Does Fluoxetine make you feel emotionally numb? (3+ factors)

In this article, we will explore whether Fluoxetine makes you numb. Furthermore, we will talk about how Fluoxetine makes you feel numb, related research findings, contributing factors, and management strategies for emotional blunting while taking Fluoxetine. 

Does Fluoxetine make you feel emotionally numb?

Fluoxetine may make you feel emotionally numb. It is a common side effect of Fluoxetine, as 40-60% of patients experience emotional blunting while using antidepressants. However, it is important to note that not everyone taking antidepressants may experience emotional blunting as they differ in genetic makeup.

Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that is FDA-approved to treat various mental disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, bipolar depression, and other related conditions (1). 

Feeling emotionally numb or emotional blunting, is a condition in which individuals do not feel any positive or negative feelings related to fear, love, anger, or sadness. Emotional blunting is commonly associated with individuals with depression. This condition may be a side effect of antidepressants or a residual symptom of depression itself (2).

How does Fluoxetine make you feel emotionally numb?

Fluoxetine makes you feel emotionally numb as it affects serotonin levels. Fluoxetine works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the synaptic regions of the brain. Serotonin regulates emotions, appetite, mood, sleep and the body’s stress response (1). 

Some individuals may experience emotional blunting for a few days, some may experience it for several weeks, or throughout the antidepressant treatment. This emotional numbness with Fluoxetine and its intensity may vary from person to person due to the differences in individual factors and physiological responses. 

What does research suggest about Fluoxetine and numbness?

According to a research study, a patient felt numbness in his facial muscles while taking Fluoxetine. When he was shifted to another antidepressant, these side effects went away and his depression symptoms were also improved (3). 

Other clinical trials have suggested that approximately 45% of patients may experience emotional numbness during depression. Half of the patients believe that this emotional numbness is due to the illness and the other half consider it to be a side effect of their antidepressant (2). 

What factors influence emotional blunting while taking Fluoxetine?

Several factors may influence emotional blunting while taking Fluoxetine, such as: 

  • Individual sensitivity and genetic makeup have an impact on how the drug is metabolized and cause emotional changes. 
  • Underlying health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other related disorders may affect the individual emotionally. 
  • Dosage and duration of treatment with Fluoxetine may impact emotional well-being.
  • Environmental factors such as stressful conditions, lifestyle changes, or triggering situations may influence the response to the medication.   

What to do if you experience numbness while taking Fluoxetine?

If you experience numbness while taking Fluoxetine or any other SSRI such as Citalopram, and it worsens or persists, please reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor may adjust the dosage according to your specific needs and monitor your response to the medicine. 

Your doctor may also suggest some non-pharmacological therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy to improve the emotional blunting symptoms (4). 

You may also try some lifestyle changes to manage these emotions, including healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep, stress-relaxation therapies, yoga, or meditation. These changes may help you manage the symptoms of emotional blunting to some extent while taking Fluoxetine. 

In cases where the emotional blunting persists, your doctor may gradually discontinue Fluoxetine and switch you to an alternate antidepressant that does not cause emotional numbness (5). 


In my perspective, Fluoxetine is commonly known to cause emotional numbness. However, everyone taking Fluoxetine doesn’t need to experience emotional blunting. You should seek medical guidance whenever you experience side effects while taking Fluoxetine or any other antidepressant.

Your doctor may make the necessary adjustments to your antidepressant dosage, suggest management strategies, and change the antidepressant if needed. Do not change the dose or stop taking antidepressants without consulting your healthcare provider. 

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