Zoloft Addiction and Rehabilitation

Zoloft Addiction Rehab Header
Last Edited: November 12, 2020
Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC
Clinically Reviewed
Andrew Lancaster, LPC, MAC
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

Dangers of Zoloft Abuse

Doctors prescribe SSRIs to help those suffering from depression. Zoloft is believed to be physically non-addictive, but a psychological addiction can be developed through continued use and it does not need to be abused to become addictive.

Extensive research has shown that depression, in its’ many forms, is life threatening. Depression is considered a disease or a disorder that mainly affects people ranging from 16 years of age and up. By increasing serotonin levels in the body, people are able to live normal lives and once again enjoy hobbies and life interests. Depression is common in an individual’s life span; it is often linked to hormone changes or hormone disruption. This could be due to other medication, as well.

If someone becomes addicted to Zoloft the consequences can be the same as someone with a Cocaine addiction. They will put everything they have into getting the even if it puts their life at risk. This, in turn, can cause an individual to lose his or her family and home because he or she is not paying attention to the things that truly matter, the only thing on their mind is Zoloft.

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Street Names for Zoloft

Zoloft is an anti-depressant that is not physically addictive but can cause a mental addiction. If your loved one has been prescribed Zoloft and their prescription keeps running out, he or she might be buying it off the streets. Some street names of Zoloft are:

  • Depression Meds
  • Anti-ds
  • Zolo
  • Depressant zs

Zoloft Effects

Abuse of Zoloft can be easily identified if the user will begin crushing the pills before ingesting or snorting them, or by increasing the amount taken a day without consulting a doctor. Those with a Zoloft addiction will take larger doses to try to get high or take them more frequently when stressful situations occur. Behaviors associated with Zoloft addiction include getting multiple anti-depressant prescriptions from different doctors, borrowing money, requesting refills too frequently, stealing or borrowing medications from others, crushing, snorting, or injecting contents of the pill. Zoloft can affect an abuser’s life the same as other illicit drugs. Just because Zoloft is an anti-depressant and prescribes by a doctor doesn’t mean users are safe from the life of addiction.

Warning signs of Zoloft abuse in a loved one

Zoloft is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the drug class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Zoloft is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications on the market today. It has the potential of abuse and can affect your loved ones’ life in many ways if he or she decides to abuse it. It is dangerous when abused and can really affect his or her life. Some of the most common signs of Zoloft addiction are:

If you have a loved one that is abusing Zoloft he or she may be crushing the pill to snort or inject. Your loved one may always have a stuffy nose from snorting or always hiding the bruises on the inside of his or her arm from using Zoloft intravenously.

Another common sign of Zoloft abuse is something called doctor shopping. Your loved one may be going to multiple doctors so he or she never runs out of the prescription. If he or she is doctor shopping, there will be more pill bottles than normal in your loved one’s possession.

Zoloft abuse is dangerous and can affect your loved one in many ways. If he or she is not doctor shopping, he or she could be getting into arguments with the pharmacist that hands him or her the pills. This can cause jail time because he or she could possibly become violent.

Factual Dangers: Zoloft

Zoloft is an anti-depressant used to help people who suffer with severe depression. When someone is depressed and takes Zoloft as prescribed it will help him or her. If Zoloft is abused, it will do the opposite and cause more harm than good. If your loved one is abusing Zoloft and you feel like he or she is hopeless don’t stress. Fist you want to figure out the signs of Zoloft abuse so you know how to approach him or her about seeking help. Some signs of Zoloft abuse are:

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True Stories of Addiction: Megan Finds Purpose After Drug Addiction

Megan would use a drug like Zoloft to escape reality but didn’t realize the drug would soon take control of her life. It is a miracle she is alive and has recovered. – View all episodes now

Zoloft Rehab Treatment

Although Zoloft addiction is uncommon, there is still cause for considering entering a treatment center. Depression is a serious illness and without proper treatment could lead to death and or serious harm. People who abuse drugs to mask emotional and psychological pain are prone to addiction issues.

The progression from seemingly harmless drug to more dangerous drugs can be extremely quick. It is vitally important to address the underlying issues of the substance abuse problem. Experts in addiction treatment centers are familiar with depression and other mental illnesses. Therapist and other professionals can help you properly address your needs and get you back to living a full life. When you enter a rehab treatment facility for your Zoloft addiction, it is important to be honest with staff about how you are feeling at all times of the day.

Coming off Zoloft can be dangerous and cause suicidal thoughts. With the help of the staff at the rehab center, you will be safe if you speak your emotion. You will also be going through therapy with a therapist to help get to the root of your problem to help prevent further addiction issues and damages to your mind and body. Zoloft addiction must be taken seriously and treated like any other addiction. It has the potential to take your life from you and cause you to lose everything you have worked for. – Learn More

Zoloft Detox Treatment

There is research stating that there is no physical addiction to Zoloft, however, intense withdrawals once the substance is out of the person’s system can be life threatening as it causes severe depression that may lead to suicide. The body becomes accustomed to the SSRI raising the serotonin levels in the body.

When detoxification does occur, the body no longer has that same level of serotonin, leaving the person feeling worse than before the medication. Many people find that they cannot get off antidepressants without professional help. If you have decided to stop taking Zoloft, consider a rehabilitation center to ensure you safety during this difficult process. Please do not stop taking Zoloft before consulting with a medical professional as it could cost you your life. If you do decide to go to rehab for your Zoloft addiction, you have made a decision that will change your life for the better.

You will being rehab with detoxification where a doctor will safely ween you off Zoloft. You will also be surrounded by a medical staff at all times and will be safe if you speak up if any suicidal thoughts occur. If you are being weened down off Zoloft, the chances of suicidal thoughts will lower but can still happen. Speak up about how you are feeling and allow others to help you though this difficult time. There is hope, you can live a life of happiness and peace. – Learn More

Addiction to Zoloft

Since Zoloft is a prescription that is used to treat depression, many think that it isn’t something that can be abused. It is because of this misconception that most people who develop an addiction to Zoloft don’t realize that it has happened.

The idea that prescription drugs are ultimately harmless is dangerous and has resulted in the death of far too many. This dangerous misconception has perhaps contributed to the national substance abuse crisis. Prescription drug abuse and addiction have created an epidemic that is one of the most important issues faces today’s generation. Not only are prescription drugs such as Zoloft addictive, but they also have the potential to cause a fatal overdose or interaction with another substance. Many people mix Zoloft with other mood and mind-altering substances, the most common being alcohol. The combination can exacerbate depression and other mental disorders to disastrous and deadly results.

So, if you are abusing Zoloft and have become addicted, it is important to understand that just because it is an anti-depressant that is commonly abused, doesn’t mean it is not dangerous. If you are addicted to Zoloft, you may be using other substances to fill the void in your heart. This, in turn, can cause overdose which can lead to your death. Zoloft addiction must be taken seriously and you need to understand it is okay to ask for help. – Learn More

Zoloft Dependency

Too much of almost any substance can be fatal. In general, the positive benefits of Zoloft usually outweigh the negative. For most people Zoloft works well and gives them their life back. Depression is a serious and potentially deadly disease that should not go untreated. There are potentially negative side effects with any drug, however, remember that it is a powerful mind-altering substance.

If mixed with other drugs, such as Alcohol, it could potentially exacerbate your depression symptoms or negate any positive benefits. Although Zoloft is typically a life-saving drug, it can be abused and people can become addicted to it. If Zoloft is abused for a long period of time, the effects can be detrimental to one’s health.  Zoloft causes deterioration of the body, resulting in internal damage that can potentially be permanent.

When ingested, Zoloft has numerous side effects and when absent from the body for more than 48 hours, withdrawals begin to occur. So, if you are dependent to Zoloft, it must be treated as any other dependency. You will need to look for treatment, go through detox and get the proper aftercare you need. Not a lot of people become dependent on Zoloft so finding a specific treatment for Zoloft addiction may be difficult. However, it is just like any other prescription drug and prescription drug treatment will work just fine. – Learn More

Seeking help for a loved one.

  • Do Zoloft Interventions Work?
    The intervention process is extremely effective in getting a Zoloft addicted person into a treatment center where he or she will get the help that is needed.
  • How Do Zoloft Interventions Work?
    A close group of family and friends will have a pre-written letter that expresses love and concern for their loved ones Zoloft addiction which will hopefully push him or her to accept the help that is offered.

Intervention for Zoloft Abuse

In cases of prescription drug addiction, many people dismiss the addiction as the drug is prescribed by a doctor. Sometimes, friends or family are the first to notice an addiction like Zoloft. An addiction will not get better on its own, don’t wait for it to get worse before you get help for your friend or family member. Keep in mind the most important thing is that he or she gets help, when addressing the situation come from a place of love, not judgment.

An intervention is a discussion where the person abusing drugs is confronted and encouraged to enter treatment. Often, people recommend contacting an intervention specialist as the conversation can be difficult. A specialist can help you decide the best intervention model and help you convey your message in a loving, compassionate way. You are going to want to gather loved ones who are also concerned about the Zoloft addicted individual. It is important to not invite anyone who could possibly become angry at him or her and say hurtful things. This will cause more harm than good and could trigger the addicted individual to leave the intervention without help.

An intervention is an emotional process and if an outburst does happen, the interventionist will be there to mediate the situation before things get out of control. The main goal of an intervention is for the Zoloft addicted individual to accept the rehab treatment being offered. So, before you schedule the intervention, make sure you are in communication with a treatment center and keep them updated on your loved one’s situation. – Learn More

Recovery from Zoloft Abuse

Getting into a treatment program for Zoloft addiction can often be a scary and embarrassing prospect. Please understand that prescription drugs, such as Zoloft, are one of the most commonly abused substances. Drugs such as Antidepressants are commonly prescribed by doctors with strict instructions for everyday use.

Although Antidepressants are meant to help people, they can do the opposite and someone could get addicted by taking more than prescribed. There is no shame is seeking help for Zoloft addiction. Zoloft has potential to cause havoc in your life just like a Cocaine addiction. You will realize that you can find a wonderful life outside of the addiction you never would have imagined. Not going into treatment sooner rather than later can often spiral into even more negative situations that could fill your life with years of regret. Thousands of people have experienced exactly what you’re going through and they’ve been able to move beyond with the help of treatment.

You will recover in treatment mentally, physically and spiritually. You will begin a life where you are truly happy and surrounded by others who understand what you are going through. You will want to get involved in a recovery community, such as the 12-step program, to keep yourself occupied. You will begin to love the 12-step program and all it can do for your life in recovery. You will see clear again and your mind won’t be consumed by Zoloft, allowing you to live a life that was not possible while you were abusing Zoloft.

  • How Can I Tell If I Am Addicted to Zoloft?
    You will not be able to stay away from the Zoloft regardless of the harm it is causing in your life. Another way to tell is if you try and stop, your body may go through withdrawal.
  • Is Zoloft Recovery Possible?
    Zoloft recovery is possible. You just need to have the willingness to change your life and have the strength to reach out.

Dangers of Zoloft Overdose

Your tolerance to Zoloft will depend on your weight, age, general health and other drugs you are taking with the Zoloft you are prescribed. So, doctors are not sure how much Zoloft can cause harm because it can affect many people in different ways. There is a chance 20 milligrams can cause overdose in someone but you could be taking 30 and be just fine.

That said, if you are taking more Zoloft than prescribed by a doctor, you can easily overdose especially if you are drinking alcohol or abusing other drugs with it. Some signs of a Zoloft overdose include dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, agitation and shakiness. If your overdose is not taken care of by medical services you could have heart problems, fall in coma, have convulsions, hallucinations, mania, fainting and even die. If you begin to notice any overdose symptoms early on, call emergency services so your health does not take a turn for the worst. Emergency services will pump your stomach to remove the Zoloft from your system.

If overdose symptoms still occur they may give you activated charcoal to remove any medication left over in the stomach lining. You will then be closely monitored by doctors and nurses until they feel you are stable and ready to leave. They may have you go into a detox for your addiction so an overdose does not happen again. If they offer detox, take the opportunity because the only way to prevent an overdose is to stop the drug completely. – Learn More

Zoloft Use, Abuse and Dependency

Zoloft, which is the brand name of the generic Sertraline, is an antidepressant that is often used to treat depression, anxiety and panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder. It is sometimes used for obsessive compulsive disorder, and PMDD which is a premenstrual syndrome. Studies have shown that this drug does not treat OCD as well as other medications meant to treat the disorder and that Zoloft may be better for treating anxiety and panic disorder than it is for depression even though it is primarily considered an antidepressant.

Zoloft is what is called an SSRI, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Another SSRI you may have heard of is Prozac or its generic, Fluoxetine. SSRIs work by inhibiting, or blocking, the reabsorption of Serotonin in the brain so that more of the Serotonin that is produced remains active than would without the drug.

Serotonin maintains a balanced mood, and so proper levels of the hormone can be associated with happiness, calmness, good focus, and emotional stability. As depression is associated with low levels of Serotonin, Zoloft is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs to treat depression. Some other things that Serotonin levels effect in the body are stomach and intestine health to do with bowel movements, stimulation of nausea, sleeping and waking, certain activities of small arteries that aid in blood clotting, bone health, as well as libido and sexual function. A healthy range of Serotonin levels in the blood is around 101-283 nanograms per milliliter; more or less Serotonin than this can cause discomfort and unpleasant results.

Although it is uncommon for people to abuse or become addicted to Zoloft, it is possible. The abuse of this drug could be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being. Unlike some hormones, like Dopamine, Serotonin does not cause euphoria or over excitement although it does play an imperative role in maintaining essential everyday functions of the body. Because of this, Zoloft is not very addictive or habit-forming and so it is not commonly abused. Regardless, after long-term use of the drug or abuse, people can develop what is called a psychological addiction. This means that they can experience emotional-motivational symptoms of withdrawal if they end usage, especially if they stop taking it abruptly.

While psychological addiction will not lead to craving or drug seeking behavior, withdrawal symptoms from discontinued use can include anxiety, depression or mood swings, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, muscle spasms, tremors, electric shock sensations, and sleep problems or nightmares.

Taking Zoloft, especially when abusing the drug, can result in Serotonin Syndrome. This syndrome describes when there are excessively high levels of Serotonin in the body due to buildup of the hormone. The less serious symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome can be flu-like such as shivers, goose bumps, headache, diarrhea. You can also experience confusion and have dilated pupils. The more serious symptoms can include muscle twitches, lower dexterity in muscles, fevers, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, as well as seizures.

While Serotonin Syndrome is sometimes not hugely concerning, it can be life-threatening in certain cases. If you believe you may be experiencing any of these symptoms in relation to use of Zoloft or another SSRI, you should seek medical attention.

Other side effects of Zoloft, associated with higher levels of Serotonin, are sexual dysfunction and low libido, nausea, aggression, and sleep problems. Rarer side effects from long term abuse of Zoloft are paranoia, depression, suicidal thoughts, nervousness and anxiety, psychosis, and even hallucinations. Sometimes people who are abusing other drugs may use Zoloft to supplement or as an attempt to balance the effects of other drugs.

Along with any kind of addiction, signs to look out for may be in social aspects of a person’s life. Someone with a substance abuse problem may isolate themselves from friends and family, they may become disinterested in things they previously enjoyed doing. They might struggle at work or in school due to decreased levels of productivity, focus, and irritability.

If you believe a loved one has been abusing Zoloft, or another substance, consider taking intervening actions to aid them towards recovery. There are many services available to people suffering from addiction, including detox centers, inpatient centers, outpatient services, sober living facilities, behavioral therapy, twelve step programs, meetings, and sponsors.

People in recovery need a lot of support to make it through rehabilitation and fully adjust to a sober life style. Addiction changes the ways that the brain makes decisions and prioritizes. These effects are difficult to shift back to healthier processes and so recovery services are imperative for getting off substances and continuing that sobriety.

Individual Therapy for Zoloft Addiction

If you are addicted to Zoloft and want help stopping, going to an inpatient treatment center is a great place you can learn how to recover. You will go through a period of detox to ease the pains of your withdrawal and then get to work on your recovery.

You will go through classes and therapy, including, individual therapy. Here is where you will do most of your talking about personal life and things that have happened in the past you never thought you would have to bring up again. You will meet one-on-one with a therapist who is trained in addiction therapy. The therapist will ask you a multitude of questions to get an idea of your life and what it was that lead you to abuse Zoloft. Also, he or she will have you tell him or her all the traumatic things that have happened in your life. It is going to be uncomfortable sharing things from the past, however, it is very effective in helping you recover.

When you work though the trauma for your past, it will stop popping up as frequently in the future. You may have been abusing Zoloft to try and run from the pains of your past and have not even realized it until you started working with your therapist. It will allow you to truly close doors that were stuck open from the past. This will help your recovery more than you realize. It will lessen the chance of relapse, allow you to trust people and make friends again because you know not everyone is an enemy. Individual therapy will help you learn to love yourself and live a life full of happiness in recovery.

Family Therapy for Zoloft Addiction

When your loved one is addicted to Zoloft you may not understand what is going on in and how he or she is truly suffering from a disease. If your loved one has made the decision to better his or her life and get treatment, it is not just him or her that is going to have to work on themselves. You and other family members will need to understand what addiction is and how it effects your loved one’s life.

To help understand your loved one’s Zoloft addiction better, if the treatment center he or she is in offers family therapy, you should jump at the opportunity. In family therapy, you will probably go through one or two sessions without your loved one present so the therapist has the chance to explain the disease of addiction to you and that your loved one never meant to harm you.

Once you have a pretty good idea of how addiction works, you and other family members, the therapist and the addicted individual will all meet and talk about pre-existing problems. While your Zoloft addicted loved one is in the care of treatment, it would be a god idea to bring up anything he or she has done that may have hurt you. Since you will be with a therapist, the conversation will be mediated and the therapist will explain both sides until the issue is resolved. This will make life much easier when your loved one is out of treatment because you will have already talked and got over what has happened in the past.

  • Is Family Therapy Helpful for Zoloft Addiction?
    Yes, as family therapy will help mend all relationships that were negatively affected by the Zoloft addiction.
  • Why Should I Attend Family Therapy?
    If you are recovering from Zoloft addiction, you may have harmed your loved ones. Going to family therapy and showing your loved ones that you are a new person can really help you gain their support.

True Stories of Addiction: Indya’s Dangerous Drug Addiction

Indya lost everything due to her drug addiction. She was using a drug like Zoloft to feel normal and a part of the world. She never felt like she belonged and was always depressed but thought Zoloft would change her point of view. The drug ended up making things worse and she was lost in the world of addiction. She ended up calling a rehab because she knew if she wasn’t to stop abusing drugs soon, she would lose her life. The rehab sent someone to pick her up and she started her journey of recovery. Things have not been the easiest on Indya but she believes being sober is a much better alternative over the life she was living.

Seeking help for a loved one.

  • Will Inpatient Treatment Help my Zoloft Addiction?
    Inpatient treatment is one of the most effective ways to recover from Zoloft addiction.
  • How Long is Zoloft Inpatient Treatment?
    The length of your stay in an inpatient program depends on your Zoloft addiction and the program you choose to go to.

Inpatient Zoloft Rehab

Considering a treatment program for a Zoloft addiction can be overwhelming. Prescription drugs, like Zoloft, are one of the most commonly abused substances as medical professionals direct you to take these pills as needed and leave the administration up to you. Because the administration is up to you, if you take more than prescribed, it will be hard to see if you have a problem. You will be able to justify your Zoloft abuse because you have a prescription and it is legal.

You will begin to realize your life is spiraling out of control and understand you are worthy of treatment. When you realize you are worthy of treatment, you will want to get into a rehab. The most effective rehab is inpatient and it is highly recommended. In inpatient rehab, you will stay in a facility for a few months while you recover from your addiction. You will usually begin your stay with a period of medically supervised detox where you will be medicated and safely weaned off Zoloft and other mind-altering substances.

Once detoxed, you will be clear headed and ready to go through therapy and classes inpatient rehab offers. Each therapy and class will hit a different aspect of your life that was effects because of your Zoloft addiction. Working through these problems will help you recover and prevent relapse for the future. It is important to be honest while in treatment so you get the most out of rehab. You will want to follow up your inpatient rehab with an outpatient program or 12-step program. – Learn More

Outpatient Rehab

Once you have decided you want help with your Zoloft addiction, you will need to get the proper treatment. You will have a multitude of treatments to choose from including outpatient rehab. If you choose outpatient rehab, you will be traveling to a facility a few times a week for a few hours at a time. Outpatient rehab does not offer detox so before you begin your rehab treatment it is highly recommended to get the detox you need to safely remove the Zoloft out of your system.

It would be hard to drive to rehab while detoxing and would make it extremely difficult to not pick up a pill to take the pain away. You have more freedom in outpatient than inpatient rehab which means you will need to really focus on your recover and why you want it all day. It would be smart to pair your outpatient up with a 12-step program.

If you have family obligations or work, there is no excuse as to why you couldn’t make it to a 12-step meeting. They have meetings at every hour of the day all around town so it can fit in your busy schedule easily. Working a 12-step program and attending an outpatient rehab at the same time will increase the chances of your recovery and help prevent relapse. If at all possible, consider going through inpatient and escaping the real world for a bit. Having some time to reflect on yourself without the daily struggles of life is extremely effective and is the most effective way to recover. Outpatient works best when it is done after an inpatient program, however you can still find recovery by just doing outpatient. – Learn More

  • What is Zoloft Outpatient Rehab?
    Zoloft outpatient rehab is most effective when you have already completed an inpatient program. You will travel to a facility a few times a week for different types of therapy.
  • Will Outpatient Help my Zoloft Addiction?
    Yes. Outpatient will help your Zoloft addiction, but works best if you attend inpatient rehab first.

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