Learn More About Treating Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are extremely common, with data from the National Institute of Mental Health indicating that an estimated 31.1 percent of American adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in life.
Our guide to coping with anxiety goes into more detail about the treatments that are available for anxiety disorders, from cognitive behavioral therapy to meditation and more.
Precautions When Taking Prozac
Prozac may not be safe for you if you have certain health or medical conditions. Ask your doctor for more information about the risks and benefits of Prozac for you.
- Liver disease. If you have problems with your liver, your doctor may need to adjust your dose of Prozac or consider other medications to manage your anxiety.
- Seizures. If you have a history of seizure disorder, your doctor will discuss your risks if you choose to take Prozac.
- Bipolar 1 disorder. Prozac can increase the risk of manic episodes when used alone in people with bipolar disorder.
- Blood clotting disorders. If youre taking medications like warfarin to thin your blood, Prozac can increase your risk of bleeding.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding. It isnt known if Prozac is safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of Prozac if youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
Strategy No : Avoid Ineffective Therapies
When directly questioned by a physician, about 60 percent of patients who take SSRIs report experiencing sexual dysfunction, including delayed orgasm, anorgasmia, loss of libido, decreased lubrication, and erectile dysfunction11 that number drops to 14 percent when patients spontaneously report the information.12 Only 25 percent of these patients with sexual dysfunction report being able to tolerate this side effectpresenting a major challenge because of the long-term nature of the treatment.12
In general, the sexual dysfunction is dose-related and responds to reductions in the total amount of antidepressant medication used.11,12 Occasionally, patients can successfully alter the time of dosing or skip doses prior to sexual activity. This strategy would presumably work best with short half-life agents such as paroxetine or sertraline .11 Because sexual dysfunction is ordinarily a class effect, switching SSRIs is usually not beneficial. Unfortunately, venlafaxine has an incidence of sexual dysfunction similar to that of conventional SSRIs.11
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Medications To Avoid If Youre Taking Prozac
Its important to discuss the use of any other drugs with your doctor before starting Prozac. There are numerous medications that might interact, resulting in possibly serious side effects. Some of the more commonly used medications that might interact include: aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , warfarin, and other blood thinners. Use of these drugs while taking fluoxetine increases the risk of bleeding.5
Prozac might also interact with other antidepressants, amphetamines, pain medications, or St. Johns Wort, presenting the risk of serotonin syndrome.,11
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Large changes in blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
You should talk with your doctor before starting any prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, herb, or supplement while taking Prozac.
How Long Do They Take To Work
You may notice an improvement in your anxiety within 2 weeks of taking SSRIs, but it can take up to 6 weeks for them to reach their full effect. However, everyone responds to medication differently, so you may see changes sooner. Try to be patient!
If your anxiety isnt getting better after 6 weeks, talk to your provider. They may recommend increasing the dose or trying a different medication.
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Urgent Advice: Call A Doctor Straight Away If:
You’ve taken too much fluoxetine by accident and experience symptoms such as:
- being sick
- lung problems
If you need to go to a hospital accident and emergency department, do not drive yourself – get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.
Take the fluoxetine packet, or the leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine with you.
Antidepressant Safety And Side Effects
Although most new antidepressants, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, are well tolerated, you may experience side effects while using antidepressants to treat anxiety. Common side effects of SSRIs and SNRIs include:
Reduced sex drive
Some SSRIS and SNRIs are associated with sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction in men. Sexual side effects can often be treated by changing medications, adjusting dosage or using erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra® or Cialis® .
In some cases, SSRIs and SNRIs can cause severe side effects, including serotonin syndrome and an increased risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. Weve explained these in more detail in our full guide to SSRIs.
If youre prescribed an older type of antidepressant, such as a tricyclic antidepressant or MAOI, you may experience more side effects. These medications may also cause a range of drug and food interactions, as weve explained in our full guide to MAOIs.
If you experience any side effects after you start using an antidepressant, its best to talk to your healthcare provider. If your side effects dont disappear on their own over time, your healthcare provider may recommend adjusting your dosage or switching to a different medication.
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What Does Prozac Feel Like When It Starts Working
As mentioned above, in the first few weeks of taking Prozac, you may begin seeing improvements in your energy, appetite, and/or sleep. Side effects you might have had when first taking Prozac may start to ease up or disappear altogether.
Over the next few months, you also may start to notice other signs of depression or anxiety also improve. For instance, you may find that your mood has lifted and/or that you are more interested in your daily activities.
How Do Antidepressants Work
Common antidepressant medications include SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, appetite, and mood. In anxiety and depression, it is common to see lower levels of serotonin, often resulting in symptoms of fatigue, reduced appetite, lack of pleasure, and more.
An SSRI works by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin into the brains neurotransmitter receptors, which then allows the chemical to be more abundant. This can help balance the serotonin levels in individuals with anxiety or depression.
Prozac is an SSRI, alongside other common antidepressants like Zoloft or Lexapro .
There is another class of antidepressants called SNRIs Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. Similar to SSRIs, SNRIs work to block reabsorption of serotonin, as well as norepinephrine, which is another neurotransmitter heavily involved in mood and feelings of energy and alertness.
A third common class of antidepressants are known as NDRIs, or Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors. Norepinephrine is thought to play a role in the bodys stress response, while dopamine is thought to affect motivation and the ability to experience pleasure. One commonly prescribed SNRI is Cymbalta .
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Ongoing Support While Quitting Prozac
It is important to remember that as Prozac is tapered, the symptoms that the medication was used to treat may return. A person who used fluoxetine for major depressive disorder may experience symptoms of depression again. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder may experience more intrusive thoughts. These symptoms should be monitored and managed if they occur. In some cases, a person may need to discuss the pros and cons of ending fluoxetine use with their physician, as ending the use of the drug may be worse than staying on it.
People who want to end Prozac use should also continue with other treatments that they have received for their respective conditions. Therapy, counseling, educational services, and social support should all be in place before a person begins to end Prozac use, just in case the symptoms of the condition reappear. These services will help the person manage those symptoms as they taper the drug. If a person has not required services for a while due to the condition being stable, they should make sure to re-establish contact with service providers before tapering Prozac. Periodic monitoring by a therapist or counselor may help the patient and physician to manage symptoms and to determine how stable the patients condition is overall as the drug is tapered.
How Antidepressants Can Help To Treat Anxiety
Two types of antidepressants are typically used to treat anxiety disorders selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors .
SSRIs and SNRIs function by changing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in your brain and body. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that are used by your body to communicate between nerve cells and regulate your mood, behavior and other bodily functions.
More specifically, SSRIs work by increasing the amount of serotonin thats present in your brain.
Serotonin is sometimes referred to as a happy hormone or happy chemical. This is because it plays a key role in regulating your mood and feelings of well-being. It also assists in reducing feelings of depression and regulating your levels of anxiety.
Research has shown that low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, anxiety disorders and suicidal behavior. If you are feeling any of these consult a healthcare provider immediately.
SNRIs work by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine that are present in your brain.
Like serotonin, norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter thats responsible for regulating mood and behavior. More specifically, its responsible for everything from helping you focus, to assisting in the management of your sleep-wake cycle, your response to stress and your memory.
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Prozac For Anxiety: Dosage Side Effects Interactions & More
Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but when someone suffers from intrusive, intense anxiety symptoms that impacts their daily life, they have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the United States. , more than 40 million Americans, or 18% of our population, will have an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
Fortunately, there are several prescription medications available for patients who need help managing their symptoms. Prozac is one of several antidepressant medications that can be a great option for treating anxiety.
Prozac has been FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder , obsessive compulsive disorder , and depressive episodes related to bipolar I disorder in both adults and children. It is also approved for adults suffering from panic disorder, bulimia nervosa, and treatment-resistant depression.
It can also sometimes be prescribed for social anxiety disorder , premenstrual dysphoric disorder , generalized anxiety disorder , and post-traumatic stress disorder .
With All These Options How Can You Choose
Your doctor can recommend the best medication to help control your anxiety. There are different types of anxiety disorders, so different medications may be better choices for your type. Your doctor will also consider your other health conditions and medications, and whether you have a family history of responding better to a certain medication. Since you might be taking medication long-term, you may want to factor in affordability.
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Social Phobia Drugs Therapy Work Equally Well
Combining Therapies Won’t Provide Greater Relief
In the U.S., social phobia is a widespread problem — one that leads to suicide attempts, numerous health problems, and reduced earning potential, writes lead researcher Jonathan R.T. Davidson, MD, a psychiatrist and behavioral scientist with Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
His report appears in this month’s issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.
Studies have found that antidepressants — particularly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac — help relieve social phobia. Through cognitive behavioral therapy people learn to change negative thoughts and behaviors that feed the phobia, and they learn social skills.
But can medication be sufficient without therapy? Is group therapy enough if you don’t like taking medications? Do the therapies combined provide even better benefits? These are the questions that Davidson tackled in his study.
After 14 weeks of treatment:
Archives of General Psychiatry
Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Taking Prozac For Anxiety Disorders
If youre considering taking Prozac for an anxiety disorder, have a thorough discussion with your health care team. The physician or psychiatrist who is prescribing it will need to assess your possible benefits and risks of using this medication. You shouldnt feel uncomfortable asking questions or addressing concerns.
Here are questions to ask your care team about Prozac:12
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Special Benzodiazepine Risk Factors
Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:
People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
People with a history of substance abuse. Because theyre physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.
The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents