Antidepressant withdrawal should be taken seriously – we’re investigating ways to help people come off the pills

This article from Mark Horowitz, Joanna Moncrieff and Katharine Wallis has been published by The Conversation. It begins:

“Misinformation about antidepressants is rife and is probably fuelling their rise in use. Chief among these false ideas are:

  • Antidepressant withdrawal effects are mild and only last two to three weeks, with any severe symptoms interpreted as a relapse in depression.
  • Antidepressants are not addictive, so they can’t be that difficult to stop.
  • If you are having difficulty getting off your antidepressant, that shows you must need them.
  • You should be able to stop your antidepressants in a month or two.
  • Antidepressants work by growing new brain cells.

It is now established that antidepressants produce withdrawal symptoms that often last for many weeks, months or even years.

Claims that these symptoms only last for two to three weeks came from studies conducted by drug companies where people had only used antidepressants for a couple of months. A recent large study found that people who have been on antidepressants for years reported having withdrawal symptoms lasting for nine months on average.

About half of the people who stop taking antidepressants experience withdrawal. In surveys, half of the people who stop using these drugs report having severe withdrawal symptoms …”

You can read more from here.

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