Prozac Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Detoxing Safely

prozac withdrawal

The process of getting off antidepressants can be difficult, especially if you’ve been misusing them for a long time. Weaning yourself off Prozac already requires the assistance of a doctor, but if you’re addicted to this medication and you’ve grown accustomed to misusing it, more specific detox treatment may be necessary for safe Prozac withdrawal.

According to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health data, about 1.2 million people misused drugs like Prozac in 2020 and suffered from a substance use disorder because of it.1 If you or a loved one needs help to get off Prozac, the caring professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are here to help ease the process.

Related post: Adderall Withdrawal Timeline

What is Prozac?

Prozac is the brand name for the generic drug fluoxetine. It’s an antidepressant that is FDA-approved to treat depression, bulimia, panic disorder, and OCD. Prozac is an selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, also known as an SSRI, which works to balance the natural chemicals found in your brain and prevent the reabsorption of serotonin (a neurotransmitter). In doing so, it helps the brain maintain its serotonin levels, so your mood feels more stable. Fluoxetine also improves your appetite, sleep, and energy levels and reduces feelings of depression, anxiety, and panic.2

Additionally, the dosage you take is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. A doctor will determine an appropriate dose for you, and after you start taking it, it can take a few weeks to feel the effects. To reduce the risk of negative side effects, your doctor may also start you off with a very low dose and gradually increase it to determine the ideal dosage for you. 

If you abruptly stop taking Prozac, your condition may become worse and you’re likely to experience uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Like other depressants, getting off Prozac should be a gradual weaning process. However, if you’ve misused Prozac, your situation may require professional detox treatment. This is especially true if you’ve been taking excessively large doses of Prozac or abusing other drugs with it.

Prozac abuse and misuse

Prozac is not technically classified as an “addictive drug” and it’s not listed as a controlled substance. However, it does alter your mood, which can be psychologically addictive. For example, you might become psychologically addicted to Prozac if you believe it helps you sleep better. 

Although Prozac abuse isn’t extremely common, it does happen, primarily among people with other mental health or substance abuse issues. Most people who misuse Prozac have a history of substance abuse issues and use it with other drugs or alcohol. One research study also found that many people who misused Prozac also had a history of mental illness and misused it by taking large quantities of it or taking it for reasons other than depression.3

Unfortunately, misusing Prozac in any way, like taking it with drugs or alcohol, taking it without a prescription, or using it as a “quick fix” to solve life problems, can have serious repercussions. It can quickly lead to dependence and addiction.

What are Prozac withdrawal symptoms?

If you’ve become physically dependent on Prozac, you’ll likely suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you try to cut back or stop using it completely. Some of the most common Prozac withdrawal symptoms include:4

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unusual dreams or nightmares
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Restless legs
  • Difficulty coordinating speech
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Paranoia 
  • Numbness
  • Hypersensitivity to sound
  • “Brain zaps” (feeling a sensation like an electric shock in your head)

Prozac withdrawal timeline

The Prozac withdrawal timeline is different for everyone. However, it mostly depends on your dosage and how long you’ve been misusing it. For instance, if you’re taking high doses of Prozac regularly, you’re more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. They may also be more acute. Additionally, some people may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms shortly after quitting Prozac while others may not have withdrawal symptoms until a few weeks after stopping.

How to deal with Prozac withdrawal symptoms

First, Prozac withdrawal can be very uncomfortable without medical treatment. Since Prozac dependence is primarily psychological, it can be difficult to get sober due to symptoms like depression, anxiety, and mood swings. Experts also warn that it’s common for severe depression symptoms to come back, or even develop into suicidal ideation. As a result, it’s important to seek professional detox treatment. With detox treatment, a team of doctors and nurses can help you cope with those psychological symptoms and may prescribe you other medication to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. 

Although you can’t prevent Prozac withdrawal symptoms, you can take steps to alleviate their severity. Going to a treatment center where medical professionals and clinical counselors guide you through withdrawal can help you manage the symptoms and achieve a stable state of sobriety so you can move forward with a life in recovery..

Recovery from Prozac addiction

Whether you’ve been using medically-prescribed Prozac or you’ve abused it with other addictive substances, medical professionals never recommend quitting “cold turkey.” Instead, gradual tapering is the safest and most effective way to get off antidepressants like Prozac. A medically-assisted detox program is typically the preferred way to break an addiction to Prozac and get help for a substance use disorder.

After detox, it’s important to seek out ongoing support, especially because you’re likely to experience an onset of the symptoms you may have felt initially before taking Prozac. Or, if you have other substance abuse and mental health issues, you should seek out dual diagnosis addiction treatment. Prozac addiction treatment will be most effective if it addresses mental health issues and other substance abuse issues simultaneously. On the other hand, if you just treat one of the conditions, the other is likely to get worse and a full recovery will be difficult.

Related post: What Happens During Klonopin Withdrawal?

Prozac detox treatment at Briarwood Detox Center

In conclusion, if you or a loved one is struggling with Prozac addiction, there is hope for recovery. Antidepressant withdrawal is difficult to deal with on your own, but with the help of treatment professionals, you can fully heal and begin a new life in recovery. If you’re ready to get help with detox Austin, please call (512) 262-4426 or contact us online.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf 
  2. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Fluoxetine-(Prozac) 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140701/ 
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants


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