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  • Writer's pictureJessie Huang

PTSD Diaries: Prozac Edition | Pt. 2

This is the 2nd installment of PTSD Diaries: Prozac Edition.

2 weeks after starting Prozac to treat PTSD, I had a follow up appointment with my doctor. We agreed to increase the dosage to 20mg, since I'd started at 10mg—the lowest dose possible.

I'm about 7 weeks in at this point. While there were some rocky moments with the 20mg approach that had me seriously contemplating dropping back down to 10mg, I stuck with it.

The undesirable side effects were markedly more severe at the increased dosage, but as of today, I'm happy I forged on.

In the first couple weeks, there were some concerning symptoms that eventually resolved on their own:

  • Increased panic attacks and flashbacks. So debilitating that I nearly dropped back down to 10mg again.

  • Increased agitation. Pronounced unease for no particular reason.

  • "Excited" feeling. Difficult to articulate, but I liked the effect, so wouldn't necessarily categorize it as "concerning."

  • Scatterbrained. Felt dumb for a little while.

  • Nighttime awakenings. Not a normality for me.

After initial symptoms tapered off, some persisted:

  • Jaw clenching. Sore face during day.

  • Muscle tightness throughout body. Particularly neck and shoulder area.

  • Changes in taste. Metal taste in mouth. More of an annoyance than anything, but I still miss the pleasures of unaltered-brain-food.

It's the positive results, that kept me sticking around though:

  • Significantly better sense of well-being.

  • Ability to stay present more. Immensely helpful at work.

  • Increased ability to socialize. This took a "lightbulb moment" of sorts, because I hadn't realized social anxiety had emerged as a product of my PTSD. It wasn't until I recognized the social anxiety that I was able to start conquering it. This is till an ongoing process, but Prozac is aiding immensely.

  • Significantly more good days than bad. Probably like a 5:1 good to bad day ratio. Prior to starting meds, it was the inverse and I was suffering on a day-to-day basis.

  • Ability to significantly "temper" flashbacks / panic attacks in the early stages. Sometimes I'm able, other times I'm not. I credit this to mostly therapy, but Prozac definitely aids in success rate.

  • Pronounced better attitude at work. Co-workers have noted this, as well. I'm finally able to engage in typical work small talk and gossip, whereas in the past, I couldn't stand taking part because I was coming from a place of trauma and literally everybody's woes sounded idiotic, inconsequential, and disgustingly privileged. I still feel this sometimes, but am able to "switch gears" more easily.

  • General productivity, which I value, significantly increased.

In summary

  • So far, so good. I've reached a point of stability with Prozac now and feel as if I'm reaping majority benefits.

  • With the progress made so far, I've discussed slowly weaning off therapy with my therapist. Our plan is to try once every 2 weeks, instead of weekly, and go from there.

  • In my experience, the side effects presented in the first month or so were well worth the end results, as most of them did disappear. YMMV. I've had horrible experiences with Lexapro, in the past, where my doctor ordered me to stop immediately after day 3 because I was exhibiting side effects too serious to continue. Everyone responds to meds differently.


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