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Sertraline Overdose and Abuse

The purpose and medical uses of sertraline, brand name Zoloft, are well-known and effective. The medical dose of sertraline is used to treat issues relating to the mental health of patients, such as depression. This drug has provided depression treatment to countless people over the years. But the effectiveness of this drug has also led to some users abusing the drug, in some cases even having a sertraline overdose.

5 Minute Read | Published Oct 04 2023 | Updated Feb 28 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

Better Addiction Care is a provider of free resources for finding drug addiction, mental health, and dual diagnosis treatment centers all over the United States. Below we share our knowledge about everything from the commonality of exceeding the maximum dose of sertraline for adults to what a sertraline overdose will look like, if it can even occur. Our team has years of experience in the field, and we pride ourselves on our ability to provide helpful information for those in need whenever we can. 

Sertraline Abuse and Misuse

Abuse of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants like sertraline is not as common as the abuse of other sorts of narcotics. Nonetheless, it has caused damage to the lives of people who have learned for themselves that sertraline is addictive. In cases of SSRI abuse, or consumption of this class of drug outside of its intended medical purpose, the substances have been reported to induce stimulant-like effects such as euphoria and increased sociability similar to other illicit substances. Like those others, it can be a major cause of addiction and an eventual sertraline overdose.

Another cause of concern regarding the misuse and abuse of sertraline is the presence of withdrawal symptoms for those who have consistently exceeded the maximum dose of sertraline for adults. The sertraline side effects in adults that can occur as a result of both use and withdrawal from the drug include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Somnolence/Drowsiness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Noticeable weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • Feelings of nervousness
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Noticeable difference in sex drive
  • Impotence or difficulty maintaining an erection

These issues are certainly worth keeping in mind, whether you are a responsible user of the drug or if you are abusing the substance at present. But the far more concerning issues related to sertraline can be found in events where the user has suffered a sertraline overdose.

Can You Overdose on Sertraline and Suffer Effects?

It is possible for sertraline to induce drug toxicity if too much of the substance is consumed in one instance. There are various non-fatal signs of a sertraline overdose to be aware of. This knowledge could be what gets a user the immediate attention they require from a medical professional. 

  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • Dizziness
  • Somnolence or drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stupor
  • Bradycardia (slowed heart rate)
  • Torsade de Pointes (disturbance of heart rhythm)
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations

There have yet to be any fatal recordings of a sertraline overdose, but that does not change the fact that these are serious side effects, and they should be treated with care and concern whenever they occur. Regardless of whether the overdose is fatal or non-fatal, a patient must seek immediate medical intervention to improve their condition. If you suffer from a sertraline overdose, these are the following treatment interventions that you can expect: 

  • Symptomatic and supportive treatment will be administered to you as needed. Doctors will make sure that you have enough oxygen, that you are subject to cardiac monitoring, and that you have proper airway control.
  • The medical team will determine whether the sertraline overdose involved the consumption of another drug and will tailor their treatment accordingly.
  • You may receive additional pharmacological treatments, such as activated charcoal and diazepam, for seizures.

The most important thing that can come out of a sertraline overdose is the knowledge that it may be time to seek help for the misuse of this substance. Better Addiction Care is ready to be of use whenever you may require an additional hand in getting the proper long-term solution to your addiction. 

How to Get Sober from Sertraline

If you have come to realize that you are misusing sertraline or have an unhealthy relationship with the drug and want to get sober, the best course of action is to seek medical help from a team of substance abuse treatment specialists you can rely on. Acting quickly on any problems concerning sertraline misuse or abuse will improve your physical and mental health and reduce your risk of suffering from other health-related complications because of continuously exceeding the proper sertraline dose.

If you are in this position, our sobriety resource is here to help get you on the path toward health and happiness. Our completely free resource can connect you with a treatment team in your area and provide the tools necessary so you can learn which of them will help make getting sober as comfortable and efficient as possible.

In the case of trying to overcome the potential side effects of a sertraline overdose, an inpatient rehabilitation center or outpatient care provider would provide the best possible results from a sertraline detox. Get in touch with our team to learn more about how our resource can be of help or any other questions you may have regarding your potential treatment. If you are interested in insight from the sobriety resource team at Better Addiction Care, then be sure to read some of our team’s articles about substance abuse treatment, mental health, and treatment.


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