Drug and Alcohol - Dual Diagnosis

Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Prozac withdrawal can be an unfortunate side effect after using this popular SSRI. Learn about Prozac withdrawal and Prozac abuse in our blog.

Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

February 21, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Fluoxetine, also known under the trademark Prozac, is an antidepressant. Individuals who abruptly stop using Prozac may have discontinuation symptoms like fatigue, agitation, and migraines. As a result, if an individual feels prepared to cease the medication, they should consult with their physician, who might propose progressively decreasing their prescription.

By the Numbers

According to the National Library of Medicine, many patients who discontinue or lessen their usage of antidepressants may have withdrawal effects, which clinicians describe as antidepressant discontinuation disorder. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, up to 80% of persons who prematurely discontinue antidepressants might experience withdrawal symptoms.

Prozac is a regularly prescribed antidepressant medication. Whenever an individual intends to discontinue Prozac, they must consult with their clinician and obey their specialist's recommendations on how to proceed. Because of Prozac's long half-life, individuals are less likely to develop withdrawal effects compared to other medications. Such sensations usually last longer; however, they are typically not as severe. Brain fog, disorientation, and migraines are some of the symptoms.

To prevent or decrease symptoms of withdrawal, a physician may advise reducing the amount of Prozac. To assist in limiting potential symptoms, individuals should also try self-care methods like jogging, getting adequate sleep, and consuming a well-balanced diet.

If side effects of Prozac withdrawal are substantial, worrying, bothersome, or continue more than a few days, a patient must consult with their specialist. It is also critical to get care if an individual has psychological distress, self-harm, or any other unusual or worrying behaviors. If the signs of the disorder for which they had been consuming Fluoxetine return or intensify, individuals must consult a doctor.

This blog discusses the symptoms of Prozac withdrawal, along with how long these persist and the best treatment options.

What Is Prozac?

Prozac, also known as Fluoxetine, belongs to the class of antidepressants prescribed to address several diseases, such as severe depression, chronic anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and several binge eating syndromes. You might have Prozac withdrawal effects for a few weeks following discontinuing the medication as your central nervous system adapts to reduced neurotransmitters in the brain. Fluoxetine is a medicine of a class called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. (SSRIs). These medications boost the serotonin in your brain and improve your psychological well-being.

Do you know the symptoms of Prozac withdrawal?

How Long Do Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The most astonishing thing is that Prozac seems to be significantly less likely for the SSRIs to trigger side effects. This is due to Prozac's lengthy half-life. The half-life of a medication is the duration in which it takes half of the substance to be eliminated from your system. The half-life of most SSRIs is about one day, although Prozac's half-life is between four and six days. This is significant since withdrawal effects normally emerge when a medication is 90% removed from your bloodstream. Fluoxetine is distinctive amongst antidepressants in that withdrawal effects do not usually develop over several weeks.

However, this is a dual-edged dagger since Prozac's side effects can persist for up to two months. The prolonged time frame linked with fluoxetine discontinuation raises the possibility of misclassification. Since withdrawal effects develop later and stay longer, they are frequently misdiagnosed as a rebound. This may cause patients to reintroduce antidepressants needlessly.

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Warning Signs and Symptoms of Prozac Withdrawal 

Understanding the indications of Prozac separation and the duration span over which they emerge might assist you in distinguishing withdrawal effects from a rebound. In addition, the results of SSRI discontinuation are diverse, impacting several various physiological organs and systems, as explained below:

  • Gastrointestinal: Patients may have sickness, purging, cramping, constipation, or a lack of hunger.

  • Problems with movement: People might lose consciousness or feel woozy, causing them to struggle to move/stroll at times.

  • Difficulty sleeping: Patients might experience night terrors, strange visions, inordinate fantasies, or sleeplessness.

  • Physical symptoms: Generally, patients might experience common cold symptoms like a headache, sore muscles, lethargy, and fatigue.

  • Emotional disturbances Severe anxiety, restlessness, terror, suicidal thoughts, melancholy, impatience, wrath, hyperactivity, or emotional changes are all possible.

  • Strange feelings: Unusual sensory experiences: People might feel numbness, buzzing in their ears, weird flavors, or intolerance to noise.

  • Motor control: Patients might experience shivers, body aches, restless legs, an unstable stride, or difficulties regulating their speaking and biting motions.

Withdrawal effects from Fluoxetine can vary from slightly disconcerting to severe and crippling. They often develop after 1.5 to 10 days following a medicine intake reduction or withdrawal. The Discontinuation-Emergent Signs and Symptoms Scale (DESS) is a tool or a detailed list that you can utilize to determine the intensity of your difficulties.

Consequences of Quitting Prozac

Antidepressant drugs such as Prozac are some of the most often administered drugs in the United States. In a single period, more than forty million individuals consume an antidepressant, as stated by the National Library of Medicine. One in every four people has been using them for ten years or more.

Among the main reasons why people use antidepressants for so long is that they are terrified to quit taking them. Such issues concentrate on the risk of recurrence of signs and subsequent withdrawal. These concerns are not wholly unjustified.

More than half of antidepressant users have withdrawal effects, including agitation, disorientation, vomiting, and numbing sensations. Getting off antidepressants might also raise the likelihood of rebound, such as the re-emergence of anxiety or depressive symptoms. Stopping is also related to a 60% rise in suicide attempts explained by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in their recent article.

Working with your medical physician to assess such hazards against the possible hazards of persisting Prozac is critical. Fluoxetine has many negative impacts that may have a detrimental influence on your life. Also, remember some of these fade with age, and sexual health risks might persist even after you cease using the medication.

Prozac Withdrawal Prevention

Prozac withdrawal does not necessarily have to be awful. When you are concerned about side effects, your doctor may advise you to decrease your medication rather than discontinue it abruptly. As is the case with many addictive drugs, taking the "cold turkey" approach is always a bad idea.

You might frequently avoid or decrease Prozac withdrawal effects if you decline your usage consuming gradually fewer dosages over time. Your physician might propose a 1- to 2-week reduction (due to Prozac's extended half-life, it slackens itself in certain ways) or a lengthier reduction that lasts multiple weeks or months.

According to the latest research, a prolonged reduction (at minimum one month) which persists until your dosage is nil is the greatest method for minimizing SSRI withdrawal.

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Managing Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms

If you've begun suffering Prozac withdrawal effects, you can alleviate your suffering by doing the following:

  • Counseling: Psychoanalysis could assist you in controlling your stress and even lower your risks of recurrence.

  • Social assistance: Inform your family and acquaintances that you are suffering withdrawal effects to avoid arguments and disagreement.

  • Strength and conditioning: A modest level of physical activity, such as 30 minutes three days a week, can help alleviate anxiety and irritation.

  • Herbal treatments: OTC medications such as licorice plant and melatonin might alleviate sleeplessness.

  • Over-the-counter drugs: OTC prescription medications and anti-nausea drugs can be employed to treat various ailments and stomach cramps.

Managing Prozac Withdrawal

Cautions to Be Taken Before Quitting Prozac

There is a chance that when you stop taking Prozac, your indications of chronic depression might reappear. According to research, Fluoxetine can raise the likelihood of suicide ideation and conduct (emotional dysregulation) in people with severe depression, specifically in young children and adolescents.

As a response, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States published a black box warning (the FDA's most severe statement) that Fluoxetine or Prozac consumption might raise the likelihood of suicidal behavior. The FDA, therefore, urges individuals, parents, and healthcare practitioners to constantly watch suicide danger signs in youngsters and adolescents who receive the drug, particularly at the start of therapy or when dosage levels are modified.

Suicide warning signals to watch out for include: 

  • Thinking about ways to accomplish suicide

  • Speaking of considering suicide more so than usual, such as "I wish I was dead."

  • Assembling the tools of suicide, including bullets or drugs

  • Being stuck or miserable

  • Experiencing erratic bouts of depression

  • Participating in unsafe or self-destructive actions, including driving while intoxicated

  • Preoccupation with mortality, suffering, or destruction

  • Getting affairs in order, or giving up possessions

  • Leaving people as if it were the final time

What Are the Indications of Prozac Addiction?

Understanding the indications of Prozac addiction is crucial to figure out when a close one is suffering from it. According to studies, the overwhelming bulk of individuals who are administered antidepressants does not misuse them.

However, specific demographics are much more susceptible to acquiring a dependence on SSRIs like fluoxetine or Prozac than others. Those already in confined situations and those with a background of drug dependence are examples. The following are symptoms of Prozac dependence:

  • Shaking and trembling

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Panic attacks and anxiety

  • Compulsive behavior

  • Sleeplessness

  • Agitation and irritation

  • Lack of concentration

  • Seizures

  • Delusions

  • Loss of sensation.

  • Violent ideas or acts.

  • Psychosis.

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Do you need advice about Prozac withdrawal symptoms? Reach out today.

The Significance of Long-Term Care After Prozac Withdrawal

Your situation will determine your long-term prognosis, including why you discontinued Prozac and what problems you are currently witnessing. For example, suppose Fluoxetine was ineffective or you were forced to discontinue medication due to undesirable side effects. In that case, users must build a long-term treatment plan for chronic anxiety. This could entail experimenting with anxiety medications or antipsychotic combos.

As per an Analysis of Depressive Episodes, less than 50% of individuals who experience a bout of depression will go through a minimum of one more during their lifetime. As a result, maintenance treatment is critical. Maintenance treatment is an extended form of therapy that is intended to avoid recurrence. Medicine, counseling, or a mixture of the two may be used. According to evidence, people who engage in counseling when stopping antidepressants become less inclined to relapse compared to those who do not. To lower your odds of recurrence, the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests several types of psychotherapy, such as cognitive restructuring, insight meditation-based psychotherapy, or supportive therapy.

Treatment for Prozac Withdrawal

As per the American Medical News, the most common strategy to quit taking antidepressants is always to reduce them gradually; nevertheless, individuals who follow this method may encounter withdrawal effects. Scientists are not sure why several individuals are more susceptible to a difficult detoxification period than others. However, they have concluded that the preferred technique to treat a Fluoxetine/Prozac addiction, in addition to any withdrawal symptoms, is to employ a multifaceted strategy.

If dependency is prevalent, individuals might attend residential treatment after completing a clinic-centered medicinal detox program to establish their sobriety before participating in an intensive outpatient setting. Patients across both institutional and ambulatory treatment centers for addiction might engage in:

  • Individual counseling, 

  • Psychoeducational counseling, 

  • Dialectical behavioral counseling

  • 12-step courses

  • Community support meetings

  • Aftercare programs and services

Psychiatric treatment will be accompanied by certain other kinds of therapy aimed at providing patients with the abilities they need to deal with the challenges following Prozac misuse or addiction. Individuals who began taking Fluoxetine for distress might be concerned that their clinical signs will return once they quit consuming it; however, based on research, most grown-ups struggling with depression favor psychiatric treatment and find it more efficient at curing their side effects than antidepressant medications like Fluoxetine.

When family and friends receive medical treatment for antidepressant dependence, the family can comfort individuals by vowing to be there for them throughout the procedure. They may also attend counseling sessions together just to learn how to deal with depressive symptoms without medicines if they occur repeatedly.

However, the structure of Prozac as an SSRI prevents the medication from being compulsive; it is conceivable to develop a psychological addiction. Furthermore, upon ending antidepressant medication, individuals may encounter side effects, something that many associate with addictive behavior. 

The Edge Treatment Center Will Help You Through Prozac Withdrawal

If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction to Prozac, Prozac withdrawal, or another addiction, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center. We'll happily help you find an effective, trustworthy drug detox center.

In our experience, drug addiction is often accompanied by a mental disorder. This combination of co-occurring disorders is known as a dual diagnosis, and we're specialists in treating it. Once you're ready to attend our long-term outpatient drug rehab, we'll help you deal with both any drug addiction as well as any underlying issues driving it.

Don't try enduring Prozac withdrawal symptoms alone. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today, and begin a happier life.

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