Zoloft is a medication that is mainly designed to treat major depressive disorders. Zoloft can also be used to treat panic disorders.1
Conditions for using Zoloft
Major depression is a debilitating condition that can make it impossible for people to work or enjoy life. It can even lead to suicide. Some people who are depressed may simply have mild depression, situational depression, or seasonal depression rather than major depression.
The symptoms of major depressive disorders are:2
- Low mood
- Inability to experience pleasure in activities you usually enjoy
- Preoccupation with thoughts of worthlessness, guilt, regret, helplessness, hopelessness, or self-hatred
- Symptoms of psychosis
- Concentration and memory problems
- Withdrawal from social settings
- Reduced sex drive
- Sleep difficulties
- Digestive problems
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Panic disorders can cause people to believe they are going insane because of the intensity of the symptoms. Panic attacks may be triggered by certain events or experiences that are stress-inducing. Patients who work to improve their ability to relax or develop coping strategies may find that their panic attacks become less severe.
The symptoms of panic disorders are panic attacks that may include:3
- Accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Feelings of unreality
- Feelings of being detached from yourself
- Fear of death, losing control, or going insane
- Hot flashes
Doctors prescribe Zoloft when depression and/or panic are impacting patients' quality of life adversely. However, exercise, psychotherapy, and meditation can also help patients recover. These nonprescription-based interventions can reduce patients' reliance on antidepressants.
Inappropriate uses of Zoloft
Advertising portrays Zoloft as a cure for depression. As a result, sometimes patients request Zoloft for conditions where its use may not be justified. Also, doctors sometimes prescribe Zoloft for health conditions for which it may not be appropriate. These include:4,5,6
- Mild depression
- Relationship problems
- Low self-esteem
- Bipolar disorder
Because Zoloft’s manufacturer has marketed the product heavily, patients may be requesting it more often than is necessary. Some doctors say they are overprescribing it because they are unable to provide other interventions to patients, such as psychotherapy, stress reduction, social support, or exercise programs.7
If you are concerned about withdrawal from Zoloft, review the side effects guide, which is available from your doctor or pharmacist. If you believe your Zoloft dosage may be too high, contact your doctor to review it. And if you think your doctor may have prescribed Zoloft inappropriately, you can contact a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation.