Is Being Tired All the Time a Zoloft Withdrawal Symptom?

Tips for Discontinuing Zoloft

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Question: I recently decreased my amount of Zoloft from 150 mg to 50 mg daily. Would this cause me to be tired all the time, even when I get a good night's rest? I feel so run down all the time. Is this a Zoloft withdrawal symptom?

Answer: Yes, your fatigue could be related to the fact that you reduced your dose. Many people who either stop taking their medication or lower their dose too quickly will experience what's called "discontinuation syndrome." This is why it's very important to only reduce or stop your medication under a doctor's supervision.

Symptoms of Discontinuation Syndrome

The symptoms of discontinuation syndrome include:

  • fatigue
  • upset stomach
  • muscle pain
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • dizziness
  • hallucinations
  • blurred vision
  • irritability
  • tingling sensations
  • vivid dreams
  • sweating or electric shock sensations.

Some people will experience only minor symptoms and may not make the connection with the changes in their medication regimen, thinking that perhaps they have the flu. For others, the symptoms are so debilitating that they feel they cannot stop their antidepressant for fear of how it will interfere with their lives.

Tips to Discontinue Zoloft

The best way to avoid severe discontinuation symptoms is to reduce your dose gradually under the supervision of your doctor. If your symptoms are too severe, it may be necessary for you to wean yourself off more slowly. The symptoms will pass in time, however, as your brain adapts to the new dosage.


Other options you should follow when reducing or discontinuing your medication are:

  • Work closely with your mental health professional. It may be tempting to quit your medication as soon as you start to feel better, but going off of it too soon can actually cause a relapse. You should stay on your medication for at least six to nine months, and if you've struggled with depression three or more times, you should wait at least two years. Talk to your mental health professional about whether or not it's a good time to discontinue your medication. 
  • Follow the plan. Make sure you taper off slowly according to your doctor's directions to avoid discontinuation syndrome symptoms. It may take longer than you think it should, but it's important to go slowly so your brain has adequate time to adjust.
  • Get outside support. Keep in touch with your mental health professional, especially if you are having withdrawal symptoms. Think about involving a close friend or family member in your withdrawal as well since this person can potentially see issues you may be having that you don't notice.
  • If you're not in psychotherapy, consider starting it. Therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be extremely helpful in keeping depression symptoms at bay by helping you learn how to identify negative thought patterns and change them. Studies have also shown that psychotherapy decreases the likelihood of a relapse.
  • Stay healthy. Keep eating right, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and participating in activities you enjoy. Exercise, in particular, can help increase your serotonin levels, which in turn boosts your mood. Just remember to get that workout done at least several hours before bedtime or the rush of adrenaline and endorphins you feel may interfere with your sleep.


    "Going off antidepressants." Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School (2015). 

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