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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

August 1, 2023

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Can you get addicted to Prozac” is one of the questions most commonly asked by those who are prescribed this SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant. While Prozac is not regarded as physically addictive like opioids or benzodiazepines, the long-term use of the medication can trigger the development of both physiological and psychological dependence, and discontinuing its use may trigger Prozac withdrawal symptoms.

A man sits with his hand on his head to represent prozac withdrawal.

Prozac Abuse

Prozac, a branded form of fluoxetine, is an antidepressant drug that belongs to the class of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). It is primarily prescribed to treat conditions such as major depressive disorder, panic disorder, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and bulimia nervosa. While Prozac is not considered chemically addictive, it can still lead to psychological dependence due to its effects on mood and behavior.

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Abusing Prozac, like any other prescription medication, can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Some people misuse antidepressants to achieve certain effects, whether by inhaling crushed capsules like cocaine or taking larger doses in the hope of experiencing a euphoric rush.

This may lead you to wonder, “Is Prozac a controlled substance?”  Although the DEA do not classify Prozac as a controlled substance, the medication can still be abused, leading to negative side effects. Some signs of Prozac abuse include talkativeness, jitters, numbness, irritability, aggression, and insomnia. While physical dependence is rare, some people may develop a psychological addiction to Prozac, seeking mood elevation by abusing the drug.

When someone who has been abusing Prozac abruptly stops taking the medication, there may be unwanted physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, irritability, dizziness, moodiness, nausea, depression, muscle aches, insomnia, and confused thinking. Engaging with a supervised medical detox program is the most effective way to manage psychological dependence and tackle Prozac withdrawal symptoms effectively.

Prozac Dependency

As an SSRI antidepressant, Prozac is not considered chemically addictive like substances such as opioids or benzodiazepines. That said, the medication may lead to the development of psychological dependence, especially when used for extended periods. Psychological dependence occurs when a person feels that they need the drug to cope with daily life or to achieve a certain mood. Use Prozac only under the guidance of a healthcare professional to avoid developing a dependency on the medication.

Physiological dependence on Prozac can occur over time and regular use. This risk is heightened in those who take higher doses of the medication. The timeframe for developing a Prozac dependency varies based on factors such as genetics, dosage, duration of use, and individual mental and biological aspects.

If someone wishes to discontinue their use of Prozac, consulting with a healthcare provider can streamline the withdrawal process.

a woman sits with her arms crossed to represent prozac abuse

Long-Term Side Effects of Prozac

Long-term use of Prozac, like other SSRIs, may be associated with negative Prozac side effects. Some potential long-term side effects of Prozac include:

  • Sexual dysfunction: Prozac can lead to decreased sex drive and difficulties in achieving or maintaining erections or orgasms.
  • Weight changes: Some people may experience weight gain or weight loss as a side effect of Prozac use.
  • Insomnia: Prozac can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Prozac may cause digestive problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, or stomach upset.
  • Emotional blunting: Some users may report feeling emotionally numb or less responsive to certain emotions.

Those prescribed Prozac should be aware of these potential side effects and discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider. In some cases, a healthcare professional may need to adjust the dosage or switch to an alternative medication to manage these long-term effects.

Prozac Withdrawal

Although Prozac is not considered physically addictive, abrupt discontinuation of the medication is inadvisable and can lead to the presentation of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawals from Prozac occur due to the brain’s adjustment to the medication’s presence, and stopping the drug suddenly can disrupt this balance. Some common Prozac withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares

The Prozac withdrawal timeline and presentation may vary among individuals, but symptoms typically manifest within a few days of stopping Prozac and can last for about two weeks. To avoid or minimize withdrawal symptoms, consult with a qualified medical professional before stopping Prozac. Gradual tapering under medical supervision is generally recommended to help the brain readjust to the changes in serotonin levels gradually.

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Get Substance Abuse Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

If you’re still asking yourself, “Is Prozac addictive”, it might be time to consider engaging with professional treatment. At Renaissance Recovery in Southern California, we specialize in the intensive outpatient treatment of all types of addictions and mental health conditions, from benzo addiction to Prozac addiction.

Our outpatient treatment programs are designed to offer the support and structure necessary for your recovery journey. You can choose from the following options that suit your needs:

At Renaissance, we believe in personalized addiction treatment, tailoring our approaches to meet your unique needs. Our holistic and evidence-based interventions include:

Taking the first tentative steps towards recovery is crucial, and we are here to assist you. If you’re ready to begin your journey to a healthier life, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our admissions team at 866.330.9449

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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