For some people batting depression or anxiety, antidepressants can be their salvation.
For others, it doesn’t turn out to be the answer they hoped for, or they decide not to take them for other reasons.
If you fall into the latter group, there are some things you should know before you stop taking them.
It’s important to think the decision through and talk to your doctor. Keep in mind that this kind of medication directly affects your brain, and changes should be controlled.
Here are some factors to consider before deciding to stop taking antidepressants:
You must work with your doctor
If you’re considering stopping taking antidepressants, it’s important for you to speak openly to your psychologist or psychiatrist about your expectations, fears, doubts, and hopes.
It’s your right as a patient to decide when to take them or not, but these professionals will explain side effects you can expect during the process.
Many people decide that they’re feeling good and don’t need medication. It’s a common situation once emotional balance is achieved. However, oftentimes, the happy feeling is actually the result of taking the antidepressants.
You doctor needs to know what you feel and how you feel it. This way, she can advise you about whether it’s a good idea to stop treatment or not.
You may not be sure if what you’re feeling is normal or if you need an adjustment. The process generally takes a long time and some people get tired of trying new doses all the time.
If your doctor agrees that stopping treatment is a good idea, you will then create a plan to gradually reduce your use of antidepressants. This way, the side effects will be managed and you won’t go through the process by yourself.
If you want to stop taking medication because you’re unhappy with the side effects, your psychiatrist can offer alternatives that work for your body. Explain any fears or questions you may have, and tell him how you’re feeling.
“Don’t forget to read: The 3 Leading Causes of Depression”
It takes longer than you might think
Some people get to their appointment with the psychiatrist or psychologist frustrated at having been taking antidepressants for months without seeing any change. Or, maybe there are changes, but they’re negative.
Of course, you want the sadness, the lack of interest in everything, your insecurity and other situations that are the reason you’re taking antidepressants to disappear.
While your doctors also wants your antidepressants to be like a magic wand you wave and it all disappears, it’s actually much more complicated than that.
You have to give your body time to adapt to the new dose.
People often want to go back to normal after just a few days of treatment. However, you should understand that your doctor knows how much time you need to get better. She will tell you want you need.
You must not get discouraged and try to change your dose on your own. If you do so, you are endangering your own life and the side effects may get out of control. Your doctor will ask you to be patient, and you really have to try.
Your mood will probably change temporarily
When you stop taking antidepressants without your doctor’s authorization, you will probably not think of everything you should in order to manage the consequences well.
That’s why several studies have indicated that when people discontinue them, their risk of having suicidal thoughts rises.
However, the relationship between having dangerous thoughts and discontinuing antidepressants has not yet been definitively confirmed.
“Want to learn more? The Top 9 Anti-Depressant Foods”
If you stop taking your medication, you will feel strange
As we’ve indicated above, antidepressants have a direct effect on your brain. Their job is to regulate your brain’s functioning. When you discontinue treatment, this regulation stops and you may feel one or more of the following symptoms:
- “Brain zaps,” or a feeling of electric shock to your head
- Loss of ability to concentrate
- Abrupt mood changes
- Inability to do simple tasks
- Memory lapses
Each person has a very different experience. You probably won’t notice a difference in the first few days, and then may not be able to think clearly the next few.
It’s very normal, and while it shouldn’t scare you, it’s a good idea to have your doctor check on the severity of the symptoms.
It’s your right to decide whether or not to take antidepressants
People with depression are fighting a lot all at once. There are the emotions, which can feel like a whirlwind, and then there are all the medical opinions and external suggestions.
It can be confusing to hear all of this and it may make you wonder how much control you have anymore of your life and your decisions.
You should always remember that the decision of whether or not to take antidepressants is your and yours alone.