When, and how do you decide to stop taking medication?

So how do you decide when its time to stop taking Anti-Depressants? Surely no one ever feels 'better' you just have to realise you were a bit better than before and give it a go to see what happens right? Or wrong?

My GP said only i can decide whats right for me, but i dont know! For some reason i was the one that brough it up with her, and i was the one that decided randomly May. I'm going to try and get a ticket to a festival in June, it takes two months for the ADs to be out of your system so i chose May to maybe stop taking my meds so i was clear for summer.

I'm better than before but not 'better', i don't want to stop taking them, just in case things get much worse and the only reason im a bit better is because of them, but i don't want to be on them forever so if you dont try, how do you know?

I've been on Fluoxetine 20mg since Oct 2012, GP wanted to double it but i was on a long waiting list for therapy and i didnt want to double it until i had started, just incase things eased off in therapy, i didnt want to become dependant on a higher dose. I decided to stay on 20mg because i get very tired and i think it effects my driving (i wrote off my car!). Anyway so whats the best way to come off? If its April next month should i take one every other day to make it easier than just stopping all together in May. Is stopping easy? I don't know, im not addicted or anything, i just take them in case they are helping me and im worried that theyre helping me more than i realise and im making a mistake by not taking them. I guess no one knows do they?

Does anyone have any experiences, guidance, opiions on the matter that might help me? Thanks so much xx


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9 Replies

  • I am in the same situation so I waitfor advice too

  • Its generally at a point where you are coping much better and things have settled down in the fact that your not experiencing the same symptoms and feel like your moving forward, I did manage to get my meds cut down last year but unfortunately hit a really big curve and they had to be increased again and now it feels like they just dont work for me anymore and am currently in the process of trying to see the doctor to get it changed, but well I am on a massive dose as I am on venaflaxin 225mg, and they did drop it to 150mg and I did feel fine and had no side affects they then said that if i continued doing well that they would reduce it again in 6 months this is due to the level and then once it gets right down they slowly wean you off like taking one every 2nd day and moving it out to every 3rd, 4th day etc till your off them completely the reason they do it so slowly is to give the body the chance to adjust and for you to keep doing well, if you just stop taking any form of anti depressant 9 out of ten people will end up in a worse place ie that it returns and is worse.

    You kind of well I just started feeling better in myself and was doing really well, it was the court case i was involved in that threw me off course due to a statement from my ex husband. you will know within yourself when you feel your coping better and then you speak to them about reducing it


  • The sign for me is when I start forgetting to take my tablets. When I'm depressed, taking each tablet feels like a positive step in the right direction. I almost look forward to it. When I've gone a couple of days without taking one and the physical effects kick in (headache, dizzy) I start to realise I'm not as dependent on them as I was. And then I come off them slowly to avoid the wirhdrawal symptoms I get when I forget to take them!

  • Sorry, I've just realised that made no sense! I'll reply properly when I have my 4am insomnia x

  • Hi

    Why would your GP want to double the dose if you are managing without more? YOu may not be feeling completely ok but I would always think it's best to be on the smallest dose you feel able to manage with, as all meds for depression are habit forming and in time the body becomes acclimatised to them and they become less effective.

    My experience is that it's best never to just stop taking meds for depression. I phased off very gradually the second time I took meds and it worked far better. I went down to two days on and one day off for a month and waited to see the effect, it was ok so then I went down to every other day and stayed like that for about 3 months, then when there were still no worse symptoms I came off altogether. It worked really well for me. I do know many people who've come off quickly and they have often found they feel much worse and end up on meds again.

    If you start now it will hopefully just work in time. I would speak to your GP about it as well but do what you feel is right for you.


  • To be honest, it dont seem like your ready,,, 20mg,, !! what you dont want to do is to come off and nose dive, which then will take more meds to get you back up. when you have more good days than bad,,, enjoy them!!! I would say, when you have no,,, bad days,,, for at least a year,,, then look at it again.

    Its like you are looking for a down fall, as one way your saying that things havent really been that good. Really when you feel good,,, you feel better than you have ever done in your life!!! now that is the good time , to start seeing if your brain is starting to produce the happy chemicals.

    Does it matter????how long it takes to feel that good again,,, enjoy it when it does happen.

    For me its been over 20 years,, and trying different ones. it takes a long time sometimes to get they right chemicals for your chemical brain type. I would rather feel like this, than feel like the plug was half plugged, and only getting on barely with things, not enjoying anything. null and void.

    type A1 personalities want to do everything NOW, slow down thats how we got like this. Find a therapist in your area, or contact BACP to find your own counsellor. What you should be aiming for, is that, you find out why you got depressed, look at it, change things, so it never comes back!!

    take care ,,, and relax!!

  • To anyone who has mentioned dependence or addiction. ADs are NEITHER of these, they merely correct imbalances in your brain chemistry. If you require a higher dose it is NOT because your body has gotten used to them, it is because you are not improving enough on the dose you're taking!

    You should NEVER just come off them without medical supervision and pre planned tapering and you should continue to take them for at least six months after you feel that you are back to being yourself again.

  • I'm just decreasing my meds at the moment. Been on them for nearly a year and I was on 45mg Mirtazapine and now down to 15mg. You really have to think about how you are feeling as a whole. If you feel you are ready to decrease them and eventually come off them, then you can do so gradually, and if you start to feel worse then go back to your Dr and increase them. Your Dr can really help but you have to tell them how you are feeling, don't be scared to say. In regards to effects of meds, if you are feeling tired then perhaps not driving is the best thing to do or ask your Dr for help :). Hope everything works well for you. I'm having good and bad days coming off my meds but liken I said, hope everything goes well for you.

  • Thanks everyone! I don't know if I feel any better, I feel more normal for me but its become apparent that what's normal for me is not normal for other people, so I don't know. I don't recall ever being happy so I don't know when ive reached a point that's worth stopping. I think im doing better by staying busy, but im staying busy to avoid my life, not being busying living life. I feel uncomfortable when me and my therapist discuss the great progress ive made because I know im feeling better by avoiding thinking about anything or making any decisions, ive tried to bring this up but she tries to comfort me by telling me progress is progress and that I should be proud, I am, but I know im making progress because its nice having someone to talk to, when my appointments come to and end i'll be back where I started, when im alone I don't feel much different, I get through my weeks apt to apt. This bank holiday is the first time ive had more than one day free time since Oct and its been awful. I've not left the house in a few days, I don't know what to do with myself. How do people relax, doesn't relaxing make you feel uneasy? How do you concentrate? What do you do with your spare time? I don't understand what the point is in all of this. I don't trust the way I think or feel about anything and I don't have the strength to do anything I need to do. Depression has completely made me re-think having children (seems selfish to create another human to endure life), and about euthanasia (now swaying to 'for' rather than 'against'), I never want to retire (I work full time 5 days a week, volunteer the 6th day and have just applied to some more ad hoc voluntary work for weekday evenings) and Romeo and Juliet makes perfect sense to me. If im old and alone or my husband (doubtful such a thing would ever exist) dies at any time im taking a way out of here without looking back.

    I hate living to an unexplainable degree, getting through the days is too much. I struggle to find a reason to fight this hard when no one is fighting for you. I would never take my life (unless one of the above occurs) but it doesn't change how painful it is getting through every day and I don't believe anyone that says it will get better because I have no 'better' to base this on.

    How much do the meds make a difference? No one knows I suppose, if its 'all in your head' how can anyone tell what they'd be like off the meds? Are they why im alive? Are they keeping me alive? Are they making things easier to manage? Would I have more or less energy without them? Are they holding me back? Will stopping them now to be clear for summer mean that if I need to go back on them in the summer it will be worse than before? Or better? Im exhausted asking questions no one knows the answers to :(

    God im a miserable sod today, im so sorry. Hope you guys have been enjoying the bank holiday more than I have. Take care xx