Apr 27, 2023
Zoloft Alternatives: What Other Options Are Available?
Zoloft is a common prescription medication that is FDA-approved for treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adults. It's also approved as a treatment for children with OCD.
While Zoloft is an effective medication for many people, it may not work for everyone. Whether you're experiencing significant adverse side effects from it or it's not working for your symptoms, other options exist that may work better for your needs.
We put together this guide to provide an overview of these alternative treatments so that you, with the help of your doctor, can decide which treatment plan is best for you.
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What is Zoloft?
Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that restores the balance of serotonin in the brain. It can help improve mood, sleep, energy level, and appetite, as well as control panic attacks, anxiety, fear, and the urge to repeat tasks, like obsessive counting, that interfere with daily living.
Side effects of Zoloft
Like most SSRIs, Zoloft does have side effects. Many are temporary and will decrease or disappear after your body adjusts to the medication.
The most common side effects of Zoloft include:
Increase in sweating
Loss of appetite
Although rare, more severe reactions may occur. You should seek medical attention right away if you experience:
An allergic reaction (Trouble breathing, rash, itching, swelling)
Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Easy bleeding or bruising
What to consider when looking for alternatives to Zoloft
If you've tried Zoloft in the past or are currently taking it, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on an alternative medication or treatment option. It's important to review the following with your doctor:
Costs involved: Is there a generic option available? What will your insurance cover? Should you use a prescription discount card?
Your symptoms: Your diagnosis and symptoms will help determine the best treatment alternatives.
Side effects: What were/are you experiencing while on Zoloft? What are the side effects associated with other medication options?
Pregnancy/breastfeeding: Zoloft is often considered safe for pregnant and nursing women. However, certain antidepressants and other medications are advised against during pregnancy.
Other health conditions and medications: Some medications may cause adverse reactions when combined with drugs, while some antidepressants may help relieve symptoms associated with other health conditions. For example, Cymbalta is also prescribed for treating fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, and chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Prescription medication alternatives to Zoloft
Several other prescription medications are used to treat the same mental health conditions as Zoloft. These drugs include other SSRIs, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and atypical antidepressants.
Other SSRIs commonly prescribed include:
Further reading: Lexapro vs. Zoloft
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs):
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs):
Non-medication alternatives to Zoloft
Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of these, combined with medication or on their own.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can effectively treat depression and anxiety, especially when combined with medications and other treatment options.
Talk therapy involves talking with a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, who can help you better understand your thoughts and feelings and how they relate to your behavior.
Therapy teaches you to recognize negative thought patterns and replace them with healthier ones to help manage your symptoms.
Lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping to manage many mental health conditions, like depression. These modifications include:
Limiting or eliminating processed foods, refined carbs, and foods high in trans fat and sugar
Focusing on a healthy, balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Avoiding alcohol and drug use
Regulating sleep habits
Increasing physical activity
Management of stress
Making these adjustments in your daily life can significantly reduce the effects of depression, anxiety, and other illnesses.
Certain herbal supplements may have positive effects on managing mental health symptoms. These natural herbal supplements include:
Before taking any herbal supplement, you should consult your doctor first due to potential interactions they may have with any other medications you are taking or your existing medical conditions.
While Zoloft is one of the top prescribed medications, other options are available if you find that the drug isn’t helping your symptoms or if you are experiencing adverse side effects.
The best depression, anxiety, or other mental health treatment plan will depend on your individual needs and preferences, so it's important you discuss all options thoroughly with your doctor before starting or stopping any treatment options.
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