Taper off very, very, very slowly.
Dropping “cold turkey” off any medication, most especially mind altering medications, can often be MORE DANGEROUS than staying on the drugs.
The most dangerous and most common mistake someone coming off the SSRI antidepressants makes is coming off these drugs too rapidly. Tapering off very, very, VERY SLOWLY–OVER MONTHS (and for long-term users—a year or more), NOT JUST WEEKS!—has proven the safest and most effective method of withdrawal from this type of medication. Thus the body is given the time it needs to readjust its own chemical levels. Patients must be warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them in half or taking a pill every other day.
This cannot be stressed strongly enough! This information on EXTREMELY gradual withdrawal is the most critical piece of information that someone facing withdrawal from these drugs needs to have.
A REMINDER: IT IS EASIER TO GET DOWN OFF A MOUNTAINTOP ONE GUARDED STEP AT A TIME THAN TO JUMP FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM.
No matter how few or how many side effects you have had on these antidepressants, withdrawal is a whole new world. The worst part of rapid withdrawal can be delayed for several months AFTER you quit. So even if you think you are doing okay you quickly find that it becomes much worse. If you do not come off correctly and rebuild your body as you do, you risk:
- Creating bouts of overwhelming depression
- Producing a MUCH longer withdrawal and recovery period than if you had come off slowly
- Overwhelming fatigue causing you to be unable to continue daily tasks or costing your job
- Having a psychotic break brought on by the terrible insomnia from the rapid withdrawal, and then being locked in a psychiatric ward and being told you are either schizophrenic or most likely that you are Bipolar.
- Ending up going back on the drugs (each period on the drugs tends to be more dangerous and problematic than the previous time you were on the drugs) and having more drugs added to calm the withdrawal effects
- Seizures and other life threatening physical reactions
- Violent outbursts or rages
- REM Sleep Behavior Disorder which has always been known as a drug withdrawal state and is known to include both suicide and homicide
Although my book, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare!, contains massive amounts of information you can find nowhere else on these drugs, it does not have the extensive amount of information contained in the CD focusing mainly on withdrawal issues. The CD contains newer and updated information on safe withdrawal from these drugs. The CD details over an hour and a half the safest ways found over ten years to withdraw from antidepressants. It also lists many alternative treatments that can assist you in getting though the withdrawal. And it contains information on how to rebuild your health after you have had it destroyed by the drugs so that you never end up on these drugs again. The tape is very inexpensive and will save you thousands in medical bills which you will spend trying to do it on your own. Many have lamented that they wished they would have had the information on this tape before attempting withdrawal.To order Ann Blake-Tracy’s book or audio, “Help, I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant,” go to: http://store.drugawareness.org/
This is a CD doctors can also benefit from when attempting to withdraw their patients from these drugs that the World Health Organization has now told us are addictive and produce withdrawal.
In 2005 the FDA issued strong warnings about changes in dose for antidepressants. They warned that ANY abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant, whether increasing or decreasing the dose….so that would include switching antidepressants, starting or stopping antidepressants, forgetting to take a pill, skipping doses, taking a pill one day & not the next, etc…. can cause suicide, hostility, and/or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis which is why so many are given a diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder after this withdrawal reaction that can so severely impair sleep leading to a psychotic break.
Clearly coming down too rapidly can be very, very dangerous. We encourage you to arm yourself with knowledge by downloading our CD on safe withdrawal.
WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!
The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid! You can find the CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: http://store.drugawareness.org/
Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & http://ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: ”Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”