Getting off antidepressants is an important decision that can greatly affect your life and relationships.
It is something you should always do in coordination with your physician.
When you are ready to begin, consider a few important points to guide you in the process.
Timing is key for getting off antidepressants
Good timing for discontinuing a medication is critical to minimize a relapse of depressive symptoms. It is better to transition away from medication when you have minimal life stressors and have been free of depressive symptoms for a significant period of time. Exactly how long depends on the number and intensity of depressive episodes you have had in the past. The clinician you are working with can help you make that determination.
Withdrawal effects are another reason to consult a healthcare provider before abruptly stopping antidepressants. Slowly tapering off of a medication over 2-4 weeks is often the best way to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of withdrawal include: rebound depression, dizziness, nausea, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, agitation, headaches, and irritability.
Another symptom of withdrawal, is referred to as, “brain zaps” and is exactly what it sounds like. The sensation of a mild electric shock-like sensation in the brain. They are as unpleasant as they sound so do take great care when weaning off of medications.
Continue to treat the root issue
While prevention of withdrawal effects and timing are critical elements to getting off of antidepressants, it is very important to continue treating the root of the symptoms for which the medication was used. If the underlying cause is not treated, it is likely that the suffering that brought you to psychopharmacologic treatment will return.
Often, the root cause of many symptoms occur on a subconscious level, and a skilled therapist can help unravel these mysteries. Diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy work life balance, and improving relationships are also central elements to healing.
Also look for ways to minimize stress and get better sleep.
Natural alternatives to antidepressants
Nutritional supplements can be used to help assist the nervous system and minimize withdrawal effects while the body balances the changes that result from removing antidepressants.
Acupuncture can be used to rebalance the body’s neurotransmitters, as well as work through physiological and psychological blockages that cause symptoms of depression.
Remember, symptoms are our bodies’ way of telling us that something isn’t going right. Taking better care of ourselves is the simplest way of targeting mood and health problems and boosting our immune systems from the ground up. You may enjoy making all of these changes which is precisely the point. Treating the whole of who you are can help you feel more joy and give you the natural resilience to face life on life’s terms.