Prozac Addiction: Should I Start Prozac Again?

Sample E-mail Answer by Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, DCC

Prozac Addiction and Dependency: Should I Start Prozac Again?Dear M,

Well, let's get the chastisement out of the way first. It is really important never to alter your medication unless under the supervision of your physician. It should be unnecessary to ever attempt a change of medication alone if you have a good and healthy relationship with your doctor. If you can't work with your doctor easily and feel you aren't being heard, then it's probably a good idea to find a physician you can.

It can be very dangerous to stop some medication abruptly. One of the symptoms of stopping Prozac too quickly is headaches. Prozac is not addictive so there are not really withdrawal symptoms per se, but stopping the medication too quickly can cause headaches, moodiness, irritability, insomnia, resumption of depression, and in rare cases confused thinking. I have even heard some clients describe strange electrical sensations inside their head.

Luckily, besides these moderate discomforts, the danger of stopping Prozac quickly is not great. It does not sound as if you are in any immediate danger and usually after two or three weeks these symptoms cease. However, I wonder why you felt the medication was not working as well as it did in the beginning. This can certainly happen at times with anti-depressants. Sometimes this is because the dosage is no longer sufficient. In general, once the right dosage has been found it remains sufficient, but sometimes a client becomes resistant to a particular dosage and it therefore needs to be increased.

It is also quite possible that another anti-depressant would work better for you.

For most people suffering from simple depression being on an anti-depressant for a year or two is enough to relieve the problem. However, when someone is suffering from severe depression or other psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder most people need to be on medication lifelong. This is especially the case when there are other members of the family who suffer from similar problems. Obsessive-compulsive disorder usually does run in families.

I am glad you are feeling better except for the headaches, but I think it would make sense to either go back to your psychiatrist or seek out a new one and have a complete evaluation done. You said that you felt that the medication was dulling your senses. This can happen, but usually when someone is given the right medication at the right dose for the right conditions that dulling does not occur. These decisions are too important to make without the assistance of someone who specializes in these disorders. Good luck.

Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, DCC