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resiliency: Prozac


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Prozac, the first SSRI to be commercially available. I wonder what those initial trials were like. I always come across claims that the testing was fabricated to some extent and that the significance of this medicines efficiency was overestimated. Regardless, I can only assume that at the time the researchers would have been excited to find a brand new, hopefully more tolerable, antidepressant medication, and that the pharmaceutical firms simply don't want to know about adverse affects. At least this is what I have told myself, forgive but don't forget and all that. I won't dwell on this but rather speak of my personal experiences with the drug.


I began taking it and found success initially, I felt happy and outgoing, and only slightly better than normal. A fairly subtle boost to my day to day functioning. But as I continued taking it the side effects became more apparent and the initial positive of being less concerned with the validation of others slowly turned into total apathy for everyone around me. This strained previously great friendships and I felt like I was becoming a negative influence on those around me. I became slovenly, laying on the couch all day playing video games. My academics began slipping, but I didn't care. 


It shocked me that I became a careless individual who was once an ambitious and intelligent young man. I decided to quit cold turkey as I was fed up with the sluggishness of which my brain worked after taking 20mg daily(roughly, I experimented with 30mg and 10mg like a foolish young person could be expected to) for about 4 months. At first I was ecstatic to have my mental acuity back and I never felt any severe withdrawals. My emotions had returned and I was not at all worried about the medication that I had taken. 


This went on for a few months until I was diagnosed with mono. The summer thereafter was a fatigued blur, with my semi-conscious time spend working, exercising, and sleeping. This is when I began to notice the withdrawal symptoms of the Prozac. The mono fatigue has mostly cleared up by now, which I am so thankful for, but as those symptoms left the protracted withdrawal affects began to set in.


I almost feel guilty posting after reading some of the stories on here, and feel like there are many other people who are going through far worse than myself. I wish I could be there for these people, it makes me cry thinking about the needless suffering. At this point my main symptoms are mental, these symptoms are just a frustrating nuisance, as their relative mildness yet pervasive underlying affect over my entire life affects just about every social interaction and productive moment I have.


My first question is if anybody has experienced the feeling of "heaviness" in the front of their skull? It's very hard to describe and sometimes takes the form of a mild headache, but NSAIDs don't seem to help much. The only relief I usually have is falling asleep at night. This, combined with the depersonalization and derealization have been the toughest symptoms for me, and I wonder if they are related. When I'm trying to have a serious conversation and notice that I can consciously feel the inside of my forehead, it is rather distracting... Besides that I also have mild dizziness, tinnitus, poor vision, lowered working memory, and general anxiety. 


Lately I have started remembering positive memories from my past which I think is an awesome sign! I of course experience waves and windows like the rest of us, made harder by the stress of being in a challenging academic program. I find that when I am not stressed the symptoms are mild and manageable, leading me to believe the SSRI has reduced my ability to deal with stressful situations. 


Anyway this intro has turned into more than I anticipated it would have, a credit to the power of expressing oneself in writing. I'd like to say thanks to the admin and founders of this forum for making a place where we can find solace in those who understand what we are going through. Nobody in my life, even my well meaning family, have been able to comfort me like the success-stories on this site.


Glad to be here.  ^_^

20 mg Prozac - Prescribed for dysthymia September 2014 - Quit cold turkey December 2014

Getting better all the time, we'll get through this   ^_^

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi resiliency , welcome to the site.  Sounds like you realize you've found a place where people can relate to your

experiences , 'cause it's happened to us too.   


If you look in the Symptoms and Self Care section , you'll find threads with discussions about individual symptoms , and

ideas for managing them.   Your ability to tolerate stress should continue to improve with time.  


For discussion about the prozac trials , you'll find nz11 has alot of info. on his thread about this sort of thing.  I seem to remember that most trials last a very short time (maybe 2 months) , so there's no record of protracted withdrawal setting in. Convenient huh?


Good to have you on board.

Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi resiliency, nice to have you on board!


I enjoyed reading your intro, well written :-)  I am also so happy for you that you discovered the negatives of Prozac and decided to ditch psych meds early in your life, unlike many of us here who spend upwards of 20 years on these meds.  What I would do to have those years back and utilize all the alternative methods of achieving mental wellness!  Presence, meditation/mindfulness, and knowing that we don't HAVE to have be slaves to our thoughts would all have been beneficial earlier on.


I am certain your symptoms will fade with time and your brush with Prozac will become a distant memory.  Meanwhile, we are happy to have you here!



Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor


My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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  • 1 month later...



I haven't posted in quite some time, and have noticed some of my WD symptoms spiking recently so I figured I would share.


One thing I've found to be helpful, is to try to ignore the symptoms. Obviously they need to be mild enough so that you can mostly function, but significant enough that they impact your quality of life. I think this would be very helpful for those who are experiencing head pressure, disorientation, and mild DP/DR like I currently am. Some days this is easier than others, but nonetheless it can be helpful just to stop caring. 


I found a great article online about over-sensitivity to ones own anxiety. Basically the article talked about how constantly checking your symptoms of anxiety to see whether or not you still had them, was itself causing you to have more anxiety. I feel like this is very much the same with some of the milder symptoms of WD. I constantly find myself checking my head pressure, how spaced-out I feel, and if my empathy has returned. But when you do this, and perhaps become anxious that they are still present, this can lead to more severe problems as your increased stress will only serve to delay your healing even longer. Perhaps this is why many people no longer post when they have made it through the worst part of their recovery, they are trying to focus on other aspects of their life, and let the body do what it needs. 


That being said, sometimes this is easier said than done, and today I haven't been able to really follow my own advice, but I'm sure it will get better with time.



20 mg Prozac - Prescribed for dysthymia September 2014 - Quit cold turkey December 2014

Getting better all the time, we'll get through this   ^_^

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