Sertraline addiction is a condition in which a person becomes dependent on sertraline, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder. While this medication is deemed safe to use, sertraline addiction can still occur, especially if a person takes the medication for an extended period of time, or abuses his or her prescription. Since there is always the possibility of a sertraline addiction, a person prescribed the medication should not suddenly stop taking it or he or she will suffer withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms resulting from sertraline addiction include abdominal pain, flu-like symptoms, and memory problems.
In addition to sertraline addiction, a serious risk of taking the medication is the occurrence of suicidal behavior or thinking. This especially applies to those who are about 24-years-old or younger, although it might occur in any person who uses the medication. During sertraline treatment, a child or teenager will need to be monitored in case he or she shows changes in behavior or thoughts that might indicate a deeper depression or suicide.
When a person no longer needs to take sertraline, his or her doctor will gradually reduce his dosage. Similarly, when a person first begins using the medication, the doctor will gradually increase the prescription until the dosage reaches the preferred amount. It is important that a person follows the proper dosage given to him and does not take more or less of it than prescribed. In addition, it is also important to know that sertraline might take several weeks to fully begin working so taking more than the prescribed dose will not necessarily increase the effectiveness of the medication.
While taking sertraline, there are certain other medications that a person should not take during the same time period. This is because drug interactions can cause an array of serious side effects or reactions. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), for example, do not mix well with sertraline. Serious side effects of drug interactions with sertraline include blood pressure problems, hyperthermia and rigid muscles. A person who is taking sertraline or will be taking sertraline should discuss his or her medications with a doctor so as to avoid any possible drug interactions.
Common, less serious side effects that are normal reactions to sertraline include diarrhea, headache and insomnia, as well as loss of appetite, tremors and upset stomach. Serious side effects, which require immediate medical attention, include abnormal bleeding, blurred vision and confusion, in addition to hallucinations, irregular heartbeat and seizures. Many of these common and serious side effects are also apparent during an overdose. Additional signs of an overdose include hair loss, unconsciousness, and uncontrollable shaking. As with serious side effects, a person who suspects that he or she is suffering an overdose should seek medical attention immediately.