Services for People Withdrawing From Antidepressants

“New study documents what antidepressant users need to help them come off safely.”

Key Points:

  • One in four people will experience severe withdrawal symptoms when trying to reduce or come off antidepressants.
  • There are no specialized services to support people withdrawing from antidepressants.
  • A new study documents the dissatisfaction of 1,200 patients with their doctor’s knowledge and expertise regarding antidepressant

This article by Dr. John Read has been published in Pyschology Today. It begins:

“Before and during the Covid pandemic, prescriptions of antidepressants have risen, internationally, year after year, for two decades; in England, by about 5 percent per year. There are now 83.4 million prescriptions of antidepressants in England, to 8.3 million people. This represents nearly one in five adults (19 percent). Rates are even higher for women, older people, and poorer people.

In a previous post I summarised our 2019 research review, which found that just over half (56 percent) of people experience withdrawal effects when trying to reduce or come off antidepressants and that just under half of those people (46 percent) describe the withdrawal symptoms as ‘severe.’

I have also reported on the major changes to national guidelines in the UK, which finally acknowledged the prevalence, severity, and duration of withdrawal, after decades of minimization and denial. We have also seen an important 2019 Public Health England report recommending specialised services and a phone hotline for people withdrawing from dependency-forming prescribed drugs such as benzodiazepines, opiates, and antidepressants, along with training for GPs and psychiatrists about withdrawal symptoms and how to support people to come off gradually and safely …”

You can read more from here.

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