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Stopping or coming off antidepressants

Talk to your doctor before you stop taking antidepressants. It's important that you do not stop taking antidepressants suddenly.

A dose of antidepressants should be slowly reduced, normally over several weeks, and sometimes longer. This varies depending on the type of antidepressant you're taking, your dose and how long you've been taking it for.

Your doctor will help you agree a plan for how to gradually reduce your dose. This is to prevent any withdrawal symptoms you might get as a reaction to coming off antidepressants suddenly.

Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • restlessness
  • trouble sleeping
  • unsteadiness
  • sweating
  • stomach problems
  • feeling as if there's an electric shock in your head
  • changes to your mood, such as low mood or feeling irritable, anxious or confused

Withdrawal symptoms usually come on within 5 days of stopping the medicine and generally last 1 to 2 weeks. Some people have severe withdrawal symptoms that last for several months or more.

See your doctor if you get severe withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking antidepressants. Alternative approaches can be used, such as reintroducing another antidepressant from the same group and reducing the dose more slowly, or stopping completely and managing your symptoms.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 3 August 2021
Next review due: 3 August 2024