It turns out, I have some strong opinions on how to wean off antidepressants.
Spoiler alert: the main take-away is: S L O W L Y!
Please note: these are not strong opinions that you or anyone in particular should wean off of their antidepressants, because that is a highly personal decision.
But I really went through some tough times with this endeavor and if I can save you some trouble, I’d like that.
So, when life hands me lemons, not only do I make lemonade, but I also write a blog post about how I made the lemonade. 😉
First off, what do I mean by “wean off antidepressants?”
I mean to stop taking them.
But antidepressants are one of those types of medications that you shouldn’t just suddenly stop taking.
Withdrawal side-effects can be extreme
Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I experienced postpartum depression and about a year or so after I started on antidepressants, I decided I wanted to stop taking them.
I tried to wean off of them several times. And several times, I failed.
I think I tried getting off of them around four or five times!
Each time, I tried coming off of the antidepressants the way my doctor recommended.
And each time was a flop.
Their recommendation was pretty simple: take half of the pill for two weeks, then half of that for two weeks.
Then, whamoo! You’re done!
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
For some that way might work, but for many of us, it’s wayyyy too fast and too hard on our bodies.
Each time I tried to wean, I felt like a failure. And I thought: Oh maybe my body does need this stuff.
(For me, that was also a “Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.”)
But each time I tried to wean, the withdrawal effects were insane. The agitation, headaches, and tiredness were treacherous!
Then, I read a book called “Your Drug May be Your Problem” and also Kelly Brogan’s book “A Mind of Your Own.”
The first book, especially, suggested weaning MUCH, MUCH slower.
The second book further clarified my suspicions that I was capable of feeling better naturally.
I realized: It might take a while to come off of my antidepressant, but going slower would be the key.
So, that’s what I did. I went slower. I bought a scale and a pill cutter….
I weighed my medicine and shaved off a tiny bit of the medicine, going from .20 to .19.
I stayed at that for a few weeks.
Then, I went down to .18 … And on and on…
This process took me THIRTEEN months, but I did it!
And it worked!
By going slowly, I drastically decreased my side-effects from withdrawal and I saw that I felt fine without the medication. Not just fine, actually. But great.
Many accounts of weaning will detail “powering through” the icky side effects of electric shocks and unfathomable fatigue (and a dozen or more other negative side-effects).
Which are rough, let me tell you!!
I am not saying you SHOULD wean off of your antidepressant, too. But I am saying that if you want to do it, going slow is VERY helpful.
And now I’ll say the standard: “I am not a doctor. Talk to your doctor.” *insert kissy face.
Cheers, to feeling better naturally.
– Sylvia | Cofounder of LIFTED
PS- Questions? Comment below, or always always, feel free to write to directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org