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Quitting Antidepressants: Withdrawal Symptoms and their Duration

Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. They are prescribed to help patients with anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, and a number of other mental health conditions. Despite the fact that most are very effective, it is easy to get hooked up to these drugs with continued use. Antidepressants alter the way the brain processes emotional and physical signals, which makes us feel good and sleep more. Used over time, the brain gets used to this environment and reacts negatively when these drugs are not in the system.

How Withdrawal Symptoms Develop
This negative reaction is often characterized by withdrawal symptoms, usually referred to as discontinuation symptoms. These symptoms may vary depending on the type of antidepressant you are on. The most common type of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) often work by inhibiting the absorption of serotonin in the brain, resulting in an increased concentration of this chemical. Increased serotonin has been linked to reduced depression, stress, and anxiety disorders. So if you stop taking SSRIs, your serotonin levels drop quite fast, throwing your nervous system into disarray and setting the stage for the development of withdrawal symptoms.

Antidepressants such as bupropion that do not target serotonin may not cause problems when one stops taking them, though some people report experiencing one or two anxiety disorders and irritability. It is important to remember that, unlike many psychotic drugs, most antidepressants aren’t addictive. However, people do get dependent on the happy feelings that come with using some of these antidepressants, especially those that play around with serotonin.

Factors that Affect the Intensity and Duration of Antidepressant Withdrawals
There is no single rule on withdrawal symptoms that can be applied to different people. The development and duration of withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms will depend on a variety of factors. These include the duration of use, the concentration of antidepressant medication one has been on, and the type of antidepressant that was being used. Individual biology and underlying health conditions will also play a big role in determining how much time it will take for your body to adjust to a drug-free environment.

Withdrawal or Discontinuation Symptoms and their Duration
When you stop or drastically reduce the amount of antidepressants you are taking, you will likely be met with a barrage of mental and physical symptoms as the body tries to adjust. These usually start within 24 and 72 hours after the last dose of antidepressant. The first symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings, racing thoughts, headaches, dizziness, and a variety of flu-like symptoms.

By the end of the first week, the most intense symptoms are usually just starting. For people who have been on these drugs for a long time, this period is a high-risk one, with many people relapsing because of the intensity of the symptoms. Symptoms include fatigue, advanced issues with mood, depersonalization, muscle tension and aches, tremors, vomiting, nausea, and loss of coordination.

Around 2 weeks into the detox, many of the physical symptoms will have subsided. The mental symptoms will still persist and most people report having nightmares, insomnia, and other issues that affect sleep.

For many people, the average detox takes about 3 weeks. In the third and subsequent weeks, people typically experience many of the symptoms for which antidepressants were prescribed. Rebound depression is common among many people looking to stop using antidepressants, and is basically a return to the depressive state one was before the drugs. Some people stand the risk of developing mania and other serious psychotic conditions. Such risks should be reason enough to seek medical advice before quitting and to never stop medications abruptly.

How to Ensure Safety when Getting off Antidepressants
For those looking to stop using antidepressants, the first important step is speaking with a doctor to chart the right path for going clean. Going cold turkey with prescription antidepressants is the worst thing anyone would do because of the potentially fatal nature of some withdrawal symptoms. A slow, controlled taper is the best alternative to get off these drugs and still maintain some level of function in the process. Tapering enables your mind to gradually adjust to decreasing amounts of the drug until you are able to stop. This helps minimize the symptoms and also reduces the chances of relapsing when symptoms become unbearable.

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help with specific withdrawal symptoms, such as an antiemitic for nausea. If you are looking to stay away from chemical products, it might be worthwhile opting for a more organic and natural way to handle the symptoms of withdrawal. SSRISupport is a natural withdrawal aid with all the goodness of Mother Nature to help restore good health and keep you safe from withdrawal symptoms.

SSRISupport contains a healthy concentration of B vitamins, amino acid components, minerals, and organic herbs to help fight depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress while improving the body’s immune system. It also contains L-tyrosine and 5-HTP, which are important precursor molecules for dopamine and serotonin respectively. With these elements, SSRISupport enables individuals to stay on course and have almost regular days while detoxing from antidepressants.

Click Here To Learn About How SSRISupport May Benefit You

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