Zoloft Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Zoloft (sertraline) is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant  available in both brand and generic forms.

It is FDA-approved for a number of mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder (MDD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and panic disorder (PD). 

SSRIs, like Zoloft, can cause withdrawal if you stop taking them suddenly. They can also cause withdrawal if you reduce your dosage too quickly.

In this post, we’ll look at common symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal, how to recognize it, and how it is treated.

Who is likely to experience symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal?

SSRIs like Zoloft affect the  serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a  chemical that is linked to mood. Over time, Zoloft changes the way your brain responds to serotonin. So your brain will also need time to readjust when you decide to stop taking the medication. 

People are most likely to experience withdrawal after taking at least four weeks of Zoloft. Your body gets rid of Zoloft quickly after you stop taking it, so withdrawal can come on pretty fast. 

Your Zoloft withdrawal experience will also depend on your dosage and how long you have been taking it.

What are the symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal?

Like all prescription drugs, Zoloft has side effects as well as withdrawal symptoms that may occur. Zoloft withdrawal symptoms typically start to appear after three to four days as your body begins to adjust to lower levels of the drug. 

Common symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal are: 

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Sensory disturbances
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Anxiety or agitation

Please seek medical advice immediately if you think you are experiencing withdrawal, you experience side effects that don’t get better, or you experience severe side effects. 

What is the timeline for Zoloft withdrawal?

Although you may  experience withdrawal symptoms within just a few days after stopping Zoloft, the symptoms could last up to a few weeks.

However, some studies have found that withdrawal symptoms can last even longer for some people, depending on their dosage, medical history, and how  quickly they reduce their dosage.

What treatment is available for Zoloft withdrawal?

To avoid Zoloft withdrawal, don’t stop taking it without talking to your healthcare provider. Always take Zoloft as prescribed.

Your doctor will likely recommend gradually reducing your dosage over a number of weeks or months  so  your body has time to get adjusted.

What is the timeline for Zoloft withdrawal?

The short half-life of Zoloft means that the amount of Zoloft in your system drops by half in about one day.

Most people start to experience withdrawal symptoms when about 90 percent of the drug has left their body, which means Zoloft withdrawal symptoms are typically experienced three to four days after the last dose of the medication. 

What treatment is available for Zoloft withdrawal?

If you are hoping to avoid Zoloft or any type of antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, the best thing to do so is to speak to your healthcare provider about the best way to discontinue your use of the drug.


Zoloft can cause withdrawal in as little as three to four days after your last dose. Common symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, insomnia, and headache. It may also cause anxiety or agitation. 

Always take Zoloft as prescribed and talk to your healthcare provider first before stopping any medication, including Zoloft.

References, Studies and Sources:

Davies J, Read J. A systematic review into the incidence, severity and duration of antidepressant withdrawal effects: Are guidelines evidence-based?. Addict Behav. 2019;97:111-121. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.027 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460318308347

Zoloft – Sertraline Hydrochloride Tablet. DailyMed. January 15, 2023. Accessed June 26, 2023. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=fe9e8b7d-61ea-409d-84aa-3ebd79a046b5

Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; February 13, 2023. Accessed June 26, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547689/

Warner CH, Bobo W, Warner C, Reid S, Rachal J. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2006;74(3):449-456. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2006/0801/p449.html

Gabriel M, Sharma V. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. CMAJ. 2017;189(21):E747. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160991 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449237/

Jha MK, Rush AJ, Trivedi MH. When Discontinuing SSRI Antidepressants Is a Challenge: Management Tips. Am J Psychiatry. 2018;175(12):1176-1184. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18060692 https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18060692

Wilson E, Lader M. A review of the management of antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2015;5(6):357-368. doi:10.1177/2045125315612334 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4722507/

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings

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