Does Sertraline cause brain fog? (3+ tips to manage)

In this article, we will discuss brain fog associated with Sertraline – a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). We will also discuss some research studies and what you should do if these side effects occur.

Does Sertraline cause brain fog?

Sertraline may cause brain fog in some individuals. Although it is not considered a common adverse effect, antidepressants like Sertraline may trigger symptoms associated with brain fog.

However, there is no clear answer, as brain fog can be caused by various other factors. Nonetheless, some individuals have reported Sertraline-induced brain fog. Sertraline is one of the most common ( selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) associated with brain fog (1).

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays a key role in mood stability and mental clarity. Sertraline may affect cognitive abilities by changing serotonin levels, which could lead to brain fog.

What does research suggest?

There is limited research on brain fog associated with Sertraline.

One study published in the Psychiatry Journal found that patients suffering from OCD or depression who were on SSRI therapy exhibited a gradual decrease in memory functions within the first 8 weeks of initiation of drug treatment. Furthermore, follow-up studies showed the persistence of memory loss (2).

A comprehensive literature search discovered that about 60% of the patients experienced at least one side effect associated with Sertraline, with types of adverse effects usually including, dizziness, headache, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, nausea, and dry mouth (3).

Common symptoms of Sertraline-induced brain fog 

If you are taking Sertraline (Zoloft), and you’re experiencing brain fog, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Anxious thoughts 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lingering sadness
  • Difficulty in completing the task (4).

What are the factors contributing to Sertraline-induced brain fog?

Sertraline-induced brain fog can be influenced by several factors, primarily patient-specific details. Each individual can react differently to medications, including Sertraline, and this can result in symptoms of brain fog, such as memory problems, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and anxiousness (3).

Sertraline may interact with other medications, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics. These drug interactions can increase the risks of side effects. Additionally, individuals with underlying health conditions, such as thyroid problems, sleep disorders, or chronic pain may experience brain while taking Sertraline. Older individuals are more likely to experience brain fog (2).

It’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for guidance on dose adjustments or switching antidepressants.

What to do if Sertraline causes brain fog?

If Sertraline is causing brain fog, there are a few things you can consider:

Consult your doctor

Share your concerns and symptoms with your healthcare provider. They may be able to adjust your dosage, switch you to a different medication, or recommend other strategies to reduce your symptoms.

Your healthcare provider may adjust the dosage of Sertraline to see if the brain fog is the result of the medication. Sometimes, low or high doses can mitigate side effects.

Alternative medications

If Sertraline consistently causes brain fog, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider, there are several alternative medications that you may want to consider. Some of these medications include:

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which work by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain and may be more effective in treating depression and less likely to cause brain fog, such as Venlafaxine (Effexor) (3, 5).
  • Other Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by regulating the serotonin levels in the body, such as Citalopram (Celexa).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as Mirtazapine (Remeron) (6).
  • Norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI), which works by increasing the norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain, such as Bupropion (Wellbutrin) (6).

It is essential to seek guidance from your healthcare provider if you are experiencing brain fog as a side effect of taking Sertraline.

Healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help lower the risks of symptoms of brain fog that some individuals may experience while taking Sertraline. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can be beneficial in reducing adverse effects associated with Sertraline 

It is essential to inform your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms of brain fog while taking Sertraline (Zoloft). They can suggest different strategies to manage the side effects associated with the medication.


To summarize, brain fog can be caused by various factors, including underlying medical conditions. Though Sertraline may induce brain fog in some individuals, there is limited research on this association. We have discussed the factors contributing to brain fog caused by Sertraline, as well as management strategies.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. [Updated 2023 Feb 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Sayyah M, Eslami K, AlaiShehni S, Kouti L. Cognitive Function before and during Treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Patients with Depression or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Psychiatry J. 2016;2016:5480391. doi: 10.1155/2016/5480391. Epub 2016 Aug 15. PMID: 27597949; PMCID: PMC5002481.


Sanchez C, Reines EH, Montgomery SA. A comparative review of escitalopram, paroxetine, and sertraline: Are they all alike? Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jul;29(4):185-96. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0000000000000023. PMID: 24424469; PMCID: PMC4047306.


Meijer WE, Heerdink ER, van Eijk JT, Leufkens HG. Adverse events in users of sertraline: results from an observational study in psychiatric practice in The Netherlands. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2002 Dec;11(8):655-62. doi: 10.1002/pds.752. PMID: 12512241.


Braund, T.A., Tillman, G., Palmer, D.M. et al. Antidepressant side effects and their impact on treatment outcome in people with major depressive disorder: an iSPOT-D report. Transl Psychiatry 11, 417 (2021).


Cipriani A, La Ferla T, Furukawa TA, Signoretti A, Nakagawa A, Churchill R, McGuire H, Barbui C. Sertraline versus other antidepressive agents for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Jan 20;(1):CD006117. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006117. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(4):CD006117. PMID: 20091586.

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site