Does Sertraline help anger? (+3 facts)

In this article, we will look into the role of Sertraline in anger management. We will further be looking into the relationship between anger and the mechanism of Sertraline. We will also discuss some alternate anger management strategies. 

Does Sertraline help anger? 

Yes, Sertraline helps in anger management. Sertraline is an SSRI antidepressant given for the treatment of depression which can also help manage anger, violence, and related symptoms in patients. 

Most patients with personality disorders, brain injuries, PTSD, and OCD, are diagnosed with anger issues. These can be managed by taking Sertraline only under your doctor’s guidance and supervision. 

What does research suggest?

According to studies, dysfunction in serotonergic transmission is linked with behavioral dysregulation in humans leading to hostility and anger. Psychiatric patients suffer from an imbalance in brain chemicals which is a reason for aggressive attitude. 

It is presumed that low levels of serotonin are a leading factor for anger and aggression in patients with psychiatric conditions. This reduction in serotonin levels in the brain causes excessive anger which has a severe impact on the mental health of patients (1). 

Therefore, substances that increase serotonergic levels in the brain i.e. Sertraline and other SSRI antidepressants tend to reduce violence and aggressive behaviour in patients taking these medications (1).

Aggression and angry behaviours are usually observed in patients with psychiatric diseases. Violence has been commonly observed in patients with substance abuse, personality, or anxiety disorders (2). 

How does Sertraline help in anger management?

Sertraline works by blocking the serotonin transporter in the pre-synaptic terminal and increasing serotonin synaptic levels. This increases the availability of serotonin leading to enhanced serotonergic transmission (1). 

While on Sertraline, the levels of serotonin in the brain are increased resulting in a reduction in anger and violence proneness. An increase in levels of serotonin also serves as a mood stabilizer (1). 

Sertraline starts exerting its antidepressant effects within 4-6 weeks. Clinical reports have shown a reduction in anger, violence, and aggression in patients within an estimated 8 weeks of continuous treatment with Sertraline (2). 

Sertraline has shown positive results in patients coping with underlying anger and aggression. However, not every patient responded positively to the treatment with Sertraline for anger management. Such patients were given a reduced dose or an alternate drug for underlying anger treatment (1). 

However, Sertraline is not an FDA-approved drug for anger treatment. Rather it is a prescribed antidepressant preferably used for treating PTSD, OCD, and other mental health conditions. It is indirectly related to controlling anger due to its serotonergic mechanism of action (1).

Is anger commonly associated with psychiatric conditions? 

Every patient with a psychiatric disorder does not exhibit symptoms of anger and aggression. Rather most patients express their rage through anger and hostility as an underlying condition.

Others express through various other symptoms such as (4) : 

  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of interest 
  • Low self-esteem
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Low energy
  • Easily fatigued

Anger is a destructive emotion commonly linked with mental health conditions such as PTSD, OCD, etc. These patients show violence and aggression among other symptoms. However, not all patients show anger as a common symptom. 

Anger periods in depressed patients are usually associated with tachycardia, sweating, hot flashes, and compression in the chest. They are anxious and exhibit hostility and rage with anger attacks (2). 

Some of them face severe anger attacks with the presence of hostility and aggression due to reduced serotonin levels. Serotonergic dysfunction is specified in patients with depression along with anger attacks (3). 

What are the alternate anger management therapies?

Mental health patients face severe anger, agitation, and hostility. Taking SSRI antidepressants alleviates these symptoms and shows improvement in their mood and overall behaviour. 

However, considering some alternate anger management strategies helps in improved outcomes. Some of these mood-uplifting strategies include (5): 

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Family therapy
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) 
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Lifestyle changes 

You can consider these coping therapies to treat anger associated with other mental health conditions. Your doctor should suggest an anger management approach that aligns with your health preference and choice. 


We have successfully discussed the effects of Sertraline in anger management. The article explains the link between anger and violence to the use of Sertraline in detail. This article also sheds light on some alternate anger management strategies that might help patients with depression and anxiety. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Romero-Martínez Á, Murciano-Martí S, Moya-Albiol L. Is Sertraline a Good Pharmacological Strategy to Control Anger? Results of a Systematic Review. Behav Sci (Basel). 2019 May 23;9(5):57. doi: 10.3390/bs9050057. PMID: 31126061; PMCID: PMC6562745.


Farnam A, MehrAra A, Dadashzadeh H, Chalabianlou G, Safikhanlou S. Studying the Effect of Sertraline in Reducing Aggressive Behavior in Patients with Major Depression. Adv Pharm Bull. 2017 Jun;7(2):275-279. doi: 10.15171/apb.2017.033. Epub 2017 Jun 30. PMID: 28761830; PMCID: PMC5527242.


Painuly, N., Sharan, P. & Mattoo, S.K. Relationship of anger and anger attacks with depression. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 255, 215–222 (2005).


World Health Organization (WHO). 31 March 2023. Depressive disorder (depression)


American Psychological Association. (2019, December 30). Understanding anger: How psychologists help with anger problems.

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