As per estimates of the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 20% of adults are living with some form of anxiety. Anxieties are often outcomes of an imbalance in brain chemicals such as norepinephrine, serotonin, etc. Drugs that can control the absorption of these brain chemicals are widely used to treat mental conditions. Sertraline is a commonly prescribed med in this class of medications. But, can this drug reduce anxiety levels? It is important to know more on this.

There are many forms of antidepressants to treat mental conditions. Studies reveal that restoring a fine balance of these brain chemicals (also known as neuro-transmitting substances) is essential to maintain proper mental wellbeing. Of these various types, a genre called selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRI) drugs is more commonly used. Sertraline is one such SSRI drug and it is used for treating mental conditions including depression, anxieties and other forms of phobias or fear psychosis. The key function of this drug is to enhance the availability of brain substances and thus calm your mind by allaying unwanted fears. The good news is – this med and its effects have been studied in greater detail, and are widely considered as an effective cure for anxieties.

How does sertraline help treat anxieties?

Brain chemicals play a significant role in managing your moods as well as thoughts. Deprivation of such chemicals can push you into a depressed state; so, a condition where there is an ample level of serotonin (and / or norepinephrine) is essential for normal mental health. Serotonin – among all other forms of brain substances – is directly linked to your moods and mental wellbeing. Your brain and central nervous system normally ensure an optimal presence of this chemical. People who have it at such an optimal level are known to lead normal lives.

Drugs like sertraline help stabilize serotonin levels. In the process, your moods are under greater control. As a result, calmness ensues and you are free to think clearly. You may get rid of your unwanted fears and thoughts. Once your fears are eliminated, your appetite level returns to a normal, your sleep cycles also get stabilized and thus, your overall energy level gets a big boost. In most cases, your treating physician may administer sertraline along with other anxiety reducing measures. Such measures include meditation, turning more aware of one’s own self, working out regularly or exercising. Intake of a balanced diet is also a part of your treatment plan to reduce anxiety levels.

How long does sertraline take to treat anxiety?

It becomes essential to know how long it takes for this med for it to effectively treat anxieties. In most users, first signs of relief (i.e., calming of the mind or allaying of fears) can be sensed in about 7 to 10 days into the treatment plan. Also, in about 25 – 30 days’ time, the entire benefits of using this drug may be witnessed.

In some acute cases of mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), your caregiving team may advise you to take the med for 90 days or nearly 12 weeks. You are advised to take the dosages regularly without missing any dose of sertraline. If you have missed a dose, never take a double dose to make up for the dose you forgot to take. Instead, skip the missed dose and move ahead to your next dose in a normal manner. However, if you have missed a series of doses, you are advised to talk to your pharmacist to completely reschedule your dosage plan.

Those who pursued mind relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or awareness therapy have witnessed faster relief from anxieties. Some users however believe that intake of sertraline alone can bring about an immediate relief from anxieties. This is a misconception; you are advised to talk to your treating physician and dispel doubts about such aspects of your treatment plan. Your caregiver will tell you to give at least 30 days for the drug to start working. In general, sertraline is largely used among people who have witnessed acute levels of depression, anxieties due to traumatic situations as well as obsessive compulsive disorders.

Sertraline and the side effects it may cause

Like most antidepressant meds, sertraline is also more likely to cause a few unwanted or undesired side effects as well as some adverse reactions. Once you have started the medication plan, you may experience excessive levels of weakness, difficulties to discharge stools, migraine as well as abdominal discomforts such as nausea and / or vomiting. If spells of constipation are more frequent or intense, your doctor may administer stool softeners or laxatives. You are advised not to take stool softening meds regularly as they may turn into a habit. Instead, you may eat a fiber based diet that has a right balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans or nuts.

Above all, no two people with anxiety may react in the same way upon taking sertraline. The way the drug brings about relief from mental conditions (especially, anxieties) may depend on your age, gender and prior ailments, if any. For some, the results can be telling in the first few days while for most people, it may take a few weeks for the drug’s active ingredients to start working. It is highly recommended to follow the instructions of your caregiver. In general, it is advised to this drug during your bedtime.

Last but not least, it is highly recommended not to stop using this drug all of a sudden. An abrupt discontinuation may lead to a few withdrawal symptoms. Most common symptoms include sleeping problems or insomnia, migraine as well as a few abdominal discomforts. The best way to stop taking sertraline is by tapering off the dosages in a gradual manner. Talk to your doctor when your medication plan is coming to a close for needful instructions on tapered dosages and the duration of tapered intake of sertraline.

In sum, medications such as sertraline are widely taken to treat anxieties. This drug and its active ingredients help stabilize serotonin levels in your brain. In many instances, your doctor may prescribe sertraline with anxiety decreasing techniques such as mind relaxation measures, exercising / workouts and consumption of a balanced diet plan. You are advised to consult with a qualified clinical practitioner to know more about this drug and how long it takes to manage spells of anxieties.

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