How long can withdrawal of antidepressants last?

Also called withdrawal syndrome, withdrawal from antidepressants is common. About 20% of people who suddenly stop or drastically reduce their dose after taking antidepressants regularly for at least one month will experience withdrawal symptoms.Some drugs have a higher withdrawal rate than others, but this can happen to anyone and any type of antidepressant.


Antidepressant withdrawal can make you feel avant-garde and deranged. You may feel that you have the flu (dizziness and nausea), difficulty falling asleep and concentration, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.For some people, these symptoms may be very similar to the symptoms that prompted them to take antidepressants in the first place.

These physical and mental symptoms are caused by a sudden decrease in the brain chemical serotonin in some new antidepressants, which can regulate the level of serotonin in the brain to improve mood. So naturally, when you stop learning these levels, you will dive. Other antidepressants work by changing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, and once you stop taking these drugs, this can also cause discomfort.

Doctors do not believe that antidepressants are addictive; however, it is possible to become physically dependent on these drugs. In rare cases, the motivation of those who report the abuse of antidepressants is the psychostimulant quality and effects of the drug.

Signs and symptoms

Some symptoms reported by people with depression who stop taking antidepressants may include:

  • Flu-like symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, lack of energy
  • hard to fall asleep
  • Agitation, anxiety or irritability
  • Paresthesia or tingling sensation or “acupuncture”
  • Tachycardia or increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure or increased blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or unconscious trembling or trembling
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty urinating

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms are fairly mild in the first one to three days, may worsen on the fourth or fifth day, and then subside, and may last up to three weeks. However, if your depression recurs, the symptoms may get worse.

The experience of antidepressant withdrawal varies from person to person, the type of antidepressant, and the dosage and length of time taken.If you suddenly stop taking antidepressants, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, but some discomfort can be relieved by gradually reducing the dosage of the drug.

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Response and relief

The best way to withdraw from antidepressants is to prevent it from happening in the first place, making sure you never stop or adjust your medication dose without first talking to your doctor or mental health professional. Your doctor can help you develop a discontinuation plan, while limiting or avoiding the negative effects of discontinuation.

Here are more ways to prevent or cope with antidepressant withdrawal.

Ask yourself: Why should I resign?

If you need further treatment during or after withdrawal, this issue may be important. Do you think your depression has passed? Don’t you like the side effects of the medicine? Are you unable to maintain your medication costs? These are very different reasons and have a major impact on your withdrawal experience.

Remember, if not treated properly, depression is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. It is important to consider all your options and work with your healthcare provider to make the best choice for you.

gradually decreases

Gradually reducing antidepressants can help reduce some of the side effects of withdrawal. There is no dwindling timetable for everyone-it may change based on your reaction. In most cases, your doctor will decide how fast or slow you can stop your medications based on the following factors:

  • Your symptoms
  • Types of antidepressants you take
  • How long have you been taking medicine
  • Your dose
  • Half-life of the drug (how long does it take for half of the drug to leave the body)

Explore alternatives

There are several different types of antidepressant drugs that work differently in the brain, have different side effects, and may bring different withdrawal experiences to people taking and stopping the drug. Types include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and atypical antidepressants.

If you don’t like the feeling the medicine makes you feel, you may have been misdiagnosed. For example, when you actually have bipolar disorder, you may be diagnosed with major depression, which requires different types of medications. It is also possible that your symptoms respond more positively to a different medication than the one you initially prescribed.

The response to antidepressants varies from person to person, so consult your doctor to find out how the medications you prescribe may affect you. For example, you may feel better when taking antidepressants but do not like the side effects, or you may do better with psychotherapy or lifestyle changes. Or, you may have problems taking antidepressants due to alcohol or other psychoactive drugs. It is best to discuss all these possibilities with your family doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist, and they will help you find an alternative treatment plan.

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Discuss medications with your doctor

Although antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine) have a longer half-life, they can still cause withdrawal symptoms.If you need support in managing antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, over-the-counter antihistamines or sleeping pills can help reduce some discomfort. However, these drugs do produce a sedative effect and may increase any feeling of sluggishness.

Start moving

Lack of energy and low mood may make exercise the last thing you want to do, but it’s important to give it a try. Exercise can help release feel-good endorphins and provide a positive outlet for stress, thereby helping to suppress depression.


Although it is rare, it should be noted that occasionally people will have very serious reactions from stopping antidepressants.If you or someone you know has any of the following symptoms as a result of reducing or stopping antidepressants, please seek medical help immediately. Although these extreme reactions may frighten those who experience them and those around them, they are recognized medical symptoms that can be treated.

  • Delirium: Sudden disorientation in time and place, confusion, irritability, excitement, and difficulty with working memory (remembering all aspects of current thinking)
  • Psychosis: out of touch with reality, especially delusions and/or hallucinations
  • Suicidal feelings: Although many people with depression occasionally or frequently report feelings of suicide, if these feelings occur during antidepressant withdrawal, it is important to seek help immediately. Untreated depression is the main risk factor for suicide.

In addition to minor and potentially serious side effects, stopping the drug suddenly can cause several other dangers. On the one hand, stopping the medication will allow you to receive treatment again, which increases the time it takes to start feeling yourself again. Recurrence is another danger to consider.


Studies have shown that anxiety and pain that occur at the same time as depression may increase the risk of recurring depression after stopping antidepressants.If you have anxiety or chronic pain, you should be especially careful to stop taking the medicine because you may be more likely to relapse. Your antidepressants may also help relieve your anxiety or pain symptoms, which may get worse after you stop taking the medicine.

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Long-term treatment

Although the diagnosis of depression is by no means a life sentence, it is important to consider your long-term health when considering your medication. More than half of people with depression will experience it again at some point in their lives, and often more than once.

Research on what makes it possible for adults with major depression (MDD) to relapse. Research shows that antidepressants are helpful in the acute phase of depression and reduce the chance of relapse, but feel better after taking antidepressants Human studies have shown that there are no established and validated markers for an individual’s risk of recurrence after stopping taking antidepressants. Some people even relapse when taking antidepressants. Therefore, it is particularly important to work with your doctor to determine the most suitable treatment plan for you.

Very good sentence

Although antidepressants may have disturbing side effects and do not always work immediately, these drugs are helpful for many people. Antidepressants are not a panacea. They cannot replace the need for psychological support and treatment, but as long as you have patience, you and your doctor can find drugs to relieve symptoms of depression. Although finding the right medicine usually takes time, patience and perseverance, it can greatly improve the quality of life of many people with depression.

It is important not to try and manage your medications alone. If it doesn’t work or you don’t like the side effects, please don’t quit smoking on your own.

You, your doctor, and your support team can work together to ensure your safety and comfort, while at the same time finding the right treatment. If you feel desperate, please do not hesitate to contact us and do not try to self-medicate. You can get help with just a phone call. If needed, please call 911.