Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms – Paxil (paroxetine) is a commonly prescribed antidepressant classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It’s considered to be non-addictive by experts because it doesn’t induce feelings of euphoria. However, patients who stop taking the drug abruptly will still encounter withdrawal symptoms, also known as discontinuation syndrome. The onset of these unpleasant effects is a sure indication that dependence has developed.
Doctors regularly prescribe SSRIs, such as Paxil, to patients in drug and alcohol recovery if they have emotional disorders, such as depression. Mental health conditions are common among those with substance abuse problems, so they often go undiagnosed and untreated for a prolonged period. For addicts in recovery whose depression is the result of serotonin deficiency, Paxil can reduce some withdrawal symptoms while improving overall brain chemistry and emotional well-being.
Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox
Paxil works to inhibit the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. In doing so, Paxil improves serotonin’s ability to elevate mood and relieve symptoms of depression. For many people who use paroxetine, the drug, at some point, becomes ineffective.
Getting off of an SSRI such as Paxil isn’t usually as difficult as recovering from recreational drug use, and symptoms tend to mild and are easily managed by gradually reducing the dose. That said, abrupt cessation of Paxil or another SSRI can result in rebound depression and anxiety, and this re-emergence of mood problems can be very distressing.
The following are common withdrawal symptoms of Paxil:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Excessive dreaming
- Suicidal thoughts
Suicidal ideations are most common among those under age 25 who patient accidentally misses a dose or stops using the drug without first consulting a physician.
Even gradually decreasing the dose of Paxil can induce feelings of depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. If symptoms get more severe, patients are urged to notify their doctor immediately—fixing the problem is often as simple as increasing the dose temporarily.
Doctors also sometimes prescribe fluoxetine (Prozac), which an SSRI similar to paroxetine but with a shorter half-life. Fluoxetine may result in comparatively milder withdrawal symptoms.
Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
How long symptoms persist and the intensity of those symptoms are dependent on the unique features of the person, the amount and frequency of the doses being used at the time of discontinuation, and the length of time that the patient has been using the medication. Withdrawal symptoms will usually onset within the first 24-48 hours of dose reduction, and they peak in severity at 4-5 days.
For most people, withdrawal symptoms subside entirely after 2-3 weeks. Nevertheless, new evidence has suggested that it can take as long as 90 days before the brain has fully adapted to the absence of Paxil. During this time, it’s critical for the patient and physican to monitor vacillations in symptoms closely.
Managing Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome associated with Paxil are at their most intense and disturbing when doses are stopped suddenly. Accidentally missing one or two doses, though, can still initiate the onset of withdrawals. Moreover, a person who has been taking large and regular doses of paroxetine will, on average, have more severe withdrawal symptoms than someone who has been using smaller doses.
Doses of Paxil range from generally 10-60 mg. Patients who have been taking 50 mg or more for a year will inevitably take longer to wean off of Paxil than a patient who has been taking doses less than 30 mg.
When doses are discontinued abruptly, the best way to manage and reduce symptoms is to return to the prescribed dose and then gradually taper, or reduce doses from this point. Patients are strongly advised never to stop using Paxil without first consulting a physician and developing a plan for getting off the medication.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising can also be beneficial for managing withdrawal symptoms. Eating plenty of leafy greens and supplementing with probiotics can help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Exercise can also help normalize metabolic activities as well as decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Where to Seek Help While Transitioning from Paxil
A doctor who has been prescribing and monitoring the drug’s administration is the most well-equipped to offer support and guidance during the discontinuation phase. But while transitioning away from Paxil is relatively uneventful for some, it can be incredibly distressing for others.
Some people who use Paxil for mental health conditions also seek out the use of other substances in an attempt to self-medicate. Unfortunately, this almost always backfires. If you or someone you love has been prescribed Paxil and is abusing other drugs or alcohol, professional treatment is needed.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers integrated treatment that addresses drug dependence, addiction, and mental health disorders. Our programs include services clinically proven to be beneficial for the recovery process, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, peer support, aftercare planning, and more.
If you require help conquering drug or alcohol abuse, dependence, or addiction, contact us today!