Prozac, which is a brand name for the generic drug called fluoxetine, belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. This prescription medication has helped many people suffering with the symptoms of depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. SSRIs like Prozac generally cause few side effects, but there is some concern that they can be habit-forming and lead to addiction.
Is Prozac an Addictive Drug?
Prozac is not officially considered to be addictive. The regulating organizations responsible for controlling prescription medications do not classify fluoxetine as addictive or habit-forming. However, you should always be aware that any drug that alters the mood can potentially be psychologically addictive. This differs from chemical addiction in some important ways.
Chemical addiction means that your body and brain become dependent on a drug. The drug causes actual changes in the brain that make you crave it more. The more you use this kind of habit-forming drug, the more you want it. You find it very difficult, if not impossible, to stop using it because of the cravings and because of withdrawal symptoms that make you feel miserable until you get another fix. With a psychological addiction, you think that you need the drug. It makes you feel better and so you think that you can’t feel normal without it.
SSRI Withdrawal Syndrome
Is fluoxetine addictive? The reason people still ask this question is that fluoxetine and other SSRIs cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. SSRIs are designed to be taken a certain way. If you don’t follow your doctor’s dosing instructions, you can experience side effects and withdrawal. You are never supposed to stop taking SSRIs without your doctor’s supervision.
To avoid the withdrawal syndrome, which includes symptoms like irritability, tingling sensations, dizziness, anxiety, sleeping difficulties and headaches, you have to wean yourself from the medication. Too many depression patients find that they feel better after several weeks of taking an SSRI and think that they don’t need it anymore. They stop taking the medicine suddenly, and the withdrawal symptoms set in and can be very uncomfortable.
Why Are Some Drugs More Addictive than Others?
Addiction is a complicated illness and it is affected by a number of factors. When it comes to the addictiveness of drugs, there are several things that make some more addictive than others. Prozac may not be the most addictive drug because it only has one of these factors: withdrawal. The more intense the withdrawal symptoms are, the more addictive a drug is. Other factors include the intensity of the high produced by the drug, how quickly it works, and how much it changes the brain.
If you have been prescribed Prozac or another SSRI, know that you are at a low risk for becoming dependent on it. Prozac can be a great help and can make you feel better if you take it as directed by your doctor and don’t try to stop taking the medication without your doctor’s supervision.