Tips for getting off antidepressants

Psychopharmaceuticals are highly specialized drugs that cause changes in the body. Therefore, to stop antidepressants it is necessary to take several precautions.

Last update: 27 January, 2022

Going off antidepressants is not like going off an ordinary drug. This type of medicine they cannot be abandoned just like that, but a protocol must be followed. Otherwise, undesirable effects may be generated.

The most common is that it is indicated to stop antidepressants around 6 months after they have been prescribed. If you follow the directions, chances are everything will be fine. Just keep in mind that this is a gradual process..

The risks of stopping antidepressants

In general terms, stopping antidepressants does not generate any risk as such. What is not convenient is to leave them abruptly, especially if they have been taken for more than 4 weeks. In that case, a withdrawal syndrome can occur.

It should also be noted that some antidepressants have the potential to cause more withdrawal effects than others. It is important to note that this does not mean that a patient is addicted to these drugs. It is an organic reaction.

The main physical symptoms of withdrawal, caused by stopping antidepressants suddenly, are the following:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Insomnia or other sleep disorders.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sickness.

As for the psychological symptoms that may appear after stopping antidepressants suddenly, there are the following:

  • Mental and emotional agitation.
  • Discouragement.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Memory difficulties.
  • Episodes of irritability.
  • Confusion.
If antidepressants are not stopped gradually, it is very likely that a withdrawal syndrome will appear that requires taking them again to alleviate the symptoms.

Considerations for stopping antidepressants

All the aforementioned difficulties can be avoided if you follow some tips to stop antidepressants correctly. The first, of course, is that it is not convenient to do it abruptly.

review information

It is important to evaluate the information. Review the medical prescription, know the drug that is being ingested, its benefits and its adverse effects. In addition, review the doctor’s indication regarding the duration of treatment and what benefits this period has brought.

Identify motivations

Although it seems like an obvious question, it is convenient to specify the reasons why you want to stop the drug. Sometimes it is because you no longer experience any symptoms. Other times you want to avoid side effects.

It is also possible that the treatment is not trusted. Whatever the case, it is important to be clear about the motivations for stopping antidepressants.

psychological therapy

The most effective thing is to combine the ingestion of antidepressants with psychotherapy or with some type of practice that complements their action. A person can more safely come off antidepressants if they have supportive therapy at the same time.

Talk to the doctor

It is convenient to consult the decision with the doctor. He is the best person to establish if it is time to stop antidepressants or treatment should continue.

If a person does not trust the professional who treats him, he may well seek a second opinion before making decisions on his own.

Tips for getting off antidepressants

At this point it is important to note that each patient has their particularities. Likewise, the process depends to a great extent on the type of drug that is being used and the way in which it has been assimilated.

That said, it’s always a good idea to wean off antidepressants gradually. If the process is carried out in a staggered manner, it is most likely that the change will not even be noticed. How to do it?

  • Change of antidepressant: It consists of substituting the drug that is taken regularly for another that is less powerful. It is not always necessary.
  • Reduce doses gradually: take fewer and smaller doses each time. This helps your body get used to being without the medicine. It must be supervised by the doctor.
  • Report to the doctor: There are cases in which it is necessary to change plans, either because side effects appear or because there are symptoms of relapse.
  • Change presentation: Sometimes it helps to switch from pill antidepressants to liquid ones. The latter are less powerful.
  • Weekly changes: This whole process is usually done for weeks and not for days. You don’t have to speed up the pace.
Doses are staggered in gradual, weekly decreases to avoid bounces and withdrawal signs.

Do not rush the process of each patient

Each person is different and there are also cases in which, despite following all the recommendations, undesirable effects occur after stopping antidepressants. This is still normal. The best thing to do is to stay calm and talk to your doctor about it.

It is also possible that after trying to stop antidepressants it is discovered that it is too early to do so. No problem. It may just be necessary to prolong the treatment for a while and then withdraw it at the right time.

You might be interested…