Sertraline is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. It may also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, counting, and checking) that interfere with daily living. Sertraline is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.
How to use Zoloft
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using sertraline, and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily either in the morning or evening. The tablet or liquid form of this medication may be taken with or without food. The capsule form is usually taken with food. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules.
The liquid form of this medication must be mixed with another liquid before use. Just before taking, carefully measure the dose using the medicine dropper provided. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Mix the dose with a half-cup (4 ounces/120 milliliters) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. Do not use other liquids to mix this drug. The mixture may appear cloudy, which is normal and harmless. Drink all of the mixtures right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance.
If you are taking this medication for premenstrual problems, your doctor may direct you to take this drug every day of the month or for only the 2 weeks before your period until the start of your period.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as mood swings, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
Common Side Effects of Zoloft
Most patients tolerate Zoloft well, but it still has side effects that vary in severity. Common side effects of Zoloft are milder than first-generation antidepressants.
- Weight loss or gain
- Increased sweating
- Sleepiness or insomnia
- Dry mouth
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Fever (in children)
- Urinary incontinence (in children)
- Aggression (in children)
Some users experience sexual side effects, including problems with orgasm and ejaculatory delay and impotence. These do not typically decrease with use.
Black Box Warning for Suicide
Zoloft causes some younger users of the drug to report being suicidal. The FDA requires Zoloft and all antidepressants to carry a black box warning about the danger of suicide during the initial stages of treatment, especially in children. Clinical studies have shown that a small number of younger users of antidepressants, including sertraline, become suicidal.
People who stop taking SSRIs may suffer from what doctors call discontinuation syndrome. The symptoms may be most intense the first week and slowly taper off. But, some people may have a longer withdrawal period.
According to Harvard physician Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, author of The Antidepressant Solution, about 60 percent of people who took Zoloft experienced withdrawal reactions. Many patients who wish to stop medication often continue to take it or increase their dose because doctors mistake withdrawal symptoms for depressive relapse, Glenmullen said. The severity of symptoms may be dependent on dose and duration.
- Loss of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Vivid dreams
- Flu-like symptoms
- Crying spells
Zoloft Side Effects in Clinical Trials
Researchers noted more serious side effects during premarket Zoloft clinical trials of over 4,000 patients. These side effects were rarer, but worth noting in studies. According to researchers, while these events occurred while receiving Zoloft, there is no definite proof that Zoloft caused these adverse events.
- Urinary problems
- Flu-like symptoms
- Menstrual disorder
- Breast pain
- Ear and eye pain
Can massage relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress?
Stress is an inevitable part of life. It is almost impossible to take away all the stress and anxiety we may feel on a day-to-day basis. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of illness results from stress alone. Decreasing physical and emotional stress is optimal to improving overall health and well-being.
A 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. And when cortisol levels decline, serotonin — one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms — increases by an average of 28 percent after receiving a massage. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety, and feelings of sadness.
The emotional balance massage provides can be just as vital and valuable as the physical benefits. Massage provides a safe and nurturing place for individuals to relax, refocus, and find clarity. It can increase awareness of the mind-body connection. Massage can generate confidence and enhance self-image and self-worth.
Safe nurturing touch helps fulfill the need for human contacts, such as the comforting touch we once received at birth. For some, massage is the only caring touch they may receive. Massage can be considered an hour-long hug, providing you with a nurturing safe place to rest physically and emotionally.
I provide massage for many clients who are living with anxiety and depression, and the day-to-day symptoms those feelings bring. Most of them find relief after receiving a massage, saying they are able to feel more relaxed and calm and feel a sense of worth.
My focus as a licensed massage therapist is deep-relaxation therapeutic massage. I listen to my patients’ needs, and together, we create a treatment plan that works toward decreasing the symptoms that come with anxiety and depression. Many clients want to feel a sense of hope — therapeutic massage may help support you on your journey.
If you are one of the many who experience depression or anxiety or are just overloaded with extra stress, massage can be an effective part of treatment supporting you to create a sense of relief, empowerment, and the mind-body connection. What does massage therapy involve?
During massage therapy, your therapist will rub, stretch, and apply pressure to muscles in your body. Some styles of massage involve over-the-clothes touching. Others involve direct contact with your skin, often with scented oils. Some involve acupuncture needles, warm stones, or complex twisting poses.
Does therapy help relieve depression?
When your muscles and connective tissues become stiff or rigid, it can cause pain and limit your movement. Massage therapy can help relieve this tension in your muscles and connective tissues. It also increases your blood flow and promotes relaxation.
If you have depression, massage therapy probably won’t cure your condition. But it may help relieve the physical symptoms associated with it. For example, massage may help alleviate sluggishness, back pain, joint pain, and muscle aches. It can also help relieve fatigue and sleeping problems.
Here are some common types of massage used in the United States:
- Swedish massage: In this common method, your therapist will apply smooth, circular, kneading actions to your muscles.
- Chair massage: In this method, you will sit on a special chair and lean forward into a headrest. This is a good introduction to massage, since the sessions are usually short and don’t require you to remove any clothing.
- Deep tissue massage: Your massage therapist may use this method to treat tight muscles caused by stress or other problems. They will focus on the muscles closest to your bones, as well as their connective tissues.
- Shiatsu: In this technique, your therapist will apply firm pressure to specific points on your body, much like acupuncture. The pressure is more firm than in many types of massage, but it rarely produces stiffness afterward.
- Reflexology: In this type of massage, your therapist will apply pressure to areas of your feet that are believed to correspond with other systems and organs in your body.
- Aromatherapy massage: In this method, your therapist will combine massage with scented oils to help reduce stress or boost your energy.
- Hot stone massage: During this method, your therapist will place warm flat stones on your body to help relax your muscles. They will also apply pressure to the stones to relieve muscle tension.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company or specific massage therapy technique, modality or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.