Managing Paxil Withdrawal and Detox

Paxil, which also goes by the generic name paroxetine, is a common type of antidepressant classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It’s considered non-addictive by both the medical community and the federal government. Patients who stop taking the drug still experience withdrawal symptoms referred to as discontinuation syndrome.

Doctors routinely prescribe SSRIs like Paxil to patients in drug and alcohol recovery when they fit the criteria for major depressive disorder. Mental health disorders like depression are common among people with substance misuse issues, and they often go undiagnosed.

For recovering addicts whose depression is caused by serotonin deficiency, paroxetine can reduce withdrawal symptoms while improving overall brain chemistry.

What Are Common Paxil (Paroxetine) Withdrawal Symptoms?

Paroxetine inhibits the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. In doing so, Paxil increases serotonin’s ability to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. For most people who take paroxetine, the drug, at some point, becomes ineffective. Getting off of an SSRI like Paxil isn’t nearly as challenging as recovering from recreational drug use. Symptoms are usually mild and are easily managed by gradually decreasing the dose.

The following are common paroxetine withdrawal symptoms: insomnia, irritability, dizziness, headache, flu-like symptoms, vertigo, nausea, confusion, anxiety, excessive dreaming and suicidal ideation. Suicidal thoughts are most common when the patient unexpectedly misses a dose or stops taking the drug without first consulting their doctor.

Paxil (Paroxetine) Withdrawal Timeline And Symptom Durations

How long symptoms last and the severity of those symptoms are largely dependent on the unique physiology of the individual, the size and frequency of the doses being taken at the time of cessation, and the length of time that the patient has been taking the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within the first 24-48 hours of reducing the dose. Symptoms peak in intensity at four to five days. For most people, withdrawal symptoms cease completely after two to three weeks. New research suggests that it can take as long as 90 days before the brain has fully adjusted to being off of Paxil. During this period, it’s critical for the patient and doctor to keep a close eye on fluctuations in symptoms.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms Of Paxil (Paroxetine)

Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome from Paxil are most severe when doses stop abruptly. Accidentally missing treatments can trigger the onset of withdrawals. A person who has been taking large and frequent doses of paroxetine will, on average, have more intense withdrawal symptoms than someone who’s been prescribed smaller doses.

Paxil doses range from 10 mg to 60 mg depending on the country in which the drug is administered. Patients who have been taking 50 mg doses for a year will take longer to wean off of paroxetine than someone who has been taking infrequent doses of 25 mg extended-release pills.

When doses are stopped all of a sudden, the best way to manage and reduce symptoms is to get back on the prescribed dose and then gradually decrease doses from there.

Never stop taking Paxil without first consulting your doctor and formulating a plan for getting off the drug.

Eating a low-inflammation diet and exercising can also be helpful for managing withdrawal symptoms. Long-term use of prescription medications can lead to inflammation that damages the gut lining. Eating plenty of dense leafy greens and supplementing with pharmaceutical-grade probiotics can help recolonize healthy gut bacteria and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Exercise can help normalize metabolic activities as well as reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Paxil (Paroxetine) Medications And Detox

Even gradually reducing the dose of Paxil can trigger the onset of feelings of depression, anxiety and persistent thoughts of suicide. Suicidal ideations are most common in individuals under the age of 25. If symptoms worsen, notify your doctor immediately. Fixing the problem is often as simple as temporarily increasing the dose.

Your doctor may also try putting you on fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is an SSRI similar to paroxetine and has a shorter half-life. The shorter half-life of fluoxetine, in many cases, results in milder withdrawal symptoms.

Where To Seek Support While Transitioning Off Of Paxil (Paroxetine)

The doctor that has been prescribing and monitoring the drug’s administration is the most well-equipped to provide support during the discontinuation phase. No one else is more aware of the patient’s history and reactions to relevant medications.

Transitioning off of Paxil can be incredibly difficult for some people and uneventful for others. Regularly sharing how you’re feeling with the people closest to you is also essential. Those who know you well will be the first to notice concerning changes in behavior so that symptoms can be managed early.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.