Despite these modern times we’re living, a stigma still hangs around mental illness. Depression is a mental health disorder that affects people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Unfortunately, it can affect people of all ages as well.
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States, but depression is not far behind. In fact, depression and anxiety usually go hand in hand. Nearly 300 million people worldwide struggle with some form of depression.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 17.3 million adults in the United States. This translates to 7.1 percent of all adults in the country who have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
Another 11 million adults have dealt with an event that caused severe impairment. Fifty percent of those diagnosed with depression are also given an anxiety diagnosis. Fifteen percent of the adult population is poised to experience depression at some point in their lives.
It’s hard to deny the prevalence of mental illness in our society, and medications like Prozac were created to help improve the quality of life in someone struggling. Nearly 800,000 people die from suicide each year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15- to 29-year-olds.
Medications like Prozac allow people to manage their symptoms effectively, but when do the medications turn from helpful to addicting? Is Prozac addictive? Let’s delve a bit into the pros and cons of the antidepressant.
What Is Prozac?
Prozac, also known as Fluoxetine, is the most common antidepressant drug in the United States. Fluoxetine is a molecule that is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The substance alters the proportions of chemicals in the brain that can be unbalanced for those suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or panic attacks. Anxiety relief and a calming effect are typically what characterizes Prozac.
When Prozac is used as prescribed, it allows the user to feel more relaxed and improve their sleep and appetite. It is commonly prescribed to treat severe depressive disorders, compulsive disorders, and even those struggling with bulimia nervosa. It can also be useful in treating postpartum depression, menopause, and anorexia.
While it has a wide range of use and is a popular medicine in the medical community, it begs the question, is Prozac addictive?
Is Prozac Addictive?
Prozac is not chemically addictive, which means daily use will not be habit-forming. It is the main reason why Prozac is not classified as a controlled substance. While the medication may not be chemically addictive, many will struggle from a psychological addiction to the drug.
It takes some time until Prozac begins to produce a therapeutic effect, but the medication will provide adverse effects immediately. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists various side effects and adverse reactions that may occur from use. Unfortunately, it can lead to unpleasant results where Fluoxetine is doing more harm than good.
During the transitional phase, the individual may become irate and distressed. Once the therapeutic effects occur, the individual can determine if the benefits outweigh the side effects.
Once the calming effects start to help the person cope with their disorder, they will notice an improvement in their eating habits, sleep, and overall focus. It can make a person feel as though they need the medication to sleep well or concentrate. There have been connections between Prozac and weight loss. Users report a decrease in appetite when using the drug, and it may help them believe Prozac can help them lose weight.
Signs of Prozac Dependence
All of the factors we’ve discussed can ultimately lead to psychological addiction. The following signs indicate an ongoing dependence, which includes:
Signs of psychological dependence include:
- Incoherent thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
The physical signs of Prozac abuse may include:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sex drive
- Excessive sweating
What Are the Consequences of Prozac Addiction?
For some, Prozac can be the cure-all that helps them deal with their problems. The drug has the potential to alleviate some of the worst symptoms attributed to depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, those who end up abusing the drug and taking more than they’re prescribed can have a social fallout. Some of the following may occur as a result of abusing Prozac:
- Withdrawing from society, becoming a recluse
- Losing their job
- Lack of interest in personal activities or hobbies
- Losing friends or other relationships
- Reduction in financial opportunities
- Losing contact with family
What to Do If I’m Addicted to Prozac
If you believe your Prozac use has led to dependence on it, you must immediately contact your primary care physician to discuss options. It could mean checking yourself into treatment to overcome the initial withdrawal symptoms.
Unfortunately, even when using Prozac as prescribed, it can produce extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Treatment will be vital to those looking for a life away from Prozac and those who want to manage their symptoms of anxiety or depression better. Getting the right help can be crucial to ending your dependence on Prozac today.