Hello I’m Dr. Carlo with AnxietyBoss.com. I’m going to answer the following question today: how do you take Zoloft for social anxiety disorder?
This question came from a viewer who repeatedly emailed me about a question that he should have asked his doctor, but I decided to make a video about it because it is a common question about medications for anxiety disorders, and how does one take their medications. So this specific viewer located in the Middle East stated that his psychiatrist diagnosed him with social anxiety disorder and prescribed him Zoloft (sertraline). He stated he has not had any contact with a psychiatrist since then, but has many questions. The viewer had tried repeatedly to contact his psychiatrist, but is not answering him. I’m not sure exactly why there’s no response from the psychiatrist but let me answer this question in a general way. So his question was how should he start the Zoloft for social anxiety disorder and for how long should he take it.
So Zoloft is also known as sertraline, and classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Zoloft is called an antidepressant because it’s prescribed for depression, but it’s also prescribed for anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia, and it is characterized by an extreme fear of social scrutiny where you have a fear of embarrassment in front of crowds of people. Or you might have fears of performing in front of people because you think you might make a fool of yourself. Or you have a fear that you will embarrass yourself.
One of the options for treatment of social anxiety disorder is looking at medication treatment such as an SSRI. Zoloft is a good choice because of all the SSRIs, it is generally well tolerated and it is effective for anxiety disorders. I’m giving this advice as general advice. I’m not giving this advice to any particular person, because in order for a doctor to give medical advice, they need to evaluate the patient. Of course, I haven’t evaluated you so, I’m just giving general advice. Again, the disclaimer here is that you have to follow up with your prescribing doctor for specific questions for your specific case, as I’m talking generally about Zoloft in social anxiety disorder.
Zoloft is a good choice generally for an anxiety disorder such as social phobia. In general, Zoloft is started at between 12.5 to 25 milligrams daily, and you continue this for about one to two weeks. After a couple of weeks, after your visit with your doctor, your doctor might then increase the dose by 25 to 50 milligrams, depending on your response and any emerging side effects.
The therapeutic dose of Zoloft is between 50 milligrams to 200 milligrams daily. Ideally, you would see your doctor every two weeks, and after each visit, your doctor might increase it by 25 to 50 milligrams, and continue to increase it until you have a clinical effect. Not only do you have to have the right dosage for it to work (between 50 to 200 milligrams) for social anxiety, but you also need to take it long enough for it to work. So it could take up to 6 to 8 weeks for it to work at a therapeutic dose between 50 to 200 milligrams daily.
If you have taken it for up to 8 week at a therapeutic dose, then that should be enough time for it to work. For this case, you can talk with your doctor about different options to treat your social anxiety disorder.
I hope this answers your question. Thank you for visiting, I’m Dr. Carlo with AnxietyBoss.com.
photo credit: Divine Harvester Sertraline hydrochloride (trade names Zoloft and Lustral) via photopin (license)