The brand name drug Zoloft, which is also sold under the generic name Sertraline, has helped revolutionize the treatment of depression. It remains one of the most popular antidepressants, with doctors writing 30 million prescriptions each year. Few people use this drug recreationally, causing it to be classified as a Schedule IV prescription drug, indicating several therapeutic uses and a low potential for abuse. Recreational use of this drug is so rare, in fact, that few agencies even publish statistics addressing Zoloft addiction. Zoloft, however, directly affects brain function, and users with a medical prescription may slowly grow physically and psychologically dependent on the drug, ultimately leading to addiction. Once addicted, you may need to seek drug treatment in Idaho.
Zoloft belongs to a group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). These drugs work by increasing the bioavailability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation and feelings of happiness. Serotonin also helps regulate gastrointestinal functions and platelet behavior, so Zoloft can also affect these biochemical reactions.
SSRIs became widely available in the 1990s. Initially, doctors believed they came with fewer side effects than older generation antidepressants, but we now know that these drugs don't necessarily come with fewer side effects, just different ones. More than 60% of people who take Zoloft, for example, report forms of sexual dysfunction ranging from mild disruptions in libido to the total inability to orgasm or feel sexual desire.
Depression is a serious illness, though, and some people are willing to expose themselves to risky side effects to get better. For others, Zoloft's side effects are minimal, or are dramatically less than those they experience with other antidepressants. And though Zoloft is primarily known as an antidepressant, it is approved for much more than just the treatment of depression. The drug can also be effective at treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and premature ejaculation. Finding effective treatments for these disorders can be challenging, making Zoloft an appealing option for many struggling patients.
Doctors often prescribe Zoloft alongside other drugs, such as sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, or even a second antidepressant. It's important to add only one drug at a time to gauge for effectiveness and addictive potential. Otherwise the side effects you think are due to Zoloft - and even an addiction you blame on Zoloft - could actually be due to another medication.
Zoloft is available at several dosage levels, with most doctors opting to start their patients at lower doses and then steadily titrate the dosage up. Most users - both recreational and prescription - take the drug in pill form, though a limited number of users crush it and attempt to snort it. This approach carries the same risks and side effects as the drug in pill form, but users may also experience sinus, throat, or nasal problems if they snort Zoloft.
Because Zoloft affects serotonin levels, it affects the brain, gut, and platelets. This means that the drugs' effects are far-reaching, and that abuse of the drug at high doses can give rise to dangerous side effects almost immediately. In fact, it can be challenging to differentiate the drug's short and long-term side effects from one another, since some users immediately experience negative side effects, while others only experiences these side effects on a long-term basis or at high doses. It's also important to note that drinking alcohol while under the influence of Zoloft can exacerbate negative side effects and potentially even lead to life-threatening side effects, especially if you drink large quantities of alcohol.
While it's possible to experience more dramatic short-term side effects when you use Zoloft, the most common immediate side effects of the drug include:
Zoloft is designed to be taken on a long-term basis. Thus with proper medical monitoring, routine blood testing, and careful reporting of any symptoms you experience, it's possible to take Zoloft for years without developing an addiction or encountering serious side effects. Doctors aren't sure why some patients encounter serious side effects or become addicted while others don't. But some users experience serious side effects, including:
Zoloft recreational use is unique among potentially addictive drugs because it's not very effective at getting users high. When it was first developed, there was some press speculation that it might work as a "happy pill" even for people who don't have depression. However, to date there's been no evidence that Zoloft can make people without depression happier. Thus the recreational use of this drug is relatively rare, with most recreational prescription drug users opting for a more potent option, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety medications.
Instead, most Zoloft addicts become addicts after receiving a valid medical prescription. The drug's effectiveness can diminish over time, spurring doctors to steadily increase a patient's dose. Some patients may also self-medicate by increasing the dose on their own. As this happens, the body becomes progressively more dependent on Zoloft. Stopping the drug, then, can give rise to unpleasant side effects, and is also likely to cause depression to return.
When you have an addiction, you feel both physically and psychologically dependent on your drug of choice. It doesn't matter why you started using Zoloft, and Zoloft's status as a prescription drug is irrelevant, since prescription drugs are now the leading cause of drug addiction and drug-related emergency room visits. Instead, what matters is how Zoloft affects your life. If you continue using the drug despite serious negative side effects, you may be an addict.
Ask yourself the following questions. If you can answer yes to several, you might need help for Zoloft addiction:
When you struggle with addiction and mental illness at the same time, addiction parlance calls this a dual diagnosis. Almost by definition, your use of Zoloft suggests that you have a mental illness. Few people abuse this drug without a medical prescription, and the small number of recreational users may actually be self-medicating depression, OCD, or a similar condition. Just like drug addiction, people facing mental health issues may blame themselves, face societal stigma, or struggle to get reliable answers and help.
Many people struggling with mental illness don't seek help at all, and more than half of all drug addicts are mentally ill. There are at least two reasons for this. First, people with mental illness may take drugs to self-medicate, or may receive prescriptions for addictive drugs. For instance, if you take Zoloft for depression but begin abusing the drug, your mental illness has played a role in your addiction. Second, Zoloft can inspire chemical changes in your body that increase your risk of mental illness. If you recreationally use Zoloft or take it in large doses, you're more vulnerable to this dangerous side effect and getting drug treatment in Boise may be needed.
If Zoloft hasn't offered you relief from your mental health condition, you're certainly not alone. You may need a different drug, therapy, lifestyle changes, or a blend of several different treatments. Or maybe Zoloft has contributed to or caused the problem. The good news is that treatment is available, and may even take less time than you think. If you struggle with addiction and mental illness, Zoloft rehab is the best and most comprehensive treatment option.
Zoloft is prescribed for depression more than for any other cause, so if you take Zoloft, it's likely that you already struggle with depression. What you may not know is that most people with depression don't experience complete remission with a single antidepressant. If you're not getting better, don't keep upping the dose. Instead, it's time to talk to your doctor about alternative drug treatments in Idaho.
Though you may experience withdrawal when you first quit Zoloft, this does not have to mean that your depression comes back. Instead, withdrawal simply eliminates Zoloft from your body so that you can safely try something else.
Not sure whether you have depression? The most common symptoms of depression include:
Using Zoloft recreationally can effectively treat several anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. However, compared to other SSRI antidepressants, Zoloft is more "activating." This means that some people with depression experience more symptom of anxiety with Zoloft than they might on another antidepressant. And some people who take Zoloft for anxiety experience a worsening of symptoms.
It's common for people struggling with anxiety to mistake their symptoms for symptoms of another disorder. You might think you're depressed, or you might even attribute the sleeplessness and restlessness you experience to a life-threatening medical illness! Knowing the symptoms of anxiety is key to helping you get the right medical care, since many drugs can make anxiety worse. Check out the list of symptoms below to determine if you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder in addition to your Zoloft addiction.
Zoloft acts on serotonin, which can affect activity in your gastrointestinal tract. Consequently, some users of the drug experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. For people suffering from eating disorders, these symptoms may actually be welcomed as opportunities to lose weight. More frequently, though, people with eating disorders use Zoloft not as a weight loss drug, but as a way to cope with the depression that so often co-occurs with eating disorders. Without treating the underlying disordered eating, though, your symptoms are destined to get worse, not better.
Addiction is a lifelong, chronic disease. This means that the drug you use isn't special; instead, your selection of this drug is fairly random, since you could just as easily have become addicted to another substance. In the early days after you quit Zoloft, you're particularly vulnerable to developing a subsequent addiction. When you use one addiction to replace another addiction, this is called a cross-addiction, though some addiction specialists also use the term to refer to multiple simultaneous addictions.
People who develop Zoloft addictions are vulnerable to becoming addicted to subsequent antidepressants, as well as prescription psychoactive medications such as anxiety pills and sleeping pills. Behavioral addictions are are also common, since recovering addicts may not realize that certain behaviors can be just as addictive as drugs.
Sex feels good, and can leave you with a powerful high, particularly when the sexual relationship is strong and mutually beneficial. For some people, though, this high becomes an addictive drug in its own right, causing them to seek near-constant sexual gratification and stimulation. People who struggle with depression may engage in compulsive sex to help numb the pain, distract them from their cravings, or regain a sense of control over their lives.
Every addict is unique. And just as not all medications work for all diabetics, so too is the case with addiction treatment. Some addicts find hope for the first time in rehab, while others embrace 12-step programs or the power of therapy. You may need to try several treatment options before you arrive at something that works, particularly if you also struggle with depression.
Drug rehabilitation is the gold standard in addiction treatment because of its intensive, comprehensive nature. If you also struggle with mental illness or a cross-addiction, rehab may be the very best option, regardless of your circumstances. Each rehab facility offers something a bit different, but most offer at least the following services:
Though therapy is inevitably a part of rehab, you can also pursue therapy outside the walls of rehab. Some rehab facilities also allow clients to continue coming to therapy at the facility even after they check out. Your therapist can help you with whatever issues you need help with, but you'll generally discuss the following:
Addiction is a disease, so the recovery journey almost always involves the help and support of a medical doctor. If you struggle with depression or another mental health issue, your doctor can offer you alternatives to potentially addictive treatments. Your doctor will also coach you through the withdrawal process, taking steps to minimize any medical risks withdrawal poses. If you have addiction-related health problems such as memory loss or cardiovascular difficulties, your doctor will also devise a plan to manage these issues.
Support groups remain the most popular method for quitting drugs, at least in part because these groups are readily available and often free. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is the single most popular and well-known drug treatment program. NA's 12-step model encourages you to maintain long-term sobriety, make amends to loved ones you've hurt, and work to help other addicts overcome their addiction. You can also pick a sponsor. This person, also a recovering addict, can offer you wisdom, support, and crisis assistance when you need it, though the specifics of your relationship are up to you and your sponsor to decide. If you prefer to work exclusively with addicts who struggle with prescription drug addiction, consider joining NA's sister program, Pills Anonymous, instead.
NA also offers help to struggling families, in the form of its family group, Nar-Anon. Teenagers who love an addict can seek help from a similar program Nar-a-Teen.
Although NA is not overtly religious, it does make both direct and indirect spiritual references. Many groups pray, and it's common for meetings to take place in churches. Though the program has helped thousands of people who don't practice any specific religious faith, some atheists, agnostics, and non-Christians prefer secular programs such as SMART Recovery and Rational Recovery.
Addicts aren't the only ones who suffer due to addiction. You've likely harmed your family, and your family may not understand the disease model of addiction, opting instead to blame you. If you need help educating your family or your family wants to know how they can best help you, a number of options are available, including:
The process of making amends with your family can be uncomfortable and painful. Just as your addiction developed over months or years, it can take months or years to resolve the problems it has wrought. Your family may have heard false promises from you before, so it's up to you to prove that this time, you're truly committed to your recovery. Stick with it and you may be surprised to see how far you and your family can go in a short period of time.
Sobriety is a journey, not a race, and the tools you need to successfully complete the journey vary from person to person. No matter how downtrodden you feel now, though, know that millions of addicts just like you have successfully recovered. Addiction is a disease, not a personal failing. Just as you wouldn't deny yourself treatment for cancer or diabetes, there's no reason to deny yourself the drug treatment in Idaho you need for your addiction.
If you became addicted to Zoloft because of depression, you might already be feeling overwhelmed. The journey toward depression remission is not always an easy or smooth one, and you may need to try several treatment methods before you find something that works. Depression comes with a remission rate of more than 95%, though, so take heart knowing that you can and will eventually feel better.
Your cravings for Zoloft may continue for quite a while after you quit. Typically, the cravings are worse during the first week or two, during which you may also experience intense physical withdrawal symptoms and potentially even physical illnesses. Thereafter, your cravings will gradually diminish, until you go days or even weeks without a craving. You'll be most vulnerable to relapse when you're around triggers for use, such as a friend who abuses drugs or a stressful scenario in which you previously abused Zoloft. While relapse is often a part of the recovery journey, you can reduce your risk of relapse by committing to permanent, lasting sobriety. If you do, your cravings will eventually disappear altogether.
The first step is often the most challenging, but when you seek help for the first time, you may be surprised by how much help is available. You can recover, and when you do, you'll wonder why you waited so long. Don't delay a better, happier, healthier life for another second.