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How Long Do Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Learn more about Prozac withdrawal symptoms, how long coming off Prozac will take, and options for support.

What Is Prozac?

Prozac is the brand name for Fluoxetine, which is considered a type of antidepressant. This particular type of antidepressant is known as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, or SSRI, because of how it works in the body. It was also one of the first SSRIs to be discovered.1

This allows for it to be a well-researched method of treating certain disorders, which may be better for those with elevated risks for certain reactions.

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Role of Serotonin

The brain is maintained and regulated by several different chemicals. These chemicals control everything from mood and mental state to physical things like sleep and digestion. One of the most important brain chemicals is serotonin, which is especially important in improving mood, sleep, and digestion.

How Does Prozac Work?

In patients suffering from depression or similar disorders, there may be a lack of serotonin. Prozac works by preventing the body from reabsorbing the serotonin that is already there, helping to increase levels and allow the beneficial effects to be felt longer. As a result, Prozac is beneficial in treating disorders that may be the result of unbalanced brain chemistry. 

Some of the conditions include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders

Prozac Withdrawal

However, despite the fact that Prozac is a beneficial substance for many conditions, use and abuse can lead to addiction. As a result, Prozac withdrawal may also occur when use stops.

Who is Likely to Experience Symptoms Of Prozac Withdrawal?

Prozac withdrawal is most likely to occur in those with an addiction to the substance. Unlike some other substances, Prozac isn’t known for its addictiveness. However, after a long period of use with frequent doses, or in the case of Prozac abuse, addiction is possible. This is true for most antidepressants.2
Withdrawal, also known as detoxification, occurs when the body is used to a substance and suddenly goes without it. As a result, anyone who is used to the elevated serotonin that Prozac causes may be at risk for withdrawal when stopping their regular doses.

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Prozac

Like with any other substance use disorder, Prozac addiction can lead to a variety of effects and symptoms. These come as a result of the body craving Prozac if a prolonged period of time goes between doses. These signs and symptoms may also occur as a result of elevated levels of serotonin.

Signs Someone Is Addicted to Prozac

Some signs of Prozac addiction can include:3
  • Jitters
  • Numbness
  • Irritability
  • Violent thoughts or actions
  • Aggression and anger
  • Insomnia
  • Talkativeness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts

Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms

Because prolonged use or abuse of Prozac can lead to addiction, there is also a possibility of Prozac withdrawal symptoms when you stop using this medication. Withdrawal typically lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and symptoms can vary based on the severity of the addiction.

Indications of Withdrawal

Some of the most common Prozac withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Dizziness and trouble balancing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping

Prozac Side Effects

One reason that it is important to use Prozac under the guidance of a medical professional is that certain side effects can occur. Prozac side effects can vary in severity, and, although they often go away on their own, they may require medical help if they make daily life difficult.4
Some Prozac side effects may include:
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Yawning
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating

When to Stop Taking Prozac

Although Prozac can be a beneficial treatment for many conditions, there may come a time when it is necessary to stop taking it. This can be because of side effects, interactions with a new drug, or because it is no longer working the same.
However, because there are Prozac withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to approach stopping this medication the right way.

How to Come Off Prozac

It is important that someone taking Prozac for depression or anxiety does not suddenly stop their doses. Because it increases serotonin in the brain, Prozac can be addictive, and it is dangerous to undergo withdrawal suddenly at home.
If you and your doctor have decided it is time for you to stop taking Prozac, then your doctor will help prescribe the right plan for safely withdrawing. This may involve seeking outpatient or inpatient treatment, depending on your individual risks.

What Is The Timeline For Prozac Withdrawal?

There is no exact Prozac withdrawal timeline. Instead, the time it takes to fully detox from Prozac depends on the individual and their situation. Those who have been using Prozac longer or have had higher, more frequent doses may need more time than those who have not.
On average, however, physical symptoms of Prozac withdrawal only last for around two weeks. Many psychological symptoms will end after a few months, although cravings can last for up to a year after beginning detox.

What Treatment Is Available For Prozac Withdrawal?

Prozac withdrawal will eventually cease on its own. However, there are methods of managing Prozac withdrawal symptoms in the meantime. This typically includes medication-assisted treatment, which works to reduce the discomfort as the body detoxes.

Coping With Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms

Detox and withdrawal are a necessary part of weaning off of Prozac. While the symptoms can be uncomfortable, undergoing this process can help increase quality of life. However, that doesn’t mean that you must undergo Prozac withdrawal symptoms with no help.

Although there is no single treatment that can allow you to bypass withdrawal, there are ways to better cope with the symptoms. These can include approaching your detox in a specific way or adding in other treatments to better help you cope with Prozac withdrawal symptoms.

Techniques To Consider

Some techniques and coping methods to consider include:
  • Taper the dose
  • Switch to another antidepressant
  • Attend to physical health
  • Practice increased self-care
  • Increase therapy

Get Help For Prozac Withdrawal at Ripple Ranch

Although Prozac withdrawal symptoms can be distressing, you don’t have to undergo them alone.
At Ripple Ranch, you’ll find evidence-based holistic treatments that take advantage of our over 20-acre campus. Our small patient-to-therapist ratios allow us to provide individualized care while still focusing on healing, reflection, and growth.

No matter where you are in your recovery journey, our professional staff here at Ripple Ranch is ready to meet you where you are and help you restore balance in your life. Reach out and begin healing today.