Does Sertraline make you zone out? (5+ tips to improve your focus)

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline can make you zone out. We will also discuss why Sertraline may cause such side effects, and what one should do to mitigate them.

Does Sertraline make you zone out?

Sertraline may make you zone out, especially during the early course of your treatment. However, it is not a common side effect of this antidepressant and zoning out is more commonly linked to the mental health conditions that Sertraline can help treat (1). 

It’s common for people with depression to feel zoned out or unable to focus on their surroundings. Some may feel numb and disconnected. They might forget where they are, who they’re talking to, or what they’re doing. 

Sertraline, as an antidepressant, is expected to help with these conditions. However, when people first start taking Sertraline, it may make them feel zoned out. This happens because it takes time for a person to adjust to Sertraline and the changes it causes in the brain. 

These adjustments may initially affect focus, but as Sertraline takes effect and your body gets used to it, it can begin to help improve your focus.

What does research suggest?

There is no research study linking Sertraline with zoning out. However, it is reported in some cases. The incidence of this side effect can vary from person to person. Some individuals may initially experience zoning out when they start taking Sertraline. 

This is because the brain takes time to adjust to the medication. It’s important to note that these side effects can be temporary. Once Sertraline takes full effect and the body adjusts to it, many people find an improvement in their ability to focus (2). 

This is particularly beneficial for those who have difficulty concentrating due to depression. By addressing the underlying depressive symptoms, Sertraline can help individuals feel more connected, engaged, and focused in their daily lives.

What factors can contribute to zoning out while taking Sertraline?

Some factors can contribute to zoning out while taking Sertraline, including: 

  • Worsening of anxiety or depression symptoms while on Sertraline can lead to increased difficulty focusing or feeling disconnected from your surroundings.
  • High levels of stress can exacerbate the side effects of Sertraline, potentially causing zoning out or difficulty concentrating.
  • Some medications, when taken alongside Sertraline, may impact your focus. For example, sedatives or medications that affect the central nervous system can contribute to zoning out.
  • If you have co-existing psychological disorders, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they can interact with Sertraline and affect your ability to focus (3).
  • Alcohol and certain substances can interact with Sertraline, potentially intensifying its side effects or causing zoning out.

It is important to note that each person’s response to Sertraline can vary and people can have different underlying factors affecting their health. Make sure you discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. 

What to do if Sertraline is making you zone out?

If you believe that Sertraline is making you zone out or feel detached from your environment, please discuss this with your healthcare provider. 

There could be other factors at play here and Sertraline might not be solely responsible for this. However, your doctor can help you with this condition and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. 

Just make sure you do not make any changes to your prescription on your own or decide to stop Sertraline cold turkey. Abrupt discontinuation of antidepressants can lead to disturbing withdrawal symptoms. 

Important tips to improve your focus while taking Sertraline

Some important tips to improve your focus while taking Sertraline include:

  • Playing games like Sudoku, crosswords, or memory-matching games can stimulate your brain and improve focus. These activities challenge your cognitive abilities and keep your mind active (4,5).
  • Reading books, articles, or even writing in a journal can help sharpen your concentration. 
  • Physical activity is a great stress reliever and can boost your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood-lifters. Even a brisk walk or yoga session can make a significant difference (6).
  • Eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins can support brain health. These nutrients can enhance cognitive function and improve focus.
  • Ensure you get enough quality sleep. Sleep is crucial for cognitive function and memory consolidation.
  • Dehydration can affect your cognitive abilities. Drinking enough water is essential for overall brain function.

Remember, taking Sertraline properly along with the above-mentioned tips can help you with zoning out with time. However, if something concerns you, reach out to your doctor.


In this article, we have discussed that Sertraline can make some people zone out, but can actually help you with it once it kicks in. We have also discussed some factors that can contribute to this side effect and some tips to improve your focus.


  1. Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from:
  1. Popovic D, Vieta E, Fornaro M, Perugi G. Cognitive tolerability following successful long term treatment of major depression and anxiety disorders with SSRi antidepressants. J Affect Disord. 2015 Mar 1;173:211-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.11.008. Epub 2014 Nov 15. PMID: 25462418. 
  1. Magnus W, Nazir S, Anilkumar AC, Shaban K. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 2023 Aug 8. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 28722868. 
  1. Dartigues JF, Foubert-Samier A, Le Goff M, Viltard M, Amieva H, Orgogozo JM, Barberger-Gateau P, Helmer C. Playing board games, cognitive decline and dementia: a French population-based cohort study. BMJ Open. 2013 Aug 29;3(8):e002998. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002998. PMID: 23988362; PMCID: PMC3758967. 
  1. Ching-Teng Y. Effect of board game activities on cognitive function improvement among older adults in adult day care centers. Soc Work Health Care. 2019 Oct;58(9):825-838. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2019.1656143. Epub 2019 Aug 21. PMID: 31432758. 
  1. Mandolesi L, Polverino A, Montuori S, Foti F, Ferraioli G, Sorrentino P, Sorrentino G. Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Front Psychol. 2018 Apr 27;9:509. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00509. PMID: 29755380; PMCID: PMC5934999. 

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