Sertraline is the generic form of the brand name medication, Zoloft. Like the popular brand, sertraline is an antidepressant included in a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It is also often indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adults.
Sertraline hydrochloride in its true form is a white crystalline powder that is only slightly soluble in water and isopropyl alcohol. When prescribed to patients, it is often supplied for oral administration as scored tablets. On the street, sertraline and its brand version Zoloft are traded and used under the names Zs, Zloft and Zoomers, among others.
Abuses of Sertraline
As it is not considered to have the qualities of an abuse potential drug, sertraline is not a controlled substance. In fact, in placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized studies, sertraline did not produce positive subjective effectives that indicate it has abuse potential as it does not appear to produce euphoria, nor does it suggest drug linking. In addition, those who use sertraline do not appear to seek more of the drug.
Contrary to findings of these studies, use in the overall market has demonstrated that sertraline does in fact have potential for abuse, especially when it is taken with other drugs or alcohol. It is sought on the streets for its ability to change the mood and disposition of an individual. Abuse of sertraline has been known to occur when an individual takes the mediation for an extended period of time as dependence can develop.
Effects of Sertraline
To deliver more stable mental health for those taking sertraline, the medication works to impact chemicals in the brain by balancing them. These chemicals may have become unbalanced, causing depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms in the individual. Sertraline works to balance those chemicals to deliver better mental health.
Certain serious side effects have been known to be associated with the use of sertraline and can include very stiff or rigid muscles, high fever, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination, headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.
Less serious and still concerning side effects associated with sertraline use include drowsiness, dizziness, tired feeling, mild nausea, stomach pain, upset stomach, constipation, dry mouth, changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems (insomnia), decreased sex drive, impotence or difficulty having an orgasm. Withdrawal of Sertraline
Sertraline is generally taken for long periods of time and therefore the individual has likely developed a dependence on the drug, both physically and psychologically. As a result, an abrupt cessation is likely to induce some uncomfortable and potentially dangerous sertraline withdrawal symptoms, also known as SSRI discontinuation syndrome.
Withdrawal symptoms associated with sertraline can include, but are not limited to:
• Burning or tingling sensation
• Sexual dysfunction
• Insomnia and/or restlessness
• Profuse sweating
• Emotional instability
Treatment of Sertraline Addiction
The withdrawal of sertraline – especially when done abruptly – can cause potentially dangerous symptoms. As such, it is important that sertraline users or addicts seek personal medical care from a board-certified physician and board-certified addiction psychiatrist. Entering a center for 24/7 comfortable detox treatment can ensure the individual rids their body of the drug completely to drive toward a complete recovery.
Quality centers will use withdrawal medications during the comfortable detox process to correct the chemical imbalances in the individual suffering from a sertraline addiction. This approach should be combined with psychological evaluations and other medical care to address cravings for the drug. This approach to treating a sertraline addiction goes beyond merely alleviating the symptoms as it treats the whole person.