When is the Right Time to Stop Taking Antidepressants?

This week has been a particularly busy one for me which included going to my GP on Wednesday to review my medication.

Recently I posted about my experience of antidepressants (which is a positive one) but now I have a choice to make on whether or not to continue to take medication for my mental health.

My GP told me that he is satisfied that I have made a huge amount of progress over the last year and he would be happy for me to slowly start to come off my antidepressants. However, he also let me know that he would be happy for me to continue to take them forever if I needed to.

Essentially it is my choice whether to stop and it is a difficult one!

Earlier this week I posted on twitter asking for advice (yes, I know I spelt experience wrong. It’s annoying me too!)…

Twitter 1

Here are some of the responses I received…

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Firstly, thank you to everyone who responded! I really appreciate it.

I agree with all of the advice which I received – to take my time with the decision, come off slowly if I do and give myself the option of going back onto antidepressants if necessary.

Having considered things though, this is where I am with it right now…

I am conscious that ideally I do not want to be on antidepressants forever but right now I am comfortable and I don’t have any desire to ‘rock the boat’.

This is mainly because at the moment there are potential changes that could take place in my life (I’ll reveal all soon when I can!) and I don’t want to potentially negatively effect anything until things have settled down again.

It is impossible for me to know exactly how much my antidepressants have contributed to the improvement in my mental health conditions over the last year. They could be working wonders in making me think more rationally or they could be having little impact at all.

The biggest factor in my recovery could be the change in my own mind-set and perhaps I don’t actually need antidepressants to help maintain my good mental health.

Right now though it is too big of a risk for me to find out.

I am really pleased that I do have the flexibility to decide to come off my medication when the time is right but that time isn’t now.

As always, I’m keen to hear from you with your advice on coming off antidepressants. This is a completely new one for me so hearing about other people’s experiences would be amazing.

Please let me know in the comments if you’re happy to share. If not then you can contact me on Twitter.

Until next time…

Rob

x

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32 thoughts on “When is the Right Time to Stop Taking Antidepressants?

  1. This little mind of mine says:

    I think what you’ve said is spot on. The upcoming events pose a risk, review it again once those have passed. Review it as many times as you like, no rush. I do get the sense of confidence in yourself, in your contribution to your progress, which in itself is something to celebrate 🎉 . Just because you can ride the bike without stabilisers doesn’t mean you have to straight away 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. runningonanxietyblog says:

    Hi, I’m currently going through the same challenge. I’d been thinking about coming off/reducing my meds for the past few months. At the time, winter time, I just knew it wasn’t right so I waited but a few weeks ago it just felt right. I spoke to my GP who likes yours was very supportive in whatever decision I made. So I’m slowly coming off. I think the key is not to put pressure on yourself, don’t expect anything. Take your time, come off slowly. That way if you feel like it’s getting a bit Much then stop where you are. Continue to take them then when you are ready go down another little bit. I’m not giving myself a deadline, I’m just thinking it will take as long as it takes.
    Hope that helps xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • rob2605 says:

      Thanks, it’s nice to know somebody else is going through the same thoughts as I am!

      I think you’re right about taking it slow and not putting pressure on myself. I always used to put pressure on myself to be okay but it was only when I stopped fighting myself that I became comfortable with my condition and started to manage it better.

      I’m glad that you’re at a place where you’re coming off your medication. That’s awesome and I hope it continues to go well for you 🙂 x

      Like

  3. Lady T says:

    Some time last year I have decided to start reducing the amount of the antidepressant I’m taking, going from 15 to 10mg (I was on 15mg for a year at that point). Nothing special was happening in my life, no big changes, so I thought the moment was perfect, I felt ready. Of course I spoke to my doctor about it and he agreed it was a good idea, as long as I’m happy with it. Within 7-10 days my anxiety went through the roof. I couldn’t sleep and even if I did manage to fall asleep eventually, I’d end up waking up in terror, my heart pounding like crazy! I called my doctor and he gave me two options – go back to 15mg or start taking beta blockers to serve me as a “bridge” of sorts during the adaptation period. I opted for the latter. It’s been 5 months and I’m still taking both. It ended up being a reasonably good combination for me. I’m at least capable of leaving the house by myself and I’m somewhat happy. I’m still super dizzy, feeling detached and disoriented ALL THE TIME. It’s been like that for over 2 years now and it’s driving me insane. But I’m being selfish here, telling you about myself instead of giving you advice. The thing is, I can’t tell you what to do, you know yourself and your body the best and you know what’s good for you. I can only hope that sharing my experience is somehow going to benefit you 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ariel Lynn says:

    Hello! New reader here, & I can’t help but to comment on this very important topic. Before I go giving my $0.02, I like to say – I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful posts!

    I’ve been on a variety of anti-depressants for about 12 years (“this time,” since I was also on them before when I was a teenager; my memory is a bit foggy about that time though). I was almost always a low dosage, but I changed which medicine I was taking a few times trying to find the “right one.”

    A few times I thought that I didn’t need it. I tried to stop taking them without consulting a doctor (I do NOT recommend this in any way, shape, or form!). My emotions were out of control when I stopped taking them. Even missing a day of the lowest dosage now gives me this weird dizziness & ringing in my ears.

    So, my thought is to work very closely with your doctor & make sure that you call him/her immediately if you have any emotional outbursts (I had many, but I think what drug & what dosage is an important factor).

    Also, it’s my understanding that depression is a pretty normal side effect of coming off anti-depressants. That might be a pretty duh statement, but it’s something for which to prepare. Making sure you have a strong support system around you, who know what’s going on (if you feel comfortable disclosing to them, of course), & what they might expect from you. I think you’re 100% right to “schedule” weaning off your anti-depressants (if that’s what you choose) – you want to be sure you’re not facing a lot of emotional upheaval.

    My final thought is this: your diagnosis is important in this decision. People suffering from situational depression might not need anti-depressants for their whole lives. However, people with a major depressive disorder might have to go a different path.

    I’m sorry for writing such a novel of a comment, without even a proper introduction. Still, since I’ve been where you find yourself now, I couldn’t resist spouting off. (&, yes, this comment is indicative of my average comment lengths XD).

    It’s a pleasure to meet you & I hope you have strength & love, whatever you choose to do. 🙂

    Like

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        You’re most welcome! I’m glad I could find your blog around when you posted this & I could offer my experience.

        Coming off antidepressants is a lot about which to think! I hope you can work closely with your doctors & your support system to find a course of action that works for you. 🙂

        Like

  5. Millies Moments says:

    Wow, I really enjoyed reading this! I think you just need to start thinking about yourself.. Don’t worry about what others think because they aren’t the ones going through what you’re going through! I look forward to your future posts:D Maybe you might like some of the things I write about on my blog.. feel free to have a look!

    http://www.milliesmoments.co.uk

    Like

  6. Kaitlyn says:

    hi! new follower here. I write a blog about mental health from the perspective of a mental health counselor to-be. Speaking from my experiences with being on antidepressants, tapering off sucksssss. Not because my mental health was declining, but because the side effects for my medication were so awful, even though I followed a gradual plan provided by my doctor. For me, the way my body felt coming off of them just make me feel all around gross for a few weeks. I think it is a good thing to realize that being on antidepressants isn’t a “forever thing” but to also recognize that it might, as you put it, rock the boat. I’m sure you made the right decision for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. theemotionalunicorn says:

    Seems like you have a good grip on doing what is best for you, having foresight, that you should continue them while you may have some big changes coming, is quite hard to master but you appear to have really thought about what you wanted/needed ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. fionaberriephotography says:

    I was on anti-depressants for about 6 months and didn’t notice them making a difference. At the time of taking them I wasn’t really talking to anyone and hiding a lot from myself. Have always found it difficult to get my head around taking the meds as well. When I started talking to family and trying to get more help I wanted to be on them less and less. Made the decision to stop them, yes I know that isn’t the right way to do it at all and wouldn’t advise anyone to do it that way. Should be done slowly and in conversation with your doctor. I didn’t have any side effects from coming off them at all while going on them I had had a lot of side effects. I did tell my GP and he was fine with how I had done it and was like it was a decision that you made for yourself which that in itself is a good thing. Due to talking more and being more honest and few more factors haven’t turned the corner yet of things getting better. The professionals keep on saying about going back on anti-depressants and while it is a treatment option I very much want to do this without being on any meds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rob2605 says:

      Thanks for the advice Fiona. I find it really hard to know if my medication is making a difference or not too but I sort of have to assume it is until I’m comfortable with risking coming off.

      Good luck with managing your mental health solely through talking therapies x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. bpdrose says:

    Hey Rob, I’ve recently come off my antidepressants, I’ve been on and off them for years! I decided to do some research as wanted to take a natural approach on the matter. It is possible with a balanced/ the right diet and light exercise can act as a natural antidepressant. Also taking some vitamin supplements such as magnesium. Word of advice, please come off you’re meds SLOWLY and it’s best (I found) to introduce a diet/exercise change BEFORE you come off you’re meds fully. I’ve been off my meds for a couple of months now and doing great due to increase of fluid intake (I drink 1.5litres thru out the day) which has made a LOT of difference…..so far so good. Feel free to ask any questions ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Equus spirit says:

    No advice here-just some personal observations. I started on Zoloft way back when the stuff was new on the market. Depression is a family genetic trait-so I’m stuck with it. I’ve tried a couple of times to ditch the pills, but the result was disasterous. Some people can do it-I cannot. My body simply is not ‘wired’ that way-it needs the SSRIs to function properly-and do not allow anyone to tell you that these things are addictive because they are not. They are more similar to insulin-they enable proper bodily function to happen. I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome which, as it happens, is also related to the serotonin/dopamine loop problem. (Remember the saying about that ‘gut feeling’ or a ‘broken heart’? Turns out that there are increased serotonin and dopamine receptors on both!) My sister has depression as well and has written two books on her experience with it (The Beast: My Experience with Depression and The Ghost In The House: A Study of Maternal Post Partum Depression). She wound up having to have electroconvulsive therapy-which is what you remember from the very old horror movies. It’s better than it was, but it’s still not fun. But it worked. Our mom had it, our grandmother had it, and now my nieces fight it. It’s that thing I drag around, Rob. As long as I take my meds, I’m okay. But if I have a stomach bug and they don’t get a chance to get in my system, I sink like a rock. Just pay attention. Don’t drop the meds just because. If you can-super. If you can’t-well, you’re not the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. agathafinch says:

    Hello Rob. I’m 63 and wondering exactly the same things as you, though I did come off anti-depressants about two months ago. It’s been fine, but I do have some vulnerable moments. I can understand your desire to come off the medication, but make sure you have a reasonably long time of being stable before you decide to ‘go it on your own’ without them. I’ve had doctors in the past who had varying opinions on my being on anti-depressants – one remarked about the length of time I’d been on them (about 16 years) and the other said that he supported taking the medication if they improve the quality of someone’s life. So, take your time until you feel stronger and bear in mind that there is no shame in being on this kind of medication. I, for one, will not hesitate in going back to the doctor to re-start the anti-depressants should I feel the need to. All the very best, Agatha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rob2605 says:

      Thanks Agatha 🙂 I definitely feel no shame in taking medication anymore. As long as I need it I’ll happily take it. It is just a case of making sure I’m in a stable place like you said before taking the leap x

      Like

  12. Personal Quote says:

    Hi Rob .. I am glad that you are feeling fine now ..

    I tried being off my medications once ago when I was at my best and I deteriorate and never got better again .. and since then I have been on so many medication and still searching for the good one for me ..

    But I can tell as being a medical student and from my little knowledge in psychiatry and from what my psychiatrist told me when I asked him is that you should be stable for at least 3-6 months on the same medication nd the same dose .. and then try gradually to decrease the dose on the next upcoming 6 month .. so you will stop in one year .. that is that is safest way .. so hopefully your body adapt slowly and wont relapse ..

    But one thing which I think is important and you should keep in mind .. is that even if you relapsed and had to go back to medications don’t feel bad about it .. it is just meant to be .. some people just wont be able to adapt without the help of the chemicals in the medications and that is not a sign of weakness or failure or anything like that ..

    I hope everything gets well .. and in my opinion get a consultation with a psychiatrist instead of a GP for this matter because you want the best results ..

    Good luck ..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Liz says:

    In the past when I have come off antidepressants, I have come off them very slowly. Now, my current situation I am slowly coming off them again. This time it will take longer, because like you I feel I am just at the right place and I don’t want to rock the boat either. I am in a situation where I am doing things out of my comfort zone and while I am doing this, the last thing I want to do is have a bad anxiety attack because of coming off them further and having a wobble. It’s a hard one, but only you can decide. Go with your gut instinct.

    Liked by 1 person

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