Many people diagnosed with depressive disorders are prescribed prescription antidepressants as a means of treatment. Prescription antidepressants are effective in helping to reduce symptoms of depressive disorders for many people and give many people the means to manage their mental health. However, there is a population of people who are prescribed these medications who wonder how long they may have to take them, are uncomfortable with taking them, and may wish to stop taking them for a variety of reasons. In this blog, we’ll discuss the reasons why people may wish to stop taking antidepressant medications, what to consider before stopping the use of prescribed antidepressants, and when it’s not a good idea to stop taking antidepressants. This way, people who are considering stopping the use of these medications may do so safely and effectively.
There are a number of reasons why people may consider stopping the use of antidepressant medications. It’s important to remember that even when you encounter these instances, you should never stop taking medications until you have spoken with your doctor about how and when to stop using any medication you are prescribed and to NEVER stop taking medications without the precise guidance of a medical professional first.
Some reasons why people may consider asking their doctor if stopping the use of prescription antidepressants is right for them include:
Pregnancy: Some antidepressants are not suggested for use during pregnancy as they may harm a growing fetus. Furthermore, it may be suggested to taper and stop taking antidepressants if a person is considering or already breastfeeding.
Improved Symptoms: Another reason people may want to stop taking medications is because they are working. If you are no longer experiencing depressive symptoms after taking medications after the expected time period of medication use, you may consider asking your doctor if tapering off antidepressants is the right thing for you.
Side Effects: Some medications for mental health issues can come with unwanted side effects for some people who use them. While side effects can commonly go away on their own after a certain time period, if these symptoms don’t seem to get better for you after a few months or are getting worse, you may wish to talk to your doctor about switching medications or tapering off the ones you are on currently.
No Symptom Resolution: Unfortunately, many people who are prescribed antidepressant medications don’t experience symptom relief from these treatments alone. In these cases, it may make sense for your doctor to consider helping you get off these medications and explore other treatment options.
Wanting to Try Other Treatments: Some patients wish to explore other means of depression treatments including TMS or ketamine infusion therapy. While many people can utilize many forms of treatments at once, some patients can benefit from getting off antidepressants first.
There are some very specific scenarios in which people prescribed antidepressant medications SHOULD NOT stop taking them including if you:
While antidepressants may not be something you want to use forever or they may not even be something you think is helping, there is hope through other forms of treatment. Exploring a number of treatment options can help you better determine what works best for you. For example, at Delray Center for Integrative Medicine, we offer outpatient IV Ketamine Infusion therapy, which is effective in helping people living with treatment-resistant depression get the symptom relief they may not have experienced with antidepressant medications alone. Learn more about this service from our website!