The Impact of Zoloft Sertraline on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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Big Picture:

Thousands of people struggle with some form of anxiety in their daily life. Many choose not to seek help but what happens to the people that do. A form of anxiety is obsessive compulsion disorder which is where people have unwanted, reoccurring thoughts that affect their day to day life.

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For this disorder many psychiatrists often prescribe the drug Zoloft also commonly known as Sertraline. Sertraline is taken by tablet to the mouth which then puts more Serotonin levels into the brain affecting the chemicals. This adds more Sertraline neurotransmitters which increases the Serotonin and increases your mood and reduces anxiety and in this study Obsessive-Compulsion disorder.

Many studies showed significant improvement of this disorder using the drug Sertraline. Many saw that their mood was rated better and that they were more optimistic about life and how they went about their day to day life. Studies found that the drug worked best if you were on it for long periods of time. Most people after on Sertraline for long periods of time actually rated their well-being and quality of life better than those who either didn’t take the medication at all or those that took it for shorter periods of time. Sertraline isn’t just to help with anxiety, this drug also treats depression as well.

Obsessive-Compulsion disorder can happen to anyone. A study showed that women that were going thought the postpartum stage had an increases risk of developing the disorder. Having a baby is such a big deal and for the women people found that it is so life changing that it causes the mother to have OCD. Studies found that women are more likely than men to have OCD. When taking this drug many studies looked at talked about the side effects this drug can cause. This can include actually worsened anxiety, drowsiness, diarrhea, irritability and the list goes on. In the most studies read many of the patients experienced some of the side effects.

The Specifics:

During this research many of the sources brought up women are more likely to suffer from Obsessive-Compulsion Disorder then men.

When I read this from multiple sources, this stood out to me. The sources didn’t give an exact answer to why this was but it could be due to the nature of women versus men. Studies have shown women are more likely to suffer from depression in their mid-forties because of the stress of taking care of older family members and their children leaving the home for college. So, when reading that women are more likely to suffer from OCD then men I think these two could be related. Possibly the women are having more reoccurring, disturbing thoughts about their children and parents growing older along with all the stress that comes with it.

The drug Sertraline is not only used for OCD but many other reasons as well. It can be used for treating depression, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, pre-menstrual tension and mood swings.

This was interesting to me that a drug like Sertraline could be taken to avoid many problems such as the ones I listed above. It made me question that all these problems must be related to have a deficiency of Serotonin in the brain. But I’m not sure if that is all true. Like it talked about in the research serotonin helps neurons communicate to one another. So that is possibly why sertraline is used to help all of those other problems.

Moms in the postpartum stages were more likely to be diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsion disorder then other women their age.

Women that had just had a baby were likely to be diagnosed with OCD. The mothers had reoccurring thoughts of possibly harming their baby or accidently killing the newborn. I found this very interesting because any mother I have known is so wrapped up in their child, the mom is so happy to have this new living being in their life. It just surprised me that women would acquire OCD in this time period since I would have thought the total opposite. But studies have shown that having a baby is a significant life event and that can be the trigger to developing the illness.

This may seem like a simple finding but I found it interesting. It takes around 6-8 weeks to start seeing improvement of your OCD while on the drug Sertraline (Brandes, Soares, & Cohen, 2004).

It is just hard to grasp for me why it takes so long for this medication to work. I would like to investigate this a little more. Why with other drugs we take like Advil for a headache work in a matter of 30 minutes but this type of drug that should make us feel happier and stop our worrying it takes longer to kick in. Having to wait that long for a drug to kick in seems like hell to me. Imagine some worrying constantly and finally get the medication but have to wait another month for it to work. Just seems like there could be another way around it.

The last thing I found striking was that some of the volunteers in the studies actually had withdrawals from going off of the drug Sertraline.

Many people that went of the drug felt they had reoccurring worrying like when they first went on the drug. When doing this research, I assumed that once you went on Sertraline then you would be cured for life. Then that made me ask the question well maybe these people have become dependent on the drug and the fact that they are taking a pill to fix their problems. Maybe the worrying after going off Sertraline is all in their head.

The Practical:

Researching and writing about the effects of Sertraline on OCD has really changed my perspective. I chose to do my research on this because I recently have been diagnosed with OCD and am on Sertraline. So I knew I should write about this and be more informed about what I am taking, and the effects it will have on my body. This truly gave me the insight I needed in order to really understand what I am going through and that I am not alone. I lots of times have felt that nobody else understood how I was feeling. But after my research it really gave me what I needed to fully grasp people do know how it feels and that after some time of taking the medication I will feel better just as they did.

I have learned a lot of new information that I am going to use to my advantage. Most of the information I thought was very insightful and I actually want to talk to my doctor about it. Some of the studies found that being on Sertraline longer would be more beneficial for the disorder and would improve the overall symptoms drastically. My doctor wanted to see how I was doing at six months but I want to ask why does taking the pill longer have a better effect. I was also happy to find in my research that people had common symptoms of drossiness. I am always tired after I take my medication so I’m glad to hear this is a normal side effect. I really feel more confident with the knowledge I have acquired.

Lastly, this research paper has actually taught me how to effectively find and pick out information in long research studies. During this process I found the best way to effectively find all the information is to look at multiple creditable sources. Don’t just look at the minimum requirement, look at lots then pick your favorites. I am going to use this as I further my research career. I also found that creating some type of flow chart or vend diagram for all the information you are trying to work through is very helpful. Overall, I have learned so much by this research paper and will use all of the things I have learned to better my future.

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