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Reviewed by Angela Sheddan, DNP, FNP-BC
Written by Our Editorial Team
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.
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:
Experiencing panic or doom
Increased heart rate
Tiredness and/or weakness
But GAD is not the only anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders include:
Obsessive Compulsive 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.
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.
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:
More rarely, people who take sertraline may experience severe side effects, such as:
Sexual side effects, specifically painful erections
Bleeding that won’t stop
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.
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.
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.