I went to my doctor yesterday to tell him about my Klonopin withdrawal symptoms and to ask him about weaning off Prozac.
He was very helpful and I’m really glad I went. He explained that the agitation I’ve been experiencing over the last few days are very likely due to the Prozac. He said I might have a touch of SSRI mania (I knew it!) and that there are two ways in which I could approach weaning off Prozac.
The first is to discontinue the Prozac completely. Many people can just stop taking their Prozac without any untoward side effects. I was able to do this when I was pregnant.
However, some people do experience side effects of stopping Prozac cold turkey, and they can range from mild to severe. Here are a list of possible side effects:
- unprovoked crying spells
- brain zaps or shock like sensations
- increased anxiety
- increased depression
- akathisia, an irritating restlessness or inability to sit still
- flu like symptoms
- pins and needles
- thoughts of suicide
If I decide to stop taking Prozac cold turkey and experience any suicidal thoughts, I am to call my doctor immediately.
The other choice I have for stopping Prozac is to slowly taper it off. I was given a prescription for half my usual dose. I am to take that for 2 weeks, then continue to wean as per this protocol. Again, if I experience any thoughts of suicide, I am to call him immediately.
My doctor was very thorough and he took the time to explain that Prozac has a very long half life, in fact the longest of any antidepressant. Because if this, it remains in the body for quite a long time, and this is good because it can take the edge off the weaning process.
In the past I discussed weaning off Prozac with my local pharmacist. He had a different idea altogether, and felt it was best to taper off the med very gradually, a few granules at a time. Although this is pretty labor intensive and can take up to a year or longer, it would definitely be the best way to prevent any untoward side effects. I found this article that details this method: http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/taper.htm
So I wanted to make the right decision for me. I sat down with my husband and we talked. I also spoke to my best friend, my sister, and another close friend I have who has successfully stopped taking Prozac.
After consulting with my loved ones and praying last night, weighing the pros and cons of all three choices, I made my decision. I decided to just stop taking Prozac completely. Even though I had a bad experience the last time I tried to go cold turkey, I know I wasn’t in such a healthy emotional space like I am now. The discussion with my doctor about Prozac’s long half life was encouraging to me. I have every reason to hope that this will be completely successful. So far so good…
What are your experiences with antidepressant withdrawal? I’d love to know. Please share so we can all benefit.
I wish you peace,
p.s. There are a number of effective treatment programs available to us anxiety and panic attack sufferers today. See which one is right for you and get started today on reclaiming your life from fear.
photo credit: Xanetia