How Zoloft (Sertraline) Is Used to Treat Social Anxiety Disorder
sertraline hydrochloride (Zoloft) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, a mental health condition marked by an irrational fear of being watched, judged, or of embarrassing or humiliating yourself.
Zoloft is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which works to slow re-absorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical that plays a role in the regulation of mood and anxiety. It is also used to treat other mental health problems, including major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.
Precautions and Contradictions
Zoloft should be used with caution if you:
- Are allergic to sertraline, which is the active ingredient in Zoloft
- Are being treated with medication for alcohol abuse
- Are breastfeeding
- Are pregnant (third trimester is most at risk for complications) or planning to become pregnant
- Have a bipolar disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder
- Have impaired liver or kidney function, heart disease, diabetes, or a history of seizures
Zoloft has not been approved for the treatment of social anxiety disorder in people under 18 years of age. There is some evidence to suggest an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children taking Zoloft.
How to Take and Store
Zoloft comes in tablet or liquid form. In general, Zoloft is taken once daily, with or without food.
- Swallow the tablets whole—not chewed or crushed.
- When taking Zoloft, avoid grapefruit juice and eating grapefruits as it can interfere with how the medication is metabolized in your body.3
- If taking the liquid form of Zoloft, combine the prescribed amount of medication with one-half cup of liquid (water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice), and be sure to prepare each dose immediately before you take it, not in advance.2
- If you forget to take a daily dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take it at your regular time. Never take two doses of Zoloft at the same time.
- When travelling, store Zoloft in your carry-on baggage in case your luggage gets lost.
- It’s important to continue taking Zoloft as long as your doctor instructs, even if you begin to feel better. If you abruptly stop taking Zoloft, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, tremors, lightheadedness, muscle pains, weakness, insomnia, and anxiety. sertraline hydrochloride. zoloft
Side effects of Zoloft can range from mild to more serious.
The most common side effects of Zoloft include:6
- Dry mouth
- Decreased appetite
- Sexual dysfunction
When first starting Zoloft, or when changing dosage, report any of the following side effects to your doctor immediately:
- Allergic reaction symptoms like hives, rash, difficulty swallowing or breathing, severe dizziness, and swelling of the face, mouth, throat, or tongue
- Changes in urine or stools (dark or increased urine, black stools)
- Persistent vomiting or nausea
- Severe abdominal pain
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- Symptoms of serotonin syndrome, including agitation, confusion, sweating, hallucinations, abnormal reflexes, muscle spasms, and rapid heartbeat