Does Prozac help with jealousy? (+3 evidences)
In this article, we will discuss whether Prozac can help you overcome the feeling of jealousy or not. Prozac, sold under the generic name of fluoxetine, is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant. It is used in the treatment of major depressive disorder, bipolar depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other forms of depression and anxiety.
Does Prozac help with jealousy?
Yes, Prozac may help with jealousy in some cases. Various clinical studies and trials have established that the use of Prozac can cause complete remission of jealousy at a dose between 40 mg to 60 mg/day. Depending upon the severity of the condition, sometimes the dose can be increased to more than 60 mg/day. Since obsession and jealousy often respond to SSRI, Prozac can help you get over your jealousy and anxiety and improve your quality of life.
When Prozac can be used for jealousy?
Prozac is recommended for patients who suffer from depression. However, Peter Karamer’s book, Listening to Prozac, discusses the phenomena of ‘cosmetic psychopharmacology’ in which Prozac ‘cures’ personality flaws such as jealousy, shyness, perfectionism, fear of intimacy, and lack of confidence. Not surprisingly, psychiatrists prescribing Prozac for these purposes have come under fire from doctors and pundits alike.
However, various clinical reports and patient experiences have established that Prozac can help with overcoming feelings of jealousy associated with depression and anxiety. The type of jealousy in which Prozac might be helpful includes:
- Pathological jealousy
- Retroactive jealousy OCD
How is Prozac’s mechanism of action connected with jealousy?
It is well-established that patients suffering from OCD have low serotonin levels, which may contribute to excessive anxiety. When it comes to love, a deficiency of serotonin may lead to obsessive, irrationally jealous behaviour in some patients. As Prozac reduces the uptake of serotonin at the presynaptic serotonin neuron, it increases the level of serotonin. This might help the patients with jealousy to have a balanced availability of neurotransmitters and help them cope with the episodes of jealousy.
Can Prozac help with pathological jealousy?
A psychiatric condition known as pathological jealousy occurs when a person believes, in delusion, that their spouse or sexual partner is disloyal. Such a condition is also known as delusional jealousy, morbid jealousy, or Othello syndrome (1).
Prozac has also been recommended in a case report where the subject experiences pathological jealousy along with posttraumatic eating disorder (PTFD). In PTFD the patient refuses to eat and it usually occurs due to a traumatic event to the oropharynx and oesophagus. The Prozac was started at a lower dose of 5 mg/day and showed promising effects on pathological jealousy (2).
Some clinical data also suggest a lower effect of Prozac on pathological jealousy. In one case study, the addition of Prozac with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) showed substantial improvement in skin picking and other associated symptoms. However, the subject showed no improvement in pathological jealousy or internet addiction at the daily dose of Prozac at 20 mg/day (3).
Can Prozac help with jealousy associated with OCD?
Retroactive jealousy OCD is the condition in which obsessive and intrusive thoughts over a partner’s previous romantic or sexual experiences cause jealousy in the other partner. Even though the incidents in issue happened a long time before the current relationship started, these thoughts might cause extremely strong feelings of jealousy, insecurity, and anxiety.
An OCD sufferer could develop an obsession with a friend or coworker who they feel is superior to them in some way. This may also lead to jealousy, feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem (4).
An earlier case study reported that such jealousy completely disappeared in a subject using Prozac 60 mg/day. Prozac proved to be more successful in minimizing jealousy as compared to imipramine which could only lower the phase of depression (5).
In another case study, the subject showed a substantial decrease in the degree of obsession, compulsion, jealousy and fear of losing her partner. In this study, the Prozac dose was increased from 20 mg to 80 mg/day at the time of discharge. The patient otherwise presented with a severe case of OCD and jealousy. The authors stressed conducting focused studies on the many forms of obsessional jealousy arising from neurological and clinical presentation (6).
A case report also indicated the use of Prozac in a female who experienced obsessive jealousy along with bilateral basal ganglia infarctions. The patient showed improvement in obsessive jealousy and OCD at the dose of 40 mg of Prozac and her depression also faded away with time (7).
Similarly, a patient experiencing obsession with harming someone and killing her husband also presented with the symptoms of Parkinsonism. The OCD of the subject was successfully treated with Prozac and improvement in parkinsonism was observed with dose administration of amantadine and vitamin E (7).
Can Prozac change the mood and cause jealousy?
Prozac has a lot of advantages, but it also has drawbacks. Common adverse effects include emotional blunting, anxiety, dizziness, erectile dysfunction, insomnia, and stomach problems. While some of these effects could be damaging to a relationship, the most stressful ones may be physical changes and sexual dysfunction.
In addition, fluctuations in weight can make the partner taking Prozac feel self-conscious or uneasy about their appearance. These indirect effects, not jealousy, can cause problems in your relationship. The partner’s shifting sexual lives may make them feel ejected or even guilty about how it is affecting their relationship.
What are the alternative approaches to managing jealousy?
Lifestyle choices and decisions can help to manage or avoid retroactive jealousy OCD by doing the following things:
- Constant contact with the partner,
- Participation in support groups,
- Consulting a therapist.
Patients can be given cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention (ERP). Exposure therapy encourages the patient to confront their anxieties rather than depending on safety behaviours such as asking the partner for reassurance. These rituals may feel beneficial at the time, but they may increase anxiety and jealousy.
You can use Prozac in adjunct therapy for treating OCD and other associated states of depression and anxiety. It might be beneficial in reducing the episodes of jealousy in one person, while others might require an increased dose to cope with such factors. Always consult your doctor or physician before taking Prozac for any of the disease states. The dose of the drug might vary with different disease conditions.
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Ortigue S, Bianchi-Demicheli F. Intention, false beliefs, and delusional jealousy: Insights into the right hemisphere from neurological patients and neuroimaging studies. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research. 2011;17(1):RA1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3524690/pdf/medscimonit-17-1-ra1.pdf
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