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MN Psychiatrist
MN Psychiatrist, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 792
Experience:  Physician for 17 years, adult psychiatrist for 13 years working with a wide variety of patients.
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Hello, I just started 20 mg of Prozac daily a week and a half

Customer Question

Hello, I just started 20 mg of Prozac daily a week and a half ago due to postpartum depression and anxiety. How long until I feel relief and the full benefits? Will this medicine help me feel like myself again? I am also starting CBT next week.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  MN Psychiatrist replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I am a psychiatrist.

I'm sorry that you are having a rough go of it (but congratulations on your baby!).

To answer your question, you may start feeling some slight improvement in your mood and outlook after even a week or two, but it generally takes an antidepressant about 6 weeks or so to get the full benefit available from it at any given dose.

As far as whether or not it will make you feel like yourself again, there's generally about a 1-in-3 chance that any given antidepressant won't work in an individual. Unfortunately, that's true of all of them, so there's no real benefit to trying to see if another might be better than Prozac at this point.

Also, it depends on the dose. If you are on a dose that is intended to really just be a starting dose, and you don't increase it even if you aren't feeling better, you cannot reasonably expect to feel better. I see that all the time, and it's unfair to blame an antidepressant for not working when a therapeutic dose isn't being used; only using a small starting dose is like driving a very powerful car at 30mph on the highway and then complaining that it's an awful car because you are late for all your appointments.

With Prozac, for treating depression, a therapeutic dose may well be as much as 60-80mg daily. That's not uncommon. Small doses, such as 20mg daily, are used initially to minimize the risk of side effects, not because they are actually expected to work. Occasionally the do, but it's nothing to count on when you feel awful (and miss how you used to feel).

Does this make sense?
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