Is iI OK to Stop Taking an Antidepressant Once I Start Feeling Better?

Read Transcript

A lot of patients come in and say, doctor I'm feeling better. Can I get out of this? And it`s a very tricky question because sometimes we don't realize that people are doing better precisely because they are on medication. So, the first time a person comes in and is being diagnosed with depression you should be treating them for at least one year.

At that time we know stopping the medication prior to this can increase the risk of relapse both for that episode not only relapse but re-occurrence of having future episodes of depression. So, it's really important that we don't end the medication prematurely. However, some people may say that I have been in this before, five years or or two years or three years, and I feel like my life it's a lot different than what it used to be.

So, when someone comes in to me with depression, that is always biological components but there is also some sort of physcosocial stresses that they were going through a break up or a divorce. Two years later they moved on, they might even made the relationship, and say look I'm really doing fine.

So, and I said yes, I don't have a problem with that. But I always ask why do you want to get out of the vacation. If a person is having side effects, is it possible that something else they would respond better. So, it's always important to understand what the timing is, how quickly does somebody want to get off, and what the reasons are, and what their level of functioning is, also knowing what their support system is.

So, if they are being followed right closely by psychiatrist, and may have got good friends and family around them, they are not suicidal, they are quite stable, then I would certainly consider it as being safe option, but I would also consider doing it slowly.