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Prozac Alternatives

This entry was posted in Antidepressant and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Natural Prozac alternatives may be able to provide significant relief 7 without having to incur side effects associated with antidepressant medications such as Prozac, etc.2

The medical community has expressed a growing interest in exploring natural remedies for depression. The Alternative to Meds Center has been successfully helping people with mental health challenges and medication-related issues using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for a decade and a half. We are here to help.

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Natural Prozac Alternatives?

prozac alternatives
Alternative to Meds has been primarily invested in guiding clients toward alternatives to prescription medication and we’ve been doing this for over 15 years. Using Orthomolecular, Holistic and Environmental Medicine, we have published evidence showing that over 77% of clients who we helped to discontinue antidepressants, and then replace drugs with choices such as transitioning to a holistic lifestyle have overcome their original symptoms, and are feeling better than they ever were on Prozac.

Overview of Antidepressant Alternatives

There are a number of different alternatives to Prozac for depression or other symptoms. Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, is part of a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that are frequently prescribed to treat depression and other mental health conditions.22 There are a number of Prozac side effects that may occur from taking this drug.3 And in some cases, mental conditions don’t resolve by taking antidepressants. 11 Fortunately, antidepressant alternatives to Prozac are available for those who want to avoid side effects or unsatisfactory results from drug-based therapy. At Alternative to Meds Center, we believe that there are effective alternative solutions besides continuing to be medicated with prescription depression drugs. We employ effective alternatives to Prozac for anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

Many of our patients who were considering alternatives to Prozac for anxiety or depression claim that their doctor wanted to keep them on medication or suggested another similar drug. This is likely because they get little to no education in nutrition as part of their formalized education.8 Doctors often prescribe the other SSRIs such as Paxil (paroxetine), selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Cymbalta (Duloxetine), tricyclic antidepressants such as Elavil (Amitriptyline), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as Nardil (phenelzine).9 These other drugs are often come with their own side effects and may be similarly ineffective or cause withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued.10,11

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Prozac Alternatives Treatment

Prozac side effects could be avoided by transitioning to natural Prozac alternatives.4,5,7 A thoughtful selection of Prozac alternatives can avoid the pitfalls of unwanted consequences associated with prescription medication.6 Depression and other mental conditions are very often a result of physiological factors.12

talk therapy prozac alternativeUsing other antidepressant drugs as alternatives to Prozac for depression or anxiety may not be the answer for most people, as many of the adverse effects may also be present with other prescription drug treatments.11 We recommend Prozac alternative therapies for individuals experiencing complications from prescription antidepressants. For example, many different forms of psychotherapy can help people manage symptoms of depression and help them to make consistent steps toward their desired mental health goals.1

Talk therapies can allow a depressed individual to look at their problems from another perspective and find resolutions for these problems through talking with the talk therapist. Talk therapists can also help patients with finding more satisfaction with their own actions and unlearning old and unproductive patterns of behavior and thought which may be contributing to depression.

Natural Alternatives to Prozac Include:

  • Individual CBT13*
  • Group CBT13*
  • Other forms of counseling such as DBT1
  • Exercise23
  • Tryptophan14
  • SAMe, Omega Fatty Acids, St. Johns Wort7
  • Avoid refined carbs, sugars, caffeine, food additives18
  • Testing for and clearing out neurotoxins lodged in the body12

*A groundbreaking 2011 study (Driessen, Hollon) showed CBT to be an effective alternative treatment for depressive symptoms.

Underlying Causative Factors of Depression

Heavy metal toxicity; nutritional deficiencies; irregularities in sleep, diet, or physical activity; relationships; environmental factors; and many other aspects of one’s life and lifestyle play a role in the symptoms and outcome of depression.5,12 Doctors often prescribe an antidepressant for a mental condition, as a quick fix. A more thorough approach could include testing and other assessments to identify underlying medical, dietary, toxicity-related or other causative factors.

Depression may not always respond to a medication quick-fix. Prescription drugs may complicate the condition, worsen depression for some, or cause emerging side effects.22,11 Medication ineffectiveness, dependency issues, and withdrawal symptoms can tangle things up even more.10 Effective treatment for depression may be achieved by discovering the underlying reasons that cause depression. Instead of trying to fix depression symptoms with drugs, addressing the underlying causes of depression may be more effective. We seek to alleviate the symptoms rather than mask these very symptoms that can act as signposts, and that can lead to an effective, authentic resolution.

Effective Holistic Prozac Alternatives

Other popular and potentially effective Prozac alternative medicines include anxiety or depression relieving supplements and vitamins such as valerian and St. John’s Wort7, and serotonin-producing amino acids such as L-tryptophan.14 We believe that any positive effects of this drug can generally be recreated with natural medicines and healing therapies. There is no reason to suffer from side effects or ineffectiveness when equally effective and low side-effect Prozac alternative therapies are available.4,5

People are often given an antidepressant prescription without any prior biological investigations into what might be causing their depression.15 Low serotonin is frequently blamed as the cause for depression but what about food allergies which slow metabolism,15 environmental neurotoxins like heavy metals that ruin our energy metabolism,12 or low thyroid?17 The depressed individual may have a diet that is so severely poor in nutrients, that they are not able to produce what is required for optimal brain health.18

alternatives to prozacOr, a person may just be completely wrapped up in an unsatisfying life and they need a supportive and stable environment to make changes. Any of these issues could be underlying causes of depression. But instead of addressing these underlying problems, a person is often given an antidepressant that brings on even more problems than were present before using the medication.2,3

SSRI’s like fluoxetine block serotonin reuptake, they do not produce any serotonin. Supplements like tryptophan can be prescribed that do convert into serotonin.14 Foods that help with conversion into serotonin can be added to the daily diet. Serotonin is made for reuptake, so it can be used again by the nerve cell. But, when the serotonin is being forced to stay in synaptic suspension, then much of the serotonin is not being recycled. This constant presence of serotonin in the synapse can cause downregulation, which means that the receptors are not as responsive to serotonin.20 This neuroplasticity is a common feature of many antidepressants.21 This is similar to why cocaine can only relieve depression for a short time. Cocaine will use up all of the person’s dopamine, rather than producing any of it.19 What’s left is a deficit. And depression. And other troubles.

Integrative Prozac Alternatives

At Alternative to Meds Center, we find potential medical reasons for why an individual is depressed. Our program’s protocol uses lab testing, stabilization of the neurochemistry using natural substances, cleansing to remove environmentally accumulated toxins, Prozac withdrawal techniques, specialized amino and other targeted nutritional treatment, correction of diet, peer support, exercise, yoga, massage, and other therapies to successfully combat depression and create effective Prozac alternatives natural help plans.

1. Meredith L, Mazel R, “Counseling for Depression by Primary Care Providers.” The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine [INTERNET] 2000 Dec 1 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

2. Harvard Medical School, “Is your medication making you depressed?” Harvard Health Publication [INTERNET] 2015 Oct [cited 2020 Dec 28]

3. NHS UK information letter, “Fluoxetine (Prozac): an antidepressant.” Reviewed 2018 Dec 10 [Internet] [cited 2020 Dec 28]

4.  Yeung KS, Hernandez M, Mao JJ, Haviland I, Gubili J. Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevancePhytother Res. 2018;32(5):865-891. doi:10.1002/ptr.6033 [cited 2021 April 17]

5.  Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Nutr J. 2010 Oct 7;9:42. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-42. PMID: 20929532; PMCID: PMC2959081. [cited 2021 April 17]

6. Jakobsen JC, Katakam KK, Schou A, Hellmuth SG, Stallknecht SE, Leth-Møller K, Iversen M, Banke MB, Petersen IJ, Klingenberg SL, Krogh J, Ebert SE, Timm A, Lindschou J, Gluud C. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors versus placebo in patients with major depressive disorder. A systematic review with meta-analysis and Trial Sequential Analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Feb 8;17(1):58. doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-1173-2. [cited 2020 Dec 28]

7. Update and Critique of Natural Remedies as Antidepressant Treatments David Mischoulon, MD, PhD, 2009 Dec [cited 2020, Dec 28]

8. Harvard School of Public Health authors, “Doctors need more nutrition education.” N.D. [cited 2020 Dec 28]

9. Larson J, Berger K, “What You Should Know Before Switching Antidepressants:” [online] 2020 May 20 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

10. Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit The New York Times Health Section by Robert Gebeloff 2018 Apr 7 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

11. The drugs don’t work? antidepressants and the current and future pharmacological management of depression Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Oct; 2(5): 179–188. Elizabeth Penncor responding author and Derek K. Tracy [cited 2020, December 28]

12. van den Bosch M, Meyer Lindenberg A, Environmental Exposures and Depression: Biological Mechanisms and Epidemiological Evidence.” Annual Review of Public Health [2019 Apr] Vol. 40.239-259 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

13. Driessen E, Hollon SD. “Cognitive behavioral therapy for mood disorders: efficacy, moderators and mediators.” Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010;33(3):537-555. doi:10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.005 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

14. Lindseth G, Helland B, Caspers J. “The effects of dietary tryptophan on affective disorders. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2015;29(2):102-107. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2014.11.008 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

15. Wickelgren I, Allen F, “Why Are There No Biological Tests in Psychiatry?” Scientific American 2012 May 11 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

16. Is There a Connection Between Food Allergies and Mental Health?
2012 Sep 6 [cited 2020 Dec 21]

17. “When depression starts in the neck” Keep Women Healthy Updated, June 24, 2019 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

18. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses Indian J Psychiatry T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha, B. N. Ramesh, and K. S. Jagannatha Rao [cited 2020 Dec 21]

19. University of Michigan Health System authors, “Cocaine harms brain’s ‘pleasure center’ addict study finds.” 2003 Jan 1 [online] [cited 2020 Dec 28]

20. Leykin Y, Amsterdam JD, DeRubeis RJ, Gallop R, Shelton RC, Hollon SD. “Progressive resistance to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor but not to cognitive therapy in the treatment of major depression.” J Consult Clin Psychol. 2007 Apr;75(2):267-76. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.75.2.267. PMID: 17469884. [cited 2020 Dec 28]

21. Andrade C, Rao NS. “How antidepressant drugs act: A primer on neuroplasticity as the eventual mediator of antidepressant efficacy.” Indian J Psychiatry. 2010;52(4):378-386. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.74318 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

22. FDA Label Prozac (fluoxetine) [1987, 2008, 2016] [cited 2020 Dec 28]

23. Craft LL, Perna FM. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;6(3):104-111. doi:10.4088/pcc.v06n0301 [cited 2020 Dec 28]

Originally Published Oct 30, 2018 by Lyle Murphy

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Prozac Alternatives
Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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