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Prozac for Anxiety: Benefits and Risks

October 17, 2019

Prozac for anxiety sounds like manna from heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed. There are people who have gained a lot from taking the drug. But to be truly effective, this SSRI medication should be given by trained professionals. You see this is one of the most powerful drugs known to man today – as WHO (World Health Organization) has it as a vital global drug. The problem is mostly it’s primary care physicians who are prescribing the drug. That may not sound off to you. Note, however, the real expertise in treating brain disorders – anxiety and depression for instance – are psychiatrists. And definitely not your family doctor who neither have the luxury of time and competence to dispense the drug in the first place.

You may not be alarmed. In America, however, about 1 in 10 people are into SSRIs, of which Prozac is one of the finest examples. As you may know by now, SSRIs are a controversial breed. While studies may show their efficacy in treating depression, a handful of researches will tell us otherwise. A few patients have had suicidal tendencies when ingesting them. It’s a seemingly precarious position for anyone who’s desperate at finding a cure. This happy drug may be a godsend. In a country where anxiety disorders are haunting over 40 million Americans adults (18 above), it’s a sticky subject. One you need to look deeper into to make the most of. Read on.

The Prozac Generation – History and Mechanism

Prozac, also called the ‘happy drug’, was discovered in 1972 by an American-based pharmaceutical, Eli Lilly & Co. The manufacturer is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and as a global corporation has over 40,000 workers. Though discovered in the ‘70s, the drug was not commercially available until 1986. From then on, it met phenomenal success – so much that Prozac has been ingrained into the national psyche. Today, people in America from all walks of life are fairly familiar with the drug.

Its popularity has risen steadily over the years. In 2016 alone, the happy drug became the 29th in the list of the most prescribed medication in the American market. It translated to over 23 million prescriptions that year alone.

Prozac is an antidepressant belonging to the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class. It, along with the brand Sarafem, is classified as fluoxetine. As an anxiety-treatment drug, fluoxetine has been heavily utilized to treat anxiety and depression. Among the most common ailments are

  1. Major depressive disorder
  2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  3. Bulimia nervosa.

Though there has been plenty of study into the workings of SSRIs, their exact mechanism is still largely unexplored. Studies show that these drugs inhibit the reabsorption, another term for reuptake, of serotonin into the system of a human being. This way, more serotonin becomes available to the body. Such action is believed to decrease the chances of depression and a host of anxiety disorders.

Over the years, serotonin has been equated to feelings of happiness. The reason why SSRIs like Prozac are called ‘happy drug’ as this help serotonin presence to swell.

While serotonin has a very complex action mechanism in the body (i.e., it also helps in promoting digestion), it has been observed that patients who are affected by depression have low levels of serotonin.

The truth of the matter is SSRIs take the top spot as the most widely distributed antidepressant in the whole world.

Prozac for Anxiety Benefits

Prozac is still considered a go-to drug by millions of Americans. It can be taken in a liquid or solid form via tablet or capsule. There is even a delayed-release capsule that’s meant to last longer. As for age, it’s usual for adults to take the drug. On the other hand, children past 10 years old have been taking the drugs – under doctor’s orders.

Prozac has been prescribed as a major treatment for anxiety. It helps patients by preventing their brain from reuptake or reabsorbing serotonin. Making the neurotransmitter more available for the body to use. As its key job is to regulate moods, greater number of serotonin means happier mood for the person under care. Thus, the feeling of greater well-being follows – as better synapses of the brain cells transpire.
It has been shown that Prozac can enhance psychotherapy. Indeed. In landmark research in 2008, it was shown that the drug-induced a more immature state in mice – suggesting that better efficiency in therapy. Many experts believe, for instance, that talk therapy works best with Prozac. This makes the sessions a lot more productive.

People who have had a positive response when taking the drug, report how their anxiety symptoms did go down. That meant they feel more relaxed and less stressed. Also, that translated to better sleep and better appetite. Overall, there is a marked enhancement in the quality of life. Students noticed better focus when studying and professionals were able to achieve more. They feel the fullness of life.

And yet, it must be put in mind that such wonderful changes may take time. It does not happen in a snap of a finger. Some may take as much as 12 weeks of regular daily intake before pronounced improvements appear. Also, some may experience the darker side of Prozac first – the side effects – before actually enjoying the benefits.

Happy Drug Risks

While there is an army who can attest how much Prozac has helped them, there are also sectors who have experienced worse. Common side effects include:

  • Sexual issues
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems
  • Heartburn
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches

Some of these patients divulged that the severity of these side effects lessens over time – making it less of a burden. It must be taken into account that some, especially younger patients, experience suicidal tendencies.

It might also be counterproductive to take Prozac when pregnant. The drug, as powerful as it is, maybe passed to the unborn child. Even for those who are nursing, taking the medication should be weighed thoroughly.

All of these shows that Prozac must not be taken lightly. Prozac for anxiety can only be a good start with the right guidance to lead you.