Seeking treatment for a mental health disorder involves using a wide range of evidence-based and holistic therapeutic modalities along with medication management. Medication management is using different mental health medications based on the individual’s specific diagnosis and condition. Each medication is designed to help provide relief from one’s symptoms. One such medication is Paxil. Learning more about how does Paxil work can help you decide if it could be beneficial as part of your customized treatment plan at Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry.  

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What is Paxil?

Paxil is the brand name for an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) called paroxetine. It increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with positive moods and feelings. 

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    What Is Paxil Used For?

    Paxil can be used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions, including:



    It has also been prescribed to help alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes. 

    Is Paxil Addictive?

    Paxil is not considered addictive because it is an SSRI. However, a person can build tolerance to Paxil the longer it is taken. As tolerance builds, the person is more likely to be dependent on the drug in order to function. Should Paxil be discounted abruptly, which is never recommended, the person can experience ADS (antidepressant discontinuation syndrome). ADS often causes withdrawal symptoms due to the sudden cessation of Paxil.

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    How Does Paxil Work?

    Paxil, like other SSRIs, prevents the reuptake of serotonin after it has been released naturally. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps send messages from the brain to the rest of the body. It is primarily responsible for mood regulation and positive feelings and emotions. People with depression and anxiety disorders often have serotonin imbalances that cause their condition and related symptoms.

    By preventing the reuptake of serotonin, which is the natural absorption and recycling of the neurotransmitter by the body, its levels gradually increase. With higher serotonin levels in the body, people's moods improve and their related symptoms usually decrease. 

    Paxil vs. Lexapro

    Paxil and Lexapro are both SSRIs. However, there are some differences between the two medications. Paxil is used to treat a wider range of mental health disorders, whereas Lexapro is FDA-approved to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 


    Another difference is how long the effects of the drugs last. Paxil tends to last for a shorter time compared to Lexapro. Additionally, two of the shared side effects of Paxil and Lexapro are potential weight gain and sexual side effects, such as reduced sex drive and difficulty achieving orgasm. 

    Paxil vs. Prozac

    Paxil and Prozac are also both SSRIs. Both medications can be used to treat a wide range of mental health disorders. Prozac is also prescribed to treat certain eating disorders like bulimia. Some of the differences between the medications are the potential side effects. Paxil is more likely to cause drowsiness in some people compared to Prozac. However, Prozac is more likely to cause insomnia in some people, which is not a side effect of Paxil.

    Paxil vs. Celexa

    Celexa is another drug that is considered an SSRI, just like Paxil. However, one key difference is Celexa is only FDA-approved to treat depression. Celexa is often used in older adults to treat depression because it is easier tolerated. There are also fewer potential drug interactions and gastrointestinal issues compared to other SSRIs. 

    How Long Does Paxil Take to Work for Anxiety?

    How long it takes Paxil to start working when treating anxiety disorders depends on the individual. Some people may begin to notice improvements in their symptoms within the first few weeks of starting the drug. For other people, it could take between four and six weeks before they notice any significant changes. 


    Then, in certain cases, it could take as long as eight weeks before there are noticeable changes. Since there are variances in how fast Paxil works for anxiety, it is important to continue taking the medication as prescribed. If, after eight weeks, you have not noticed any improvement in symptoms, you need to inform your psychiatrist. 

    How Long Does Paxil Take to Work for Depression?

    When you have been prescribed Paxil for depression, how long it takes before you notice any improvement in symptoms will vary. Some people will see slight improvements in symptoms within the first two weeks and more significant improvements within six to eight weeks. 


    For other people, their initial improvements could take four, six, or eight weeks before their symptoms start improving. Again, it is imperative to take the drug as prescribed for at least two months. After two months, if there are no changes in symptoms, inform your psychiatrist. 

    How Long Does Paxil Stay in Your System?

    Paxil can remain in your system for between five and seven days after the last dosage. Paxil’s duration is described using what is called the drug’s “half-life.” The half-life simply means that half of the Paxil dosage you are prescribed leaves the body within 21 to 24 hours after the dosage. For every 21 to 24-hour period, the drug continues to be reduced by half until it is no longer in your system.


    For example, you are prescribed a 20 mg dose. After taking that dose, 10 mg of the drug is eliminated from the body within 21 to 24 hours. Over the next period, 5 mg of the drug is eliminated from the body. In the next period, another 2.5 mg of the drug is eliminated from the body, and so on. 

    Find Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta Today

    When you are looking for mental health treatment in Atlanta, look no further than Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry. Our caring and compassionate team provides comprehensive mental health treatment services personalized to your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our programs or to schedule an initial consultation appointment. 

    You are not alone. You deserve to get help.

    Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry is an Industry leader in mental health treatment . Our team of top medical experts specialize in dual diagnosis treat and are committed to ensuring that each patient is treated as an individual.
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