, learning, memory, and various other psychological processes.
It improves sleep quality, increases appetite, boosts energy levels, reduces the frequency of panic attacks and much more. One major thing you need to know about antidepressants is, they do not treat depression instantly.
For example, you take an antipyretic to reduce your fever and within an hour or two, you start to feel better because you know the medicine is working and has already started reducing your fever.
In case of antidepressants, it usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for the drug to start working properly because these medicines try to make changes in your brain and it needs more time than usual to do so.
So make sure you are taking your medicine as directed by your physician. Zoloft is available in tablet form in dosage strength of 5mg, 50 mg and 100 mg it is also available as an oral solution which must be diluted before use.
The standard dose of zoloft is 25 mg to 50 mg per day, depending on severity of your depression. In case of major depression, 50 mg per day is recommended.
For the one who is just about to start taking this med, let’s check out how the first 6 weeks with zoloft look like.
The first week of zoloft might make you feel pleasant but it is a rocky road. The high feeling can wear off and you find yourself feeling sick and completely unable to get anything done, but don’t you worry! Your body is just trying to adapt.
During week 2 and 3, you will feel that your anxiety has significantly reduced and your side effects will start to subside, but still some days will be harder than the others. Some days, you will feel nauseous, insomniac, frustrated and anxious.
During week 4 to 6, you will start feeling more cheerful and less depressed. You will see your side effects subsiding even more as your body has accepted the presence of the drug. You will feel high in energy and will be able to interact in a much better way, socially.
Now, it’s time to clear one major thing that people fail to realise! Every human body is different, and no I don’t mean physically or the way we look, I mean internally!
Just like every human being reacts differently to different situations, similarly every human body reacts differently when they are exposed to medications.
Ever wonder why there are so many medicines for the same disease? The reason is variation. Every single individual out there has a different physiological composition. A certain medicine might be beneficial for one but ends up producing serious side effects in another.
So always look out for unusual adverse effects. If present, consult your healthcare provider and make sure you analyse the risk-benefit ratio of the prescribed medicine. Discontinue using it, if it doesn’t suit you.
When should you start taking antidepressants?
Depression is a mental illness associated with hopelessness, tearfulness and emptiness. This state makes a person give up on everything. Depression, in some societies, is often frowned upon.
In fact, a lot of people don’t even consider it as an illness. You tell them you’re depressed and they simply ask you to ‘stop overthinking’ (yeah, as if it’s that easy!) Depression is actually an illness and not just some episode of unnecessary overthinking.
Being depressed is not a choice. Yes, it’s not preferred to start taking antidepressants right away. You need to look for other ways first to overcome depression. If you fail to do so, then consult your healthcare provider.
Is zoloft safe?
Questions related to the safety of antidepressants often come in one’s mind. A person whose cognition is already compromised, he wants nothing but a peaceful mind. The thought of damaging other parts of your body, just to make one better, is pretty disturbing in itself.
There’s nothing new in knowing the fact that medicines come with side effects. Infact, it’s the price we pay to make ourselves feel better. Every single medicine on this planet has side effects, but we make it work by relying on the risk-benefit ratios.
So, Zoloft not being an exception, also comes with side effects. Not only can its normal use cause side effects, but if it is stopped abruptly or the dose is reduced too quickly, this can lead to a condition known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (which has symptoms of its own).
If the drug is used at too high of a dose or if there are other factors that interact and cause its level to go too high in the blood, this can lead to a condition known as serotonin syndrome (which of course, comes with its own disturbing effects).
Most common side effects include nausea, dizziness, loss of libido, loss of appetite, dry mouth, increased sweating or night sweats, tremors, diarrhoea, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, weight gain and dizziness.
Nausea and vomiting may be more likely to occur with initial use of zoloft. It improves over time when the body starts to accept it. Within a few weeks, gastrointestinal side effects subside.
Always remember, the proper use of medicines is the key to their maximum beneficial effect. Avoid deviating from the dose suggested by your healthcare provider, and never stop it abruptly.
Such medications are withdrawn slowly, by the help of tapered doses (when the dose is reduced slowly till the point where your body no longer depends on it).
What other conditions are treated by zoloft?
Zoloft is used to treat multiple psychological conditions other than depression. These include:
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic attacks
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
In this blog, we discussed the effects of zoloft week by week. Zoloft is an SSRI, which is used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of depression. It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks for an antidepressant to work. Make sure you stick to your doctor’s recommended dose and avoid non-adherence.
Do not stop antidepressants abruptly! It will exacerbate your existing condition and you will suffer withdrawal symptoms, all together.
FAQs: Zoloft week by week
How many weeks does it take for Zoloft to work?
Zoloft, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to work. You may begin to feel initial effects within the 1st week, but it’s still a rocky road.
The treatment duration varies from person to person. Some people might need more time as compared to others. It typically takes several weeks to fully recover.
What is the peak time for Zoloft?
Peak effects are seen within 4.5 to 8 hours, when the drug reaches its highest concentration in your blood. Zoloft usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to produce noticeable effects.
Can sertraline take 12 weeks to work?
It takes weeks for Zoloft to start working. Antidepressants don’t show results overnight. In some patients, it takes 8 to 12 weeks to see the best possible results.
How do I know Zoloft is working?
The simple answer: When your symptoms start to subside. Depression is commonly associated with feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
You don’t feel like socialising. Even your favourite activities don’t sound so good when you’re going through an episode of depression. So how do you know your med works?
You simply feel relieved from above mentioned symptoms. When you feel happy and satisfied, when you feel like engaging in your favourite activities and when you start feeling like being a part of your social gatherings again, you know your medicine is working.
Can I stop taking Zoloft after 3 days?
It is not recommended to stop using zoloft abruptly, or you’ll suffer withdrawal symptoms (symptoms which arise from the sudden withdrawal of zoloft).
It is best to taper your doses. Zoloft has a half-life of about one day (23 to 26 hours). It means that for every day that passes without taking the medication, the level in the blood falls by 50 percent, after two days to 25 percent and after three days to 12.5 percent, and so on. This method ensures safe withdrawal.
Does Zoloft have immediate effects?
No. Zoloft, or any other antidepressant, does not show results overnight. It usually takes 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the severity of your disease and your physiological makeup. As stated earlier, the time taken by zoloft to work varies from person to person.
- 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/
- 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/
- D Murdoch et al. Drugs. 1992 – Sertraline. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic potential in depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1281075/
- A L McRae et al. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2001 – Review of sertraline and its clinical applications in psychiatric disorders https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11336629/
- Singh HK, Saadabadi A. – Sertraline https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547689/
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