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Prozac (Fluoxetine) Withdrawal: Symptoms + Duration

Prozac (Fluoxetine) is among the most popular antidepressant medications on the market. It operates as an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) meaning it prevents the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is thought to help with both depression and anxiety, but it is also prescribed for a number of other conditions.

Although most people end up taking Prozac for a period of time to help them get through a rough patch and/or for major depression, many people do not like the idea of being on a medication for life – so they withdraw from it. Fortunately withdrawal from Prozac is widely regarded as being “easier” than most other major SSRI medications.

Most people seem to have considerably less withdrawal symptoms when quitting Prozac than they do quitting a medication like Paxil or Effexor. Part of the reason that withdrawal from Prozac may be considered relatively easy has to do with the fact that it has a longer half life. I do not mean to undermine the withdrawal from Prozac – as symptoms can still be difficult to deal with.

However, many people actually switch to Prozac to help ease withdrawal symptoms from other medications that have shorter half lives. Most SSRI’s are difficult to come off of – especially if you have been on them for an extended period of time.

Factors that influence Prozac withdrawal:

There are various factors that will influence your withdrawal period from Prozac. If you have been on the medication for years and are taking a relatively high dosage, it may be more difficult to quit than if you were only taking it for a few months. Generally, the longer you are on a medication, the more difficult it will be to quit, but there are other factors that influence withdrawal as well.

1. Time Span

How long have you been taking Prozac (or generic Fluoxetine)? If you have been taking the medication for longer than a year, it is going to be more difficult to come off of than someone who has only taken it for a few months. The time span that you took a drug is always going to influence the withdrawal process.

2. Dosage (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg)

Generally Prozac is prescribed as one of four dosages. The range is from 10 mg all the way up to 60 mg. Someone who is taking just 10 mg is likely going to have an easier time coming off of the medication than someone who had been taking 60 mg.

Time span along with dosage plays a huge role in influencing withdrawal. Someone who takes 60 mg for a period of 5 years is going to struggle more with coming off of the drug than someone who took 20 mg for 8 months. Typically the greater the dosage, the more you will need to focus on a gradual tapering process.

3. Physiology

The phrase “everyone is different” holds true when it comes to medication withdrawal. Although two people may experience the same or similar symptoms, one person may have a more difficult time coping with them. For one individual the dizziness and headaches may cause them to panic and/or lead to “panic attacks.”

For another person experiencing dizziness may bother them, but may not elicit a panic response. Individuals with better familial and social support, healthier habits (e.g. diet and exercise), and more self-awareness will likely have an easier time withdrawing from Prozac.

4. Cold turkey vs. tapering

It is much easier to quit Prozac cold turkey than other SSRI medications. I have successfully quit this medication cold turkey with no major withdrawal symptoms. Individuals that have been on this medication for a long period of time and/or at a high dosage should still use a tapering method of withdrawal. It is never advised to quit “cold turkey” unless you are on an extremely low dose.

Note: In comparison to most antidepressants, fluoxetine has a long half-life.  In other words, Prozac stays in your system for a longer duration than other drugs after stopping. This is beneficial when it comes to withdrawal because SSRI’s with a short half-life tend to produce the most extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

The withdrawal symptoms that you will experience coming off of Prozac may not be the same as someone else. Everyone has a different reaction to medications as well as how their body responds and readjusts to life without the drug. Some people may experience very minimal withdrawal symptoms, while others may be plagued by seemingly everything on this list.

  • Agitation: Many people report feeling agitated, restless, and irritable while coming off of Prozac. This is a result of how they are feeling without the calming serotonin that was increased while they were on the medication. Now that they are coming off of Prozac, they experience somewhat of a polar opposite to relaxation.
  • Anger: Some people report feeling extremely angry and/or exhibit outbursts of rage while coming off of Prozac. With this medication, it is less common to feel extreme anger than other medications, but some people may get really upset. Very little things can trigger anger because the person withdrawing is going through a lot.
  • Anxiety: Since this medication helps calm a person down by treating both anxiety and depression symptoms, it is no wonder that they experience anxiety while coming off of the medication. Even if the person didn’t have a “chemical” imbalance before taking Prozac, they will have one after coming off of the medication as a result of withdrawal. The serotonin system will eventually reset itself back to homeostasis.
  • Blurred vision: People have reported weird effects from withdrawal on their vision. Some individuals experience blurred vision, while others see “floaters” (or small objects floating in their field of vision). Your vision is likely not affected in any way by the medication, but it may take your brain to readjust and thus recover from the withdrawal-induced vision changes.
  • Confusion: It is common to experience confusion and/or subtle amnesia when withdrawing. Extreme confusion is uncommon, but being slightly confused in addition to slowed cognition is all part of the process.
  • Crying spells: The emotional upheavals that you may experience while coming off of Prozac may feel unbearable. This may result in crying spells as a way to release some of the pain that you are experiencing. Just know that it is normal to cry as a result of the emotion that you are experiencing – it is uncontrollable emotion.
  • Depersonalization: Some individuals report feeling unlike their natural selves during withdrawal. They may feel like they have transformed into a zombie or that their “true self” will never come back. This is called “depersonalization” and is a result of brain chemistry changes and going through major withdrawal. Rest assured that you will eventually return to normal over time.
  • Depression: Feeling depressed while withdrawing from Prozac? This is because you were taking it to treat depression. When you stop taking it, you are going to feel depressed because your brain is no longer inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. Even if you already have depression, withdrawing may make symptoms worse and more extreme.
  • Dizziness: As with all SSRI’s, Prozac withdrawal may result in dizziness and/or vertigo. This is a common symptom that will eventually subside. Try not to freak out – there is not something more extreme wrong with you, it’s just medication withdrawal.
  • Emotional numbing: It is common to feel emotionally numb as a result of withdrawal. This numbing makes some people feel like “zombies” or that they have zero emotions and contributes to depersonalization-like symptoms. This is something that I experienced to a degree with Prozac.
  • Fatigue: You may feel extremely tired or fatigued all day. The lethargy may be so extreme that you may have a difficult time completing various tasks. As weeks pass, you will eventually recover and begin to notice that your energy levels are starting to return to normal.
  • Headaches: You may experience minor or very intense headaches when quitting Prozac. It is not always easy to deal with them, but most of the severe headaches should subside within a couple weeks. The longer you are off the drug, the less severe these typically are.
  • Inability to concentrate: Withdrawal may lead to some people experiencing ADHD-like symptoms. You may not be able to concentrate in school and/or during work projects. It may seem as though no matter how you try, focusing on tasks is a lost cause. Your concentration will eventually return, but it will take time.
  • Insomnia: Some people are unable to fall asleep at night during withdrawal. Although tiredness is extremely common, so is insomnia. People may stay up well into the night just wishing that they could somehow fall asleep. It is the emotional upheavals and anxiety that keeps people awake.
  • Lightheadedness: In addition to dizziness and headaches, many people report feeling lightheaded during withdrawal. This actually may contribute to some people feeling dizzy – just know that it will eventually fix itself.
  • Memory problems: Many individuals have reported having memory problems and/or reduced capacity to remember things upon withdrawal. This is something that I’ve personally experienced and it’s certainly not fun. Do your best to cope with your memory impairment, it will eventually return to normal functioning.
  • Mood swings: One moment you may feel angry and you may quickly transition to feeling sad. The next hour your may feel aggressive and/or extremely anxious. As your brain recalibrates itself, you are going to experience changes in mood. Do your best to cope with whatever you experience.
  • Muscle pain: Many individuals report body aches, muscle weakness, and various muscular pains. These can be difficult to deal with, but know that they are only temporary.
  • Nausea: It is common to experience nausea, and in some cases, flu-like symptoms. The nausea may be extreme enough to trigger vomiting.
  • Night sweats: You may experience profuse sweating while you sleep. This is basically your body’s attempt to restore itself. Prozac affects us not only on a mental level, but also physically.
  • Panic attacks: This medication typically helps people with panic attacks, so when they come off of it, the panic may be way worse than when they initially started the medication. People may freeze up in social situations and/or randomly experience panic. This is a result of the brain being in a hypersensitive state and low serotonin levels.
  • Stomach pain: Feeling stomach cramps and pains is pretty common during the early stages of withdrawal. This is just your body’s way of readjusting to life without the medication.
  • Suicidal thoughts: There are black box warnings on all antidepressants forewarning people about potentially experiencing suicidal thoughts. When you come off of a major antidepressant, it is common to experience suicidal thoughts. Many drug companies may hide this little fact, but having suicidal thoughts and urges during withdrawal is extremely common. Do whatever you can do recognize that these will likely subside in intensity over time.  However, if you are unable to cope with these thoughts, be sure to seek immediate professional help.
  • Tiredness: You may want to sleep all day and just stay in bed. The tiredness may be so extreme that you may think you have something wrong like chronic fatigue syndrome. You do not have chronic fatigue – you are going through withdrawal. It may take a lengthy period of time before you return to normal energy levels.

Prozac Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

There is no clear-cut answer for how long withdrawal from Prozac is going to last. It may take one person a few weeks to feel nearly 100% recovered from the symptoms, while it may take another person several months before they feel 75% recovered. There is no telling how long you are going to experience withdrawal symptoms. I personally barely experienced any withdrawal from Prozac, but it took me over a year to psychologically recover from Paxil withdrawal.

Most people in various discussion forums that have used the medication will suggest that it takes a fairly lengthy period of time, while others may suggest that withdrawal is very short term. It is best to ignore everyone and just realize that withdrawal will eventually come to an end. It may take you considerably longer than other people and in some cases it may take considerably less time than what other people are reporting – each experience is unique.

When coming off any antidepressant, do your best to stay socially involved in the community, interact with family and/or friends, and make sure that you do things to help take your mind off of the symptoms that you are experiencing. Various healthy activities include: exercising, getting sunlight, eating healthy foods, and socializing. Try to not dwell on the symptoms even if they seem overwhelming – they will eventually pass. Stay busy, keep your head up, and realize that time heals all emotional wounds.

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{ 329 comments… add one }
  • Jan September 28, 2018, 8:10 pm

    I weaned down and stopped fluoxetine couple of weeks ago. I have heart palpitations, headaches, achy joints and tremors in my neck/head as well as being a bit zombified. I’m hoping this doesn’t last too long. I’m keeping busy, eating healthier and exercising more to relieve the feelings. Good luck to everyone.

  • Rebecca September 13, 2018, 12:09 am

    Hi. I have been on Prozac 20mg for 14 years. Earlier in the year I got pregnant, but lost the baby at 16 weeks. Before I got pregnant, I started suffering from occasional dizzy spells, which intensified during pregnancy (which I thought was part of pregnancy).

    However, in the months following the loss of the baby, I am beginning to think that the fluoxetine may have stopped working. I tried escitalopram for 6-8 weeks, but balance and dizzy spells were still bad, so decided to go back on to fluoxetine 20mg.

    The first three weeks were ok, but then Migraines, bad dizziness and nausea and panic attacks returned! This started a month ago and hasn’t subsided. This last week have tapered down to 10mg, but still feel really crap. I have no idea what to do.

    Continue tapering and come off and risk relapse of panic disorder and bad anxiety or go back up to 20mg, but still suffer from similar symptoms. I am stuck and GPs talk like stopping is piss easy!

  • Mary September 6, 2018, 2:19 am

    I had been taking prozac for near 20 years and stopped them early July 2018. As far as my mood issues, I’m doing wonderful. What I have noticed is generalized aches, pain and discomfort throughout my body… particularly joints and muscles.

    Anyone else familiar with this experience? Would love to gain some comfort through numbers if possible. Never had this issue previously, not to this degree. All else is fine…

    • K October 1, 2018, 3:16 am

      Yes! I have a lot of joint pain as well!

  • Jan September 4, 2018, 11:53 am

    I’ve been on and off Prozac since my late 30’s. With periods of being off more than on. I haven’t taken it for about 2 years now and I’m struggling as just coming out of a divorce which has not been easy. I should pat my self on the back really for getting this far.

    I am having stomach problems big time having been in hospital twice in 3 months and they find nothing. I cant eat much and I’m still not 100%. I am wondering if I need to go back onto the Prozac but not sure what to do?

    I feel tired all the time tearful and very down not wanting to see people at all and feeling like the world has left me to just disappear. Up and down everyday… Help!!!

    • S September 20, 2018, 11:23 pm

      Have you tried CBD oil yet?

  • Susan August 26, 2018, 12:06 pm

    Been on Prozac for many years 20mg. Gradually came off over 6 weeks and felt fine but over the last few weeks have felt very flat, tired, no energy, irritable and burst into tears at the slightest thing. Seriously considering going back on to feel human again.

    • Lisa September 3, 2018, 4:46 pm

      Hi, I have been on Prozac for 9 years. Came off about 5 weeks ago, this has been gradual since January. However within the last week the anxiety has hit me big style, blurred vision, neck pain, burning skin sensation, huge fatigue!

      So glad I have read this, as so many people say it usually happens within the first 2 weeks, glad I’m not on my own. Just been to the docs and she has prescribed me fluoxetine again, after reading this, I’m just going to ride it out.

  • Jane August 22, 2018, 2:27 pm

    I have been on and off Fluoxetine for 30 years +, 20mg. I started to taper it off myself a year ago and stopped in February. Recently I have been completely overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions and physical distress, similar to the feelings I had when first starting the drug, i.e. it makes you worse before better.

    I wonder (hope!) that it may have something to do with withdrawal, but am shocked that I am feeling so bad suddenly after nearly 5-6 months off of it. I read that we are all different, I am hoping it will subside and I am doing the right things. Anyone feel the same after so long? And if anyone else is, I know, it is hard.

    • s August 22, 2018, 5:27 pm

      Yes, It will be a year next month that I stopped 40mg of fluoxetine after over 14 years. I’ve been doing well the last couple. Have you tried using any supplements like GABA or L Theanine? CBD oil has been helpful.

      • MP September 17, 2018, 10:31 pm

        I’ve been off Prozac 40mg for 5 weeks after 24 years. I have chills and anxiety, but after that long I think it was totally useless. I feel more energetic and clear, but the chills set in and it’s uncomfortable as hell at times.

  • Teresa August 19, 2018, 4:10 pm

    I have been on 60 mg of fluoxetine for many years. I decided to taper slowly over the past 6 months to 40 mg thinking I was doing fine. The past week I have been very sick, dizzy, severe anxiety, my head feels so heavy, and I’m crying a lot. Could this be from tapering?

    • s August 22, 2018, 5:33 pm

      Absolutely! Hang in there. Have you tried any supplements like L-Theanine, or GABA? CBD oil is awesome for helping with withdrawal.

    • Erin September 19, 2018, 11:01 pm

      After 10 years, I recently reduced my Prozac from 60mg to 40mg. I have had issues with anxiety and hot flashes. I feel my heartbeat constantly pounding in my chest and the fight or flight sensation surging through my body. I hate it. I plan to continue to reduce medication 10mg every 30 day’s until I’m off completely.

  • Tracie August 17, 2018, 6:04 pm

    Glad I found this thread. I have been taking 30 mg for a few years. About a week ago I started tapering dosage to 20 mg. I plan on 20 mg for a month, then 10 mg for a month, then cold turkey.

    I was going through a divorce after 40 yrs of marriage to an abusive jerk. After 2 years of freedom, I feel better. I will post a follow up after a few months of no Prozac.

  • Tess August 5, 2018, 2:56 am

    You guys these comments have me crying in both sadness and relief. I am like many of you, was on varying doses of fluoxetine for 9 years (started when I was only 18!) and tapered off over about 4 months… I thought I was being cautious and my doctor acted like stopping was no big deal.

    I was fine for about 4 weeks and then it was like a truck hit me! The past 2 weeks or so have been total hell, dizzy and exhausted, panicky and irritable. The idea that this would last for months or even years is terrifying to me.

    Hopefully someone who commented from earlier can come back and let us know that everything is better now? I want the reassurance that someone else found the light at the end of the tunnel! To everyone else, I feel you! I support you! We can all get through this ok! 👍🏻 😊🤞🏻

    • Tess August 27, 2018, 12:35 pm

      Hi all, just an update: Some of my symptoms have improved dramatically. Some of them have not. I am still getting numbness and the electric shock thing. Kinda starting to freak me out for how long it has been lasting. Hope it’s not signifying a different or larger issue. Fewer mood swings and a lot less fatigue!

      • Douglas September 6, 2018, 10:42 am

        Thanks Tess, I was on 20mg Prozac brand for 5.5 months, then cold turkey. Prozac did it’s job of allowing me to work through my issues and become more assertive, and less anxious. I gained 11kgs so I decided that was quite enough.

        Almost 3 weeks off cold turkey – it’s been okay. Main symptom is vertigo, but I am able to work productively during the day. Vivid dreams indeed, light current ‘buzz’ through the body after jogging, and buzzy brain at times. When I get triggered it is intense but it dissipates before long. This is great!

        Weight hasn’t shifted as yet, it’s a journey and so far so good.

  • P A Wilson August 4, 2018, 11:30 pm

    I came off 40mg of Prozac after four years, and at the age of 23 – two, nearly three months into withdrawal I feel like I’m in a living hell. Crying every hour, moods changing within minutes, severe IBS/ constipation, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue, extreme bouts of anger and rage, extreme low self esteem and confidence, panic and anxiety in ANY social situation.

    I’m currently unable to work, see friends or even happily look in the mirror. If I’d know this was going to happen I’d have thought twice about starting them. I just want to feel normal and live a happy life. How can you not constantly feel like you want to die, when this is what your life consists of? Someone please tell me what to do, do I go back on them? What is the solution.

    • Chris t September 5, 2018, 4:50 pm

      Wish I knew mate. Been tapering off for a few months and now on Day 8 off completely. Just feel totally f*****.

  • Darlene July 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

    I took Prozac for 16 years, 20 milligrams. Weaned for 4 months, which I know now was to short of a time period. It has been so helpful to read everyone’s posts. I come back so often to be reassured. The end of April I was done with weaning. The following week was good!

    And then it it like a bad storm. It is now the middle of July. Intermittent times are better, the rest is not. Crying, anxiety, foggy, can’t focus, dizzy, walking can feel weird, blurry vision. Restless legs at times and am not sleeping like I used too. The worst is impending doom… it takes my breath away.

    Anyone experienced this? I’ve come this far and will not give up, I hope. Would appreciate some feedback.

    • jody July 24, 2018, 4:52 pm

      I was on Prozac for nearly four years and have gone cold turkey about two months ago. I’ve also given up alcohol and cannabis four months ago. Physically, I have struggled with Prozac withdrawal the most. My head feels like it’s going to explode.

      I’m beyond exhausted, sweats, confusion, memory loss, you name it. Feeling horrendous mentally, but I’m hopeful things will improve over the next few months. I really don’t want to be on any mind-altering substances because I’m in a good place in my life.

      • P A Wilson August 4, 2018, 11:32 pm

        I was the same, 4 years on them and then decided to give up smoking and drinking too. Are you feeling better? I’m two to three months in and feel like I’m losing my mind… Kindest of regards.

    • Melisa August 1, 2018, 5:50 pm

      Hi Darlene, Good for you for weaning off. I took between 20 & 60 mg for 14 years. I didn’t wean myself off like you did (good for you!!) and found the withdrawal to be socially crippling. As of September 2018 I will have been off for 2 years. My feedback is very unsettling.

      I still have symptoms of withdrawal. My fear is that the length and dosages have caused permanent damage to my brain. In the beginning my symptoms were much like yours. Now, after 2 years, anger, lack of focus, depression, suicidal thoughts, and an constant dull headache… not necessarily painful, just there.

      I have read that symptoms can last this long, but am fearful that if things don’t improve soon, I will be heading back to the good old doctor, which is a shame after such a long length of time. I hope your experiences are different. All the best to you!

      • S August 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

        I was on prozac for that amount of time. I have tried a lot of different things and GABA, L-Theanine, and CBD oil are helping. All natural supplements.

      • Darlene August 21, 2018, 12:18 am

        Hi Melissa, So exciting to get an email with responses! We all need to support each other with even the smallest areas of improvement. Since I posted last a shift has improved symptoms. I’m cautiously optimistic. My vision has improved and the constant fighting back tears has gotten better.

        Irritability is still an issue, my “impending doom” is pretty constant. Steadiness in walking is better, then not. Clearer thinking is better, not all the way though. My chiropractor put me on zinc and trace minerals for brain support, he explained how important it is to take certain supplements to help recalibrate your brain.

        I am trying to be kinder to myself and accept that this is a process. One thing I am grateful for is I belong to a gym and I workout. This helps immensely. If I could only bottle the after workout feeling. The energy level isn’t great, I’m allowing myself to rest if it’s conducive.

        I am grateful though for the tears, not the constant lump in my throat, but just feeling more emotionally. I didn’t realize how much Prozac left me flat. I pray we all can get our brains back to a healthy state. My chiropractor absolutely assures me that will happen.

        The other part that will help is to make sure your gut bacteria is healthy as well… healthy gut, healthy brain. He’s been saying that forever, I see now mainstream medicine is beginning to take notice. I believe we are victims of just another “oops” in the side effects of medication.

        Did Prozac help me when I needed it, yes. Do I wish I had been told it should just be short term? Yes. No longer do I trust any Dr. with decisions about my brain or my body without throughly researching every aspect of it.

      • Bunty September 12, 2018, 2:15 pm

        I took over a year to slowly wean off Prozac. Now 15 months later I STILL get waves, not as often as I did, but enough to make me wonder if my brain has been permanently damaged and if I will never be okay.

    • Renae August 17, 2018, 12:44 am

      I’m about 2 & 1/2 months Prozac free (cold turkey). I have pretty much recovered from the irritability, sweating, aches. I decided to make a list of things to do when I feel nervous energy settle in rather than sit and get caught up in why I have it or when it will go away.

      I have come to believe that my previous attempts at stopping the meds were failures because: 1. I didn’t allow enough time for the withdrawals to work themselves out and 2. I didn’t have a good plan in place for my self-care.

      I’ve gone from accepting I will have to take meds my whole life to I’ll never be on Prozac again because I am replacing the meds with healthy activities.

  • Bev T April 13, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Well, I feel much more secure reading this as I thought I was coming down with the plague. My Dr prescribed me the drug to overcome the symptoms of the menopause which to be honest we’re getting intolerable however… I had quite nasty side effects from the onset.

    My menopause symptoms continued but then I started with bowel and bladder incontinence, blurred vision and many other symptoms from the Prozac, therefore hence after around 6 months I decided very sporadically one day to stop – cold turkey stop!

    I am a month into the withdrawal and I feel like a complete alien: itching, agitation, horrendous anxiety, flu symptoms, crying and many more but what really scares me is my behaviour.

    I have actually ‘completely flipped’ and attacked my husband (luckily he is very supportive) and I feel completely out of control; I am actually quite scared and will think very carefully before messing with medication again.

  • TK February 12, 2018, 4:46 am

    I am obviously here because I am withdrawing from Prozac. My short story… I had been taking both Xanax and Prozac for well over 15 years. I first withdrew from Xanax. After I felt “normal” I decided it was time to withdraw from Prozac. I took 20mg so I lowered to 10mg then 5mg. I am having horrible withdrawal symptoms.

    The worst being vertigo and an extreme fatigue feeling. It has been 3 weeks and I have not seen any reduction in symptoms. I had not read all of your stories before I began my journey and I sure wish I had. Perhaps I should have stayed on the lower dose for a longer period? Too late, I’m already on the journey. My other question is, should I have done the Xanax withdrawal after Prozac.

    The reason I ask is because the withdrawal symptoms from Xanax were much less and a shorter period of time however, at the time I thought I would never make it. Oh boy, never thought Prozac would be so much harder. I’m 60 years old and was in 20mg Prozac and .5 xanax. I pray this passes and I pray you all are well on your way as the dates on these posts are years old.

  • Kay January 21, 2018, 6:11 pm

    I’ve been taking 30mg (a 20mg and a 10mg capsule) of fluoxetine (Prozac) for 3 Years now. It made me feel depressed, it made me feel like a zombie, like I had no motivation. About 3 weeks ago I went cold turkey. I’ve been experiencing chronic fatigue, I’ve been extremely irritable, as well as getting angry whenever things do not go my way. The thing is, I’m never like this, and usually I can control my anger, but lately it’s been hard. I need advice. Anything.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is it seems as though I may have vertigo, and I feel drunk or high constantly. It is sometimes hard for me to walk in a straight line even. I am not on drugs, I do not drink or smoke, and again, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Susan May 16, 2018, 5:52 am

      I don’t know that I can give you any magic answer to your withdrawal symptoms. I am in week three of cold turkey 80mg Prozac. I think we just have to accept whatever each day brings. I have had every withdrawal symptom except vertigo.

      With my high dosage for a number of years, I accept that this will go on for some time. Be good to yourself. If you have to nap everyday, or eat ice cream for dinner because your stomach is upset, just let yourself. The more accepting we are with how we feel, the easier it will be.

      • Renae June 30, 2018, 6:09 pm

        Susan, I am 3 weeks into cold turkey 40mg that I have been on for the most part of 20 years. In years past when I tried to go off of it, symptoms set in 2-3 months afterwards that I thought were indications that I needed to be on it. Withdrawal never occurred to me. Anyway, if you want/need someone to withdraw with, reach out any time.

        • Clementine July 2, 2018, 5:23 am

          Renae, I also have been on 40mg of Prozac for almost 20 years. I had previously been on Luvox for a couple of years for anxiety and ended up having horrible depression and weight gain. When I weaned off of Luvox, I ended up having most all of the symptoms others have listed and became convinced that I needed to be medicated.

          The next doctor put me on a combination of Prozac, clonazepam (for anxiety), and trazodone (for help sleeping). I was weaned off the clonazepam last year and have suffered horribly from benzo withdrawal similar to the symptoms listed here. Unfortunately, my doctor never explained what benzo withdrawal symptoms were or that it may take up to two years for my brain to knit itself back together!

          I’ve had muscle and joint aches and pains, vision problems, roaring tinnitus, constant anxiety, stomach pains, and IBS just to name a few things. I’ve felt like I’m living in a zombie body. So, here I am with a new doctor, about to start my last week of weaning off of Prozac and I’m wondering if I’m going to start having even worse (or worsening) symptoms.

          So far, I feel pretty good. The fog has lifted and I can more easily find the words I’m looking for with little to no thought to it. I really want to stay off of Prozac and SSRIs in general and there’s no way I’m going back to clonazepam or any other benzo!

          How are you handling things? I’d love to stay in touch with you. It would be nice to have someone to cheer me on when and if things get rough and for me to be able to do the same. Hope to hear from you.

          • Renae July 7, 2018, 3:28 am

            I hope you can continue with not too many awful side effects. I also hope your new doctor really listens to everything you say you are feeling. A day or so after I made my first reply on this website, a headache settled in that lasted every bit of 5 days.

            I suffer from migraines and it definitely wasn’t a migraine but by the end of the headache’s run, I wanted to cry because I wanted it to be gone. I was also having chills and sweats but thankfully no aches. That has seemed to clear up as well. What has seemed strange to me is that I really thought the Prozac kept my sleep well regulated, but now that I am almost a month off of it, I have slept so hard.

            I seem to be less sluggish from sleeping so heavy and didn’t know what a fog I was under until it has started to fade. Now the only lingering thing is some blurred vision. I have made a plan for myself which I think will help me in the upcoming weeks and months to come if longer term withdrawals kick in that I didn’t recognize before.

            I have a BuJo with a self care tracker. I am learning the habit of doing something each day for my mind, my body, my spirit, and my personal environment. Plus it takes the thinking out of what to do when I feel restless or have nervous energy.

            Yes! Please keep in touch. I do know that social isolation is a problem for me because the older I get, it seems like making acquaintances and friends is harder and harder. I do want to hear how you are getting along.

  • Jessica Rodriguez March 25, 2017, 11:50 am

    Has any one had there pupils go tiny? Mine have gone really small and I have funny vision sometimes. I’m on 40mg every other day trying to come off it, but finding it hard.

    • Sydney August 23, 2018, 9:58 pm

      My pupils have been 2 different sizes from Prozac (20 mg).

  • Tina March 12, 2017, 9:54 pm

    So happy to have found this thread and to know I’m not suffering alone. Have been off and on Prozac and other assorted psychotropic meds since I was 16 (now 27) due to treatment resistant depression. My latest stint, up until 2 months ago, was three years of Prozac (40 mg/day). In late December, I started a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which I have found to be helpful, although it fluctuates day by day.

    Until now, I had thought that the TMS must have buffered me against Prozac withdrawal symptoms. I was so wrong. This is the worst gut-wrenching–feels like someone punched you in the stomach–anxiety and panic I have ever experienced. Not to mention bouts of crying and feeling like this torture will never end (major catastrophizing for all your CBT’ers).

    Right now my doc has me on klonopin to help the anxiety and has given me a shorter-acting SSRI to take as needed to alleviate the more physical symptoms (no appetite, diarrhea, etc.) I just want to be done with Prozac forever but I’m afraid of how long these withdrawal symptoms might last.
    In the meantime, I hope everyone else is feeling okay…

    P.S. To the ladies who said stopping Prozac affected their periods, the same happened to me. My doc said it’s normal since Prozac can mess with hormones.

    • P A Wilson August 4, 2018, 11:36 pm

      May I ask, how do you feel now? Please give me some hope!!

  • ash February 15, 2017, 11:06 pm

    HELP. I was on 40mg of Prozac for 4 years. I stopped cold turkey Jan 1st 2017 and I haven’t told my Dr. because of the profession I’m in I wouldn’t be able to work. I’m on all these emotional rollercoasters and for the most part I’m dealing with it okay. What is hard to deal with is these feelings when I stand up for too long, or get up after sitting.

    I want to say it’s me being dizzy, but it’s not dizziness; because when this happens my tongue gets a tingly sensation and then my lip and eye starts to twitch. It’s like a head-spacey feeling. Like I just did a whippet. It’s extremely hard to explain. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. If it helps, I’m 26, 5’2 and 120lbs.

  • Steve February 11, 2017, 9:05 pm

    I have been on fluoxetine for 17 years. I have several medical problems and nerve damage and spinal cord problems have made me a paraplegic. At the time my Dr put me on several pain meds and nerve meds and put me on Fluoxetine because he thought my might suffer from depression due to life changes.

    I also became impotent due to what they thought was caused by nerve damage. I cut my pain meds to 1/10th of what I was taking about 6 mo ago (my choice) and started on cannabis which really helped. A month ago I stopped Fluoxetine because I didn’t like the way it made me feel.

    I am now going through withdrawal which is bad enough, but I have one extra symptom. I am now having impromptu erections several times a day. It’s like I’m a teenager again, the darn thing has a mind of its own. I’m not complaining but at 63 yrs old it can be embarrassing.

    I came here looking for answers to how I was feeling and found the answers I was looking for. I will just wait out the withdrawal now that I know what is happening to me. Thanks for the info I found here, you people are great.

    • Charlie March 14, 2017, 6:19 pm

      When I got off fluoxetine and alprazolam my libido jumped up and off and on anorgasmia and/or delayed orgasm have pretty much disappeared. Spontaneous erections, mostly at night, seem more frequent or I am more aware of them. Also, the hormone that calms ones kidneys at night is working again and although I often awake at night and have frequent insomnia, I do not have to void my bladder. You never know what to expect in withdrawal. By the way, I will be 80 later this year.

  • Charlie February 3, 2017, 2:52 pm

    Everyone is different. But, from 20 mg I reduced very gradually, using 10 mg tablets I could break in half, stepping down 5 or even 2.5 per day, sometimes using different doses on alternate days, and at the end using half a 10 mg pill every other day. Also, I found what I had learned from earlier counseling and reading about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy essential. Good luck, even if it means back-tracking and tapering, and perhaps study and/or counseling.

  • Robert Z. January 31, 2017, 4:58 am

    I was on 20mg of Prozac for 2 months, and I’m about 2 weeks removed from taking it. I was extremely lethargic while taking it, so much so that I got behind on my homework. I didn’t do any of it at all, very much unlike this 3.7 student. The doctor agreed to get me off of it.

    Since I quit cold turkey, I’ve had some energy return, but I still feel very much unable to start on my homework. I have no idea if it’s withdrawal or just being in a position I’ve never been in before as a student being so far behind. I think it’s a combination of both, as I have focused a lot on my social shortcomings as well as my academic ones.

    I feel tired, without the energy to go out and seek the company I know I need. I just want this nightmare of a quarter to be over, and hope that there will still be an opportunity to do something this summer.

  • Lisa January 30, 2017, 9:37 pm

    This has been the most helpful and refreshing article I’ve come across yet. I was on Prozac for just over 10 years before I decided I was tired of the side effects, and had my life in order enough to take myself off. I was on different levels over those 10 years from as high as 60, down to as low as 20. I was on 20 when I chose to ween off over time.

    I had one hiccup where I just felt overwhelmed, so I slowed down my weening process and I felt fine after that. For a few months, in terms of depression levels, I felt no different than I had when I was on it. I generally felt happier and had more energy, but I did find myself slightly more anxious, and my OCD was back in full swing for a while.

    It’s been a few months since I went off completely, and just a month ago I started getting horrible stomach pains which turned into bad shortness of breath after eating meals. Naturally, I assumed it was some kind of acid reflux. The difficulty breathing began happening at other times too and much more often, namely while I was driving which made me realize, it’s likely not a digestive-based issue.

    Knowing that severe anxiety was one of the things that made me go on Prozac in the first place, I decided to look further into that and panic attacks because of course, I had attributed the breathing pains to eating, which would cause the panic attacks to be worse after meals since I was subconsciously already assuming it would hurt after a meal. It’s been quite some time since I had a panic attack, so I had forgotten what they felt like and didn’t think to associate it with my experience.

    Now that I’m aware that this is likely what’s been making my life hell, I can breathe a little easier and move forward with finding coping mechanisms until the withdrawal symptoms disappear. It’s also refreshing that this may *knock on wood* not mean that this will last forever. I was worried that I would have to go back on medication, but I will try to stick this out a bit longer and hope for the best.

    • Jeff May 5, 2018, 12:58 pm

      Your symptoms and time duration sound just like mine. I was wondering how you are doing now and how long they lasted? Prozac 40mg for many years. 4 months into quitting. Thanks. Jeff 😁

  • Kelly January 11, 2017, 2:40 am

    I’ve been tapering off Prozac for almost a year now. I’ve been taking 80 mg of Prozac for ten years. I am 24 years old. I consulted with my psychiatrist before I decided to taper. He, of course, was doubtful that I would do well off medicine because he practices conventional, traditional medicine.

    I have faith that I can live my life without medicine. I went from 80 mg to 60 mg for two months, etc. etc. I have noticed extreme irritability. Someone had mentioned it seemed like everyone was walking on egg shells around them. I feel the same way. I am incredibly moody and agitated.

    I also feel like I feel more though – emotions good and bad. If I am really happy, I can feel that better than when I took more medicine. I am currently now weaning off my final taper of 10 mg. If anyone needs a good resource or hope, I highly recommend Kelly Brogan’s book “A Mind Of Your Own”.

    It encouraged me to advocate for myself to my psychiatrist and make a life change. Best wishes!

    • Charlie January 13, 2017, 10:14 pm

      In my tapering off, and in the 6 weeks since, I have also noticed irritability. I have been trying to catch it quickly, own it and dismiss it as best I can. Practice seems to be helping.

  • Emm January 7, 2017, 4:49 pm

    I was on Fluoxetine for THREE DAYS. I took it alongside Adderall. On the third day I had my first incredibly severe anxiety attack. I stopped taking it on 11/28/2016, and to this day (1/7/2017) I am still feeling so anxious, so nauseous, so shaky and I’m just not myself. I’ve been taking Klonopin only when I have a severe attack, and I can’t drive or work, I’m so sleepy.

    I took Zoloft for one day and slept the entire day away so I quickly dropped that because I need to work. My doctor said it could take 28 days max for the Prozac to leave my system, but it’s been ages. Does anyone else have this problem? It definitely hasn’t been years or months or anything, it was a mere three days. I just want to be back to my normal self.

  • Charlie December 10, 2016, 9:42 pm

    Rob, I believe wariness can be good. I observe that each of us is different, and responds to medications and to talking therapy our own way – and responses can change over time. I have found individuals’ stories and perceptions helpful, whether I identify with them a little or a great deal. For myself, fluoxetine (Prozac), and other anti-depressants I tried, and alprazolam (Xanax) took the pressure off so I could work at having counseling and learning to detect, acknowledge, accept, and dismiss behaviors and thoughts that are destructive or distracting.

    I think I have had my last doses of alprazolam and fluoxetine — for now — yet I know that if I need them again I can again try them. I know I have weathered withdrawal so far. Perhaps my criterion is something like making use of such drugs if they keep me from harming others, myself, or relationships, while they get the pressure off and I can be freed up to work on my myself, with inter-personal help. Luck and blessings to you, whatever course(s) you follow.

  • Rob December 9, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Well all I can say is I’m absolutely stunned at my (locum) GP’s comments on coming off Fluoxetine (20mg per day). I haven’t started taking it yet, and thinking I might just be better off not bothering. I asked my GP what happens when you stop and her exact response was “It’s fine. When you want to stop, just stop. It’s not a problem.” I am speechless…

    It seems to me that starting Fluoxetine, for the majority, is the beginning of the revolving door around symptoms of depression, symptoms of taking the drug, symptoms of coming off it, then back to symptoms of depression. Round and round… If this is going to happen to me (I say if, because perhaps I might be one of the few lucky ones that come off it with minimal problems), surely I’d be better off just tackling my woes with counseling, CBT or life coaching. Yes, it might be difficult because of how I’m feeling, but is it worth risking this hell people are going through from WD, when my problems seem relatively minuscule in comparison.

    I’m feeling depressed, socially isolated, some anxiety but not panic and a bit hopeless and on the brink of crying for no particular reason. On the positive side I know what the underlying problems are what’s causing all this, and I know how to change it. I also have the unfailing support of a partner and two adorable children that think the world of me.

    Should I take this drug? No chance, and I’m furious at the almost nonchalant attitude of the GP who printed off that prescription, saying to me “just take the drugs, you’ll be fine.” Thank you all for sharing your experiences on this page. You have helped to make me realise the only thing I need to do is buck up and get on. I wish you all the very best of luck, and sincerely hope you find your way through this…

    • M April 14, 2018, 6:27 am

      Sounds like a good plan. I think people should take anti depressants only in extreme situations, like being housebound due to their depression or being suicidal.

  • Charlie December 3, 2016, 12:23 pm

    I am 79. (Age can affect all this.) I have been on Fluoxetine (Prozac) for about 9 years, and Alprazolam (Xanax) was added about 5 years ago. Counseling when I needed to add Alprazolam, and learning and using all the insight I could, have helped greatly. More counseling, with my wife, helped during a period of very high stress on us both.

    Two and one-half years ago we took steps to reduce stress significantly. Early this year I was ready to taper off. I spent about 5 or 6 months tapering off Alprazolam. I think I am off it now, but have the option of a very small dose as needed. After tapering off Alprazolam I started to cut down on Fluoxetine. I am nearly off it now.

    I try to be attentive to withdrawal effects. I have been through most of the listed effects and one or two others for Alprazolam. My learning is to take it as slowly as needed, feel my way, use all the knowledge and wisdom I can muster, accept support from this who care for me, and be as matter-of-fact about it all as possible.

  • Mikey December 2, 2016, 12:48 am

    Currently withdrawing as I type this and feel like death warmed up. I write articles for a side income and currently have the writing ability of a frying pan. Feel dizzy, confused, angry, sad, worthless and for the first time in a long time, feeling it would be better for everyone if I wasn’t around. My spouse and my children are the reasons I am still here. Them and the determined voice in my head telling me to fight through it.

    That determination to do the right thing for my family. I just fear I may lose them because of the way I have been of late. Currently self-medicating with cannabis to help me sleep but don’t think the doctors will help me with anything over the period of time I would need to ease my anxiety. I feel alone, misunderstood and often unwanted. This most probably sounds like a barrage of useless text to some but I feel typing this out may help me a little and hopefully others.

    • Ronnie January 14, 2017, 5:23 pm

      Cannabis can help depression and anxiety cause it affects serotonin and dopamine (which is why it can be addictive) and obviously it’s helping you sleep–but if you’re interested in less controversial methods, amino acids like 5-HTP and/or L-tryptophan can help do the same. Melatonin and magnesium might help too.

    • Dianna June 19, 2018, 4:22 pm

      Hello, I’ve found myself on this article somehow. My rock bottom has been yanked out from under me. I’m sorry to ask off topic. How can I write as a supplemental income? I’m on fixed disability income and it’s so wickedly stressful with the bills.

      I can hardly talk myself into at least going through the motions of existence. Thank you and I hope you’re doing great things!

  • Zack November 24, 2016, 3:41 am

    I have been on prozac 60mg for at least 6 or 7 years now and I stopped last month. I asked if I needed to wean slowly, as in like months, and my psych said no and had me go down to 40mg for a few days then down to 20mg for a few days. In total it was less than a week before I completely stopped. About a week or so after I stopped, my vision became blurry.

    Fast forward a month, and nothing has improved. Talking to my psych is like talking to a wall. All he says is that “there is no way the prozac is causing blurred vision”. I asked him about prozac withdrawal and he said he has “never ever heard of vision problems with it”. This last month has been pure frustration at dealing with the blurriness and my doctors refusal to acknowledge it. Will it fix if I go back on prozac?

  • Frank November 21, 2016, 10:05 am

    Over a period of about a month, I tapered off from 20 mg/day to nil. I took the last tablet about 6 weeks ago. For the first few weeks, all was fine. Now, the depression has returned, with severe outbursts of anger, mostly in response to perceived insults and unfair treatment by my family. Also, dizziness and a weird fuzzy feeling behind my eyes if I move the focus of my gaze from side to side.

    I am tempted to go back on the tablets. – not because of the dizziness etc., but because of the mental symptoms. On reading this website, however, I wonder perhaps if I should just wait for them to subside. I should add that I was on the tablets for a long time – perhaps 10-15 years.

    • S November 30, 2016, 9:34 pm

      Hey Frank, I too have tapered off for 1.5 months from 20 mg to 10 mg to nil. I was fine all throughout October but then I was hit with physiological symptoms like sweaty palms, tingling sensations, insomnia, hot flashes, and brain zaps. It’s been a month of going through these symptoms and I’m still struggling even as I type this out.

      I am also tempted to go back on the tablets and taper off on an even slower schedule than how I did initially. However, I keep promising myself that I can push on without any drugs in my system and just suffer through the symptoms until they subside. The only thing that is bothersome is not knowing when the symptoms will disappear.

      It could take a few more days or a few more months. I hope we can recover sooner though. Since you’ve been on the medication for a longer time, it may take more time to withdraw completely. Have you tried talking with your doctor?

  • Kerri November 12, 2016, 9:40 pm

    Hi I was taken off 20 mg of Prozac about a month ago after being on it for 4 years. My doc took me off cold turkey and said that deplin (which is just folic acid) would help me. For 3 weeks I have had this horrible joint and muscle pain associated with other withdrawal symptoms. I just wanted to know if this has happened to anyone else.

  • Lauren S October 28, 2016, 2:46 pm

    I came off prozac two months ago during a surgical recovery and the stress from going on a family vacation has triggered such extreme agitation, anger, moodiness that my kids and husband are fed up with me after just a week. I despise feeling and acting like this and they think I’m using withdrawal as an excuse.

    • Linda April 6, 2018, 10:10 pm

      I’m having back spasms, intense neck pain, and all I did was wean down to 20 mg over a period of 4 weeks. I was taking 40 mg, holy cow!

  • Erin October 27, 2016, 6:44 pm

    I was on a does of 60 mg daily for over 20 years, when I decided it was long-past time for a change, and went off cold turkey. I was surprised that I felt fine for about 8 weeks–didn’t notice anything different at all–but then came crushing fatigue, serious body aches and muscle tension like you would not believe. It’s been a very delayed reaction for me; I am now about 4 weeks into it and hoping it ends very soon before I give in to the temptation to go back on at a lowered dose just to try to ease the pain some. It is not completely debilitating, but very uncomfortable to say the least.

    • Dee June 1, 2018, 12:45 am

      Erin, Can I ask how you are doing? I am 1 month into stopping a 40mg dose for about 25 years. Two days ago, I couldn’t move. Each day is a bit better with anti-nausea help and Tylenol. It would be helpful to learn how the process might evolve. (I decided to go this direction now that I am retired. My livelihood is no longer on the line, but I get that my lifestyle may be affected for years to come.)

  • Michael October 26, 2016, 2:06 pm

    Hi, Thanks for this article. It has helped me a great deal. I started Prozac as a way to get off of Duloxetine which was giving side effects of water retention. My Doctor has been a bit useless with their support to me but I had heard Prozac can soften the blow to other anti-depressants with shorter half lives. I only took Prozac for 2 weeks so it’s unlikely I built up a big response to it, 2 weeks off of everything and I feel better… and worse!

    I’m glad I’ve got off of the nightmare that was Duloxetine for me and also Prozac, but I’ve been struggling to concentrate really badly. I’m also trying to give up smoking at the same time and sometimes I feel I may as well take all the meds and smoke! Then I read some really empowering stories here and it’s given me the hope to keep on going. Thank you all.

  • Kristy Seychell October 26, 2016, 7:46 am

    I have been taking fluoxetine for a number of years and I had to quit them to prepare myself for pregnancy. But sometimes I feel horrible :( dizziness, nausea, confused, fatigue and very very hungry!!! Is it just me to feel very hungry or is it one of the withdrawal symptoms?

  • Jessica Albright October 23, 2016, 1:24 pm

    Hello, I’m wondering if anyone else is having severe memory and cognitive issues while withdrawing. I’ve been off for 3 weeks and I only took 10mg for 6 months to try and get off Paxil which was also hell to come off of hence the prozac taper. I’m talking dementia like symptoms. Total lack of concentration. Not being able to plan my day like I used to, forgetting things all the time. Being in a store I’ve been to 100 times and not recognizing the way to get out for a minute. I’m really hoping someone can help because I am freaking out. Thanks!

  • J October 23, 2016, 1:43 am

    Just reading all of this stuff and it scares me to death. I have been on 40 of fluoxetine for a few years now. I quit cold turkey just under a couple of months ago. I didn’t start to feel the symptoms right off the bat, but I am now in the middle of it. The thing that stands out for me the most that I can not get a hold of is the ANGER!

    Multiple times a day something small will trigger symptoms of anger in me and I feel ready to fight. Not just angry, but literally ready to go. I found myself nearly ripping a guy out of his car for driving like a maniac through my neighborhood. If you knew me, you would understand that I am not a fighter, but a happy go lucky type of person.

    The blow ups are about to cost me my marriage. It is a side of me that my kids have seen that I can not erase. I am considering getting back on the stuff and being a slave to this crap so that I can calm down. Anyone out there understand about the anger part of this? Is this a debilitating thing or can it be overcome without medication?

  • Jill October 7, 2016, 2:27 pm

    I too just tapered off of fluoxetine 20mg after taking it for 5 years. I weaned off over a period of 8 weeks. The side effects were minimal until I was completely done. Now, 6 weeks later I am irritable, angry, emotional, crying at the drop of a hat for no reason and extremely lightheaded and dizzy all of the time.

    I just pray for the day these symptoms subside because it has been hell. I absolutely will not go back on another SSRI due to symptoms I had while taking fluoxetine and others in the past. It is not worth it to me. Going to see my doctor for follow up in about a week. I really miss feeling blissful all of the time. Now back to reality… :(

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