Does Sertraline help with grief? (5 tips to manage grief)

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline, an antidepressant, can help with grief. We will also discuss how Sertraline can help such people and talk about some other ways to manage grief. 

Does Sertraline help with grief?

Sertraline can help with grief if it’s comorbid with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sertraline is an antidepressant used to treat various mental health illnesses (1,2). 

Grief is not an illness; it’s a natural response to sad events like the loss of a loved one or betrayal by someone close to you (3). These feelings of grief are a normal part of life and are not considered illnesses. 

In most cases, these emotions improve with time as your mind adjusts to what has happened, and you naturally start to move forward. However, some people dealing with grief can become depressed and show clinical signs of depression. 

This is where taking Sertraline can be helpful. It can assist those who are struggling with grief-related depression to cope better and improve their mental well-being (4). 

Additionally, Sertraline is approved to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related symptoms. So, for people with grief related to PTSD, Sertraline may also be beneficial in addressing their symptoms (5).

Can Sertraline be prescribed for grief without depression or PTSD?

Sertraline is not approved for the sole purpose of treating grief (2). No medication is specifically approved for treating grief because it is considered a normal and natural process, and in most cases, people adapt and heal from grief over time. 

However, in some situations, doctors may consider prescribing a low dose of Sertraline, typically lower than 50mg, temporarily to help individuals who are experiencing mild depression alongside their grief. 

This can be especially relevant if the grief-related sadness becomes overwhelming or persistent and starts to resemble clinical depression (3). However, Sertraline takes time to work and it won’t make you feel better right away. 

Furthermore, it’s essential to note that there is limited research on the use of Sertraline for grief that is not associated with depression or other mental health conditions. The primary focus of medications like Sertraline is to address clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and related conditions.

Some non-pharmacological ways of managing grief

Some ways of managing grief without the use of medications include:

Acceptance and self-compassion

Acknowledge that grief is a natural response to loss. Accept your feelings, whether they are sadness, anger, guilt, or confusion. Allow yourself to grieve without judgment. 

It is also important to go easy on yourself. Understand that healing from grief takes time, and it’s okay to have moments of vulnerability.

Counselling and therapy

Consider seeking professional support, such as talking to a therapist or counsellor who specializes in grief and loss (6). They can offer you a safe and confidential space to express your feelings and help you with coping strategies. 

Additionally, joining a grief support group can be valuable. Connecting with others who share similar emotions and experiences can offer a sense of belonging, comfort, and understanding during your journey of healing.

Set goals

Establish small, achievable goals for yourself. Invest time in productive activities that help you grow personally or professionally. This can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 

When you begin achieving your goals or start seeing growth in your profession or career, you will feel better, and your grief will start to subside over time.

Talk to a loved one 

Talk to a loved one and seek their help. You can open up to people who understand you, support you, and know you. They can remind you of how important and valuable you are to them. 

Some individuals may not feel like talking to strangers due to introverted personalities, so talking to a loved one can be helpful for such people. You can also plan activities with them to distract yourself, such as going on a trip, hiking, shopping, or trying out different eateries. 

The human mind is adaptable and designed to let go of things. You just need to give yourself some time and engage in productive distractions.

Healthy lifestyle

Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress through relaxation techniques like deep breathing. 

Ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals. Proper nutrition can provide essential energy and nutrients that promote emotional resilience. 

Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can also help. Exercise has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and improve overall mental health. Activities like walking, jogging, dancing, or even yoga can have positive effects on your emotional state.


In this article, we have discussed whether Sertraline can help with grief. We have also discussed some non-pharmacological ways of managing grief.


  1. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from: 
  1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from: 
  1. Pop-Jordanova N. Grief: Aetiology, Symptoms and Management. Pril (Makedon Akad Nauk Umet Odd Med Nauki). 2021 Oct 26;42(2):9-18. doi: 10.2478/prilozi-2021-0014. PMID: 34699700.
  1. Valle-Cabrera R, Mendoza-Rodríguez Y, Robaina-García M, Ballesteros J, Cordero-Jiménez JR, Espinosa-Rodríguez NB, Sotolongo-Garcia Y. Efficacy of Sertraline in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder Naive to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: PMID: 30106883.  
  1. Londborg PD, Hegel MT, Goldstein S, Goldstein D, Himmelhoch JM, Maddock R, Patterson WM, Rausch J, Farfel GM. Sertraline treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder: results of 24 weeks of open-label continuation treatment. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001 May;62(5):325-31. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v62n0503. PMID: 11411812.
  1. Waller A, Turon H, Mansfield E, Clark K, Hobden B, Sanson-Fisher R. Assisting the bereaved: A systematic review of the evidence for grief counselling. Palliat Med. 2016 Feb;30(2):132-48. doi: 10.1177/0269216315588728. Epub 2015 Sep 28. PMID: 26415735. 

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