Does Paxil help with rumination? (+3 therapies)

In this article, we will discuss whether Paxil can help with rumination. We will further understand the relationship between rumination and Paxil. We will look at the signs and symptoms of rumination and the treatment strategies to get rid of rumination. 

Does Paxil help with rumination?

Yes, Paxil helps with rumination. Paxil can help in alleviating rumination associated with anxiety and depression. Rumination is associated with many other mental health conditions which can be treated with Paxil. 

Paxil is an SSRI antidepressant that works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the brain and helps in treating anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other related conditions (1). However, Paxil has shown promising results in relieving rumination side effects in patients. 

Rumination is the psychological condition or a tendency to continuously and repetitively have negative thoughts about a past incident or future worries. It is referred to as a pattern of overthinking which is usually comorbid with anxiety and depression (2). 

Rumination makes the person indulge in persistent negative thoughts causing suicidal and self-harming behaviour in them. These thoughts and behaviours usually worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. 

However, Paxil is a prescription medication and should be used without your doctor’s approval. If you are facing rumination, overthinking, and negative thoughts then consult your doctor for treatment. 

How does Paxil help with rumination?

Paxil helps in alleviating side effects associated with ruminating by improving the underlying conditions linked to it. Paxil is an SSRI antidepressant which is useful in treating depressive and anxiety-related conditions. 

SSRI medications are indirectly involved in dealing with negative thoughts and emotions. The medications belonging to this specific class have shown improvement in rumination symptoms by working on serotonin levels in the brain (3).

Paxil and other SSRI medications work by inhibiting serotonin reuptake which increases the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is associated with managing and regulating mood and emotions (1). 

Therefore, after the administration of Paxil and alteration in the serotonin neurotransmitter levels in the brain, there is an improvement in the thought process and the patients experience pleasure and reduction in negative thoughts and rumination (3). 

What are the signs and symptoms of rumination?

Following are some common signs and symptoms associated with rumination in patients (4):

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Overthinking
  • Emotional distress
  • Social isolation
  • Overanalyzing past decisions
  • Reduced self-confidence
  • Decreased energy and motivation
  • Sadness episodes
  • Loss of interest
  • Changes in appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you experience such side effects, immediately seek medical help. Contact your doctor and discuss your side effects to get expert medical advice and treatment.  

What are the alternative treatment strategies for rumination?

Some alternative treatment strategies for rumination include (5,6):

Pharmacological treatment

There are no specifically approved FDA medications for rumination. However, its treatment is based on treating the underlying medical condition such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

SSRI medications including Sertraline, Citalopram, and Fluoxetine have shown promising results in targeting rumination in patients with anxiety and depression. 

Some other drugs used for psychiatric conditions have also been proven helpful in treating rumination. These medications include SNRIs (duloxetine, Venlafaxine), benzodiazepines (Ativan), and tricyclic antidepressants.  


Rumination-focused cognitive behavioural treatment (RFCBT)

This is a specific psychotherapy that targets rumination in patients. This is a complex approach that focuses on shifting the patient’s focus from useless to useful cognitive functioning. This treatment may prevent relapse of negative thoughts and rumination in patients. 


Mindfulness activities

Indulging patients in simple mindful activities such as going for a walk may show relative improvement in symptoms of rumination and improve their cognitive impairment. 

Meditation is also helpful in avoiding negative self-harming thoughts in patients and can show improvement in rumination along with anxiety and depression. It helps patients experience happy moments and avoid painful thoughts. 

What to do if Paxil does not help with rumination?

If Paxil is not fully helping with treating rumination and overthinking, then you should seek medical help. Contact your doctor or psychiatrist to let them assess your condition.

Some patients may not respond to monotherapy with Paxil for rumination therapy. Your doctor may adjust the doses or add another medication to the regimen for better outcomes and benefits. 

Your doctor may suggest to seek help other than medications. They may refer to some cognitive therapies or mindful exercises which usually help in treating psychiatric conditions. 

Upon no or less improvement with Paxil, do not abruptly stop the medication on your own without consulting your doctor. Always discuss your condition with your healthcare provider for improved results. 


Towards concluding the article, I would suggest that always consult your healthcare provider before initiating or discontinuing the medication. Psychiatric illnesses require careful monitoring and dose adjustments which should be done under expert supervision. 

Paxil helps with rumination in patients however, alternate therapies may also prove beneficial for the treatment of rumination.  

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


Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Rumination: relationships with physical health. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2012 Feb;9(2):29-34. PMID: 22468242; PMCID: PMC3312901.


Preuss A, Bolliger B, Schicho W, Hättenschwiler J, Seifritz E, Brühl AB, Herwig U. SSRI treatment response prediction in depression based on brain activation by emotional stimuli. Frontiers in psychiatry. 2020 Nov 13;11:538393.


Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Rumination: relationships with physical health. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2012 Feb;9(2):29-34. PMID: 22468242; PMCID: PMC3312901. 


Hvenegaard M, Watkins ER, Poulsen S, Rosenberg NK, Gondan M, Grafton B, Austin SF, Howard H, Moeller SB. Rumination-focused cognitive behaviour therapy vs. cognitive behaviour therapy for depression: study protocol for a randomised controlled superiority trial. Trials. 2015 Aug 11;16:344. doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0875-y. PMID: 26260780; PMCID: PMC4532251.


Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Rumination: relationships with physical health. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2012 Feb;9(2):29-34. PMID: 22468242; PMCID: PMC3312901.

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