Does Prozac Help With Anxiety? Top 10 Things To Know

Since it is one of the most prescribed medicines for this disorder, many ask the question – does prozac help with anxiety and its symptoms1 in reality?

Prozac, based on Fluoxetine, is one of a category of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. It functions by boosting the amount of serotonin in the human brain and helps with anxiety and depression.

Like other medications for mental health disorders, Prozac is examined minutely for its effectiveness, usefulness, and side effects. This takes you back to the question – does prozac help with anxiety? And with this guide on Prozac’s effect on anxiety and all kinds of mental disorders, you will understand the subject deeply.

Mental Health
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1. What is Anxiety Disorder?

Before understanding, if Prozac works or not, you first need to get an idea of the disorder itself. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD is a common mental health condition affecting adults. Also, women are more likely to be diagnosed with GAD than men.

According to the World Health Organization or WHO, anxiety is ranked among one of the most common disorders resulting in substantial disability in the daily lives of people, especially those who are living in more developed nations.

Simply feeling blue, sad, or upset does not qualify as an anxiety disorder. It is a much more intense and complicated mental illness that medical health professionals can only diagnose.

Anxiety disorder’s most common and known emotional and physical symptoms include stress, nervousness, irritability, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, trembling or shaking, hyperventilating, insomnia, and nausea.

Anxiety
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There are many kinds of anxiety disorders, and the most common of them are:

1.1)  Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD is generally based on constant and unreasonable worry over routine tasks and conditions. This kind of anxiety makes the individual unable to concentrate, function, and focus on even the most minor tasks.

Therefore, those with generalized anxiety disorder find it extremely difficult to perform the most trivial and straightforward tasks at home and at work.

1.2) Agoraphobia

This one is primarily based on feeling trapped with helplessness and embarrassment. This can result in feeling scared to leave the comfort and familiarity of home and go anywhere else.

1.3) Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder or SAD leads to the avoidance of any social events or situations as it results in an overwhelming feeling of panic in the company of other people. The fear is mainly based on being judged or criticized negatively by others.

Social Anxiety
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1.4) Panic Disorder

This one is the most physical compared to others as it is generally characterized by severe panic attacks with shortness of breath, intense fear, sweating, nausea, increased heart rate, and pain that feels almost like a heart attack.

Some other kinds of anxiety disorders 2apart from these are childhood anxiety disorders, anxiety disorders due to a medical condition, substance or drug-induced anxiety disorder, and any specific and intense phobias.

Now that you are primarily aware of the most basic specifics of anxiety, the next step is knowing the proper treatment. This leads again to the main question: Does Prozac help with anxiety?

With this guide, you will get a clear idea of anxiety disorder, its indications, the medications that can help with this condition, and finally, the answer to does prozac help with anxiety and the controlling of its symptoms.

2. Does Prozac Help With Anxiety? 10 Important Things To Know

To answer the question – does prozac help with anxiety? At first, you will need to understand what exactly Prozac is.

This blue and white capsule is perhaps the most common and known name associated with treating depression and anxiety disorder.

Prozac
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To know “does prozac help with anxiety?”, keep reading and discover all the fundamental things about this medication.

2.1) What is Prozac?

Prozac is a medication or prescription drug most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression3.

In the United States of America, Prozac was the first Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor or SSRI officially registered for treating depression.

The neurotransmitter serotonin helps boost positive feelings, affecting human emotions, sleep, appetite, and, thus, general health.

Prozac was sent to market as a brand-name medication in the latter part of the 1980s after the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization or FDA approval to treat patients diagnosed with clinical depression.

After that, Prozac has been continually prescribed for other mental health disorders such as anxiety, bulimia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depressive disorder.

This prescription medication is also used for treating OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder along with other panic disorders.

Serotonin
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2.2) The Main Component of Prozac

The main component of Prozac is Fluoxetine. Fluoxetine pertains to a category of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. As decreased serotonin action is believed to be a crucial aspect of anxiety, it is logical that a medicine specializing in the serotonin process would be utilized to find a solution to the treatment of anxiety.

2.3) How Does Prozac Help With Anxiety? Understanding the Process

To know how Prozac helps with anxiety, you will need to delve deeper into understanding the function of SSRI and serotonin.

SSRIs function by influencing the activity points of neurotransmitters in the human brain. The neurotransmitters are chemical carriers that transmit messages between brain cells that are neurons.

Neurons
Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay Copyright 2017

Serotonin is one of the most prominent neurotransmitters and plays a significant part in controlling feelings and emotions, such as joy, reasoning, digestion, recollection, sleep, and circulation.

Neurons are responsible for releasing serotonin, and many of them get attached to other brain cells where the message circulation takes place.

The rest of the “leftover” serotonin is absorbed again by the neuron that initially circulates it. This method is known as reuptake. Anxiety is believed to happen when there is an unevenness in the generation and reuptake of serotonin.

Prozac functions by staving off the reuptake of serotonin, and due to this, additional free serotonin becomes usable to bind to other neurons.

In this way, Prozac is utilized off-label for the healing and controlling of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder, depression, and some other mental illnesses.

2.4) The Duration After Which Prozac is Effective

Before starting medication for anxiety, it is essential to know that SSRIs are not miracle cures. It can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to feel any effects.

Prozac generally takes about 4 to 6 weeks, so do not expect to feel better instantly after beginning treatment.

It is even possible that you may even feel worse than before for the first two weeks after using Prozac. You may feel heightened agitation and other anxiety symptoms. Due to this reason, your physician may begin you on a lower dose and up it slowly as your body becomes accustomed to it.

There is another approach that your doctor might take. They may prescribe some other drug like benzodiazepine to concurrently use with Prozac for the initial two weeks of your treatment.

2.5) All the Known Side Effects of Prozac

Even though Prozac has been ascertained to be quite effective in regulating the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, it is not without some side effects.

The most common side effects of Prozac include and are not limited to the following:

  • Sleeplessness or Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and Dizziness
  • Panic  and Edginess
  • Unusual weight gain or loss
  • Shakes and Tremors
  • Sudden low appetite

Generally, adjusting the dose of medication can eliminate these side effects. So if you ever experience any of them, make sure to contact your doctor.

However, there are some serious and dangerous side effects of Prozac as well, which include:

  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Suicidal feelings or behavior
  • Dimmed vision, tunnel vision, and swelling in the eyes
  • Low blood-salt levels (generally only seen in aged patients)

On experiencing any such side effects, instantly contact your physician, especially in the case of serotonin syndrome, which is life-threatening. Even though such side effects are rarely seen and highly unusual, it is always safe to be cautious about your mental and physical health.

Suicidal Thoughts
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2.6) The General Dose of Prozac

Prozac is taken orally at 10mg at the beginning of the treatment. After a week, the dose is increased to 20mg. The amount can be increased according to need and effectiveness to 60mg only by a doctor’s consultation.

Most commonly, Prozac is prescribed to take in the mornings as it can result in insomnia. However, the most important thing to remember is never to change your dose without the consultation of your physician.

Lowering or increasing the dose by yourself can result in dangerous effects.

2.7) How Safe is Prozac?

Prozac is mainly believed to be safe to take and is not addictive. The side effects are rare, and most do not experience them.

However, it is of utmost importance to immediately contact the doctor in case of any problems faced or felt after taking Prozac. Furthermore, finding the exact and correct dosage for Prozac is significant in treating panic disorder.

To know the proper prozac dosage, you must consult a medical professional and never experiment.

Dosage
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2.8) When to Start and Stop Taking Prozac?

Just because it is primarily safe does not mean that you can start or stop taking a prescription drug such as Prozac without any proper consultation.

After Prozac has begun working, your physician may propose that you take it for at least 6 to 12 months. When you do choose to quit taking it, always do so after consulting with your doctor. While it may not generally present any withdrawal symptoms, you should still be cautious. Stop gradually and never go not cold turkey.

Quitting Prozac unexpectedly can result in serotonin discontinuation syndrome. It happens when your body is attempting to readjust to no longer having the impact of SSRI action.

The symptoms of sudden stopping comprise dizziness, sickness, exhaustion, sleepiness, headache, anxiety, and jitteriness. Due to the long half-life of Fluoxetine, which takes a long time to leave your system altogether, the impacts of stopping Prozac are much gentler than any other SSRI.

2.9) Does Prozac Help With Anxiety?

To answer the question – does prozac help with anxiety? The short explanation is yes. Prozac is proven to be effective in controlling the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorder and is prescribed by doctors and medical professionals all around the world.

The United States National Library of Medicine has medical research and clinical studies that demonstrate Prozac to be beneficial in regulating the symptoms of specific anxiety diseases like panic disorder.

You will not discover many papers, research, or studies that prove Prozac’s usefulness for GAD or how it is distinguished from other drugs that are authorized for treating other anxiety disorders.

Analyses and examinations have also illustrated that cognitive behavioral therapy, when employed along with antidepressants to regulate symptoms of depression and anxiety, can support and improve the symptoms of stress in the long term.

Anxiety Factors
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2.10) Risk Factors of Prozac

Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding should consult their doctor about the dangers involved in taking Prozac during that time.

The drug has some rare but severe risks to the unborn, and the dangers and advantages should be adequately discussed with the physician and the obstetrician-gynecologist before starting the medication.

Additionally, Prozac should never be taken with alcohol, particularly over-the-counter and prescription drugs like aspirin and MAO inhibitors like isocarboxazid4, methylene blue5, and selegiline6 during treatment with this medication.

To avoid any drug interactions. Make sure to inform your prescribing doctor of all medications you are taking and every medical condition you have.

Furthermore, a physician should appropriately examine a few probable risks for patients over sixty-five. The safety and efficiency of Prozac in children under the age of eighteen are not reasonably available and remain an unknown factor.

3. FAQs on Does Prozac Help With Anxiety

Still, have queries on the usefulness of Fluoxetine to treat generalized anxiety disorder? Then read on to find the answers to the most frequently asked questions on does Prozac help with anxiety and its symptoms.

3.1) Does Prozac help with anxiety?

Prozac is one of the most used and prescribed drugs for treating anxiety and depression.

To answer the question – does prozac help with anxiety? The quick finding is yes. Prozac is established to be beneficial in regulating the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorder and is prescribed by many physicians and medical professionals all around the globe.

So while Prozac might not be the only drug that can help with anxiety, it is undoubtedly the earliest and most common.

3.2) What are some other valuable medications for anxiety disorders?

While Prozac might be the most known and used medication for treating anxiety disorders, you can also find some other useful and practical alternatives.

Among the most popular alternatives for Prozac, there are other antidepressant medications such as Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Luvox CR, and Effexor XR.

If any patient fails to tolerate Prozac or experiences too many side effects, these alternative medications are the best way to treat anxiety and depression.

3.3) What are some of the side effects of Prozac when treating generalized anxiety disorder?

Even though Prozac has proven to be pretty effective in controlling the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, it is not without some side effects.

The most common side effects of Prozac include and are not limited to insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, shaking, excessive sweating, unusual weight loss or gain, panic, dry mouth, and headaches.

The more severe side effects are suicidal thoughts, sight problems, low salt levels in the blood, and serotonin syndrome, which can even be life-threatening.

Click Here: Is Anxiety An Emotion? Everything You Need To Know

Final Takeaways: Prozac For Anxiety Disorders

As you can see, anxiety disorder is one of the most common and complex mental illnesses from which a significant part of the world’s population suffers. Adults and teenagers worldwide have this mental illness that hugely and negatively impacts their quality of life.

Anxiety and Mental Health
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Therefore, proper treatment is necessary to control such an illness and give the patients quality of life. Which will you take back to the question – does prozac help with anxiety? Among the medications that are prescribed for anxiety and depression, you will find the name Prozac at the very top.

And if your physician prescribes you this particular medication, you will also need to know how it works. And here, you can find out the answer to the question – how does Prozac help with anxiety and additionally learn the way it controls its symptoms.

Click here to read more.

  1. Ladouceur, Robert, et al. “Specificity of generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and processes.” Behavior Therapy 30.2 (1999): 191-207. ↩︎
  2. Hamlin, Cary L., and A. L. C. Pottash. “Evaluation of anxiety disorders.” Diagnostic and laboratory testing in psychiatry. Plenum Press New York, 1986. 215-233. ↩︎
  3. Van Der Watt, Gill, Jonathan Laugharne, and Aleksandar Janca. “Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety and depression.” Current opinion in psychiatry 21.1 (2008): 37-42. ↩︎
  4. Davidson, Jonathan RT, et al. “An efficacy study of isocarboxazid and placebo in depression, and its relationship to depressive nosology.” Archives of general psychiatry 45.2 (1988): 120-127. ↩︎
  5. Jack Clifton, I. I., and Jerrold B. Leikin. “Methylene blue.” American journal of therapeutics 10.4 (2003): 289-291. ↩︎
  6. Gerlach, M., M. B. H. Youdim, and P. Riederer. “Pharmacology of selegiline.” Neurology 47.6 Suppl 3 (1996): 137S-145S. ↩︎

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