Does Paroxetine make you feel numb? (3 solutions)

In this article, we aim to answer the query: “Does Paroxetine make you feel numb?” Furthermore, we will also discuss why Paroxetine causes this side effect, what research suggests, what users experience, and what to do if you experience emotional numbness while taking Paroxetine. 

Does Paroxetine make you feel numb?

Paroxetine may make you feel numb, and it is a common side effect. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) antidepressants are known to cause emotional blunting. However, not everyone feels emotionally numb as a side effect of antidepressants; some may feel this way as a result of depression itself. 

Paroxetine is an SSRI that works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the synaptic regions of the brain. Due to this inhibition, serotonin levels are increased in the brain cells and remain in the synaptic region for longer periods. 

Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and the body’s stress response (1). Emotional blunting is a condition in which an individual does not feel any kind of emotion, such as love, fear, or anger. Such individuals also find it difficult to emotionally connect to their loved ones (2). 

Why does Paroxetine make you feel numb?

Paroxetine makes you feel numb as it affects the serotonin levels in brain regions. Serotonin regulates an individual’s response to stress and decision-making abilities. Paroxetine, when taken in higher doses, is more likely to make you feel emotionally numb. 

However, it is important to note that being emotionally numb might not be due to Paroxetine in all cases. Sometimes, patients may feel numb as a side effect of depression itself (3). 

What does research suggest about Paroxetine and emotional blunting?

A research study was conducted on 15 participants who experienced emotional numbness while taking SSRIs such as Paroxetine. They had less ability to feel irritation, care about others, sadness, be surprised, get angry, or express their feelings. 

Due to these emotional side effects, approximately 80% of patients find it difficult to continue their SSRI treatment (3). Another clinical study suggested that when SSRIs are used for long-term treatment, some patients may feel emotionally numb throughout the antidepressant treatment (4). 

What have people experienced so far?

Antidepressants have been commonly associated with emotional blunting. A few patients shared their experiences as follows:

A Paroxetine user shared her story:

“I don’t like the emotional side effects of antidepressants because my sexual life has been affected due to these medications. I have tried several antidepressants, and they have even made me have suicidal thoughts”(4). 

Another woman quoted her experience as: 

“When I was 6 months pregnant, my doctor prescribed Paxil. It caused emotional numbness as I constantly experienced tiredness, gained weight, couldn’t cry, and even lost interest in sex. 

I tried to quit Paxil 5 times, but I was unsuccessful as the withdrawal side effects were horrible. My doctor then prescribed Zoloft, and now I feel like myself again, and I can cry whenever I want.”

What to do if you experience emotional numbness with Paroxetine?

If you experience emotional numbness while taking Paroxetine, you should inform your healthcare provider. They will evaluate your current symptoms, family or medical history, and other underlying health conditions.  

If you are taking a higher dose of Paroxetine, your doctor may adjust the dosage and monitor your response. If your symptoms worsen or persist, your doctor may recommend gradual discontinuation of Paroxetine and switch you to an alternative antidepressant that is best suitable for you, such as Sertraline, or Fluoxetine (2,6). 

You may also try some lifestyle changes such as going for a walk, doing some yoga, trying to get enough sleep, eating healthy, and trying to be socially active. Some patients may also respond better when given cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).


In my opinion, Paroxetine being an SSRI antidepressant, can make you feel emotionally numb. Although it is a common side effect of Paroxetine, the majority of patients tolerate it well and is considered safe. 

However, if you feel emotionally numb while taking Paroxetine, please consult your doctor and do not stop taking Paroxetine, as it may cause withdrawal symptoms. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Shrestha P, Fariba KA, Abdijadid S. Paroxetine. 2023 Jul 17. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30252278. Available from:


Ma H, Cai M, Wang H. Emotional Blunting in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder: A Brief Non-systematic Review of Current Research. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Dec 14;12:792960. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.792960. PMID: 34970173; PMCID: PMC8712545. Available from:


Marazziti D, Mucci F, Tripodi B, Carbone MG, Muscarella A, Falaschi V, Baroni S. Emotional Blunting, Cognitive Impairment, Bone Fractures, and Bleeding as Possible Side Effects of Long-Term Use of SSRIs. Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2019 Apr;16(2):75-85. PMID: 34908941; PMCID: PMC8650205. Available from:


Opbroek A, Delgado PL, Laukes C, McGahuey C, Katsanis J, Moreno FA, Manber R. Emotional blunting associated with SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. Do SSRIs inhibit emotional responses? Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002 Jun;5(2):147-51. doi: 10.1017/S1461145702002870. PMID: 12135539. Available from:


Cartwright C, Gibson K, Read J, Cowan O, Dehar T. Long-term antidepressant use: patient perspectives of benefits and adverse effects. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2016 Jul 28;10:1401-7. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S110632. PMID: 27528803; PMCID: PMC4970636. Available from:


Kroenke K, West SL, Swindle R, Gilsenan A, Eckert GJ, Dolor R, Stang P, Zhou XH, Hays R, Weinberger M. Similar effectiveness of paroxetine, fluoxetine, and sertraline in primary care: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2001 Dec 19;286(23):2947-55. doi: 10.1001/jama.286.23.2947. PMID: 11743835. Available from:

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site