Why are so many people on Zoloft?

Why are nearly 30 million prescriptions for Zoloft written a year? Top 5 reasons why so many people are on Zoloft here.

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What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is the brand name for the chemical compound sertraline hydrochloride. Sertraline increases the amounts of serotonin in the brain and affects the central nervous system. Although Zoloft only came onto the market when it was introduced by Pfizer in 1991, its sales and popularity took off. We hope to give you some reasons here.

5 reasons so many people take Zoloft

1. Marketing

Pfizer has made claims in marketing campaigns that Zoloft can correct “serotonin imbalance” in the brain and thereby depression, even though there is no scientific evidence for this theory. The following copywriting may lead people to buy Zoloft under the belief that extra serotonin in the brain relieves depression:

“While the cause is unknown, depression may be related to an imbalance of natural chemicals between nerve cells in the brain. Prescription Zoloft works to correct this imbalance. You just shouldn’t have to feel this way anymore.”

2. Efficacy for clinical depression

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, clinical depression is a common medical illness affecting 5-8 percent of the adult population a year.  Given its relatively minor side effects but reliable efficacy, Zoloft is the most prescribed antidepressant out there.

3. Safety

Additionally, there are no known neurotoxic or permanent side effects associated with long term use of sertraline. Zoloft is considered a safe and effective medication when used as directed.

4. Relatively fast acting

How long do you have to take Zoloft? After taking Zoloft for 1-2 weeks, some people notice improvements in sleep, energy, or appetite. These signs are important indicators that the medication works, because it make take a total of 4-6 weeks to help symptoms such as a depressed mood or lack of interest in activities.

5. Treating other mental health disorders

Zoloft is also used to treat a number of other mental disorders. And the numbers are high. In a Mental Healthy Survey prepared for the National Mental Health Association, it is estimated that nearly a third (32%) of adult Americans experience symptoms related to mental health disorders Although Zoloft was originally (and mainly) marketed for depression, the drug can also be used to treat a number of different mental health conditions. These include:

    • depression / major depressive disorder
    • obsessive compulsive disorder
    • panic disorder
    • post traumatic stress disorder
    • premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Zoloft and FDA warnings

Zoloft does not work for everyone, though. The FDA has issued warnings about increased risk of suicidality (thoughts or actions of suicide), serotonin syndrome and persistent pulmonary hypertension for particular risk groups taking Zoloft. And Zoloft should not be taken with some medications (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). You can also learn more about Zoloft addiction and treatment considerations, what you can do to address addiction as soon as you notice sighs of abuse in yourself or a loved one, and what are the best long-term rehab and recovery options for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about Zoloft, see the related articles below, or type the word “zoloft” into the search bar. Or, leave your questions and comments. We try to answer all questions promptly and directly.

Reference sources: NAMI [dot] org, Modern Medicine, FDA review of Zoloft
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.


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  1. Hi, I’ve been taking Zoloft for 2months now 50mg for major depression/anxiety and transform at night for sleep. I still experience crying bouts and low mood, my mornings are the worse a psychiatrist I met once suggested Remeron but read that it can cause heart problems I’ve had two open heart surgeries for arotic valve replacement. Starting to feel hopeless again:(

  2. I take 100mg once in a how long before I can reduce to 50 mg and am I succeptable to gaining weight on the 100 mgs?
    I’m taking Sertraline due to dehabilutating anxiety.

    1. Hi Rita. The tapering schedule depends from your own reaction to the drug. So, consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

  3. in nov 2015 i had an unrupured brain anyerism clipped. since my diagnosis and surgery i have anxiety and deprssion. my dr gave me zoloft i have not taken it yet because i am worried it may cause stomach problems as i had bariatric weight loss surgery in 2011. i am trying mindfullness and meditation with limited results. i should also tell you i had my thyroid removed in 2004 due to thyroid cancer and take 150 synthroid daily. also there is a history of mental illness and depression in my family. and my sister had bipolar disorder as well as schitzofrenia. i feel like i need this medicine but im scared.

  4. I have taken Zoloft before and I didn’t really like it, it caused me to become dangerous as it upped my “reaction” it also got me in a really terrible hyper state, I stopped taking it after a few weeks. It kind of bothers me that my doctor gave this drug to me when he knows how easily drugs get me high, and what really annoys me is that people take it, some might even feel like I do. Anyways, thanks for the information.

  5. Was on 25mg of Zoloft for 10 days; now on my 7th week at 50mg for generalized anxiety from a recurring intestinal health problem. I had ALL the initial side effects and now I am almost free of them except now I have shoulder pain and a fuzzy feeling in my head. Are these temporary side effects or should I increase the dosage?

  6. I read in your blog that Zoloft is the brand name for the chemical compound Sertraline Hydrochloride. Sertraline increases the level of serotonin in the brain. Increased risk of committing suicide (suicidal) (thoughts or actions of suicide), serotonin syndrome and persistent pulmonary hypertension are some of the possible side effects of taking Zoloft.

  7. Hello Mario. I’ve come to the information that, in fact, Zoloft does not cause tinnitus. It’s known to exacerbate tinnitus symptoms and can increase the perceived volume of ringing. It is important to discuss any tinnitus symptoms with a physician.

  8. Hi Jumana. Thanks for your question. To clarify, are you worried that the combination of drugs is unhealthy, or that you could become addicted to one or both of them? What’s your concern, exactly?

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