Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, but for some people, it can become a debilitating condition. You don’t have to live with less quality of life since there are treatment options such as Paxil for anxiety, psychotherapy, home remedies, and others.
Whether you experience occasional bouts of anxiety or you struggle with it on a daily basis, this article will help you understand what it is and how to manage it effectively. Read on to learn more about the causes of anxiety, its effects on your body, and ways to manage your anxiety with Paxil.
Panic attacks, social anxiety, and general anxiety are all different types of anxiety that many people struggle with. And while there might not be a cure for your anxiety, there are ways to manage it. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking a specific type of antidepressant called an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) such as Paxil.
These SSRIs reduce the reuptake of serotonin that is available in the brain thus increasing it, which in turn reduces anxiety. In this blog post, we’ll go over the various benefits of using SSRIs to manage your anxiety.
What is Paxil?
Paxil (paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression. Other SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), vilazodone (Viibryd), and escitalopram (Lexapro).
- Paxil immediate release Tablet: 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg
- Paxil suspension: 10 mg/5 ml
- Controlled release Paxil tablet: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg
Other common brand names include Pexeva and Brisdelle (used for vasomotor symptoms experienced at menopause). Vasomotor symptoms include sweating a lot at night, flushes, and hot flashes among others.
SSRIs target the neurotransmitters that are involved in anxiety disorders. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in our bodies.
SSRIs target the neurotransmitter serotonin, and they prevent the reuptake of the neurotransmitter. Without reuptake, the amount of serotonin in the brain increases, thus there is an increase in serotonin binding to receptors.
In depression, it is believed that there is an imbalance in neurotransmitters production, regulation, breakdown, and use.
SSRIs are the first-line medication for anxiety disorders; panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In addition to anxiety disorders and depression, Paxil is also prescribed for a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
How long does Paxil take to work for anxiety?
Paxil improves sleep, energy, and appetite within 1-2 weeks. These should be reinforcements for you to continue taking Paxil.
For anxiety, SSRIs take about 4-6 weeks to work. For anxiety, however, having improvements in sleep, energy and appetite are how to tell if Paxil is working. For depression and lack of interest in doing activities, Paxil takes an average of 6-8 weeks for improvements to be seen even though some people may get improvements sooner.
It may take several months before the full effects of Paxil are felt. However, even if people respond differently to SSRIs if no improvement is felt within 6-8 weeks then consult your doctor. The doctor may change the anxiety/ depression regimen with another medication. The doctor may also increase the dose of Paxil that you are taking.
What are the most common side effects of Paxil?
Most SSRIs have similar side effects. The most common side effects of Paxil include:
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Nasal irritation
- Restlessness or agitation
- Sleeping problems (insomnia)
- Ringing sounds in the ears.
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weight increase or decrease
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Sexual problems like Impotence, having a decreased sex drive, or struggles in getting an orgasm
- Dry mouth
Most of these side effects go away after taking Paxil for a few weeks as the body gets used to and tolerates the medication. Buspirone can be augmented with SSRIs to reduce the side effects, especially sexual problems.
In some people, the use of antidepressants like Paxil may lead to suicidal thoughts, especially in children and adolescents. This is a serious side effect and a doctor should be consulted immediately.
In addition to suicidal thoughts, the use of Paxil may also lead to serious side effects including:
- Serotonin syndrome
- Abnormal bleeding
- Manic episode
- Muscle rigidity
- Low sodium
- Angle-closure glaucoma
How long can you take Paxil for anxiety?
Antidepressants will take at least a year before full benefits for depression and anxiety disorders are felt. For this reason, Paxil should be taken until you get relief and after that for as long as you feel it is necessary.
However, you should make serious considerations before deciding on whether to quit taking Paxil or not. Considerations include the severity of symptoms, duration between the appearance of the symptoms, side effects that you feel while taking Paxil and how well Paxil works for you.
This should always be advised by your psychiatrist and the symptoms of anxiety disorders that you have currently. A doctor will give a Paxil treatment plan to ensure you get the full benefits.
Up to now, research has not uncovered any problems to prevent the long-term use of Paxil (paroxetine). This is however true if you are taking the medication as directed by your doctor.
For people quitting Paxil and who still have anxiety symptoms, it is recommended that they seek alternative therapy. Such therapies may include psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, reduces the chances of relapse in anxiety and depression according to recent studies. Examples of psychotherapy techniques include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT); the unified protocol, cognitive therapy, MATCH, and CETA among others.
How will Paxil make me feel?
In a few weeks, antidepressants like Paxil help to improve your mood. The results are better sleep, less anxiety, increased energy, and appetite.
These results however in most people do not occur immediately. The short-term effect of taking Paxil is that it may make the conditions worse.
Due to this reason, it is important to understand that it takes some time before the full benefits of Paxil are felt.
Paxil does not change the personality of an individual. It also does not make you excessively happy or euphoric. The result is that it makes you feel whole again after the results start kicking in.
Paxil withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal of Paxil and other antidepressants comes with effects on the body. This is because the use of Paxil alters the levels of neurotransmitter Serotonin in the body.
Paxil is not addictive even though in the long-term use, certain doses of the SSRI may become ineffective. Withdrawal of Paxil should be done gradually with a progressive reduction in doses to prevent serious withdrawal symptoms. This should be done by following the advice of your doctor.
Paxil, having one of the shortest half-lives for an SSRI at 4.4 days is one that has more worrying symptoms. During the withdrawal process, it may be replaced by a longer-acting SSRI or by a slow-release capsule formation. Therefore, Paxil may be replaced by fluoxetine which has less symptoms.
With a gradual reduction in doses for example in two or more weeks, the withdrawal symptoms are mild and easily manageable. Some of the common Paxil withdrawal symptoms include:
- Sleep problems (Insomnia) and having nightmares or excessive dreaming
- Problems in the digestive system including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps or decreased appetite
- Vertigo, dizziness, or lightheadedness
- Confusion, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety
- Tremors, restless legs, and mumbling. There also may be difficulty in coordination.
- Ringing noises in the ears
- Flu-like symptoms like sweating, flush among others
- Suicidal thoughts.
Suicidal thoughts, according to several studies increase in people who stop taking antidepressants. If you feel any suicidal thoughts kindly talk to your doctor.
Benefits of quitting Paxil
Paxil like other antidepressants works in changing the levels of neurotransmitters. The increase or decrease of neurotransmitters like serotonin becomes the new adapted level of neurotransmitters by neurons in the brain.
Any drastic change from the new adapted level of neurotransmitter is uncomfortable to your body. The change may be due to withdrawal of the antidepressant or a sudden increase in dosage.
Therefore, one of the benefits of quitting Paxil is the prevention of withdrawal symptoms of Paxil. The effects of withdrawal can feel like the actual condition that was being treated like depression and anxiety disorders. It also reduces the risk of a certain dose of SRI not working necessitating an increase in dosage or combining an SRI with another medication.
The road to recovery from depression is never easy. With so many painful, dark moments that come with this mentally exhausting disease, it can be difficult to stay motivated and inspired along the way.
Especially when you’re dealing with intense symptoms that make it impossible to get through your day without the help of medication and therapy.
For those who struggle with depression and anxiety, it can feel like these conditions will never go away. But if you’re still reading this article, that means you have a burning desire to see past your current struggles and find a brighter future again someday.
It won’t be easy, but if you keep yourself motivated every day with positive affirmations and pep talks in the mirror, you will get there. If you want to know how someone who has been through what you’re going through right now overcame their personal darkness — here are some benefits of quitting Paxil that might just inspire you to do the same:
1. Your quality of life will improve significantly
When you’re taking antidepressants like Paxil, your quality of life will suffer because of the side effects. You might not feel like yourself, and depression will take over once again.
But when you stop taking this medication, you can start to experience a better quality of life. Your mood will improve and anxiety symptoms will lessen so that you can enjoy what life has to offer again.
2. You’ll feel more in control of your life again
Paxil is a powerful drug that comes with serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms. You might feel like you’re powerless when it comes to controlling your life while you’re on this medication — which will only make your depression worse.
But once you quit Paxil, you will regain control of your life again. You’ll be able to make decisions for yourself without feeling dependent on the medication.
You’ll have more energy and clarity of mind, which will allow you to take charge of the way your life unfolds from that point forward. This can give you hope for a brighter future again someday.
3. You can finally discover the root cause of your anxiety or depression.
If you’ve been taking medication for anxiety or depression for some time, the likelihood is that it hasn’t been long enough to find the underlying cause of your mental illness. In most cases, medication is prescribed in order to mask a problem rather than solve it.
If you’re ready to get to the root of your depression and start healing, then quitting Paxil might be an important step to take.
Your doctor can help you with this process by supporting you through the withdrawal process while also providing therapy sessions to help figure out what triggered your depression in the first place.
4. You’ll feel better about yourself and your body.
Paxil is a psychotropic drug that affects the way your brain works, and because of this, it can also affect how your body feels. Quitting Paxil not only means you won’t have to deal with these feelings anymore; you’ll also be able to feel better about yourself, too.
You’ll feel more in control of your emotions. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are often caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters — neurotransmitters are the chemicals that transmit messages from one neuron to the next.
By quitting Paxil, you’ll feel more in control of your emotions because you will no longer be altering your natural balance of these neurotransmitters. You’ll also be able to regulate them better on your own without relying on medication for help.
You’ll start feeling like yourself again. Depression and anxiety can lead to major changes in someone’s personality over time — it can even lead people to act out or make decisions they regret later on down the road.
When you quit Paxil, you return to being the person you once were before depression took over: someone who is strong and capable of feeling happy again. Your relationships will improve because you won’t rely solely on medication for comfort anymore.
It takes two hands to clap, as they say—and if one hand is constantly busy holding onto a prescription bottle while the other hand tries desperately to find.
Knowing you’ve pulled yourself up by your bootstraps is empowering.
When you finally decide to quit Paxil after all these years, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. You know that you can do anything you put your mind to. Resetting your mindset and knowing that you’re stronger than this is an empowering feeling.
You’ll feel more confident as a person overall.
Many people who are currently on antidepressants find that they have a difficult time feeling confident in their personal life. You may feel like you’ve lost your identity, or that you’re just not the same person anymore. But quitting Paxil can help change that.
As your mood starts to stabilize, you may find that you start to feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. This is an important aspect of life for anyone, but especially for those who want to pursue a career in the arts or any other field where confidence is key.
You’ll be able to experience a wider range of emotions. Antidepressant use has been linked with emotional flattening, which means that people who are on these medications often struggle to feel anything at all.
Quitting Paxil will allow you to experience all the different emotions that make up human life — from happiness and excitement all the way down to sadness and disappointment — without feeling guilty about it. It will be easier for you to get through your day-to-day life.
Paxil can cause some people to feel dizzy or out of sorts when they first stop taking it, but as long as you take things slowly, it should pass with time. It won’t be long before even the smallest tasks seem manageable again and getting through the workday doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.
5. You won’t have to rely on medications as much.
If you’ve ever had to go on antidepressants, you know how life-changing it can be. It makes it so much easier to wake up in the morning and have the motivation to do things like go to school, work, or even socialize with family and friends.
But if you rely too heavily on your medication for a long period of time, you will become dependent on them. This dependence can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you finally decide to stop taking them completely.
After coming off Paxil and having to deal with these symptoms, I realized that I was relying too heavily on my medication and needed a change. I didn’t want to be stuck in this vicious cycle of dependency anymore, so I got creative with finding alternative methods to keep myself motivated. And it worked!
6. Counseling will become more effective.
Many people who quit Paxil find that therapy becomes more effective. It’s not uncommon for people with depression to stop going to counseling sessions. But when you’re off of Paxil, the sessions are more likely to be helpful.
Other methods of therapy such as psychotherapy techniques including CBT will be great for you when you quit Paxil. This is because you can tackle the root cause of your anxiety and depression and thus manage it better.
In this regard, the Unified Protocol that was developed by our founder is quite effective for anxiety and other emotional disorders.
7. You’ll have more energy and be less fatigued.
Most people who have dealt with depression symptoms for a long time will know that it’s almost impossible to get through the day without that extra pep in your step. Most antidepressants, including Paxil, are notorious for making you feel sluggish and tired.
So one of the best benefits of quitting Paxil is that you’ll have more energy and be less fatigued. There’s really no feeling like getting a shot of energy from some good ol’ fashion sleep.
You might not even realize how much better you feel until you stop taking the medication, but it can be worth it to find out!
8. The recovery process will be significantly shorter.
Once you’ve come to the decision to stop taking Paxil, you will start to see significant improvements within a few days. There are several ways of dealing with anxiety disorders such as psychotherapy and self-management of anxiety.
Quitting this prescription medication can be difficult, but it won’t take as long for your brain chemistry to function normally again as it would if you were still on the drug.
You may experience some withdrawal symptoms in the beginning, but it typically only lasts a few days.
9. You’ll start to enjoy things you used to love again.
When you’re on Paxil, it can feel like all the things in your life that used to give you joy are gone. Your brain is always telling you what you can’t do and how much of a failure you are.
And even when the drugs put a smile on your face, it’s hard to enjoy anything because your anxiety is just waiting for something bad to happen.
You might not feel like eating, sleeping, or going outside — but once you get off Paxil, these things start to seem possible again. The world will start looking brighter because you won’t be seeing everything through dark-colored glasses anymore. You’ll start to see the beauty in everything again and be able to enjoy activities that bring you joy.
10. Depression and anxiety are hard to manage alone.
It’s important to remember that depression and anxiety can be difficult to manage on your own. If you find yourself struggling with these mental illnesses, it’s time to reach out for help.
Whether you seek medication, therapy or both — there are many different coping mechanisms you can use to get through the day. But it’s not enough that you simply use medication and therapy to cope with your depression; most people who deal with depression also need lifestyle changes in order to overcome the disease.
Therefore, because of the benefits of quitting Paxil above, people will always wonder ‘how long do antidepressants like Paxil withdrawal last?’
How long do antidepressants like Paxil withdrawal symptoms last?
The severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms of Paxil vary from individual to individual. The symptoms also depend on:
- Dosage of Paxil being taken
- Frequency of taking the medication before the withdrawal
- The duration you have been on the medication
- The speed of the withdrawal.
The Paxil withdrawal symptoms start within 24-48 hours after stopping taking the medication or reducing the dose. The full effects of the withdrawal are felt after 4- 5 days. The withdrawal symptoms in most people reduce markedly or cease after around 2- 3 weeks. Some new studies show that paroxetine withdrawal effects in the brain may take up to 90 days to return to non-Paxil levels.
Since some of the withdrawal symptoms feel like depression, it is important to know the difference. Withdrawal symptoms go away quickly when a dose of Paxil is taken while depression relapse symptoms take up to several weeks to disappear.
Also, discontinuation symptoms reduce in severity or cease when the body readjusts to the lower dose or not taking the medication, but depression and anxiety disorder symptoms do not.
For the 90 days, the psychiatrist and the patient should look out for symptom changes. This is because some symptoms like suicidal thoughts may have devastating effects.
It should be noted that anxiety disorder/ depression relapse symptoms may also re-occur after reducing the dosage or discontinuation of Paxil. These symptoms occur gradually but should be monitored closely.
If the symptoms last for more than a month or are worsening, it would be wise to consult your doctor to check whether there is a relapse.
Home remedies for Paxil withdrawal
Withdrawal of Paxil can cause withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal should be done in a progressive manner. The following are the natural/ home remedies for antidepressant-like Paxil withdrawal:
Being active helps to distract your brain from the withdrawal symptoms. This can be done by having something to do and trying not to stay idle. If you have no work, it’s also important to volunteer.
Being active has both anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. For people who exercise at least 3 times a week, the chances of relapse of depression and anxiety disorders are reduced.
Exercise increases the availability of serotonin to bind with receptors. This ensures a more balanced serotonin level in the brain almost sustaining the levels available when the SSRIs are in use. Exercise also helps to normalize the body’s metabolism and reduce cortisol(stress hormone) levels.
There are some withdrawal symptoms that can either cause conflicts or worse effects like suicide. Informing your close friends, family, and being in constant communication with your doctor can really help in mitigating the effects.
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms like agitation, restlessness, or even physical disease symptoms that can be hard on their close friends. Without your close friends’ knowledge of the cause of these symptoms may lead to conflicts.
Also, since the risk of suicide is increased, it is good to have your friends on the lookout to support you in case you get suicidal thoughts.
Several relaxation techniques can help in improving moods and balance brain activity. Such relaxation techniques include yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, relaxing music, and massage for anxiety among others.
It is also important to be able to paint a picture of a calm relaxing place in your mind. Thus, when the mood changes due to withdrawal you can calm the brain with the picture.
Having a low-inflammation diet can help to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains ensures enough energy throughout the day as you battle the withdrawal symptoms.
A balanced meal is always recommended during this period to enable the body to perform all its functions optimally. The meal should have carbohydrates from whole grains, proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. It is also important to take a lot of water.
Green leafy vegetables will enable the gut to be colonized by healthy bacteria that might have been cleared by the antidepressants. This way the gut lining will be healed thus reducing anxiety.
Accepting that you are getting antidepressant withdrawal symptoms is the first step in going through them. After accepting, it is recommended that you understand that the withdrawal symptoms are temporary and will pass away.
Mindfulness enables the basic human ability to be fully present and fully aware of our situations, and ensure that we have control of what we experience and are not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what life throws at us.
Also, it is important to know that with the management methods described here the symptoms can be reduced in severity and frequency.
Take your time
In order to succeed in quitting Paxil intake, it is important to know that it will take time. The time for progressive reduction of the dose is very important.
The time will help you adapt to life without antidepressants while also helping you to finetune ways on how to cope in case of symptoms of withdrawal or anxiety disorder symptoms.
Other withdrawal symptoms relief methods
In addition to the natural remedies for antidepressant withdrawal discussed above you may consider other remedies below:
- Sleep aids– These medications for insomnia can help in giving you a good night’s sleep in case you have insomnia as one of the withdrawal symptoms. The sleep aids may be natural, prescription, or over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: In case of acute symptoms like pain (headaches), OTC pain relievers may be used to relieve the symptoms. This also applies to other symptoms like nausea, constipation, and others where OTC medications are available.
Interaction of Paxil with other medications
There are some drugs including herbal medications that may affect the action of Paroxetine or potentiate the side effects. It is important to notify your doctor when you are taking the following drugs:
- Drugs affecting your heartbeat
- Other drugs for depression
- Medication for Schizophrenia
- St John’s Wort
Facts About Paxil
The following are important facts about Paxil.
- You can take Paxil with or without food. Also, Paxil can be taken at any time of the day.
- Paxil effects can interact with the effects of alcohol and drugs. Therefore, avoid them because they may lead to adverse reactions like sedation or reduce the effectiveness of Paxil.
- In case you skip a dose, kindly take the dose as soon as you remember. However, it should not be taken too close to the next dose (double dose). Discuss with your doctor where possible.
- The prescription of Paxil always starts with a lower dose and is increased when needed by your doctor. Doses available range from 10mg to 40mg/ 50mg for controlled-release capsules.
- There are no proven long-term risks for taking Paxil if it is taken as directed by the doctor.
- Paxil can interact with other medications. It is therefore very important to inform your doctor if you are taking other medications.
- Paxil if withdrawn very fast can have some serious side effects. It is therefore advisable to withdraw the medication by reducing the dose progressively.
- In case of Paxil overdose, urgently call your doctor or dial 911. There are no specific drugs that are available to reverse the effect of Paroxetine.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are common, and they can be challenging to manage. Fortunately, there are several medications and therapies that can help. One of the most effective medications for anxiety is Paxil.
This drug is part of a class called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It functions similarly to other SSRIs such as Zoloft and Prozac by keeping your serotonin levels high so you feel less anxious.
It’s common to feel hesitant about starting a medication like Paxil because it’s a medication with side effects. But if you have tried other methods without success, it may be the right choice for you.
How does SSRI stop anxiety?
SSRIs work for anxiety by slowing the re-uptake or re-absorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is one of the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that help in anxiety and mood regulation. Therefore, SSRIs are the recommended first-line medications for social anxiety disorder (SAD) and other anxiety treatments.
How quickly do SSRIs work for anxiety?
SSRIs will give you improvements after 2 to 8 weeks depending on the drug and the individual when the medication is taken as per the doctor’s dosage. However, some individuals may start getting relief from anxiety symptoms sooner but it is important to note that the drug takes some time before the full therapeutic effects are felt in the body.
What does Paxil do to your brain?
Paxil changes the chemical balance in your brain by slowing down the re-absorption of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that control moods and anxiety and thus when increased in the brain it helps to boost moods and reduce anxiety.
How does Paxil make you feel at first?
The effects of Paxil vary from individual to individual at first but they include feeling some changes in the moods and anxiety and also side effects such as nausea, headache, and dizziness which generally tend to go away as your body gets used to the medication. Some people may get persistent side effects such as sexual problems. In case the side effects persist or become worse, it is important to talk to your doctor.
Is Prozac or Paxil better for anxiety?
Both Prozac and Paxil are SSRIs and are effective medications in the treatment of anxiety disorders. However, studies have shown that Paxil has less stimulating side effects and thus is preferred in the management of anxiety disorders.