Many people take antidepressants to relieve their depression symptoms. Three Chicago researchers discovered that even though you cannot get high taking antidepressants, it can still lead to withdrawal symptoms when you abruptly stop taking them. By being aware of what happens when you suddenly stop taking your anti-anxiety medications, you will learn to better control your withdrawal symptoms.

What is Antidepressant Continuation Syndrome?

Antidepressant continuation syndrome is not the same as when you get high. People do not take antidepressants to get high nor will it have that effect on you. However, if you use antidepressants for a long time, it can be very hard to quit as you develop a physical dependency. Doctors tend to over-prescribe on antidepressants and do not speak to patients about how to wean off the medication over time, leading to dependency. 

While people may feel safe in their mental illness when the medication is protecting them from their symptoms, these antidepressants are not supposed to be a permanent solution. The CDC says that 12.7% of Americans who are at least 13 years-old take antidepressants on a monthly basis. A quarter of all antidepressant users take their medications for at least 10 years. Just like with addiction, this syndrome will make you not want to stop taking antidepressants because you do not want to suffer these painful withdrawal symptoms like headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, anxiety, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms.

How Can Doctors Play a Role in Helping Patients Wean Off Antidepressants?

The reason a lot of antidepressant users become dependent on their medication is that doctors do not advise their patients on how to eventually stop taking them. They should provide suggestions for promoting their mental health with non-drug treatments like going to therapy, exercising, or meditating. The Chicago researchers suggested that people who take tricyclic antidepressants gradually lower their dosage over three months and people who take paroxetine should take 10 milligrams fewer of their medication every five to seven days. This is to ensure that fewer people become dependent on their medications. 

While antidepressants can feel like a safety blanket to your symptoms, they should not be the only way you get to be relieved of your symptoms. Find a support system to speak to when you are feeling down and exercising more to boost your serotonin. Speak to your doctor about weaning off your antidepressants to avoid uncomfortable, flu-like symptoms going forward.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.