When should you take zoloft

When Is The Best Time of Day to Take Zoloft for Anxiety?

Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP, FNP-BC

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 11/6/2021

If you take Zoloft or are thinking about taking it for anxiety, there’s no doubt you want to do whatever you can to make sure the medication is as effective as possible. 

After all, dealing with anxiety in your daily life is tough and can have quite an impact on your life. 

And if a medical professional has suggested that Zoloft may help, you want to make sure nothing you do stands in the way of it working. 

With that, you may have heard that the time of day can affect how well certain medications work. Wondering if Zoloft is one of them? Keep reading to find out.

A Word on Anxiety

Anxiety is incredibly common. In fact, 40 million American adults are experiencing an anxiety disorder.

A common anxiety disorder in adults is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America say that those who struggle to control their anxiety more days than not over a period of six months, may be dealing with GAD.

The following symptoms are associated with GAD:

  • Feeling nervous 

  • Experiencing panic or doom

  • Increased heart rate

  • Hyperventilation 

  • Sweating

  • Tiredness and/or weakness

  • Issues concentrating

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Stomach problems

But GAD is not the only anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders include:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Panic Disorder

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Social Anxiety Disorder

Speaking to a health care professional can help you identify if your anxiety is just occasional, run-of-the-mill nervousness or if it could be an anxiety disorder that is impacting your daily life.  

If it’s determined that you are dealing with one of these, it may be suggested that you consider anxiety medications to help manage it — like Zoloft. 

Some Background on Zoloft

Zoloft is the brand name for sertraline. It falls under the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants.

Another fact: It is one of the most popular antidepressants on the market. More than 30 million prescriptions are written for it every year in the United States. 

So, what’s Zoloft used for? Sertraline can help treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attacks. 

Some medical professionals also prescribe sertraline to treat premature ejaculation.

When it comes to treating mental health disorders, sertraline works by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. 

In doing so, sertraline can improve overall mood, prevent panic attacks and stop behavior associated with OCD. It can also help with symptoms of anxiety. 

Zoloft (and the generic sertraline) comes in tablet form, requires a prescription, and is meant for everyday use. 

The average dose is 50mg, though it may be prescribed in a lower or higher dose. The maximum dose of Zoloft is 200mg. It generally takes four to six weeks of taking it before you may notice any effects. 

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Side Effects of Zoloft

Like most medications, there are potential side effects associated with Zoloft and the generic sertraline. Thankfully, most people either don’t experience any or only notice mild side effects. 

The most common side effects are:  

  • Headaches

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Sleepiness

  • Diarrhea

  • Dry mouth

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness

More rarely, people who take sertraline may experience severe side effects, such as: 

If you experience severe side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately. In fact, if you notice any unwanted side effects, you should run them by your healthcare provider. 

It’s also important to tell your healthcare provider about any other prescription medication you may be taking, as there can be drug interactions and adverse effects when you mix meds.

The Best Time of Day to Take Zoloft

If you’re taking Zoloft or sertraline for anxiety, you may be wondering what time of day you should take it. The answer is simple: It doesn’t really matter. 

What does matter? Being consistent with when you take it. You should take this medication around the same time each day. If you forget a dose, don’t double up the next day. 

One thing to consider when determining what time of day to take sertraline for anxiety is the side effects. 

If you generally have trouble sleeping, some medical professionals may recommend taking it in the morning. 

Also good to know: You can take sertraline with or without food. 

To make sure you don’t forget to take your dose, try to build it into your routine. For example, if you have breakfast at the same time each morning, you could take it then. 

Another option would be to set an alarm on your phone to go off at the same time each day.

Oh, and if you want to stop taking Zoloft, it’s important to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Stopping suddenly could lead to withdrawal symptoms.

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Taking Zoloft for Anxiety

If you have an anxiety disorder like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or social anxiety disorder, medication may help improve your quality of life. 

An online psychiatrist will be able to assist you in figuring out what medication could work for you — or suggest other types of treatments. 

If medication is right for you, an SSRI may be prescribed, like Zoloft. It has been found to be an effective medication for anxiety. 

If you are taking Zoloft, you don’t have to worry about what time of day you take it. Whatever time you choose, you just have to make sure you are consistent and take it close to the same time each day. 

Building your Zoloft tablet into your routine can help you remember to take it. For example, you could take it with your morning orange juice each day. 

Another way to remember when to take Zoloft would be to set an alarm for the same time each day. 

If you have any other questions on whether Zoloft can help you or need guidance on your treatment plan, speak with a healthcare provider. 

8 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Facts and Statistics. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad
  3. Symptoms, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/symptoms
  4. What are the five types of anxiety disorders? U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html
  5. Sertraline. Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a697048.html
  6. Number of sertraline hydrochloride prescriptions in the U.S. from 2004 to 2018. Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/781658/sertraline-hydrochloride-prescriptions-number-in-the-us/
  7. Arafa, M., Shamloul, R., (2006, March 23). Efficacy of sertraline hydrochloride in treatment of premature ejaculation: a placebo-controlled study using a validated questionnaire. International Journal of Impotence Research, 18: 534-538. Retrieved from
  8. Sertraline. NHS. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/sertraline/#:~:text=Sertraline%20is%20one%20of%20a,called%20serotonin%20in%20the%20brain.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

How and when to take sertraline

Dosage and strength

Sertraline is available as 25mg, 50mg or 100mg tablets.

The usual dose of sertraline is 50mg a day in adults. But your doctor may start you on a lower dose, then increase it gradually to a maximum dose of 200mg a day.

If you have liver problems, your doctor might give you a lower dose.

The usual dose of sertraline for children aged 6 to 12 is 25mg a day, but this may be increased to 50mg a day after a week.

The usual dose of sertraline for children aged 13 to 17 is 50mg a day.

Children aged 6 to 17 might have their dose increased up to 200mg a day, if needed.

How to take it

Take sertraline once a day. You can take it with or without food.

You can choose to take sertraline at any time, as long as you stick to the same time every day.

If you have trouble sleeping, it's best to take it in the morning.

How long to take it for

Once you're feeling better it's likely that you'll continue to take sertraline for several more months. Stopping before that time can make depression come back.

Most doctors recommend that you take antidepressants for 6 months to a year after you no longer feel depressed.

If you forget to take it

If you occasionally forget to take a dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose the next day at the usual time.

Never take 2 doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.

If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

If you take too much

The amount of sertraline that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.

Taking too much can cause symptoms such as:

  • being sick (vomiting)
  • shaking
  • feeling sleepy
  • feeling dizzy
  • fast heart rate
  • fits or seizures

Urgent advice: Contact 111 for advice now if:

  • you take more than your prescribed dose of sertraline

Go to 111. nhs.uk or call 111

If you need to go to A&E, do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.

Take the sertraline packet, or the leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine with you.

Stopping sertraline

If you have been feeling better for 6 months or more, your doctor may suggest coming off sertraline.

Your doctor will probably recommend reducing your dose gradually over several weeks, or longer if you have been taking sertraline for a long time.

This is to help prevent any withdrawal symptoms you might get as a reaction to coming off the medicine.

These can include:

  • feeling dizzy
  • feeling sick
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • trouble sleeping
  • feeling agitated or anxious
  • headaches
  • shaking

Page last reviewed: 2 February 2022
Next review due: 2 February 2025

Zoloft withdrawal syndrome - Center for Healthy Youth

Zoloft - what is this drug? The active substance of the drug is sertraline. It belongs to the pharmacological group of antidepressants and is prescribed to patients with the following symptoms: depression, OCD, panic disorders, PTSD, social phobia. Zoloft is a powerful serotonin reuptake inhibitor in human brain cells.

More than 1/3 of people face the dangerous consequences of abrupt withdrawal of Zoloft. In narcology, this phenomenon is called withdrawal syndrome or withdrawal syndrome. The time of onset of symptoms of withdrawal syndrome when used is directly proportional to the half-life of the drug from the body. A drug such as Zoloft is addictive with systematic irregular use, therefore, there is also a Zoloft withdrawal syndrome, which usually occurs 3-5 days after the last use of the drug. The symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal syndrome are quite difficult to recognize, so people think that the disease has returned and start using the medicine again. nine0003

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How to reduce the dose of Zoloft correctly?

The course of treatment with Zoloft usually lasts no more than 8 weeks (about two months). As with the use of other antidepressants, an unreasonable increase in the duration of its use leads to negative consequences for human health. However, even before the period prescribed by the doctor, it is not recommended to stop taking the drug, since the gradual disappearance of symptoms is not a reason to complete the course. How long can I take Zoloft? nine0003

How much Zoloft can I take?

Many patients wonder how much Zoloft should be taken? Naturally, the duration of the course is strictly individual. So, how long can you take Zoloft? Only the attending physician, depending on the symptoms present, will be able to tell you how much Zoloft should be taken in your case. A specialist can prescribe a medication for 6-12 months, but this happens in exceptional cases.

The risk of developing withdrawal symptoms is increased in the following cases:

  • abrupt drug withdrawal and removal from the body;
  • regular intake over two months;
  • excessive anxiety;
  • Combination with antihypertensives, allergies, and antipsychotics.

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8 (800) 333-20-07 - call our specialist

How to cancel and stop drinking Zoloft?

Zoloft causes a withdrawal syndrome when it is stopped abruptly. This drug affects the processes occurring in the human brain, so you should take the medicine only with a doctor's prescription. How to stop taking the drug and "get off" from Zoloft? To avoid the withdrawal syndrome, the dosage of the medication according to the medical plan is reduced by 25 mg every 14 days. If a stable remission is achieved after a course of treatment, the doctor will stop taking the drug. However, the specialist will cancel the drug if the patient experiences side effects, insomnia and headache from Zoloft are not uncommon. nine0003

In which case the doctor can cancel the medication:

  • the patient has a headache;
  • causeless sadness, anxiety;
  • feeling of devastation;
  • nervousness, irritability;
  • weakness;
  • suicidal tendencies;
  • sleep and appetite disorders;
  • decrease in concentration.

If a person has lost their appetite or has regular headaches, the doctor begins a gradual process of reducing the dosage. The therapeutic dose is reduced over several weeks, and sometimes months. nine0003

Symptoms of withdrawal after taking

Is it possible to abruptly stop taking the medicine? Abrupt withdrawal of the drug threatens the occurrence of withdrawal or withdrawal. The human body, accustomed to a certain dose of the drug, will respond without an adaptation period. Most often, a deterioration in the patient's health is noted within 2-4 days after the last use. Depending on the individual characteristics and the state of the central nervous system, withdrawal symptoms may be different.

Symptoms and signs of withdrawal

  • nervousness;
  • irritability;
  • irritability;
  • insomnia;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • headaches;
  • incoordination, balancez.

In some cases, a person will not even feel dangerous signs, and sometimes you may need to call an ambulance for narcological help from the Center for Healthy Youth. Therefore, if you feel a deterioration in the condition, it is worth contacting a doctor who will help reduce the dose and improve overall well-being. nine0003

How long does Zoloft withdrawal last?

Withdrawal symptoms can persist without drug treatment for quite a long time, for several weeks. While taking antidepressants, the activity of neurons changes, so after stopping the drugs, the body needs time to rebuild and adapt to new conditions. The longer the course of treatment was, the longer the rehabilitation period will be. Withdrawal symptoms will not disappear until the active substance of the drug is excreted from the body. If general weakness lasts for a month, you should contact your doctor or specialists from the Healthy Youth Center. nine0003

When does Zoloft start to act and help?

It is important to understand that Zoloft does not begin to act immediately, but after a certain period of time. How long does Zoloft take to work? As a rule, the first positive dynamics begins to be noticeable to the patient only after 2-3 weeks of regular use. The maximum effect is noticeable after 2-3 months of admission.

Discontinuation considerations

When choosing antidepressants, it is important to know which medications the patient has previously taken and which medications they are currently taking. Before prescribing an effective remedy that normalizes the work of the central nervous system, the doctor conducts a number of necessary examinations, identifies existing contraindications and prevents side effects. If Zoloft is not recommended for you, the specialist will offer you a wide range of analogues of this drug, including Cipralex, Prozac, Paxil, Cipramil and other equally effective drugs. The drug Velaksin, Amitriptyline, etc. has a similar effect. nine0003

If you experience withdrawal symptoms after taking Zoloft, contact the Healthy Youth Drug Treatment Center for help. We have been treating addictions for over 15 years.

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Zoloft Instructions for use: side effects, analogues, contraindications


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Date of publication: 06.0

  • Executive summary
  • Ask an expert about the topic
  • WHO estimates that depression affects 3.8% of the total population, or 280 million people. Among them, 5% of adults and 5.7% of persons over 60 years of age. More than 700,000 people die each year from suicide due to depression. Depression is treatable with medication.

    Doctors prescribe antidepressants. Zoloft is one of them. We asked pharmacist Kristina Khokhrina to tell us in more detail: what side effects it can cause, what active ingredient, contraindications, overdose, is the drug compatible with alcohol and how to stop drinking it. nine0003 All products Zoloft

    27 reviews

    Zoloft: active ingredient

    Zoloft contains the active ingredient - sertraline in the form of hydrochloride. It is produced in tablets with a dosage of 50 mg and 100 mg. Zoloft is an antidepressant. It is used to treat and prevent depression caused by various causes. And also when:

    • obsessive-compulsive disorders
    • panic disorder
    • post-traumatic stress disorder nine0016
    • social phobias

    How Zoloft works

    Zoloft helps to eliminate depressive manifestations:

    • relieves anxiety
    • normalizes sleep
    • reduces somatic manifestations: palpitations, disruption of the gastrointestinal tract, increased excitability.

    Zoloft does not cause dependence on the drug and does not lead to weight gain in humans.

    Zoloft side effects

    Monitor your condition closely while using the medicine. If you experience side effects that are not described or if symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately.

    Zoloft: side effects

    • flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, dry mouth
    • increased heart rate, increased blood pressure
    • arthralgia, muscle cramps
    • gait disturbance, teeth grinding, drowsiness, syncope, headache, migraine, tremor, insomnia, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, nightmares, decreased libido, suicide, coma nine0016
    • yawning, bronchospasm
    • Bedwetting, urinary retention during the day
    • hepatitis, jaundice
    • decrease in potency, disruption of the reproductive system, menstrual cycle disorders in women
    • visual impairment
    • thyroid disorder
    • urticaria, pruritus, anaphylactic shock
    • flushing, tinnitus, loss of appetite and others

    Zoloft: contraindications


    • hypersensitivity to any component of the formulation
    • concomitant use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors and pimozide
    • pregnancy and lactation
    • children under 6 years of age

    Caution must be taken in: mental retardation, epilepsy, renal and / or liver failure, marked reduced body weight.

    Zoloft and alcohol

    Alcohol is not recommended to be taken with the medicine. Its action can increase side effects and lead to overdose. nine0003

    How to recognize depression is described in the article "Beck Test for Depression"

    Zoloft: overdose

    Zoloft overdose occurs when used simultaneously with alcohol or other incompatible drugs. With such combinations, severe poisoning can occur, up to coma and death. Overdose symptoms are:

    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • drowsiness
    • increased heart rate
    • dizziness nine0016
    • psychomotor agitation
    • diarrhea
    • excessive sweating

    Hospital observation and constant monitoring of vital signs will be required. When first aid is not recommended to induce vomiting, it is better to give activated charcoal.

    Zoloft: how to stop drinking it

    "Withdrawal" syndrome is rare. Nevertheless, it is necessary to discuss with the doctor a decrease in the dosage of the drug. Since the termination of treatment is possible: nine0003

    • symptoms of depression
    • hallucinations
    • aggression
    • anxiety
    • psychosis

    Particular attention should be paid to the fact that after the end of the use of Zoloft, within 14 days, you should not take drugs related to monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

    Zoloft: analogues

    Zoloft has about 10 names of analogues of the active substance. All medicines are prescribed and prescribed by a doctor. Therefore, to choose a remedy or replace your own, consult your doctor first. nine0003

    Zoloft and Atarax: compatibility

    The combination of these drugs increases the side effects. This manifests itself in the form of dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. Elderly people have difficulty in thinking and coordinating movements.

    Do you want to understand the analogues of drugs in order to skillfully select drugs for your budget? Our manual from expert pharmacists "Analogues of popular drugs" will help you with this! nine0140 Getting a training manual is easy: subscribe to our social networks and write “analogues” in the messages.

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