The use of anti-depressants has soared since their introduction some 50 years ago, and increasing numbers of users are now dealing with symptoms of withdrawal when they reduce or stop usage. One of the most common anti-depressants is Prozac, sometimes substituted with its generic form, Fluoxetine. Most Prozac users will experience some type of withdrawal after cutting down or halting the pill, even if they are taking a low dosage.
Prozac withdrawal symptoms usually start just after reducing or stopping intake--within hours, days or weeks. If these symptoms dissipate after a patient is put back on the same dosage, then they can be sure they were experiencing withdrawal and not re-emergence of the original illness. Withdrawal generally includes new features different from those caused by the original illness.
Withdrawal from Prozac may take place as soon as hours after the last pill, although most people report experiencing symptoms at least a day or so later. Other patients may experience their first withdrawal symptoms several days or weeks following the last dose. Signs of Prozac withdrawal tend to last for about a week or so in mild cases with lower dosages of the drug, while others may experience symptoms for weeks or months after their final pill.
There are five main types of documented withdrawal from Prozac. The first of these categories is psychiatric, encompassing symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia, mood instability and problems with memory and concentration. The second type of Prozac withdrawal is neurological, and may include light-headed feelings, dizziness, vertigo, headaches, and tingling sensations. Motor system withdrawal symptoms include tremors and dystonia, or instability while walking, while somatic withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, sweating, and chills. Lastly, gastrointestinal signs of withdrawal from Prozac such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting may arise.
Withdrawal symptoms from Prozac or its generic form should be monitored by a health care provider. A physician can advise patients on how and when to gradually reduce Prozac intake to avoid withdrawal symptoms as much as possible. Working with a doctor as you stop taking the drug can help prevent severe withdrawal symptoms or rapid withdrawal, which can be hazardous to your health.
In addition to a health provider’s plan to taper off Prozac use or replace it with another drug, there are certain herbs that may help combat the withdrawal symptoms. These natural remedies include citrus, white peony, ginseng, fu-shen, tang-kuei and polygala. The majority of these herbs vitalize blood circulation and calm nerves, resolving some of the most common withdrawal symptoms.