Paxil Addiction, Statistics, Abuse, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Paxil?

Paxil (chemically known as paroxetine) is in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of antidepressants. SSRIs increase the serotonin levels in the brain and this elevates a person’s mood. Paxil is mainly used to treat major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in adults. It is believed that Paxil is non-habit forming and non-addictive. Yet, when it is abused like any other drug, a Paxil addiction can be developed. Paroxetine is a heavily prescribed drug which makes it easier to acquire. This also makes it easier to develop a Paxil addiction. It is normally abused by crushing a tablet and inhaling it or by swallowing additional pills in an attempt to feel a high. A Paxil addiction can have some extremely serious consequences. Paroxetine is rarely to be administered to people under the age of 18 as it produces suicidal or homicidal thoughts in younger people. As a result, Paxil is required to carry a “black box warning” by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This type of warning is considered the most serious as it relates to prescription drug labeling. Paxil is also marketed as Seroxat, Pexeva, Aropax and Sereupin.


No studies have performed on addiction or abuse to date. Therefore, statistical information is not available for paroxetine dependency.

Causes of Paxil Addiction

Like many other SSRIs, Paxil is supposed to be physically non-addictive. However, a Paxil addiction can begin when it is continually abused. Paxil dependency is created when a person repeatedly ingests multiple doses of the drug trying to get high. The person thinks the increase of serotonin will help them reach their goal. Some people become addicted these types of effects and therefore become psychologically addicted to drugs like Paxil. In other cases, a man or women may be trying to escape depression, anxiety, or a traumatic event, believing that getting “high” will give them peace of mind and feel good. Addictions such as those to Paxil frequently co-occur with other types of substance abuse such as alcohol addiction.

Signs of Paxil Use, Addiction and Dependence

As with other drugs that are being abused, the person with an addiction will display multiple signals of Paxil abuse. Becoming physically dependent is unusual, but there are some strong withdrawal symptoms when someone tries to stop a Paxil addiction. There are also signs that manifest when there is a psychological addiction. Some of the indications of abuse are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain
  • Sweating
  • Agitation
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Impaired memory
  • Headache
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia

Paxil Effects

There are several harmful reactions that occur as a result of a Paxil addiction. It is reported a Paxil addiction is not physically addictive, but there are still some unwanted physical reactions that transpire when a user rapidly quits abusing the drug. In addition, there are psychological and social side effects that are revealed while in a Paxil addiction. A few physical attributes are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of electricity in the body
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Vertigo

Various psychological consequences consist of:

  • Suicidal behavior
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Confusion and incoherent thoughts
  • Aggression
  • Vivid dreams
  • Impaired memory

Social results include:

  • Collapse of career
  • Loss of family
  • Ruined friendships and other relationships
  • Financial opportunities lost
  • Reclusive behaviors
  • Avoids personal activities

Paxil Withdrawal

When trying to end a Paxil addiction, there are physical withdrawal effects that will be experienced. This is the result of a Paxil dependency. There are also psychological withdrawal symptoms produced by a Paxil addiction, which are difficult to deal with as well. A few of these withdrawal effects felt are nightmares, feelings of electricity in the body, dizziness, sexual dysfunction, nausea, suicidal behavior, homicidal thoughts, depression, diarrhea, insomnia and confused thinking.

Paxil Addiction Treatment

There is not much information available to adequately speak to a Paxil addiction, but when paroxetine is abused, it can result in Paxil dependency. There are no pharmacological treatments for Paxil addiction. The most successful way to prevail over a Paxil addiction is to admit there is a problem and ask for help. The next step is to seek assistance from a therapist or counselor who is experienced with treating prescription drug addictions – and as equally important – will work to find out whether there are other issues or disorders besides the primary addiction. With more severe co-occurring cases, a Paxil addiction treatment center should be sought out. Help is available; it begins by admitting there is problem and reaching out for support.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 15th, 2013
Published on, Addiction Resources