Anxiety Community
Started Prozac and Anxiety/Panic is worse
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to generalized anxiety, anxiety and eating, anxiety and sleeping, mood swings, panic attacks and panic disorders.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Started Prozac and Anxiety/Panic is worse

I decided to get some help with my anxiety. I had an unknown illness during the winter. This illness caused me to have an elevated heart rate, very high blood pressure, and chest pain/pressure almost all the time for about 5 months. When it all started, I wasn't anxious, and i wasn't experiencing panic attacks. I later developed panic disorder on top of the illness (i was pretty scared for a few months), and while my physical symptoms are mostly better now (not completely), panic attacks can be triggered very easily. I worry about the illness, which can send me into a state of panic, and strangely, panic attacks present with similar symptoms that I had when I was very ill. It's not the same as when I was ill since the attacks I get now are very acute, and I get over them within a few hours.

Anyway, I have started Prozac 4 days ago to "help" my anxiety. Since taking it, I am on edge of a panic attack at all times. I went to the E.R. yesterday when I had a panic attack, and they gave me Ativan. Since developing panic disorder, I've discovered that Ativan works really well, but doctors are cautious about giving it to me because of its addictiveness. I suggested Ativan to the E.R. doc, and even though my blood pressure was 200/160 and heart rate was over 100, he was about to give me NOTHING. He asked if I drove myself, and I said yes. He then said, if I give you Ativan, you can't drive yourself home. I responded, "I can drive fine on Ativan. I've done it plenty of times. I will feel much safer with it than without it." After I said that, he wouldn't even give me Ativan until someone showed up to pick me up. I told him that I need atleast a few so I don't end up back in the E.R., so he gave me 3 to take home. I think he thought I was some kind of addict even though I hadn't taken Ativan in months (except during 1 E.R. visit the week before).

Anyway, I was told by the E.R. doc to continue to take the Prozac as increased anxiety can be a temporary side effect, and I have an appointment with my doctor Monday.

Anyone here have heightened anxiety after starting Prozac or similar SSRI? Did the side effect go away after a week or two? Not sure if I can continue to take this stuff if I continue to feel like this.
Related Discussions
13 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I feel a bit more on edge with increased anxiety whenever I start, stop, or adjust the dosage of an SSRI, especially in the first week.  In my experience, there is an 'adjustment period' where I do have some side effects but they tend to go away after a couple of weeks.  Remember, that SSRIs take awhile to 'kick in.'  Many times a doctor will prescribe a benzo like Ativan while you start an SSRI, but your doctor is right that Ativan can become addicting and one can build up a tolerance to it, so it is usually only prescribed in the short term or as needed basis.

I also find that once we have an illness our anxiety can definitely be incresased because of the experience.  Throughout all of this, have you had access to a therapist to talk this through?  Keep us posted!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
i have been on 40mg of prozac for years now and it helps me out greatly...but for the first 2 weeks it made my anxity worse but it went away...the only side afect i have from Prozac is i feel tired and yawn alot during certain points n the day...
Blank
954005_tn?1304630205
I have been on Paxil 40mg for years for GAD, have also tried Prozac and Ciprolex...but Paxil is the one that works for me--that is also part of it--finding the right one for you.
All of these will probably make you feel worse before you feel better--as experienced by myself, and told to me by my doctor.  You will probably feel MORE anxious before you feel that they are working.  For me it went on for about 4-6 weeks, but when I evened out, and my body adjusted to the drug, my quality of life was enormously improved.  I was given Clonazepam for help through the first month or so, and it helped me sleep and avoid major panic attacks...
The paxil and prozac are drugs that will hopefully work all/most of the time, instead of having to take short acting ones like ativan or clonazepam...
So...this is pretty normal I think, and you'll probably feel much better soon.  I did feel CRAZY for the first month, and even when I switched to prozac to try that (because of Paxil weight gain) I felt CRAZY...I never started to feel better w/ the prozac, so I went back on the paxil, and even though I gained a ton of weight, every other aspect of my life is much improved...
I wish you luck, and hang in there...
Blank
756668_tn?1287228987
When my mom was given Prozac about 20 yrs ago...they always backed it up with a benzo...Prozac is for depression, but like most of those meds they say they help panic disorder.  however in most people it causes high levels of anxiety...that is why since then she has changed meds again for about the 10th time in 20 yrs...and they always give her benzo's for the anxiety.  Hope you feel better soon!
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Ariom, there are pure antidepressants, such as wellbutrin, that do increase anxiety, however ssris help both depression and anxiety as they target serotonin.  That doesn't mean they will work for everyone, nothing does, and it doesn't mean they're a cure, you're still anxious about certain things even when they work, which is why they're usually combined with a benzo.  But they are difficult to adjust to changes in dosage, stopping, and starting.  Sometimes very difficult.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Ok, I am going to have to stop the Prozac. I feel 10x worse since starting it, it's scary as hell to drive, and I feel like I am going to die. I feel ok before my morning dose, and then after taking it the anxiety and fear hits me. I feel scared all day. I went to the doc today and they gave me Klonopin, but even after taking it I still felt like I was about to have a panic attack all day.

I had to pick my friend up from the airport today, and every minute or so, I felt the need to pull over. Instead of pulling over I blew cold air in my face on high, and luckily, I didn't have a serious attack while on the highway. I had my friend drive home as I felt it wasn't safe to drive with the anxiety and chest pressure/pain. I feel really sick, have bad indigestion, heartburn, chest pain, intense chest pressure, and get food caught in my esophagus. Would the anxiety make me feel this physically ill? I had a chest x-ray today and everything looks fine. I've had EKG's recently too and my heart looks fine.

I already took my second dose of Klonopin since I am still freaked out, and I cannot continue taking the Prozac.
Blank
756668_tn?1287228987
I am sorry about how you are feeling..I hope today if you get a chance you will post that the Klonopin is working and helping with your anxiety attacks!!!  Klonopin is for long tern use compared to others.  Just remember it takes longer to kick in but once it does it does last longer in your system.  

I don't  take anti-depressants...I tried many different ones years ago..and they did not help me. They intensified the anxiety.   BUT THAT WAS JUST MY EXPERIENCE..AND ABOVE WAS MY MOTHER'S....  Sorry for the caps..I am by no means a professional nor do I know what certain drugs do...I have only and always followed my doctors orders.  For now all is well....anxiety under control.  You can do it, even when you think you can't...you can!!!!  

I like that you mentioned cold air blowing on your face....that helped me when I would get a panic/anxiety attack.  

Let us know how you are doing.  happy 4th!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I am going through a similar experience with Prozac right now.  I took 20 mg for 2 1/2 weeks for mild anxiety and the side effects were absolutely intolerable.  It increased my anxiety so much, I had nausea, absolute loss of appetite, and fatigue.  I decided to stop it after I just couldn't take the side effects anymore. I stopped taking it 20 days ago and am still suffering from the side effects, although they have improved slowly, day by day.  Little did I know that Prozac has the longest half life of all SSRI medications and can take up to 4 to 6 weeks for side effects to stop after stopping the drug.  Good luck to you and you'll get through it.  You're not the only one though!
Blank
956150_tn?1248278815
I was on Prozac for 10-15 years and worked fine for that many years.  Then suddenly, last week, my panic attacks came back with FULL FORCE.  Doctor thinks I built an immunity to it so now I am going off of Prozac and slowly working up to 50mgs of Zoloft per day.  Was also on Klonopin for years and now am slowly weaning off of that and switching to Valium .5 mgs 3 times a day.   I panic now about when I am going to have a panic attack.  All of a sudden, after so many years, I can't relax and I can't breathe.  I also went to the ER, had the EKG and chest x-rays during a full blown panic attack.  Gave me 2 Ativan and sent me home.   I was sure, that since my panic attacks were under control for so many years, that I was done!  So I know how you all feel.  I am 58 years old and been going through this since I was 18 before there were even anti-depressants.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I stopped Prozac, and my anxiety is under control now. I am currently taking .5 mg of Klonopin morning and night, and I am doing fine. Strangely, I do feel physically ill again (like when I was sick), but my anxiety is fine. My chest has been hurting all the time (GERD, chest pressure, and chest pain), and it doesn't seem to correlate at all with feelings of anxiety. The chest pressure and pain honestly feels cardiac related, but I've had that checked out thoroughly. I am seing a gastroenterologist to make sure there is nothing serious going on there. Maybe I'll continue to feel better physically as the Prozac gets out of my system. I still feel that there is an underlying physical cause that is also causing my anxiety, and it's frustrating to me that most doctors ignore that assumption. I get anxiety and panic from feeling ill, which in turn makes me feel more ill. I feel like something has infected my body for the past 6 months, and it is struggling to leave. I think I can tell the difference between an anxiety attack and something that is attacking my body, but doctors try to tell me it's just all anxiety. I feel trapped.

That being said, I am glad I stopped the Prozac, and I fear what would have happened if I continued to take it. My anxiety was increasing exponentially day by day, and common sense told me to stop. I am sure Prozac works wonders for many, but that drug made me super anxious and scared all the time. I am wondering if I really have a problem with Serotonin since I have had bad reactions to SSRI's so far (Cymbalta, Prozac). Is this possible?
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
How long did it take for the klonopin to kick in? I am still having some Prozac side effects/anxiety/nausea and the dr that answers questions for the mental health recommended klonopin to help with anxiety and/or increased anxiety from Prozac. Is klonopin supposed to be a short term course for you? That's what he recommended for me.  I currently have a rx for Xanax as needed which helps with anxiety.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
The Klonopin didn't started helping after a day or so of use. I still felt pretty anxious and very sick for a couple days after stopping the Prozac. I am feeling much better physically and mentally today as I think the Prozac is getting out of my system. I only gave the Prozac a week, but I was way too miserable to keep taking it. It wasn't that I was just a little more anxious, but I felt very physically ill, and felt like I was going to have a panic attack at all times. I had an overwhelming amount of constant anxiety, fear, and feelings of panic that I have never experienced.

I am hoping the Klonopin will just be a short term solution as I know benzodiazepines can be very physically addicting (anxiety can intensify when stopping). It does seem to work well for me though at the moment, and gets my mind off the constant chest discomfort. I haven't talked to my doctor about starting another med yet.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I meant to say the Klonopin started helping after a day or so of taking it. My anxiety was much better after the second or third dose.
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Recent Activity
Avatar_n_tn
Blank
mychronicbackpain commented on Why You Might Have A ...
1 hr ago
1712422_tn?1402008882
Blank
LovemyKids86 commented on photo
1 hr ago
1712422_tn?1402008882
Blank
LovemyKids86 commented on photo
1 hr ago
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Anxiety Tracker
Track Anxiety Symptoms
Start Tracking Now
Top Anxiety Answerers
480448_tn?1403547723
Blank
nursegirl6572
PA
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
remar
st. louis, MO
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
cj29
GA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
anxiety860
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
Paxiled
Arlington, VA
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
coh123
Grand Rapids, MN
Anxiety Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Anxiety Answerers
480448_tn?1403547723
Blank
nursegirl6572
PA
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
remar
st. louis, MO
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
cj29
GA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
anxiety860
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
Paxiled
Arlington, VA
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
coh123
Grand Rapids, MN