Another Monday, and another Medication Monday! Medication Monday, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a series here on The Dark Tales Project that is focused on giving readers a brief introduction to a different mental health medication each week in an effort to educate and reduce the stigma surrounding the use of medication for mental health disorders. Today’s post is about the antidepressant Zoloft (generic name, Sertraline).
Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI (for a description of what SSRIs do, check out my post on another SSRI, Prozac). It is used to treat anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. It may improve a patient’s sleep, mood, and appetite. Alternatively, one of the side effects is loss of appetite, along with dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea. As with other mental health medications, it can also cause an individual’s symptoms to get worse.
And new research, which was reported on earlier this month, suggests it might not work the way we’ve always expected. Yes, people report improvement on Zoloft, but new research suggests that that is because it is treating their anxiety disorder, not their depressive disorder, which of course is what most people would expect an antidepressant to do.
This underlines the fact that we still aren’t exactly sure how some of these medications work or why. And that is because there is still so much that we don’t know about mental illness, and about how the brain works in general. However, the fact remains that if a given treatment reduces your symptoms, regardless of whether the science supports it, then it works for you. One thing we have seemed to discover is that mental health medications and therapies can be different for everyone. So, physicians should not hesitate to prescribe Zoloft if they think it is the right medication and individuals should not hesitate to take it if they’ve been prescribed it by their physician.
Rather than undercutting Zoloft’s effectiveness, the new research highlights how much more we have to learn and how much more mental health treatment can advance, at least in my opinion. Of particular interest is the idea that a medication that treats anxiety disorders can still cause improvement on depressive disorders. With any luck, as more people who speak up about mental illness, more research will be done, and the sooner new developments will be discovered. And when that happens, I will try to make sure that Medication Monday is here to cover it.
If there is a particular medication you want me to cover, feel free to let me know. You can do that in the comments section below, through the contact page, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, thanks for reading.
P.S. Research for this post comes from WebMD. However, if any of the things discussed on this site sound familiar, if you are concerned about a medication you are on, or if you have any other mental health concerns, I encourage you to skip WebMD and go to a doctor or mental health professional. Medication Monday is not meant to be interpreted as medical advice, but is merely for informational purposes.