antidepressant withdrawal symptoms

According to the American Psychological Association, in 1999 only 7.7% of the population used to take antidepressants, but the percentage got increased to 64% by the end of the year 2014. When we talk about gender, the percentage of women taking antidepressants is double the percentage of men consuming antidepressants.


Antidepressants are used by almost every age groups, such as 16.6% of the people of age between 40 to 60, 7.8% of people with the age of 20 to 39, and even 3.4% of adolescents also use antidepressants. But what are these antidepressants? Why are they used?


Antidepressants are a type of drugs that helps in the treatment of major depression disorders, anxiety disorders, chronic pain conditions, and also some other additional complications. There are various types of antidepressants available in the market but finding the right one for you might take time. 


The choice of antidepressants depends on your health and varies from individual to individual. Certain antidepressants may have a bad effect on your health because of some prevailing medical conditions. While some may not experience any harmful effects of the medicine. Thus, it is better to consult with the doctor before you start consuming antidepressants.


Antidepressants are usually consumed every day and may take 1 to 2 months to see the results. You may need to try different varieties of antidepressants in order to know which one suits you the best.  You may experience unwanted side effects if you suddenly withdraw consuming antidepressants. Hence, it is necessary to consult with the doctor before consuming and even before quitting antidepressants.

What Else Can Antidepressants Be Used For?


Apart from the depression, antidepressants also help in some other complications, such as some primary or approved antidepressants are used for:-


  • Agitation
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD)
  • Childhood enuresis or bedwetting
  • Depression and major depression disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder


Some of the antidepressants are used as “off-label”. There are other benefits of antidepressants as well, but the FDA does not approve of it. But in some cases, doctors have to suggest some antidepressants in some conditions, such as:-



You might get surprised to know that 29% of antidepressants are used for “off-label” purpose.

What To Expect When Coming Off Antidepressants?


Antidepressants withdrawal is possible when you have been continuously consuming the drug for four to six weeks or even longer and to suddenly stop consuming it. Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal are also known as an antidepressant discontinuation syndrome that typically lasts for a few weeks. 


When you quit consuming antidepressants after using it continuously for a long time, you may experience certain symptoms, such as:-


  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid dreams
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as achy muscles and chills 
  • Nausea
  • Electric shock sensations
  • You may feel your depression symptoms are returning


If you experience antidepressant withdrawal symptoms that don’t mean you are addicted to the antidepressant. The addition means you may experience harmful, long-term chemical changes in the brain which is characterised by an intense craving and negative consequences from that substance use. But antidepressants do not cause such complications.


In order to minimize the risk of antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, you can consult with your doctor before you stop consuming the medicine. Your doctor will suggest you the best advice to deal with the antidepressants withdrawal syndrome by telling you to gradually decrease the dose of antidepressants instead of stopping it suddenly or allow your body to adapt a lifestyle without antidepressants.


In some cases, your health care specialist may prescribe you with some other antidepressants or another type of medicine for a short period of time that will help you to reduce your antidepressants withdrawal symptoms. Please consult with the doctor, and he may ask you to switch to another antidepressant with some preventive measures.


Sometimes it becomes difficult to compare between the antidepressants withdrawal symptoms and returning depression symptoms after you stop consuming the drug. Therefore, it is important for you to be in touch with the doctor, especially if you have any issue during or after consuming antidepressants.

What Causes Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome?


It is very difficult to predict whether you will have discontinuation symptoms after quitting antidepressant. Some scientists are not even sure why some people develop antidepressant discontinuation syndrome while others don’t.


Antidepressants help a person to restore the normal function of naturally occurring, mood-regulating substances in the brain known as neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Some mental health specialist says when a person quits consuming antidepressants the sudden drop in the secretion of neurotransmitters does not give your brain time to adjust to the rapid change. This struggle for the brain to adapt to the sudden change makes you feel antidepressants withdrawal symptoms.


However, even though it is difficult to understand the withdrawal symptoms but in some cases, the doctor may diagnose you if:-


  • You suddenly experience antidepressants withdrawal symptoms just after you stop consuming antidepressants.
  • The troubling symptoms you may get resolved once you resume taking antidepressants.



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