OCD and Paxil Withdrawal


Paxil is not a controlled substance like cocaine or marijuana, but the withdrawals are just as potent. Health care professionals do state that the withdrawals can be severe and recommend a monitoring program on the drug.

The withdrawals are the reason health care professionals wean their patients off of Paxil instead of cutting them off completely from the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms (as with any substance) from Paxil are all of or just some of the following: dizziness, headache, muscle spasms, tremors, moodiness, spontaneous nerve pulse known as paresthesia or “electric shock†sensations (some can even be painful), nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, vivid dreams, confusion, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, agitation and these will be more than normal that the patient on Paxil has ever experienced.

Other withdrawal symptoms will be similar to the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) such as depression, anxiety and nervousness.

Compared to Other Meds

Scientific research has discovered the difference in Paxil as compared to other serotonin inhibitors, Paxil is fast acting. Other medications such as Escitalopram are slow acting and require the patient to take the medication for a period of time before any noticeable results.

Paxil, being fast acting, is not unlike any other controlled substance, the brain is bombarded with the drug and becomes accustomed to it. When the drug is removed, the signals in the brain become confused and respond through the body with withdrawal symptoms until the drug is reintroduced or the brain normalizes.


In recent studies, participants have mentioned that they feel powerless over taking the medication once they start. This is due in part, to when the drug was removed abruptly; the withdrawal symptoms were so severe that the patient just began taking the pill again to cease the symptoms.

When this is the issue, the health care professional will then begin the process of tapering the dosage amount. The unfortunate result of this process is that it could take months to even years to be fully off of the drug.

In rare cases, some people can never be fully off of Paxil, just like a controlled substance.
Scientific researchers admit the potential of severe withdrawal syndrome with Paxil and other serotonin inhibiting medications, but health care professionals believe that the needs out weigh the side effects.

It is proven that Paxil helps many OCD sufferers maintain normal lives. This is why it is critical to have a trusting relationship with the prescriber of Paxil and to take the time to get an effective diagnosis through the mental health professional.

Though the treatment of OCD is still in the “learning stage”, Paxil and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is still a good medication to alleviate the symptoms of OCD. When OCD interferes with everyday life functions, the side effects of discontinuing Paxil may not be feasible or desired by the patient.

It is imperative that the patient and health care professional discuss and maybe try all other options if the patient with OCD (or other disorders) does not wish to have the withdrawal symptoms when taken off of the drug.

Last Updated on October 31, 2022