How can I stop taking antidepressant medications safely?

Antidepressant medications need to be tapered and should only be done with consultation of your doctor. You may feel "great" and think you no longer need a medication for depression or anxiety. You may also feel great because you are on the medication. In many instances, depression or panic symptoms return within three to four months of stopping the antidepressant medication.

Antidepressant therapy does have some notable risks. It’s not always effective on adolescents, and can trigger more severe reactions in that age group. It should be monitored carefully, but not ruled out as a treatment option.

Also, after a course of antidepressant therapy, one should not quit cold turkey—it can trigger major withdrawal symptoms, including flu-like symptoms, dizziness and worsening depression. Just as it takes several weeks to build up to therapeutic doses with antidepressant medication, you should wean off the medication at an interval agreed upon with your healthcare provider.

Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD
Psychiatrist (Therapist)

If you're on antidepressant medication and thinking of stopping, it's important to do it with your doctor's supervision. Watch psychiatrist Daniel Amen, MD, discuss why it's vital work with a doctor, and what to do if your doctor won't help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.