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Going Off of Antidepressants Successfully

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Why Am I On Them In the First Place?


“According to a government study, antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. They’re prescribed more than drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, or headaches.  In its study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals in 2005. Of those, 118 million were for antidepressants.” (source: CNNHealth.com)


It is no shock that of those millions of patients, many either don’t really need the meds or are being used as “experimental” subjects to determine if the drug will help conditions other than depression.  It is in this fact that one has to be careful about not only starting an antidepressant but getting off of one.


Dr. Kelly Posner, assistant professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, is convinced that the incline in these types of meds is “encouraging” because people are not hesitating to ask their physicians about the sensitive topic of mental health.  On the other hand,  Dr. Robert Goodman, an internist in New York City, believes that it is the “marketing” of pharmaceutical companies  to physicians and consumers that is driving the numbers up.  If you think about it, do you remember seeing medication ads on TV and in magazines twenty or thirty years ago?

How Do I Know If I Still Need Them?


The question remains one that first should be addressed to your healthcare provider for your own safety.  If and when it is determined that you are physically and mentally in a place to attempt separation from your medication, the method can then be set.  Keep in mind that various drugs have criteria for abatement due to the “withdrawal” symptoms that can be  mild to life-threatening; this depends on the patient and the medication type.


Think about “why” you were put on the medication in the first place: was it for clinical depression or for temporary mood swings associated with your cycle?  Was it a “just in case” approach to smoothing out the rough edges of life?  Understanding the seriousness of your condition is the key to successfully discontinuing any type of drug.  It may be that you are past a point of grief, unstable events, or other physical condition that pushed you into a temporary form of depression.  In this case, you may be ready to change or discontinue use altogether.  Knowing your specific body and mental changes is the most important thing you can do for yourself when considering any shifts in your care.

What are the benefits of stopping your antidepressants?


♦  Side effects will go away and bring about a more normal sense of being.

♦ You will no longer have the expense of the drug.

♦ Your kidneys, liver, and other internal organs will be healthier.

♦  You won’t have to consider drug interaction risks.

♦  You will have the opportunity to “feel” what your normal is and determine any life-changes that need to happen.

♦  If you are taking them for a condition other than depression; such as, Migraine, PMDD, chronic pain, etc., you can explore other treatments that won’t tax your system as much.


What are the risks of stopping your antidepressants?


♦  Depression could return.

♦  You could experience withdrawal symptoms that range from mild headaches to seizures depending on the drug and the patient.

♦  If you are not ready to discontinue your meds and do, you could risk your mental health treatment taking months or years longer.


In order to successfully stop any medication, you must always take care in discussing it with the prescribing physician.  If you have changed doctors or are seeing a natural physician, transferring records and detailing your symptoms will be helpful.  Changing anything that your body is used to will be challenging and, be aware that it may not “feel” good to do so.  It could, however, lead you to alternative therapies or drugs that suit your needs more effectively without putting your health at risk.  For more information on depression, antidepressants, and alternative treatments, please go to the following Web sites:





[sws_grey_box box_size=”630″] ***The content of this post is not intended to replace professional advice from your health care provider. Women’s Life Link, it’s authors, associates, commentators, or linked sites do not claim that any information will diagnose, treat, improve, or cure any disease or condition. [/sws_grey_box]


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About Kellie R. Stone

"I make no excuses for my diverse roles as a Rock Your Feminine Type Coach™ and Branding Expert, best-selling author, and crime thriller novelist. Yes, I do still chuckle a bit at the irony. I kick ass as a women’s biz coach by day and kill off vulnerable fiction characters at night. What the hell, it makes for some interesting dreams. I believe that everyone should pursue their passions no matter how out there they seem to be. One of those pure heart-fluttering passions for me has always been writing. Since I did, indeed, chase my dream of being a writer, I've published two non-fiction books in the self-development genre, co-authored an international best seller, and now I'm finally pushing my much-too-old-to-be-in-the-nest novel out the door and into the world. My whole world is empowering and I adore showing others how to live life unfiltered, whether I do that through the written word or my coaching work. I love my job!" ~Kellie R. Stone

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  1. Hey.I’m a 100% non synthetically-medicated psctioyhc kid. Diagnosed schizophrenic and have very serious positive symptoms and equally horrible negative symptoms. Here is what I do to keep on top of the depression that is one of my negative symptoms.1) Omega 3 Fish Oil. You may have to buy a brand manufactured for kids because adult brands don’t tend to be filtered for mercury and you DEFINITELY want a mercury-free product. 2) Multi-vitamins. Take something with a very high iron, vitamin D and magnesium.3) Exercise. If you’re overweight, a healthier bodyweight will help you out. If you’re not, exercise will still release endorphins. Personally when I’m at my worst I do yoga from flashcards, (this is when I cannot leave the house) boxing, and jumping jacks while a music channel (usually rock but I figure anything with a good beat that you like listening to when you’re happy will work) is on. I also go running, when I’m not as bad, usually in a forest on warm days or at a beach on cold days, somewhere where I’ll be alone with nature and my ipod. 4) Music. I mentioned the music channel & ipod above, but I also blare Queen, Bowling for Soup, Blink-182 and the All-American Rejects (aka nobody who sings about death, depression, suicide, sadness, or has a downbeat – less than 4/4 – track) and I HATE IT. It makes me MAD and MAD is better than depressed. It is more productive. ;]5) I force myself to do things I enjoy when I’m happy. I take a shower with the nice smelling soap and warm my towels on the radiator, I watch the funny episodes of Firefly and my favourite films and read magazines and This Book Will Save Your Life (A.M Homes – it’s my favourite book). And if that sucks, I do the laundry and hoover. For me what works is just keeping moving. Then even if my whole day sucks and I can’t bear it, the next day I can wake up to something good I’ve done and maybe feel better for it – or I have fond memories of my favourite movie etc.6) My favourite one – I read a book I’ve written. It’s a big old book that I bought ages ago and when I’m happy, I write things I like in the book. Stupid stuff like, Xander from Buffy, and the sound from line arrays, and Diamond 4’s, and sherbert lemons, and Harry Potter 1, and Gandhi quotes, things that have no consequence. If I’m only mildly down, it can get me back up.7) Meditation. Just sit quietly and concentrate on not concentrating on anything. If that makes sense. Don’t allow yourself to have thoughts. Let your only thought be the thought that stops you thinking about anything. It sounds complex but you probably get my meaning. I like to meditate either in the dark in my room but the sunlight is good for depression so I force myself to sit in the middle of the living room with all the shades open in the sunlight. Therapy. Not from a councillor – from a psychologist, in particular a psychologist who is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist – these people are like GOLDDUST. They will teach you how to get through your worst moments and help you tailor your recovery techniques to your own personality. Plus, they’re also usually really cool not-up-themselves people. Interview a few different psych’s if you can, and if they’re in an office and wearing a suit, don’t bother. Find someone who wears jeans and listens to the music you like and likes the TV shows you like, so you geniunely like their company and that way, you’ll get a lot more out of your time with them – it’ll be more friendly and less clinical. And that in itself will lift your mood.Please bear in mind that the most important thing to have to get over depression without meds is psychological resilience. You need to be the type of depressed person who says, this sucks, but I WILL GET THROUGH THIS. I WILL NOT GIVE UP.. I WILL FORCE MYSELF THROUGH THIS. If you’re prone to giving up (I am not saying this is something to be ashamed of, it’s just something to be honest about – I understand fully that being a can’t-be-f*cking-bothered/don’t-want-to-can’t-make-me depressive is horrific and not something the depressive can help) you may have to come to terms with the fact that you may need a low dosage of meds (Citalopram is good in low doses) to get you through, and you may have to rely more heavily on therapy. Either way, get a CBT and remember you are not alone, and you should never give up on yourself.’When all you’ve got to keep is strong, move along. And even when your hope is gone, move along.’Good luck. Was this answer helpful?

  2. I am in the process of going off Paxil. Thank you for this article.

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