Paxil Withdrawal: Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects

Paxil Side Effects

Paxil, or also known as paroxetine, is an antidepressant medication used mainly to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and other forms of anxiety. It falls in the same class as Zoloft and Prozac, also making it a good treatment for depression management. As part of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Paxil needs to be prescribed and administered with extreme care and precision. 

The chemical was first approved in 2001 as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, followed by its approval in 1999 as a treatment for social anxiety disorder (SAD). More often than not, it’s also used for managing panic disorders and PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. In other cases, doctors also use Paxil for managing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person is deemed addicted to Paxil, expect them to deal with a painful withdrawal process. Keep in mind that the medication inhibits the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, which allows the individual to experience the positive effects of serotonin. An improvement in the mood and reduction of symptoms can soon follow, but others could end up developing a tolerance for the drug. 

When this happens, Paxil ceases to become effective. They end up taking more than necessary, which then turns into dependence. And once dependence sets in, addiction follows suit. Thankfully, recovering Paxil addicts usually experience mild symptoms, and can be managed with the help of a professional. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headache and nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Confusion
  • Excessive dreaming
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideation
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Anxiety

Without proper treatment and administration, however, a person could end up suffering from persistent suicidal thoughts. This is a common occurrence when a person misses a dose, or when they abruptly stop taking the medication. This could later lead to discontinuation syndrome, which can be extremely uncomfortable. Not only the mind is affected, but the body—others report going through body aches, sweaty and clammy skin, and even an upset stomach.

To fully recover from a Paxil addiction, an individual must go through a substance abuse treatment program. These are medically supervised and will come with a detox program that helps alleviate any withdrawal symptoms known to be a result of Paxil addiction. They will be overseen by trained professionals, often using a tapering method designed to decrease the amount of Paxil during the treatment course. This method has been designed to support the person towards a sustainable sobriety path, without the need to suffer from undeniable pain and discomfort.

Although its effects are undeniably powerful, the mechanism responsible for its anxiety reduction effects is not yet completely understood. They’re known to prevent the re-uptake of serotonin in the brain and system, thereby reducing the onslaught of anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. 

In some unfortunate circumstances, Paxil can become highly addictive. It’s primarily used as medication, but others end up falling dependent on its effectiveness, to later turn into an addiction. If you or a loved one is facing the same problem with Paxil, this guide is intended to help guide you.

Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms
Paxil Withdrawal

Using Paxil As Medication: A Deeper View 

As previously mentioned, Paxil is used to treat various mental disorders, including depression, panic attacks, anxiety, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so on. The substance works by restoring the balance of the happy hormone produced by the brain, serotonin, into its intended state. As a result, the medication improves not only your mood, but your appetite, sleeping patterns, and even energy levels.

For many, this means the right push towards a functioning life, with a keen interest to participate in society once more. Any semblances of anxiety, fear, intrusive thoughts, suicidal ideations, and even panic attacks are reduced, sometimes eliminating them. It’s also capable of minimizing compulsions, including counting, checking, and hand-washing, all of which interfere with daily functions.

If you have been prescribed to take Paxil, it’s important to remain aware of how and when to take it. Paxil can be taken with or without food at any time of the day, but missing the dose means it’s important to remember when exactly you missed out. It’s important to take it as soon as you remember, but double dosing should never become a practice.

Users are also advised to avoid alcohol and other drugs while on Paxil, as this decreases the benefits you can get. Although generally considered safe, Paxil must only be taken as instructed. Any possible interactions with drugs must be discussed with the primary doctor carefully. Expect to begin at a low dose, to only be increased as necessary. 

Paxil Side Effects

As previously mentioned, Paxil is generally considered as safe. However, side effects are always present, even with a single dose of a tablet. It can cause drowsiness and in some cases, affect the ability to make decisions. 

Many others end up unable to react quickly or think clearly, which is why it’s important to avoid driving, the use of machinery, and other activities that may end up endangering your life. However, interfering with your alertness is the least of your worries. Others end up suffering from other side effects, including the following: 

Common side effects

  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness 
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiousness
  • Sweating, shaking, and dry mouth
  • Decreased sexual drive and desire
  • Delayed ejaculation for men
  • Decreased appetite and constipation
  • Infections 

Note: These effects are generally considered to be mild and can go away after a few days or weeks. Unfortunately, they could further develop into serious problems.

Serious side effects

  • Various changes in mood, behavior, and anxiety
  • A new or worsened onslaught of anxiety
  • A new or worsened onslaught of depression 
  • A new or worsened onslaught of panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideations
  • Suicide attempts
  • Intrusive thoughts about death
  • Acting on aggression, violence, and dangerous impulses
  • Sleeplessness and agitation
  • Anger and irritability
  • An increase in activity beyond the normal

Note: Should you or a loved one end up experiencing these serious side effects, immediate medical attention is necessary. It’s important to seek the help of a doctor immediately, especially when it comes to instances of suicide. 

When it comes down to it, a person may need to be treated for major depressive disorder, should they fit the criteria. This is common for people who end up abusing substances, which includes Paxil. Unfortunately, this often goes undiagnosed. It’s important to remember to be open to treatment options, especially since a deficiency in serotonin needs to be addressed. 

Recovering From Paxil Addiction: It’s Never Too Late to Ask for Help

Although help is always readily available, the best and most effective way is to simply admit the problem. This is how most people have triumphed over their Paxil addiction, as this the first and most crucial step towards a sustainable recovery. 

Seeking help from a therapist and counselor can also help, as this will let you know about possible underlying problems. Should your case turn out to be severe, however, an addiction treatment center is always ready to help. It’s never too late to make a change, no matter how difficult or hopeless it may be.