Listening to the Patient Voice: The Antidepressant Withdrawal Experience

“’A total of 97% of respondents were offered a prescription on their initial consultation with a doctor, 5% reported being offered talking therapy, and 0.6% were offered lifestyle advice (with some patients offered more than one option).’

According to the researchers, “0% [of the respondents] reported being warned” about side effects or the possibility of withdrawal.”

This article by Peter Simons has been published on the Mad in America website. It begins:

“Although severe withdrawal symptoms have been documented for over 30 years, guidance for doctors has generally dismissed these claims and suggested that withdrawal symptoms are mild and limited to a week or two. However, after recent research documented severe, long-term withdrawal, the UK’s NICE and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have finally acknowledged that withdrawal symptoms can last for months—or even years.

Antidepressant withdrawal has become a more accepted fact now:

“There is general consensus that withdrawal affects at least a third or a half of patients stopping antidepressants,” and that “in about half of cases of withdrawal the symptoms experienced will be severe, with severity also found to be related to the duration of use.”

Part of this acceptance is due to tireless work on the part of researchers and service users who have advocated for policy change in the past few years. A petition to the Scottish government in 2017 and the Welsh government in 2018 brought powerful stories of users’ experiences of withdrawal to the attention of the general public and policymakers.

Now, the leaders behind both petitions have joined with an academic researcher on antidepressant withdrawal to present their findings of service users’ experiences of withdrawal …”

You can read more from here.

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