It’s no secret I’ve battled mental health problems for years and have taken medication for it, but I’m very thankful I didn’t suffer with Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms like many people do.
In fact 4 million people are at risk of withdrawal symptoms in England every year, yet only 25% say they got advice on coming off medication from their doctor.
Stylist Magazine did some research into the facts and spoke to 5 women about their experience of antidepressant withdrawal, myself included.
My summary is:
I started taking antidepressants when I was 19. I’d been suffering with anorexia for a year and talking therapies weren’t helping. My mood was very low.
At my worse, when I was sectioned in hospital, I was on a high dose of five types at once. Nothing worked and I was given lithium, which radically improved my mood.
I took the medication for six years without any breaks, then decided to come off it when I was 25. I’d been mentally stable for a while, even though I’m on the bipolar spectrum. I wanted to start a family and put that part of my life behind me.
I reduced the doses of each pill very slowly, one type at a time, until I was on the smallest dose of just one, to make sure my mood didn’t worsen. I also saw a psychiatrist regularly.
I would say don’t stop taking antidepressants without medical supervision; if your doctor won’t support your decision, find another one who will.
Come off them very slowly and add natural anti-depressants into your life, such as exercise, fresh air, sunlight, sleep, good food and time with your friends and family.
These things seem so simple, but they are incredibly effective.
But not everyone’s experience of both mental health problems, medication or coming off meds will be the same so if you’re currently on any mood stabilising medication or know someone who is please have a read of the other women’s stories so that you are prepared or can hopefully prevent any nasty antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.
P.S. If you struggle with mood problems of any sort please do not suffer alone. The best place to reach me is in my free Facebook Group here. I’m not a psychologist but I have been there and I understand.