Prozac is a commonly known antidepressant used by millions of people every year. It tends to be prescribed in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg doses. Despite the fact that 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. In order 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 an 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 feel the symptoms of withdrawal right away. In fact, it can take up to several weeks for the symptoms to take effect. Unlike other SSRI’s, Prozac withdrawal symptoms can also last up to two months as opposed to other medications who 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. In order 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.
Symptoms of Prozac withdrawal vary depending on each person but for the most part 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 types of illnesses like a cold or the flu so it’s important to check with your doctor to figure out what exactly is going on.
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 of weeks after they’ve stopped taking Prozac because of the fact that 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 the symptoms of withdrawal 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 period of 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 that you have been taking also takes into account how much withdrawal you will experience.
Experts warn that getting off of Prozac may cause your depression to come back much worse than before. In fact, it can even lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. Because of this, it’s imperative that you seek help when going through this change. A professional may even prescribe you 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 a bit easier on yourself by following a few simple steps.
For one, be sure that 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 that is obtained by the food that you eat and isn’t naturally occurring in the body.
Like serotonin, tryptophan helps to stabilize your moods, your sleep patterns, and even improve your metabolism. People who have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression have 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.
Another way to help with your withdrawal symptoms is to go to therapy or visit a treatment center that can guide you through the process of withdrawal and help make it easier on you. There, you will be met with professionals who are trained in dealing with situations like yours and who will try and 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 just a half hour a day of working out can lead to a reduction in stress and even irritability. A daily stroll through your neighborhood or your local park are good ways to get this exercise in on a regular basis.
Be sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine as they could both make your symptoms worse. 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 of your withdrawal symptoms. In fact, confiding in people who are close to you can also keep you from relapsing.
Treatment to Reduce the Symptoms of Prozac Withdrawal
Despite the fact that Prozac can be beneficial for some people, it can also take a toll on others, especially people who are trying to get off of it. Getting off of Prozac is not something you should do on your own, and certainly something to let your doctor know about.
If you are in need of any support or simply 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. Please don’t let another precious moment go by while gripped by the devastating effects of addiction.