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Prozac is a commonly known antidepressant used by millions of people every year. It tends to be prescribed in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg doses. Although it has the potential to help people relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, it can also become addicting. 

Because people tend to take Prozac for years, weaning off of it can also be incredibly difficult, and symptoms of withdrawal are not uncommon. To help mitigate uncomfortable symptoms that often stem from withdrawal, it is, therefore, essential that one knows what withdrawal symptoms they may experience when detoxing off this medication. Also, if addiction is already at play, they will need to know how to get appropriate help. 

Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms

When people abruptly stop taking Prozac, they may not immediately feel the withdrawal symptoms. Instead, it can take up to several weeks for the symptoms to take effect. Unlike other SSRIs, Prozac withdrawal symptoms can last up to two months as opposed to other medications that only cause withdrawal symptoms for a couple of weeks.

Many people mistake Prozac’s symptoms of withdrawal as signs that they have relapsed. As a result, they may start taking the medication again, and thus it becomes a never-ending cycle. To prevent this from happening, people taking Prozac should be aware of the symptoms of relapse and the symptoms of withdrawal. Knowing the difference between the two is also vital. 

Common Prozac withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach problems like nausea and diarrhea 
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Insomnia and excessive vivid dreams
  • Irritable moods 
  • Muscle pain and headaches 
  • A hard time controlling your speech

These symptoms are very similar to other illnesses like a cold or the flu, so it’s important to check with your doctor to figure out what exactly is happening.

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Timeline for Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, Prozac differs from other types of SSRIs when it comes to symptoms of withdrawal. Many people don’t see them until a couple weeks after they’ve stopped taking Prozac because Prozac has a longer half-life than other antidepressants. 

As a result of this extended half-life, the drug stays in your body for longer. Typically, you won’t start to feel withdrawal symptoms until after the drug has left your body completely. Another thing to keep in mind is that people who have been taking the drug for a long time may also experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, while someone who hasn’t been on it very long may not experience them at all. The dosage factors into how much withdrawal you will experience. 

Experts warn that getting off of Prozac may cause your depression to come back much worse than before. It can even lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. Because of this, you must seek help when going through this change. A professional may even prescribe a different medication to help combat your symptoms. 

How to Mitigate Withdrawal Symptoms from Prozac

It’s safe to say that no one wants to undergo withdrawal when getting off of Prozac. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent that. The good news is that you can make the experience easier by following a few simple steps. 

For one, be sure you are eating foods that can help increase serotonin, as this is what Prozac is used for. Serotonin is the chemical in your brain that stabilizes your mood and makes you feel happier. Although antidepressants help boost the serotonin in your brain, there are other ways to do this naturally. This includes taking supplements and even certain foods. 

Eating, in general, produces serotonin. However, certain foods like spinach, pineapple, and tofu all help increase your serotonin levels even more, thanks to a chemical they contain called tryptophan. This chemical is an essential amino acid from the food you eat and isn’t naturally occurring in the body. 

Like serotonin, tryptophan helps stabilize your moods and sleep patterns and even improve your metabolism. People diagnosed with anxiety and depression have been shown to have depleted levels of tryptophan in their bodies. As a result, eating the foods we mentioned earlier can be a great way to help you manage your depression.

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Another way to help with your withdrawal symptoms is to go to therapy or visit a treatment center that can guide you through withdrawal and help make it easier on you. There, you will be met with trained professionals in dealing with situations like yours who will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your time there.

Although you might not feel up to it, working out can also be a good way to relieve some of your symptoms. Even a half-hour a day of working out can reduce stress and irritability. In addition, a daily stroll through your neighborhood or your local park is a good way to get this exercise in regularly.

Be sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can worsen your symptoms. Although caffeine and alcohol may help balance your moods temporarily, their effects will eventually wear off, and the aftermath far outweighs the benefits of those temporary effects. 

Relying on friends and family to support you through this difficult time is also a good way to take your mind off your withdrawal symptoms. Confiding in people close to you can also keep you from relapsing. 

Treatment to Reduce the Symptoms of Prozac Withdrawal

Although Prozac can be beneficial for some people, it can also take a toll on others, especially those trying to get off it. So getting off Prozac is not something you should do on your own and certainly something to let your doctor know. If you require any support or want to learn more about Prozac addiction and the effects of withdrawal, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

If you are addicted to Prozac, the time to get help is now. Our Austin and Dallas drug rehab centers are equipped to help you achieve lasting recovery from drug addiction. So please don’t let another precious moment go by while gripped by the devastating effects of addiction.

Source:

Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. Osborn CO. How Long Does Withdrawal From Prozac Last? Verywell Mind. Published December 3, 2020. Accessed June 26, 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/prozac-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline-and-treatment-4766892
Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Ascendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed June 26, 2022

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