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Antidepressant Withdrawal

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Antidepressants are prescribed to help reduce anxiety and boost your mood. Many people who take these medications begin to feel better and believe they no longer need the medication, abruptly stopping its use. This can cause you to experience flu-like symptoms, you may find it difficult to think and begin having disturbing thoughts, these are most likely symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal.

What is Antidepressant Withdrawal?

Antidepressant withdrawal best known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. It is a unique set of symptoms that can develop after you stop taking an antidepressant. Antidepressant withdrawal often begins when you abruptly stop taking your medication.Typically you will experience flu-like symptoms, suddenly experience symptoms of mental illness the medication was used to treat, begin to have disturbed thoughts, thoughts of suicide and you may find it difficult to think clearly.

What Causes Antidepressant Withdrawal?

Antidepressants work to restore the balance of naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which help to regulate ones mood. It is thought that abruptly stopping the use of an antidepressant medication does not give the brain enough time to adjust to the rapid change and act appropriately, often resulting in a return of the symptoms the medication was initially used to treat.

How to Prevent Antidepressant Withdrawal

You should never abruptly stop your medication, it is best to consult your doctor to begin a dosage reduction so that you gradually ween off the antidepressant to reduce any symptoms of withdrawal. If your dose is decreased too rapidly it is still possible to experience antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.

Hardest Antidepressants to Quit

There is a risk of developing withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing any antidepressant medication. However,  Effexor (venlafaxine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine) are antidepressants that affect both serotonin and norepinephrine, and stay in your body for a shorter period of time, both are more likely to result in withdrawal symptoms. Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Paxil (paroxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline) are short-acting medications that affect mainly serotonin, that too can produce symptoms of withdrawal making it harder to quit.

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