How long do you have to take Zoloft before it works?

Most people wait a 4-6 weeks before they notice improvements for symptoms of depression on Zoloft. But some symptoms ease in 1-2 weeks. More here on how long you take Zoloft before it works.

minute read

The early days: Zoloft and surveillance

If you’ve just started taking Zoloft, you probably want to know when the medicine is going to kick in. The good news is that some symtpoms may ease very quickly. Other symptoms may take a few weeks before you notice improvements. Regardless, schedule regular and frequent visits with your prescribing doctor during these early days. Why? Because monitoring and surveillance are an important aspect of treatment via antidpressants due to the risks associated with SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidpressant medications.

Your doctor will want to see you often while you are taking sertraline, especially at the beginning of any anti-depressant treatment because clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior are possible. Changes in dosage, or discontinuation of the medicine may be recommended. Additionally, ask your family or caregiver(s) to observe you closely and communicate with your Zoloft-prescribing doctor. Sometimes you cannot see changes that people close to you observe.

Common improvements week-by-week on Zoloft

1-2 weeks after taking Zoloft

In clinical studies, people taking Zoloft in 50-200 mg doses once per day experienced steady-state sertraline plasma levels approximately one week after they started the medication. Some symptoms may improve before there you notice improved mood or interest in activities, however. But these easing of first symptoms is a good sign that the SSRI is working, and that relief for mood related symptoms is coming. The most common effects reported in the first week or two after starting Zoloft include:

  • changes in appetite
  • decreased need for sleep
  • improved sleep
  • increased energy
  • less disturbances during sleep

3-6 weeks after taking Zoloft

After you start taking Zoloft regularly as prescribed, symptoms of mental health disorders such as MDD, OCD, PTSD, or PMDD gradually decrease over a period of weeks. Like similar SSRI medications, sertraline may take several weeks to be fully effective. It’s important to allow sufficient time to work before you ask your doctor to switch. Some common effects reported 3-6 weeks after starting Zoloft include:

  • improved concentration
  • improved mood
  • improved sleep
  • increased appetite
  • increased energy
  • increased interest in activities
  • less bloating, tension or breast tenderness
  • less irritability
  • relief from compulsions (repetitive, ritualized behaviors)
  • relief from feeling worthless/guilty/ hopeless/ helpless
  • relief from obsessions (unwanted, recurrent and disturbing thoughts)
  • relief from psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • relief from sad or depressed mood
  • relief from thoughts of death

Long term treatment with Zoloft

Zoloft can be an effective and safe antidepressant. In fact, once physical and mental health symptoms normalize, doctors may recommend long-term treatment with Zoloft to help prevent the return of symptoms related to mental health disorders. But only your prescribing doctor can determine the length of Zoloft treatment that is right for you. Be sure to check in regularly with your doctor about doses and effects of Zoloft. And if you want to stop Zoloft, be sure that you do so under medical supervision. It is wise to work together to prevent unnecessary risks to your health and well-being.

If you think you have a problem with abuse or addiction to Zoloft, you can learn more about antidepressant addiction, available treatment options, and what does the rehab process look like. Get more info in this comprehensive GUIDE on Zaoloft Addiction Treatment Programs and Help.

Help is available NOW!

Reference sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI Zoloft (sertraline) review
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?