Does Sertraline help with SAD? (5+ tips to manage SAD)

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline, an antidepressant, can help treat social anxiety disorder (SAD). We will discuss how Sertraline can help such individuals and talk about some other ways to manage SAD.

Does Sertraline help with SAD?

Sertraline can help with the symptoms of SAD. Sertraline works as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which increases the serotonin levels in the brain. This helps in reducing the anxiety and excessive fear of social situations associated with SAD.

Sertraline can be effective in treating social anxiety, but its efficacy can vary from person to person. It is essential to talk to your healthcare provider, who can examine your situation and provide you with appropriate medical guidance.

In many cases, Sertraline is used in conjunction with therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) (1).

How effective is Sertraline in the relief of SAD?

Sertraline is an antidepressant drug classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It can help overcome Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) by addressing the underlying imbalance of neurotransmitters associated with the condition.

Sertraline can help treat symptoms of SAD and primarily works by regulating serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a significant role in regulating anxiety, mood, and emotions. SAD may be caused by an imbalance of serotonin in the brain.

Sertraline helps regulate imbalance by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, and improving mood (2).

Increased levels of serotonin in the brain have an anxiolytic effect. Sertraline can help to reduce the symptoms associated with SAD, including negative thoughts, trembling, sweating, and social avoidance. However, the effect of Sertraline may take several weeks to be effective. Sertraline should be taken under medical supervision.

Research has shown that Sertraline, an antidepressant used to treat symptoms of social anxiety disorder (SAD), a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found Sertraline to be effective in the treatment of severe social anxiety disorder.

Multiple clinical trials were conducted to determine Sertraline efficacy in the treatment of SAD. People who took Sertraline showed a marked reduction in social anxiety symptoms compared to those who received placebos (3).

SAD is a chronic and incapacitating condition characterized by marked social situations. This is prevalent among young adults, and this can significantly have an impact on social growth. Behavioural therapy and pharmacotherapy combinations have shown promising outcomes in the treatment of SAD (4).

What are the Dosage recommendations for Sertraline for SAD:

Following are the dosage recommendations for Sertraline for SAD:

Age Group Dose Administration Maximum Daily Dose
Adults 50 mg once a day 200 mg
Children aged 6-12 25 mg once a day 200 my children
Children aged 12-17 50 mg once a day 200 mg
Geriatrics 50 mg once a day 150-200 mg

What to do if Sertraline fails to help you with SAD?

If Sertraline does not seem to be effective for you, it is essential to consult with your prescribing healthcare provider before making any change to your dosage regimen. they can provide medical guidance based on your specific situation.

  • It is important to reevaluate the diagnosis of SAD and ensure it is accurate. Sometimes, symptoms may be related to some other underlying medical condition or certain issues that require different approaches. Sometimes, higher or lower doses may be effective.
  • If Sertraline doesn’t work for you, reach out to your healthcare provider for alternative options such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which can be tried.
  • Another approach is augmenting Sertraline with another medication to enhance the effects, such as antipsychotics.
  • It is helpful to combine medication with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or any psychotherapy specially designed to treat symptoms of anxiety
  • A healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can reduce stress and complement your treatment.

Some non-pharmacological ways of managing SAD

Some ways of managing symptoms associated with SAD without the use of medications include:

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT with the therapist helps you to understand and change the patterns and behaviours regarding negative thoughts. It helps to develop coping strategies for social anxiety. This could be done in a group or with parents or carers (3, 5).

CDT aims to help in identifying patterns and behaviours related to negative thoughts which can cause social anxiety. With appropriate medical guidance from a therapist, individuals can overcome anxiety and improve their self-esteem.


Acknowledging and understanding social anxiety involves thinking about or writing down what goes through your mind and how you have to behave in certain social situations. This will certainly help you keep a diary. It is important to accept it and go easy on yourself (4).

People with SAD often struggle with low self-esteem and harsh self-criticism, which can cause severe anxiety. Cultivating self-kindness and self-acceptance can have a profound impact on overcoming social anxiety disorder (SAD).

Relaxation technique

Practice some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and muscle relaxation; this can help manage anxiety symptoms. Breaking down challenges into smaller parts and working on every part individually to be more relaxed and focused.

It is also helpful to engage in stress-reducing methods such as yoga, journaling, or taichi to manage anxiety (4). It is important to remember that the relaxation method may work differently for each individual. Additionally, consider seeking medical guidance from a therapist.

Exposure therapy

Gradually get acquainted with social situations in a controlled and supportive environment to reduce anxiety. Try to focus on what people are saying rather than assuming the worst (4).

Exposure therapy is curated to help individuals confront their fears and slowly overcome these situations. Based on assessment by the therapist, individuals are gradually exposed to social situations.

Avoid alcohol

Symptoms of anxiety can be exacerbated when drinking alcohol or caffeine. These should be avoided or consumed in moderate amounts (4). Both Sertraline and alcohol can affect the central nervous system. When taken simultaneously, it can amplify the side effects, potentially causing somnolence and impaired coordination.

Alcohol is a depressant and hurts mood. If you’re taking Sertraline for anxiety or depression, drinking alcohol counteracts and exacerbates your symptoms associated with anxiety.


In this article, we have discussed whether Sertraline can help with SAD. We have discussed some non-pharmacological methods of managing social anxiety disorder (SAD).

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Nhs.Uk, ‘Common questions about Sertraline”, [ updated 2022 Feb 2; cited 2023 Oct 2], [Internet], Available form


FDA-Approved Labeling for Zoloft® for the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder, (2003).


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Alomari NA, Bedaiwi SK, Ghasib AM, Kabbarah AJ, Alnefaie SA, Hariri N, Altammar MA, Fadhel AM, Altowairqi FM. Social Anxiety Disorder: Associated Conditions and Therapeutic Approaches. Cureus. 2022 Dec 19;14(12):e32687. doi: 10.7759/cureus.32687. PMID: 36660516; PMCID: PMC9847330.,being%20judged%20negatively%20by%20others.


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