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Is Prozac an effective way to treat depression or should it be avoided because of the potential side effects?

Prozac is one of several antidepressant drugs known as Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors or SSRIs.

Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical found in the pineal gland, blood platelets, digestive tract and most importantly the brain. It is believed to play an important role in the regulation of sleep, sexuality appetite and general mood.

A lack of serotonin in the brain is directly linked to several forms of depression including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SSRIs such as Prozac work by increasing the levels of serotonin and therefore helping relieve feelings of depression.

There remains little over the effectiveness of Prozac. Over 40million people in the UK and throughout the world have been prescribed the drug and a very high percentage reported improvements in their mood.

So what's the problem with Prozac? Well, like almost all other drugs, Prozac has a long list of possible side effects including nausea, headaches, dry mouth, irritability, reduced libido, low energy, anxiety and insomnia.

However, the greater concern surrounds reports that the drug may encourage suicidal thoughts. Certainly children should not prescribed Prozac but this is the same for all antidepressant drugs. But for adults, there is no conclusive proof of any direct links between the drug and suicide. Of course there are many cases of people taking their own lives whilst on Prozac but you have to remember why these individuals were prescribed the drug in the first place - to help alleviate strong feelings of depression.

FInally, despite what you may've heard, prozac is not addictive. Very few people experience any difficulties coming off the drug once their depression has lifted.

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